Part 11 – IT’S YOUR TURN

This is a serial about love and awakening. Previously: After making love with me most of the night, Billy leaves in the morning to see another woman. See Recent Posts to start with Part One.

I call you the commentatorati, and these days I live for your comments.

Want to know how the stream has been flowing?

When I started this blog, you saw Billy as troubled, a player, a fool, a jerk, a turkey, emotionally abusive, “ridiculously immature and frighteningly inappropriate,” a control freak and master manipulator. You diagnosed him as a narcissist or borderline personality. One of you did find him wise, a few men cheered and several women got turned on. “I could feel myself being attracted to him, even though I knew he was a manipulative bastard.” But the majority were saying: Run, Sara, run!

When I did not run, the tide began to turn. You pointed out, correctly, that I was participating in the game, that I’d had plenty of chances to bail and didn’t and had no one to blame but myself. I agree! Many became frustrated: Why didn’t you hang up the phone? Walk away? Just say no? When something about a guy just doesn’t feel right, believe it! How could you fall into the trap? You knew better! An old boyfriend from high school said he’d lost all respect for me.

That was the main stream, but there was another stream that cried out, “That’s ME.”

Barb wrote, “I was with `Billy’ for 3 years. I was totally addicted. Willpower has nothing to do with it. This kind of guy is definitely like heroin. I feel so good when I am around him. I can’t do without him. The longer it goes on, the worse it gets.”

Others said it’s a dopamine high. “The chemistry shoots through our veins like a good drug. We see the red flag, we know it’s wrong but we can’t stop ourselves.”

But Self-respecter called it “sick! I don’t understand the addiction excuse. Heroin would feel good too, but you don’t do it. Why this?”

I’m not sure of the answer, Self-respecter, but I know that heroin is not my “bane,” as they say on the street. My poison.

I never smoked or got hooked on alcohol, pills or controlled substances, and for a long time I refused to believe that I could be addicted to love and sex or that such an addiction even existed. But we’ll be coming to that later in the story.

At this point in the tale, I’m aware that my mind is yelling, “Stop,” my body is saying, “Go,” and my inner knowing is: “Danger.” I asked you all what you would trust – the body, the mind or the knowing. Not one of you said you would trust the body.

Some urged me to go for the sex and “don’t make it anything more.” Good advice, dear readers, but I’m constitutionally incapable of doing that. When sex is that great, when your tastes and fantasies and rhythms match and you want it to the same degree (not a common occurrence), feelings of love surge and I want both. Sex and love.

The discussion heated up when Rick, the Celestial Cowboy Poet (I’ll call him CCP) became our agent provocateur. CCP likes to play games and suggests we aging chicks should be grateful if a guy wants to shtup us. “Look,” he wrote, “Billy is younger than you, a cowboy who’s free as a tumbleweed. He’s sexually attractive just as you were when you were younger. But Billy wants to play the field. You are another flower on the hillside, just as Dinah Shore was with Burt Reynolds. Be content to play the field. A woman of your stature should date, dine, sleep with anyone who meets your fancy. After all…Sex is just a big Tickle.”

Women shot back. “What a ridiculous moron you are,” wrote A Grown-Up. “Playing the field is not what we have to accept and being free (being used) is not the only way to go! Sex will never be anything more than “a big tickle” for babies like you and Billy, who will never grow up and never grow the gray matter between their ears.”

But one woman, Annie, wants to hook up with CCP. (He’s interested, Annie. See his comment below.)

The debate was intense, but when I slept with Billy (which was fantastic) and he said he was still going to date two other women, the shit hit the fan. I heard: You’re a masochist. I feel sorry for you. You are horny and lonely and vulnerable and he’s playing you like a harmonica. You got what you deserve, sister!

Even CCP was disgusted, but with Billy, not me. “When he’s just made love with you and starts talking about other women… UGH! The guy is beginning to sound like a Neanderthal ostrich. (Did such an animal ever exist?) On behalf of the entire male race, Sara, I apologize.

Joey applied salve to the wound. “You are NOT a fool. Did you sleep with the guy too soon? Yeah, well, we all have. We are loving, sexy and we want to be able to be vulnerable, to let down our guard with a man. You did that, and if he didn’t cancel the other dates because he saw how incredible you are… tough for him.”

Here’s where we are now. You’re still asking, Why are you doing this? Why stick around with that nogoodnik? What does Sara want? Dear God, what does she want?

As the old hymn goes, “We will understand it better by and by.” 

This blog is based on a true story, but I’ve changed names and identifying details to protect privacy. I’ve also, in a few cases, compressed time or altered elements to serve the narrative. The title “Sex Love Enlightenment” is an homage to Mark Matousek’s book, Sex Death Enlightenment



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I look forward to hearing your thoughts and conversing. So please leave a comment below.

29 thoughts on “Part 11 – IT’S YOUR TURN

  1. Rick, the Celestial Cowboy Poet


    MAUI! incredible. and thanks for your post. i envy where you are, having spent some time on the islands of hawaii and oahu.
    guys like billy the bad aren’t bad people necessarily. they get caught up in themselves ( some women do, too…especially the beautiful ones, and especially the ones that were heavily overweight, reduced and suddenly find themselves looking like a PLAYBOY centerfold). TO me the most interesting part of pursuit, conquest (and being conquested…lol) and making love is the psychological aspect of it. if i am on a singles site, for example, and a woman’s profile intrigues me, i head south if she says, NO GAME PLAYERS, PLEASE. what? and miss out on the best part of falling in love and finding a lovely partner beneath a waterfall with a rainbow cascading down from the sky! NOT IN A MILLION YEARS would i leave out a little game-playing in the pursuit of a real relationship.
    my email, annie, is who knows…i could hop a midnight flight to maui, one of these days, if only sara would be kind enough to permit this to go through. lol.

    rick, the celestial cowboy poet

  2. Debbie


    I believe strongly that we always view others’ actions through the lens of our own experiences – and often, we JUDGE each other based on our experiences (or rather the pain that resulted). We are so convinced that, if only we had done “such and such..” instead of what we ACTUALLY did, we would have avoided such emotional turmoil. Hmmm..perhaps…but we also would have passed up the possibility, however slim, that we would find our heart’s desire.

    I once had a purely sexual relationship that lasted several years – in my heart, I knew it would never be anything more, but I loved his smell and felt such an animal attraction to him (as you describe with Billy) that I was hooked. When I finally demanded more, he disappeared like snow on a spring day. But in retrospect, I wouldn’t have done anything differently. I still remember our leisurely days in bed with great fondness( altho he never leaped from our love nest to meet another date!) So, although I may intellectually question your tolerance for Billy’s antics, I certainly don’t doubt on an emotional/somatic level the genuine attraction and “addiction” to him.

    And, maybe, just maybe…you were also trying to convince yourself that this was only a “fling” until you found yourself really falling for the shmuck.

    Well, I’m a bit disappointed that you are “stringing out” the saga a bit here, but it certainly has me addicted! Take care of yourself…

  3. Self-respecter

    At 61 yrs, I’ve learned the following:
    1. I will never enjoy casual sex, and I feel lonely as hell if there’s no real, mutual love driving the act.
    2. I feel lonely as hell if there are any games at all being played, because games are a smokescreen to stave off intimacy by frightened, self-hating actors.
    3. “Romance” is based on our illusions and on “the hidden”, is as fictional as going to a movie, and has no bearing in real life. Real life is understanding the warts.
    4. I will never be wise enough to stave off romance, and can only hope that the people to whom I throw my pearls aren’t swine.

  4. Lily

    I had a relationship with a guy I worded very closely with in fact in the office only feet from each other and he was my immediate boss. It just about destroyed me. He did very similiar things— hopped up from bed to go on another date. He had me convinced that because I was recently divorced I didn’t know how relationships worked “these days” Sex was great and I was terrified to be alone. Plus he held my financial future in his hands and with three children and this was my first job I needed him in every way.

    I saw myself turn from a self confident person into a mad woman. I even loaded my kids in the car to do a drive-by his house. I am not proud of my behavior but I was totally in his control. Years later I had lunch with him and saw just another guy with bad jokes and a tentative grasp on his own self esteem. He was frankly not that interesting but for 18 months I had fallen under his spell.

    The other women he dated only made me more competitive. We all understand Sara we all have had that one relationship we loved and hated at the same time.

    I want more story. I want to know how it turns out.

  5. Renee M.

    I have slept with many guys like Billy and my way of protecting myself was to use the same methods against them. If they spoke of other women, I spoke of other men; if they slept with others, I intimated that I did too. But we were both playing games and a certain distance would establish itself in my heart. Then they would become more interested and start committing, and I would dump them. My addiction was control, using sex to control. I also equated sex with love but never let on. I think perhaps Billy is using sex to control as opposed to Sara.

    This does not mean that there was no intimacy or closeness, there was–but the gate of my heart was never fully open. That is how I dealt with the Billys in my life. They were too much fun to walk away from.

    When I was younger I found games of the heart to be exciting…I was in enough denial to play…then one day all of this nonsense fell away. It does not mean that kissing under a waterfall, with a rainbow shining above, is out of the question–but mind and heart games are.

    Sara, I have no idea where this story is going. Will he turn out to an abuser? a psychopath? or just a boy, a puer eternis?

    If he is just a boy, I hope you enjoyed yourself thoroughly despite his faults.

  6. John Austin

    You said:’Women shot back. “What a ridiculous moron you are,” wrote A Grown-Up. “Playing the field is not what we have to accept and being free (being used) is not the only way to go!’

    First, being free is NOT being used. Both characters are using each other for their own purposes and satisfaction.

    Second, This Sara is a grown woman with adult natural feelings and instincts but with a child’s mind and emotional development…She needs to let go and just f**k devinely! At least for now..

    Everyone wants exploding passionate love coupled with a monogamous partner…and hopefully she will find this person but she has to keep looking…In the meantime Billy is NOT the monogamous one but Sara should enjoy him while looking for THE ONE.

  7. Sonia

    So,John Austin: Sara SHOULD “enjoy” him while looking for “THE ONE”? The whole point of her blog, which you little cowboys don’t get, is that it isn’t fulfilling for a true adult to get “tickles” with nothing but glib games to accompany them. Even the word “tickle” used this way is nauseating. Real people need and deserve so very much more. This blog isn’t talking about mutual decisions to be casual and glib. The subject of the blog is about when one person succumbs into something emotionally abusive,and why they get caught in what leaves them hollow!! You haven’t been reading this well-written blog, because it’s precisely about getting sucked into something that doesn’t work for you. Real people don’t enjoy “using another person for their own purposes and satisfaction” (while their true, scared little self stays well-hidden). Heck, just bite the bullet and hire a prostitute- oh, but wait- then it’ll all be aboveboard and you can’t play games. . .

  8. Rick the Celestial Cowboy Poet

    comments from guys like the one who calls himself john austin are the tip of the iceburg for what is wrong with the male species. how dare he suggest sara has a child’s mind for feeling and acting the way she does? IF ANYTHING, sara is more mature in her attitude toward sex than most americans. i find too many people in america, men as well as women, are children when it comes to sexual feelings and acting them out in a way that is enjoyable for both parties. some men pretend to have a woman’s interest in part when they accuse other men of using women, while they act as the ‘protector.’ billy does a little of both — he acts like sarah’s protector when he feigns concern about her injury and brings the good treats to her place. but then he rejects the protector’s role when he deliberately talks about other women after they make love. billy is a very insecure guy…and that’s why he can’t commit. but that is the case with many guys that bounce from bedroom to bedroom. most guys have done it, and sometimes great relationships come out of it. but please, john austin, stop playing games with sarah’s head and with the rest of we males. we’re onto you, and i suspect so is she.
    ara is an incredible writer. if you haven’t read any of her books, find all of them you can find, including COWBOY, one of my favorites.
    and for those of you that like this site and the comments you read, i strongly urge you to rent, buy or steal WIFEMISTRESS or CITY OF WOMEN. they both star the late Marcello Mastroianni and CITY OF WOMEN was directed by federico fellini. incredibly insightful films about the condition of we poor hapless males. other,’ with a bottle of great wine, of course.

  9. Sean

    Hi Sara, Reading your latest after a week away, no email, no internet, and little news. After a week sailing around Santa Cruz Island and enjoying it’s primitive beauty, I’m uncertain how to relate to your fascination with Billy. Don’t get me wrong, for I’m not judging, but rather taking a bit of cultural reconditioning after the solitude and reflection on goals and dreams. I know when I have been enchanted with a new love, that to hear her describing plans for meeting another immediately following a evening and morning of amazing intimacy would give my heart an icy twist as well as tarnish the luster of my feelings. At this stage in life one hopes to capture a feeling that there is a special connection, rather than simply another delightful conquest. And I await the next chapter.
    All the best, Sean

  10. Gail

    I’m fascinated by your story and the comments–I love your term the “commentatorati”! Appreciating all the conflicting perspectives from women and men–from wise and insightful to judgmental to emotionally intelligent–makes me return repeatedly to the deeper question you raised in your allusion to your Adyashanti retreat. It’s a question I haven’t completely resolved for myself, but it’s an intriguing one.

  11. Dr. Barbra

    Enjoy every second. When the moments of pain become more than the moments of pleasure, you will find a way to quit.
    Just like every addict.
    And it’s not hurting your liver, either!

  12. Lorna

    It’s interesting that the two people who told you that you “should” be able to just enjoy the sex without expectations were both men. Both implied that if you didn’t have this “deficiency” of not being able to go with the flow, that you aren’t modern enough, somehow. . .

  13. BEV HON

    I hope this post “takes”.
    Have been having link problems.

    I think that we all are engaged in a game here, and a common theme is that we are all entitled to a sex life/soul mate.

    If that is so, then why all the drama??

    It is so easy to learn to say, “NO.”


  14. BEV HON

    I hope this post “takes”.
    Have been having link problems.

    I think that we all are engaged in a game here, and a common theme is that we are all entitled to a sex life/soul mate.

    If that is so, then why all the drama??

    It is so easy to learn to say, “NO.”


  15. BEV HON

    I hope this post “takes”.
    Have been having link problems.

    I think that we all are engaged in a game here, and a common theme is that we are all entitled to a sex life/soul mate.

    If that is so, then why all the drama??

    It is so easy to learn to say, “NO.”


  16. Daria

    Sorry, Bev Hon, but it is not all that easy to say “no”, to find a soul mate, or even to get laid. The drama is called “life”, and it’s simplistic to act like very real needs are a no-brainer that, if we just didn’t think about it, would fall into our lap with no accompanying issues.

  17. Brynna

    After years of putting up with games and sleeze, I’ve finally met someone who is honest, actually knows how to apologize, has a generous pension that he actually wants to share with me: and I am wondering if he is “not intelligent enough” for me, even though he is a reitired professor with a doctorate who writes textbooks and lectures all over the world. I never worried whether the custodian I dated was bright enough, probably because he played hard-to-get.
    We are conditioned to feel that slick games are a hallmark of something we need to run after.

  18. Sara Davidson

    Thanks to all for your impassioned and wise comments. Daria, I agree that the yearning to “only connect” as E.M. Forster wrote, to be intimate,to love and be loved, is a strong human need and not simple to address. That’s why we’re exploring it here!
    More to come.

  19. Anonymous

    For the life of me I cannot understand why STDs are being left out of this conversation.

    I left a comment mentioning them a while back and it didn’t run.

    Maybe it didn’t get through.

  20. Bluekelpie

    Hi Sara,
    Hope you’re well and deep in magical thoughts.
    Tonight I was in San Francisco to hear David Whyte, Irish poet, and he mentioned the lark which nests on the ground, then at sunrise, flies up into the sky, spreads it’s wings and fills the sky with song. It was a metaphore for how we affirm our existence in the world; sharing our gifts and soaring. It reminded me of how synchronicity and serendipity occur to prepare us for that flight. Ever notice how when we’re on the right path, things just magically seem to fall into place? Goethe’s quote for you, “At the moment of commitment the universe conspires to assist you.” Well, I’ve been thinking about you and Billy. You more or less let the universe know that you were committed to finding true love. I seem to recall a blocked parking space on your first date with him. ( the universe trying to block your path?) Then, when you were going to see Billy at his house, what happened? You got clobbered on the slopes! Was this the universe trying to protect you and prevent you from sereing Billy? There were many things that got in the way of you getting together with this man, but he made you feel guilty about that … and you let him. Finally, Billy shows up and seduces you and all hell breaks loose. I think he messed with your destiny. When you are left feeling sad while he’s off to meet another woman for a date, then you are on the wrong path! Take another path! The universe wants you to find true love and soar. Also, Billy wants to stay on the ground in his little nest where he can be safely in control. He probably didn’t mean to hurt you, but on some unconscious level, he wanted to put some distance between himself and the beautiful, accomplished, empowered woman that is you. My guess is that he was a bit intimidated by your fame and success and didn’t even realize it. Now you, you want to leave the cozy nest and soar all over the place seeeking and exploring and bucking convention like Lawrence’s women! And … you want your true love to fly with you. How marvelous that’s gonna be when it happens! Take care, Sara, Respect and Blessings, Joey

  21. Moira

    Well said, Bluekelpie. Others have said it and I will,too: aim higher! Aim less for the “style” and more for the interior- mind, values, someone with inner depth. These swaggering dudes with lotsa talk about living wide and deep and screw, screw, a-screwing lotsa women, are scared and can’t handle delicate sensibilities and intricate thoughts. They run away after they’ve had sex because that’s when real conversation is supposed to kick in. The only way they “talk” is with their dicks- and then it’s time to go “impress” someone else with the same “tool.”

  22. Wyatt

    I’m new to the site, but I had to stop and comment on the first blog I read from Rick (probably neither cowboy nor poet), who says:
    “Not in a million years would I leave out a little game-playing in the pursuit of a real relationship.”
    How can anyone be so stupid?

  23. rick the celestial cowboy

    wyatt doesn’t understand women or anything meaningful about a relatinship. he is probably too young and needs a lot of experience under his belt before he is qualified to judge someone like myself.
    for your information, wyatt, i am both a cowboy and a poet. i belong to the Cowboy Poets of America and have published over 100 poems. A number of my best poems are presently being collected to be published in a book which has no title at present.
    if you don’t understand that love is a fantasy, and that women love fantasies just as much as guys, you will continue to think and act as a child, not a man. by game playing, i simply mean that women love to be intrigued and to laugh in bed. what is your score, friend wyatt, on that account? have you ever made a woman laugh in bed, and i don’t mean because of ridicule? it’s something a bit deeper than that, and most real women, as well as most real men, comprehend it.

  24. Chrissy

    Guiding someone along an unreal, fantasy path isn't intriguing, but a form of control that leads away from intimacy, making the liar (game-player) a god, and the person he's deceiving, his toy.
    Someone did that to me: the (charming) stories he spun left me empty, with a “what's wrong with this picture?” sensation. It was devastating.
    I finally met a plainspoken, vulnerable man, and am learning how intimacy feels. I realized the “fantasist” was so insecure that he couldn't let me see his soul, and that was the need for the “smoke and mirrors” (whoever used that phrase-thanks). Now, I think he was afraid to face himself- a deer caught in the headlights, darting this way and that with deceptions to avoid the light of reality. It was awful. For me, nothing resonated, nothing made sense: but he felt safe. . .

  25. Bluekelpie

    Right on Chrissy!
    Women don’t enjoy game playing. It is designed to keep people feeling insecure and is played by insecure people.
    It simply isn’t authentic. You can’t trust a game player, and so your guard always has to be up. That’s exhausting!
    Enjoy relaxing into your new love,

  26. Lora

    I understand that some people are turned off of the word “romance” because it has come to mean mystery based on evasion, but for me,true romance isn’t contriving a made-up, unreal personality for someone you’re just getting to know (and not allowing them the same chance to know the real you). I know some people like to do fantasy sex with their mates, which is fine because they have both agreed ahead of time that they are going to indulge in fictional games. They know their mates well, and will return to the real person as soon as the play-acting is done. But when you are with someone new and he tells you stuff that isn’t true, that’s emotional abuse because you think he’s being straight with you. It’s not romance, but ducking, hiding power plays. Real romance, for me, is finding out what really makes someone tick, unpeeling each layer and exposing the inner self with trust as the lubricant. Nothing is more exciting than that. It has nothing to do with spinning images. Life is too short and precious to hide in subterfuge.

  27. Sara Davidson

    Wow, I love your comments! Bluekelpie, you've been reading with such close attention, you see things even I didn't see. Yes, there were many ways we could assume the Universe was trying to block this romance, but there was something equally strong in me that had to go for it. I needed the lesson, the teaching, the pain, apparently, to dig out the roots of this pattern that's been dogging me for decades.

    I love the way you're all hitting the ball back and forth. You definitely have different takes on romance, games, and zipless f*cking, and it doesn't just break down along gender lines. Some women say enjoy it if you can, some men call the game players “stupid.”
    I say: keep it up. We may not agree in the end, but it's forcing us to clarify our thoughts and feelings

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