healing by sexcapade.

And it’s okay to make some — quote — ‘mistakes’,” continues the tarot reader, tacitly at first. Then, as the psychic cues download to reveal the character of who she is speaking to, she begins to howl with laughter, proverbially shaking me by the shoulders and bitch-slapping me with her escalating enthusiasm.

“In fact, you haven’t made a mistake in a while,” she chides, like a naughty devil on my shoulder. “Make some mistakes. Please make some mistakes!”

Well then, I will. Her words have become the “free pass” that echo-skip through the halls of my mind, where I’ve tucked the latch-key children away behind closed doors so that the menace can for once run free. I never do this. I don’t allow myself to do this. But right now, I am a fucking wanderer — a godamn hoodlum cowgirl, who will bend my usual rigid moral fiber just a crispy smidgen so that yes, I can deliciously make mistakes.

First of which is: sleeping with my ex-boyfriend, who probably — no, yes, maybe, definitely — deserves the goods least of all, but damn well is the only one who sparks so much of the rebel in me that I’m willing to burn down solid sheets of “should” and “could”, and send them off to the dump like so many pieces of scrap metal that fill his junkyard art studio. With these movements, I say hello to my shadow — my sexually deviant shadow which has lain dormant for perhaps far too long.

I recently saw Carson two hours before I saw Devon, my ex-boyfriend. Carson and I didn’t fuck this time, and we hadn’t fucked for months before I met Devon and never since — but it’d always been a subtle point of contention between the two. Ego insecurities from one ridiculously talented narcissist to another, I guess. At least I know how to pick ’em, though; nothing is ever boring.

I’d fucked Carson cross-country. Multiple cities, multiple occasions, touring musician status, touring musician style. Airbeds in San Francisco, my bed in Portland, motel rooms in Southwest corners. To my credit and my aforementioned aversion to making mistakes, I never even cuddled with him while he was still attached. Sure, I will admit to being the snake in the savage garden — but it was obvious that he had always wanted to escape its orchards. I merely pointed him towards the exit.

He has recently broken up with his girlfriend when we have sex for the first time. Afterwards, either a naïve male lack-of-intuition or some bizarre gameplay leads him to musing, “I didn’t think that was going to happen.”

“You didn’t think that would happen?” I echo incredulously. My mind replays a vision from the previous night, when the dim moonlight filtered in through the high windows of his warehouse loft, and his portable fan ticked in circular rhythm to the curtains they blew around. We had been interacting all day as platonic friends, but finally, night had arrived. In an awkward show of modesty and formality, I had shyly slipped full-cover into my pajamas before squatting near his bedside. I may even have left my bra on. With the rules of engagement still clearly undefined, I bided my time, debating whether to lie down or wait to be invited, all the while making idle talk that it would benefit nobody to remember.

Carson finally responds to my silent questioning, pulling up the corner of his comforter with a boyish smirk. And in I dive, to cuddle with him on his bamboo bed, which sits nice and low on the ground, free from bed frame or boxspring. We speak at length of our shared spiritual and intellectual pursuits, head close to head, until I realize that he probably won’t kiss me, even if he will pretend to sleep with his face conveniently angled towards mine. So I decide to take matters into my own hands, kissing him slowly but hungrily. Things escalate quickly.

A delicate Japanese partition segments his room off from the rest of his warehouse, and as the moonlight diffuses through its rice paper walls, our bodies are bathed in beautiful blue hues. Four years of mutual attraction but the first time we are both single and in the same town… has he really not considered that we might sleep together? These translucent walls are as thin as his awareness.

I can’t remember much about that first time. Not much to write home about, maybe. Of our many cross-country meetups, the only time really worth mentioning is the last time, when Carson and I fucked in New York. Anticipating my desires, one of my best friends had been generous enough to offer us her closet-sized Lower East Side bedroom. But by the time the trip rolls around, Carson and I have agreed to be just “friends”. Of course, he still ends the night asking if he can stay with me, once again kidding himself into thinking we won’t fuck, then acting bewildered and forlorn when we inevitably do. The whole engagement has the desperate feel of two people fucking who know they will probably never fuck again — and in seizing the moment, I ride him non-stop as he is propped up on multiple pillows. He isn’t usually so inactive in bed, but the spectacle of me is such a delight that he nary lifts a finger and just observes.

“Like a king upon a throne,” he later describes.

My friend’s room in Lower East Side is so small that her clothes and furniture are piled up high like mountains. My ascendant position atop Carson makes me another apex in the claustrophobic landscape of peaks and valleys — and somehow, this arrangement seems to knock something loose, opening up some sort of yoni fire within me. Every physical thrust taps against the wall of a deep-sunken submersible of sexual-psychological trauma, so that when it breaks, in rushes the water, and out rushes my water, in rhythmic timing to the headboard slamming into the walls, as we ourselves struggle to retain some quiet. Orgasming has never been so easy, and I come again and again. On Carson and I’s last night together as lovers, if you could call it that, I am fundamentally healed. Fundamentally changed.

Which leads me back to my ex-boyfriend Devon, who I am consciously willing to make the “mistake” of having sex with. I wouldn’t have made this mistake with anyone else — but we both know that our bond is sexually healing. Where words may fail or sometimes bore us, physicality never seems to. We met one another eagerly and easily from the start — tender, safe, assured; like long-lost lovers seeking rediscovery. His tongue in my ear, his hand in my mouth, his fingers every which everywhere. Give me that lower lip, those green eyes to drink, that cedar-scented straw hair to inhale…! and I will speak and think as I never have. Talk of fantasy tie-ups, roadside pullovers, emojis like rocket flares; his name on the tip-tongue, oh Gods, good fuck. I literally hallucinate at his touch. Eyes closed, I glimpse fractal patterns of pure energetic resonance, even in moments where we have barely begun to kiss. I welcome his floppy charm unconditional. Ego removal complete and suspended in unreality, we go fast and slow but last forever in cahoots, in communication; simultaneous stimulation for simultaneous ejaculation… and there are star clusters exploding; life in death, Xi-fucking-balba, a universe is found…!

When we first broke up, we both lamented, front and center, the sex that we thought we’d lose. And for a while, we didn’t speak much. He was cruel, immature, and shifted 180 degrees into a totally unbearable fragment of the person I thought I knew. But three months later, like clockwork with the moon cycles and in coincidental timing with a psychic message I’d sent to him in a meditative state, he reached out to me for the first time in weeks, rekindling our friendship by minimally acknowledging his faults. And I do stress minimally. But I forgave him easily, because I’d never stopped forgiving him. With him, I’d learned for the first time what it is to love someone unconditionally, in spite of all their bullshit.

So it is that “could”, “should”, and my usual iron-clad morality leads me to believe that I can platonically visit Devon in the night and leave without difficulty. I miscalculate. Given our rare electricity and what I perceive as the tarot reader’s blessing, I am once again sucked into our familiar world of pleasurable reward.

“Oh come on, you always knew you would!” he teases as he runs his hands over me. To think: I’d foolishly thought that he could give me an hour-long massage — centered around my sore ass, no less — and that I wouldn’t be tempted to fuck. A more straight-forward version of myself might have said something similar to Carson months ago, but it seems now that it is me and my awareness which prove as thin as those rice paper partitions.

“I seriously thought I might not,” I respond weakly… defeatedly… completely blissfully…

And for once, I choose not to think too much, fading into Devon’s skinny arms instead. He keeps saying that I know him, and I do — but it took us breaking up for me to truly understand the fickle nature of his Libra sun and Sagittarius moon. My blonde-haired, green-eyed boy cannot be caged, and I no longer want to cage him. We catch up on our lives like an old married couple, until he hints with a yawn that his bedtime has arrived.

Does he want me to stay? I ask, and yes, he says, he does — but also, he doesn’t, and we shouldn’t — and even I know that, so I don’t. As I leave, he gifts me a potent bud of marijuana that he says we should have smoked, and I think, “Next time,” in the same breath that I tiptoe to kiss him and say, “This really can’t happen again.” But lo and behold, the next time, we smoke, and I stay, even though we agree I probably shouldn’t.