This is a serial about love and awakening. Previously: After seeing Billy in person again, I relented and said we shouldn’t end things but keep the door open. Click here to start with Part One.

Many of you have been asking why, after dismissing Billy twice, I opened the door again. Why did I cave, when I knew with every fiber of my being that it was unhealthy? From this point on, the story is not about how “bad” Billy was but how nuts I was, or addicted, unable to stop myself, pulled like the moth to the fire. It’s as if the gods were swinging me by the feet, bashing my head into a wall, saying, “You want to get free of this? We’re gonna hit you with our best shot. It will hurt so much you’ll never want to do this again.”

May it be so.

* * *

The day after Billy visited me in Boulder was Valentine’s Day. He called and asked if he could bring me lunch and anything else I needed. I said the dimmer in my kitchen was broken. “I’ll pick one up,” he said. “I can fix anything electrical.” He added, “I’m supposed to have a date for the opening of the film festival tonight, but it’s snowing and my date won’t drive in the snow. Are you free, if she can’t make it?

“I wish I could go, but I can’t sit up for two hours without pain.”

He arrived bearing chicken soup and a bouquet of red roses for V-day. He replaced the broken dimmer in five minutes, and as I watched him fix it with ease and assurance, I had a repeat of the couch moment at the Grizzly Rose.

After lunch we sat down in two cozy, overstuffed swivel chairs in my living room. “What are we doing here?” he asked.

“Good question. I’m feeling a strong connection with you now, and maybe it’s too late,” I said. “If I hadn’t broken my collar bone, I would have driven down to see you and who knows where we’d be now.”

He nodded, saying he felt the same connection. “It’s confusing. After you said no to me, I set up dates with three other women in Boulder that I met online. Now, there’s good news and bad news. I met the first woman this morning and…” He wrinkled his nose. “No chemistry.”

“And the bad news?” I asked.

“My second date – the one for tonight – won’t drive in the snow. But…” He smiled sheepishly. “It’s stopped snowing.”

The irony was that we’d switched positions. For months, he’d wanted to date me exclusively and I’d put him off. Now, I was ready to go for it and he had three in the air besides me and wanted to get to know them all.

So off he went to the festival, and the next day, he called and asked if he could bring lunch again. I was working on a TV script, so he went shopping and without consulting me, chose things I love: ravioli with goat cheese and asparagus, flourless chocolate cake and a bottle of champagne. Sipping it, we settled into the same cozy chairs again and the electricity was mighty.

He said his date the night before “went well. Better than I expected.”

I asked what her name is. Maybe I know her.

Kitten Rourke.

“Kitten?!” I said. “Sounds like a stripper.”

“She’s a lawyer, and writes adventure novels.”

I fell silent.

“Don’t shut down,” he said. “Keep talking with me.”

“It feels like you’re running a competition, and I’m not up for that,” I said. “I prefer to date one person at a time.”

“So do I,” he said. “But things are changing so fast.” He’d thought I was a cold bitch who was jerking him around and just seeing him to break up in person.

Do you think that now? I asked.


I’d thought he was nuts, angry, too much trouble. But the past couple days, he’d been easy-going, willing to talk honestly about anything, and he challenged me when I fell quiet. I like being challenged, and we were constantly laughing. The laughter and honesty felt intimate and maddeningly arousing.

He said he wasn’t sleeping with any of the women, and wouldn’t do that with more than one at a time.

So pick one of us, I suggested. But he wasn’t ready to do that. “I didn’t expect to have this pressure on me to make a choice this weekend. I just came here for a vacation and to date some women.”

Hours went by, we ended up in the bedroom, listening to music, and discovered we have exactly the same taste – he knows and loves every song on my ipod. I thought: he’s witty, playful and sexy, oh Lord. How often do I have a chance to connect with a guy who’s smart, verbal – and with whom the chemistry is so intense? And… I’m ashamed to admit this but… it did pass through my mind that if I slept with Billy now it would be a preemptive strike.

What sealed the deal was this: I’ve been learning, more and more, to trust the body. It’s usually wiser than the mind. You can tell if something’s right for you by the way your body feels. If you leave a situation and your body feels tense or upset, pay attention. With Billy, though, my body felt wonderful.

Later, when he was acting like a complete shit, one of the spiritual teachers who’d advised me to trust the body asked, “What was your knowing at the time?”

My knowing was: danger.

She nodded. “In this one area, when it comes to sex and relationships, I’d go with your knowing instead of the body.”


Please leave a COMMENT. Would you trust the body or the mind or one’s internal “knowing?”

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



Subscribe to Sara’s Blog:

CLICK HERE to order The December Project.


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


  1. Anonymous

    Knowing? Give me a break. Look at the evidence, what are the factual indicators? Dating three women and, of course, not sleeping with any of them. Right. Trust me.
    Your body is horny and lonely and vulnerable and he is playing you like a harmonica.
    I once decided to see how many women I could sleep with in one weekend, just for the hell of it.
    Four, if you count Monday.
    That was before I learned this is not a big game. Some men never get past that.

  2. Bianca

    Here’s the problem: It’s always easy to see what an easy mark you are in hindsight, but while you’re in the middle of something, it’s easy to get led naively along, no matter how many past times you’ve been duped by players, and no matter how many times you tell yourself it won’t happen again. But it’s hard for the reader to digest the trap you’re eagerly falling into.The reader wants to shout, “watch out!” but the protagonist is just living a life infused with emotions, needs, insecurities, and the inability to look at stuff objectively. I’m not sure that we ever get very wise: maybe, just wise enough to keep from total disaster, then we just have to get lucky.

  3. Beauregard

    I’ve previously encountered the “dimmer switch” effect to great puzzlement. Now Sara is breathing heavy from screwdriver envy.
    Women seem willing to trade sex for these simple chores they could easily do.
    Replacing a leaky toilet valve produces wild and crazy sex.
    Setting up a universal remote control, well, universal payback.
    Hanging a heavy picture with moly bolts? Lay Lady Lay…
    In their online profiles women often mention the desirability of a man with tools (not tool) and the ability to fix things.
    I’m not objecting, mind you, it’s way cheaper than the “fine wine” so many specify.
    But it makes me wonder if this whole relationship/courtship dance is not based on some atavistic program in our genes that defines our roles.
    That might mean women are responding to behaviors in a deeply subconscious way and guys like Billy instinctively know how to find those buttons and punch them.
    As for me, have drill, will travel.

  4. Samantha

    Great comments so far! Because we know you ended up having a protracted, hot affair with this guy, “Billy”, it kind of flavors your and our treatment of the narrative, don’t you think? Anyway, trust the body? the knowing? the mind? do we have to choose? I think any woman swimming around in the singles world better use every talent/intuition/intelligence she has to take care of herself. On the other hand, I DO agree with the sentiment that once sex has taken hold, once that switch has been flipped, maybe the body is not the first place for a woman to look for answers or for keen insight. Of course, without the body’s “intelligence”, you wouldn’t have gotten into the “ON” position anyway!

  5. veek

    i do believe in trusting my body’s instincts and responses in matters of potential endangerment (fight or flight). but when it comes to matters of the heart like this, my body primarily speaks lust or aversion – independent of what my mind is telling me. i may feel a physical response to someone whom i logically know is not “good” for me – and when that happens it feels totally out of my (logical) control. at that point i can make a conscious effort to not act on the lust – but there is no denying that it is there.

    of course now that you feel less secure about billy’s attention, he will become all the more attractive to you. you may not want him, but you’re not sure you want anyone else to have him either.

    he still sounds like a master manipulator to me – but maybe a good boinking will help you get him out of your system. the reality is rarely as titillating as the fantasy.

  6. celestial cowboy poet

    i loved your latest chapter.
    look, billy is younger than you, a cowboy type, free as a tumbleweed blowing across a texas prairie. he is sexually attractive, just as you were when you were younger and still continue to be in many ways. but billy wants to play the field. you are another flower on a hilltop, just as dinah shore was with burt reynolds. i am trying to hook up with burt, by the way, in tequesta, fl. where he lives to write a script for him. wish me luck.
    sarah, be content to play the field. monogamy is a thing of the past in today’s world. just accept it and be free. you’re worth it — and so is billy. i think a woman of your background and stature should absolutely play the field and date, sleep with, dine with anyone that meets your fancy. after all, an actress told me once in an interview, SEX IS JUST A BIG TICKLE. enjy the tickle — and laugh at the world.

  7. Anonymous

    When my daughter was a kid living at home (she’s 47 now and suddenly single) I told her to trust her inner voice. “When in doubt, DON’T!” I said.

    You always know. Sometimes you don’t listen, but you always KNOW!

  8. A Grown-up

    I have to respond to “Celestial Cowboy Poet”:
    What a ridiculous moron you are! Monogamy is not “a thing of the past,” playing the field is not what you have to accept, and “being free”- (being used) is not the only way to live! Sex will never be any more than “a big tickle” for babies like Billy and Cowboy poet, who will never grow up and never grow the gray matter between their ears to know what they’re missing. Chemistry can be truly dangerous, the way it spurs really intelligent people to deal with macho nutcases like those two!

  9. Anonymous

    In the matters of sex, never trust your body–trust your mind. In matters of personal safety trust your body. The thing I objected to in the Cowboy Poet is an inference that if the guy is younger we should feel grateful for the sex or the attention. No way and yes I had woman tell me last night that she kept a guy around because he opens jars she can’t and other tasks. Do it yourself —most things are very easy to learn or find a way around. I would enter into a relationship for one reason– great companionship and friendship–nothing else-older and wiser now.

  10. Debbie


    Your therapist was right – but that doesn’t make it any easier when you are “in the moment”, so to speak. As a “relationship-driven” woman in her 50’s, I always want to listen to my body, but my mind has some pretty powerful messages that should override anything my body is telling me. If you were able to look at Billy and think “okay – I just want the experience of sleeping with him, but I’m not going to get emotionally involved or expect anything else” that’s one thing – but it sounds like you were beginning to want much more. Aren’t we all seeking our sexual and spiritual soul mates (if we haven’t already found that person?)

    So, I can certainly understand the mixed messages you were getting from your body and your mind. As I said in my comment to one of your other blog posts – it is so much easier to see these things looking through the rear view mirror than it is when it’s staring us in the face. Don’t get down on yourself too much – we’ve all had “Billys” in our lives. I hope you are able to heal and move on from this experience while remaining open to new relationships and beginnings.

  11. Anonymous

    It is extremely difficult to differentiate between the knowing and what the addiction is whispering to the body.

    It is a terrible and wonderful addiction. Savor it, remember it and hope you never have to do it again.
    It’s not even bad for your liver.

  12. Anonymous

    Date a guy for two-three months minimum with no sex. Kissing, ok, but no more than that.

    Not foolproof by any means but many of the hard-core players will depart.

    If they can’t wait that long they’re not serious…and…sad to say….what’s less available is often more prized.

  13. Chris

    Billy sounds like he’s got Borderline Personality Disorder or Narcissitic PD. Red flags are snapping in the wind. Save yourself from the agony of becoming his prey. Run far away.

  14. Bev Hon

    I wouldn’t trust my body. It was sensually programmed in adolescence. To this day it responds to the charming, exploitative, handsome boys and men who try to seduce my will; Just as it had learned to do decades ago in the Buicks, and chopped and chanelled Chevys, and perhaps a model A or two. Certainly on an uncle’s lap. When we feel drawn in against our will, it is our still-active adolescent self, re-creating the excitement and desire it knew decades ago. For the subconscious, it is always ‘Now’, and the adolescent little-girl self keeps looking for that perfect sense of joy, love, and safety. I had to learn to be my own Parent when I went back to school in my Thirties. It was the 1970s, and I wanted to stay alive and healthy in the San Francisco area. Darn it, I had to grow up. It was either that or risk HIV infection .. . or the alcoholism that runs in my family.I won’t even talk about the cocaine that fueled Silicon Valley.
    These awful possibilities were right up front, in my face, and couldn’t be mitigated. I saw those less cautious become train wrecks even if they escaped infection or addiction. Oh, how we all love risk! Being born before WWII, instead of afterward, has given me the perspective that has saved my life. And no guy is better than an abusive guy. Way better. I can fix my own toilet.


  15. Anonymous

    Sara, I am enjoying your posts, and the comments people are making. I think that we are all responsible for our lives and the decisions we make. More than that, I’m not about giving advice and telling people how to live their lives. As a male who is about your age, a Cal grad, Jewish, a writer, etc., I can identify with your situation and with Billy’s. From what I can tell, the challenges we face in life do not get any smaller as we get older. Some things get better, some get worse and things like love, sex, companionship, etc. are still available, although not everybody finds them. Best wishes! Bob

  16. Barbara

    Many of us keep looking for something where it is not just hoping it will be what we are hoping for. Sex is sex and intimacy is something more. Our instincts, our gut, tells us a lot if we listen to it. And when we don’t there are consequences we may not want to deal with. It really depends what we are looking for in the long run. As we get older, friendship, companionship and love will last longer than a few minutes of pleasure.

  17. Jean

    GREAT STUFF! Thanks for sharing.

    I’d advise your or anyone who asked to go with the “knowing.” Our bodies aren’t built to give us the CORRECT information – our bodies go with what FEELS good. And that’s not always what IS good. I’ve gone with what my body told me several times – and it usually turned out bad, or at least not the best thing for me.

  18. Kathy

    Like a moth to a flame, I am glad to have experienced such intensity in this lifetime. There has never been another time in my life when I felt less in control of myself or my life. With all the painful lessons this experience also brought a knowing that I will not cease to exist if I release control. Of course the relationship didn’t last but the lessons remain with me.

  19. Anonymous

    The body is the feel level….just like it feels good to eat too much..
    the soul says it wants something deeper and will want to hold the body back from eating french fries…
    .The mind then can redirect you to a better person/place…to satisfy the soul


Comments are closed.