She walked into the room, kimono shimmering. It was one of those chill February evenings, and ennui ruled the house. We'd cleared away the dishes, done the domestic chores and the TV was dull-eyed. We'd laughed at our Purity Test scores and settled to an evening of reading and relaxation. I sensed her distraction.

"So what's the big deal about licking eyeballs?", she'd asked.

"No idea. Anyway, you know how squeamish I am about eyes". We both laughed. A day or so earlier, I'd helped her remove a contact lens, and had to sit down afterwards.

"I'm still puzzling out why it should be erotic". Now she looked at me in that way.

"It sounds awful, doesn't it?"

She laughed. "Better to give or receive?"

I shrugged and smiled. She sat next to me.

I began by kissing her face, eyebrows and eyelids, and then licked across her lid before she opened her eye. I gently ran my tongue over her eyeball - it felt cool, smooth and firm. She said it felt good, I did it again, then licked her other eye.

We played around for a while, and then she asked if I wanted to try. I agreed, and she kissed around, blew on and then gently licked my eye. For me, it felt uncomfortable, and when we discussed it all later, she certainly seemed to have enjoyed it a lot more than me - I found it neither completely distasteful nor erotic.

For her, she said, it was a thing of great intimacy and trust, but I think it says something that she never asked me to perform it again. Since then, research on the 'net and discussions with others draws me to believe that the licking of eyeballs is enjoyed and practiced more by women than men. What this says about the practice, I have no idea - perhaps those wired differently may enjoy it more.

Zöe licked his eyeballs every single day. She also licked the corners of his mouth and his nostrils. Zöe was Bronco's mother and a very good mother at that.

Among the mammals, many non-human mothers clean their babies that way, but this was the first time I had observed a dog continuining the practice so consistently after the infant became an adult.

I don't know if it is an erotic thing and if it is practiced mainly by the female of the species. For myself, nostrils have always been a vaguely erotic part of the human body. I don't know if this is my femininity manifesting itself or a primordial feeling of maternity.

Zöe was my wire-hair fox terrier; she died a few months ago, shortly after Bronco's 10th birthday. Since then I have cleaned his eyes every morning; he has a chronic infection in one eye. Bronco doesn't seem to particularly enjoy it but, being an intelligent dog, he appears to know it is a necessary part of his grooming. (I use an eyewash, not my tongue.)

On occasion he will try to lick the corners of my mouth. This, however, is greed on his part as it usually happens after I have eaten a biscuit or some such tidbit. The scent of the food on my lips is what apparently attracts him. Men!

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