Four men, three days.

It’s not unlike what I imagine it’d feel to be warmly drunk on a carousel.  The melodies piping out of the organs in the middle, the slowly oscillating animals impaled on gilded poles, the streaks of light smearing across a park at night,  the captured smiles and snatched words as I slip past.

“You’re so beauti–”

“Yes, baby, that fe–”

“Can I kis–”

I returned from the mountains filled with the love of friends who’ve known me for half my life.  Who were there when my baby was born and when I left my husband.  Who knew me when I had just moved here, fresh-faced and intent on devouring the world.  They call me loving names and accept me for all that I am: ribald, intense, caring, loud, big, and dry when I’m not sloppy wet.

I let Petya go before the break.  We both agreed I deserved more than whatever hot mess it was that he was serving.  And though I haven’t made anything officially over with The Soldier, I’ve let him go, too.  Though because he is an injured soul, I figure the Universe might know what to do with the two of us.  “Happy New Year, you,” he’d replied after weeks of silence.

I don’t remember who else I was maybe kinda sorta talking to before I left, only the ones I’d met and touched: The bad Tuesday night lay who booty called me this weekend, but I was busy in bed with another man.  My old friend, Kevin, whose big, beautiful cock is attached to a guy who seems somewhat ambivalent about how he uses it; I was reminded of why we petered out before.  The fella who happens to be local, but knows me as Hy, and whom has a complicated entanglement.  Read: married.  We met on Instagram and decided we’d be assholes together, a roaring fire in a fancy hotel the backdrop of our first, chaste meeting.

And there were new men to look forward to.  Sex with one, lots of talk with two others, and an interesting combination of flirty, wicked-fast banter and some good ol’ fashioned titty-fucking with the fourth.  Thirty-two, 32, 26, 25.  My head spins even as everything around me is in sharp focus, the detail clear.

To my Saturday night date, the big burly fella with a dark beard and eyes to match, I explained that ultimately I was looking for a partner.  He misunderstood me.  “Hy, I might not be the man for you.  I’m not looking for a longterm relationship.”  I laughed and tossed my hair in that strategic way, pulled my boot-clad legs up under me a little more.  Clearly he had no idea who he was dealing with.

“No, that’s an ultimate goal, but I’m looking to have fun in the meantime, too.  I mean, how would you and I work, anyway?  You’re deathly allergic to cats.”

He laughed like I wanted him to and then he grabbed my face and kissed me passionately.

Later, in the dark, I awoke with his heavy arm flung over me.  The sex had been the kind of satisfactory that you might feel about the almost-fantastic massage you got that last time you went in for a treat.  I enjoyed myself.  I know he did considering his yells as I sucked him off and some kind words after I’d cum.

“Fuck, you’re fun to get off,” he whispered hotly into my ear, his hand filled with my ejaculate.

I’d rolled over drunkenly, sated, and fallen asleep, but now that I was wide awake I felt panicky.

I blamed the dog alone in my apartment for my pre-dawn escape, but truly it was because I don’t know how to have morning coffee with a man anymore.  Would he expect to have sex again?  Were we supposed to go to breakfast together?  Would he look at me expectantly to leave?  I couldn’t bear the unknown and so I dressed by the glow of his phone, kissed him warmly and promised to be in touch, and left.

Slipping through the dark, quiet city I wondered what I was running from.  The idea that he’d want to have breakfast with me or that he wouldn’t?  I couldn’t tell and ultimately decided it didn’t matter.  Both fucking sucked.

The next day, as yet un-showered, I met my complicated friend for ciders and to ostensibly watch football.  I stuffed my face with a hot BLT topped with an over easy egg.  I thought the yolk rolled between my fingers like cum.

“Why are you here?” I asked.

He couldn’t answer right away.  “Maybe I’m an asshole,” he finally said.  “Maybe I just need excitement in my life.  I don’t know.”

“Well I know why I’m here,” I said.  “Because you make me feel special and I appreciate the lengths you go to to see me and talk to me.”  I paused.  “But I’m still processing all this.”

He nodded.

He walked me to my car and the sun shone in my eyes.  I couldn’t see him as I leaned in and tilted my face up.  His beard scratched my face as he only pressed his lips against mine.  I smiled into his whiskers and pressed again.  We broke apart.

“I’m sorry.  I’m still not used to this,” he said needlessly.  Of course he isn’t.  He was an honest man before me.

I drove home, ran a hot bath and soaked away my sins.  The previous 18 hours tucked away on the other side of the carousel.

The blond man waiting for me at the bar was handsome.  I smiled and asked him what he was drinking.  “Club soda with lime.”  I suddenly remembered he didn’t drink.

I asked if he smoked and he said yes so we went outside where I watched him at once dance with the devil and fly with the angels.

With his sober recovery a binary lens for his life, he struggled to explain his feelings surrounding sexual relationships and intimacy since those are rarely black and white.  I smiled, adjusted my bosom to rest on the table top and forced myself to reveal my most newly realized and deep, dark secret: I have intimacy issues and I, too, struggle with managing it all.

His eyes twinkled and we high-fived over the table.  Oh, the irony to make a connection with a total stranger in under 2 hours.  I’m really good at those.

The truth is, there is a part of me that soars high above the fray.  The wind in my face, the ground below a beautiful patchwork of opportunity and hope.  I will find a partner some day, I think.  Then there is the other part of me, the one with no strategy whatsoever, the id which drives my daily search to have fun and be adventurous.  That seems like fucking fun.

The two coexist, they’re not mutually exclusive: I want a longterm, stable relationship.  I want to do whatever I want in the meantime.  Also, what if one of the “just for fun” men turns into the partner man??  I’ll never know unless I try.

He walked me to my car and we hugged.  I wasn’t sure how he’d fit into my life, what with his ambiguous feelings about pleasurable things — I need a man who can go all in with me and not pathologize the loss of control — but, because I am always open to surprises, I let him kiss me in the cold, night air.

He giggled and kept nibbling.  It was pleasant and sweetly intense.  His legs cut through the beams of my headlights as I watched him walk away.

The next day I met a different young man at the same bar.  He strongly resembled Clark Kent in one of his Tinder pics and I was a little disappointed he hadn’t worn his glasses.  Instead he had on a beanie and was painfully stylish.  All super hip kid, no nerdy Clark, but Clark was special in other ways.

Not only was he stupidly hot, but the banter I’d come to look forward to in our texts carried over seamlessly in person.  We parried zing for hilarious zing.  His Makers on ice impressed me for some reason and the fact that he was 25 made no difference whatsoever.

His legs lay in my lap by the time we finished our drinks and I traced his new forearm tattoo with a finger, though I wished it was my tongue.  “Wanna keep hanging out?” I asked.

“Yes.”

We had to park down by TN’s building and when Clark grabbed my hand to walk up the hill I wished with all my might we might be seen, but it was midnight on a Monday, a true pipe dream.  Instead I focused on a hot, intelligent, sexy boy grabbing my hand and my first reaction was to leave it there.

Clark was like me: he was open for anything in any form it might come.  “I don’t want to limit myself by having expectations.  I’m open to whatever happens.”  Hearing him say that after all the other limitations which had poured out of the other men’s mouths was like aloe on a burn.  Was I hearing him right??  Were we actually on the same page?

Back in my apartment, nervous, we fell into each other’s arms.  He peeled off my clothes, pulled me to my feet, and walked me to my room.  I grabbed a candle and set it down.  When I turned around he was naked and glowing, his muscles dark dips and bright swells of shadows and light.

I had the vague idea that I did not want to fuck him — not only was I emotionally exhausted, but I was bleeding — but I laid beneath his naked body and writhed and arched all the same.  I told him we couldn’t have sex and he bit my ear.  I pushed his head down to my breasts and coached him to suck and nibble until the pleasure ripped through me to my fingertips.

Instead of begging him to fuck me I said between pants, “Straddle my chest, please.”

He hopped up, smiling, and pinned me down in one smooth motion.  I took his cock in my hand and suckled and slurped, my other hand wrapped around and grabbed his bare ass and guided his thrusts into my open mouth.  He grew even more rock hard and I lost my shit.

“Titty fuck me,” I moaned.  “Please…”

He pulled back and grabbed, big, rough handfuls of my breasts and slipped between the mounds.  “Goddamn this is fucking hot,” he said.  I clawed his buttocks and closed my eyes and wished it was my pussy he was pile driving into.  He cried out and fell back.  The ceiling fan cooled the globs of hot cum pooled on my sternum.

He passed me a towel and I wiped my chest before he took me into his arms and held me.  We dozed in that peaceful place that two naked strangers share, the one where you don’t know each other’s last names — though, for the record, we knew each other’s names.

When we came to a little while later I tried to get him to stay, but it was 2 am on a school night.  It really wasn’t feasible.  I wrapped myself in a robe and watched him pick up the trail of his clothes.  Dressed and standing over me he pulled me in for a goodbye hug and kiss.  I staggered back to bed and slept through my second morning workout without regrets.

I always loved the carousel, the movement and motion, the streaks of color when you look out and the curiosities when you looked in, the rabbit with a saddle and the zebra with a bridle.  My life might seem like streaky chaos from the outside, but from my vantage point on my fiberglass steed it’s in motion, it’s twirling, it’s in a good place.  

The big difference between my life and the carousel — despite their many similarities — is that, like that scene in Mary Poppins where they break off the ride onto their own adventure, one day I trust mine will do the same.

And I have plans to see Clark again this Friday.

 

 

 

I’m either a sex addict or falling in love.

Every once in a while I have the distinct pleasure of listening to Love Lines. One night a woman called in to discuss her friends with benefits situation. Her lover/friend had acquired yet another tattoo of a woman on his body and it wasn’t of her. She was reasonably upset because, as the experts adroitly pointed out, “You’re in love with the guy. Admit it.” And so she did.

Dr. Drew and friends then went on to say that there really was no such thing as “friends with benefits,” that either a person was a sex addict if she felt nothing or was falling in love. That’s it.

I think I drove for another mile with my mouth hanging open.

Those are my options? Either I’m a sex addict or I’m falling in love with my friends with benefits? I have, let’s see, 4 right now: Jason, The Neighbor, Phillip, and Kevin. And since I’m adamant about keeping my emotions at bay with each of them (though, I admit to it being a struggle), then I am an addict.

I think this line of thinking is appalling. I have the drive (sexually and physically) and the means (I’m attractive and alluring enough) to get laid pretty much whenever I want. This does not an addict make. And, NO, I’m not in denial.

Let’s look at what is an addiction — in this case a behavioral, or process, addiction — most simply put, it’s maladaptive and persistent behavior. Is frequent sex with multiple partners always (and immediately) maladaptive and persistent?

The Love Lines folks appear to believe this means that anyone not in a monogamous, longterm, meaningful relationship who happens to seek out and enjoy sex with people would be considered an addict without further knowledge or understanding of the afflicted. And most alarmingly, that would be me.

But it’s not. It’s been a conscious decision from the beginning to help me explore my body, my mind, and to heal. I readily admit to using sex with men as a distraction and as a treat, but I have never felt badly about this; never regretted a single encounter; never felt guilty/low/ashamed. I’d argue that the sheer amount of pain I’ve felt regarding my divorce has upset my life in much more impactful ways than my sexual activities. While my pursuit of sex has been persistent behavior on my part, none of this has been maladaptive. It’s been a lifeline.

Don’t get me wrong, they’re connected, for sure, but why can’t I be allowed to be in pain and seek relief in any way I choose? In an adult way where I get contact and intimacy on my terms; where I feel like I’m in control of a part of my life that for so long was out of my control? Seriously. What is so wrong with that?

Of course, the experts would say I’m in denial, but that is far too black and white for my liking and it eliminates anything not mainstream and if I defend myself, then I’m automatically in denial. The whole “You’re so argumentative today!” and then the accused is painted into a verbal trap. He either has to admit to being argumentative or say he isn’t, which is argumentative, and thereby proves the accuser right.

OR

I’m in denial about my feelings and really I’m falling in love with one of my lovers – gah. It’s true that I fight feelings for Jason and The Neighbor frequently, but I am scarred and terrified of a relationship. I’m not a fucking robot. I don’t want my feelings on the line right now, but I want to feel that amazing release that only sex can bring. I want to let someone in only as close as I want him to be. Is that pathological? I think that’s pretty fucking smart.

Is having friends with benefits detrimental? My therapist sorta hates it, but he also is in a strange kind of awe at my approach to all of this. He understands that this is a phase and that I’m wading through it on my terms. He trusts me. I trust me.

Why are these definitions so narrowly illustrated? Either I’m an addict because I seek pleasure without intimacy or I’m in love and in denial.

*sigh*

The one thing I’ll concede in all of this is that I haven’t really thought out what Step 2 is in these FWB relationships. With Phillip and Kevin it’s just pure fun and frolic. Phillip lives a million miles away and Kevin has a girlfriend, but I’ve made Step 1 with Jason and TN: I’ve entered an intimate friendship with them; there are no emotional demands on either of us other than mutual respect and integrity; no monogamy; it’s fun. They are what I’m looking for, but I am not what they’re looking for. I am their place holder.

That new revelation, more than being an “addict” or “in love”, is what’s been preying on my mind the past few days. They both want marriage some day and children. I can honestly say I will never bear another child; I might remarry. Jason is struggling with his feelings for me. He’s scared he may want more than I can give. TN likes to hear my other exploits because it reminds him of our situation and he can remain distant. I think he’d love me if I let him. What I realize is that I have set myself up to be left. I won’t leave because I have what I want…

So, fuck the whole idea I can’t have friends with benefits. I absolutely can, but there is a price. I will be left.