It’s a story told throughout the ages, girl meets boy at bar, girl leaves husband for him the next day. Or at least that’s my story. Almost two years after the dust has settled back onto my nethers, I have to admit this fact to myself—I left my husband for a guy I met in a bar. On Halloween. When I was dressed as Marilyn Monroe. It’s always important to start a relationship in reality, with mutual interests, compatible lives and real communication. In this case, our greatest and most abiding mutual interest was his penis.
Sometimes you meet a person and the chemistry is so intense, you are sure someone has implanted a microchip in your body generating it with a remote control (but I’m not that paranoid.) Earlier this year I tried out the electro wand, a fun BDSM toy that emits a low voltage electrical charge; once again science brings you that “spark” in your relationship you’ve been missing! It was the same charge I felt on my skin with Halloween guy, without any electrical input, but it was also the electricity I felt with my ex-husband for at least a decade, so relatively speaking, we outsmarted science for a long time. My exes, the human sockets.
I loved that boyfriend intensely. I also still loved my husband at the time that I met him. None of this story is all about sex, there is real love involved. Also “love.” My boyfriend wanted an open relationship, but not the kind where I stayed with my husband, the kind where he could get off on me being with other men. And after years of being sexually repressed (although just not being in bed feels like repression to me) I wanted it too. I was like a lion released out of its cage at the traveling circus, where it had been fed regularly, taken care of, and even brought to see glorious parts of the world, but was still aware it was not free. Released back onto the African hinterland, all I wanted to do was hunt.
Fortunately, men being who they are, I didn’t really have to. Just had to peak one lion boob out of a spaghetti strap, and suddenly I was surrounded by zebras, just waiting to be eaten. Did you know that lionesses are the ones that usually do the hunting? (Male lions will then come and take the first bite.) Make no mistake, you zebras, buffalo and even gazelles, I was the hunter and you were the prey. So even after the times it all went wrong, how could I cry victim? You will never live to see me do that. Ya play with beasts, you’re gonna get mauled, and who doesn’t love a good consensual mauling?
Even when limping back to the pride the next morning, wounded, tired, and depressed that once again the encounter was probably not going to lead to true love, I needed to remind myself that lions only make one kill out of six tries. My statistics were higher, but only if you don’t mean love, then I was batting a zero. Still I am left with rien to regrette. Also, lots of lion sex!
And yet… I behaved badly. In my relationship with my ex-boyfriend, I used sex with other people as punctuation. Oh you weren’t available for me? Let me use this comma for the afternoon. You weren’t around to give me a hug? Well I’m just going to toddle off to the bar and grab myself a nice exclamation point. In my mind I wasn’t doing anything wrong because we were “open.” But as time has passed, I’m painfully aware that my actions were less than healthy. I wasn’t fucking at him exactly, but I was certainly acting out because I DID NOT WANT TO BE ALONE. I used other human beings as filler, because I couldn’t bear to lie in bed wondering if my boyfriend really loved me. And it is for this, not for the sexual escapades themselves, that je regrette beaucoup.
I have now been single for almost exactly nine months. Though I have written about sex a lot, the number of encounters might be lower than you think. I have slept alone the vast majority of the time, even as I went off anti-depressants six months ago, and experienced hideous withdrawal, I went through it all completely alone. Or with G-d, the Universe or whatever higher power I have cobbled together over this time, to hold me through the night. And every night, as I go to sleep alone (which this past week has been strangely difficult as I have had trouble sleeping) I reach over and take my own hand. And I hold my hand to be a friend to myself, because through the ex-husband, the ex-boyfriend and all the ex-lays, I realize now that I never was.