This is a serial about love and awakening. Previously: The chemistry with Billy is so strong I decide to listen to the body and throw caution to the wind. Click here to start with Part One.

I’m lying on my bed, wearing the figure 8 shoulder brace, trying not to move because I’m afraid of jostling the broken parts of my collar bone that are trying to fuse. Billy has his clothes off, but I’m keeping my blouse on because the bruises on my chest are turning black, purple and green.

For a month I’ve been telling Bill the Good, who took care of me after my ski wreck, not to hug or touch me, and now the other Billy is inside me. And it’s a perfect fit: easy, natural, wonderful, and suddenly it occurs to me to ask about safe sex. I had an AIDS test before the last affair I had, and haven’t made love with anyone since.

Billy says he’s slept with two women since his divorce, but he hasn’t had an AIDS test because he knows the two women are healthy. Damn! This is unprotected sex. I tell him we have to use a condom and that changes things, but it’s still pretty great.

He keeps asking if he was good. (Is there a man out there who doesn’t ask that?) “It was the best first time I can remember,” I say, adding that I have a family history of Alzheimer’s. He struts around, holding up the first finger of each hand and joking, “I’m number one. I’m number one!”

We have so much fun, laughing at and with each other and talking intimately and being as sensual as one can be with a broken clavicle. I haven’t felt like this for eight years — eight years! — since my breakup with the man who, until now, has been the gold standard for love and sexual bliss. I believed I might never experience anything like that again.

“Do you realize,” Billy says, “that we’ve made two connections here? One in the living room and a different one in the bedroom? And how rare it is to have both?”

Yes, I say. To connect with someone both intellectually and physically is indeed rare.

“I don’t think I’ve ever had that before,” he says.

“It’s like… Eros could be knocking on the door.” (I stole the line from Ellen Burstyn)

He nods, then looks around the room. “It may be knocking on three doors.”

“What do you mean?”

“I’ve set up dates with the two other women I met online.”

So much for the preemptive strike. I tell him if he makes love with any of them, “I need you to tell me, and we won’t do this anymore.”

“Absolutely. Agreed.”

Keep calm, I tell myself. Life is short. He said he’s never had this before. Enjoy the moment, don’t get hung up on what might happen next. If it’s meant to be, it will work out. Trust.


Please leave a comment. Was I a fool? Or, how big a fool was I?

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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21 thoughts on “PART 8 – LOVE IN A BRACE

  1. Anonymous

    Came across your blog a while back, and bookmarked it, but just now got back to it. A fool? I don’t know. Depends on what you were looking for/expecting, right? If it was/is a long-term exclusive relationship, mebbe so. I don’t know how we women can call each other “fools”, though – there isn’t a one of us who hasn’t made a lousy choice (make that lousy choiceS) at one time or a thousand. I can tell you I’m not crazy about this guy already, but that’s me. I think we ALL deserve more than that – more than being “considered” as just one possibility for them. I prefer to do the considering, and even if I can’t – don’t have the options – I’ll be darned if I will put myself up for his consideration. See, I wouldn’t feel foolish, I’d feel angry. I might be better off alone, because men tend to irritate the sh*t out of me, and I actually live with one whom I thought, some nine or so years ago (after my divorce, when I was closing in on 50)was my SOUL MATE. Hmmm. More like a pain in my rear end. I KNOW I need to spend more time on my spirituality, too, but right now I’m not so much, and men are starting to all look alike to me. Egotistical, developmentally delayed narcissists.
    A fool? You? Hell, no. Him? Oh, Yeah.
    – Zoë

  2. Anonymous

    Egotistical, developmentally delayed narcissists.
    I could not agree more with the Zoe above.
    We suck. What I used to say is we are good at four things, moving heavy objects, killing, fucking (not making love), and opening jars. Occasionally we break out of ourselves and paint a Sistine Chapel ceiling. If I were fortunate enough to find that dual connection, with good (fresh, lovely, intense) sex, I can assure you I would not be “making a few other dates.” So, yes you are being foolish. Why put up with that? Oh yeah, he’ll tell you. And it’s not being hung up on what’s next, its what do you want next. To answer your question, no not all men ask that question. What is he sixteen? You will let him know “how it was”, in many ways, if he cares to pay attention.

  3. Arielle

    Are you a fool? Depends on what you were hoping for. If it was hot sex, you got what you wanted. If it’s a long-term committed relationship with someone who loves, cherishes and adores you….well, time will tell. Sometimes we all just need to get laid AND sometimes playing with fire will fry you. The bigger question is really WHAT do you want?

  4. Been There

    I sense that you really are looking for something important and deep- and someone who sleeps with you first, then right afterwards, when you’ve made yourself vulnerable, he tells you that he has dates with two other people, is being emotionally abusive. Would you honestly have slept with him if he’d said BEFOREHAND that he had 2 more people lined up to check out? I increasingly realize that I only want to sleep with someone with whom there’s a mutual intimacy already in place, and the sex is a way of celebrating that. This guy is an insecure jerk who needs to throw you off balance to feel secure. I wouldn’t act upset: I’d just tell him in a few days that I’d met someone wonderful, and wish him luck. That’s exactly what he wants you to fear will happen to you. Then, try to find precisely that.

  5. Anonymous

    You will get what you deserve…whatever it turns out to be. That’s the universal law of attraction.

  6. the celestial cowboy poet

    a man — or a woman — who talks about dating other people when he or she is being intimate with somebody isn’t giving you full value.
    look, all men love to boast about their sexual prowess. it goes with being male, and i suspect some women get off on it as well. but in an intimate setting when you have just made love with someone, to be talking about other dates with other people…UGH! the guy, frankly, is beginning to sound like a Neanderthal ostrich.
    now i don’t know what billy was smoking or drinking that night, but i suspect he was involved somehow in an altered state. i appreciate good sex and good sexual feelings as much as any man, perhaps more than most. and i have a cowboy background to put me in a category similar to billy’s. but one thing you cannot do to a woman or yourself is to present these images of other possible lovers in the mix. unless the two of you are dedicated ‘swingers’, that just won’t work and billy, frankly, should be ashamed of himself — if he has a conscience to shame him.
    have i done this to women in the past? to my embarrassment, yes. will i do it in the future? a thousand times NO. while i may in a sense trivialize the sex act by referring to it as the Big Tickle, when it does happen, it borders on the spiritual as well as flesh, as it should be. billy is acting like a high school kid on his first date or maybe a chocoholic in a candy store who has been told by the owner that he can eat all the candy he wants, as long as he crams it down quickly.
    on behalf of the entire male race, sara, i apologize.

  7. the celestial cowboy poet

    can i add one more thing?
    this is precisely why i advocate men and women playing the field and letting their love partners know they are doing it. that way, the two parties can laugh in bed, can compare, can be lighthearted about sex and have no guilt feelings or remorse afterwards.
    i love it when a man and a woman are in a truly 50-50 relationship, the kind that marcello mastroianni and laura antonelli depicted in WIFEMISTRESS. if you haven’t seen it, please rent or buy the video. it is an incredibly romantic and sensual story of a relationship between a beautiful ‘frigid’ woman who suspects her husband, wine merchant marcello, is cheating on her with other women, as indeed he has. this has turned her frigid and when her husband vanishes after a political murder — he is innocent but the police list him as a suspect — she decides to turn the tables and live as her husband did, with neither guilt nor consequences. i love this movie and think it should rank at the head of the list for one of the best films ever made.

  8. Grown up already

    Come on, celestial cowboy jerk. Who wants to play those games?
    You gave with your first post and took back with the second.

  9. Anonymous

    Well, Sara, like most women, we say we want one thing, when we really want another. If you were truly seeking commitment, then you need to say it before the intimacy begins. That way, you remain in control. Men are not mind readers and really are very literal. Once we “give it iup” men know that we’re vunerable. Dr. Pat Allen says that women immediately bond after sex, while men don’t.

  10. Barbara

    Sex feels good and that’s what I read that you wanted to feel from this encounter. You also said you wanted to take control of this relationship and try to be his choice over the other 2 “supposed” dates he made. I can’t see that happening. But surprise me. He had something you wanted and he reciprocated. It is our expectations that always get in the way.

  11. Anonymous

    To quote, “Better to have loved and lost, than to never love at all.” You are vulnerable, time will confirm if you were right or not.

  12. Anonymous


    Since we already know that this relationship ends badly (hence the name “Billy the Bad”), are we telling you anything that you don’t already know about yourself in relationships? I would like to hear more in your blog about how you seemed to get “hooked in” by men like this. You had mentioned your previous relationship (was that the one with the cowboy that you wrote a book about?)being the best you ever had sexually – is that primarily what draws you to a man – their sexuality? Well, Billy seems to have an over-abundance of that! Also, did he ever mention why he got a divorce? That might have given you some clues about his history with women as well. Some of the things he says and does make me “wince” – telling you that he had dates with 2 more women after you had made love seems like a rather cad-ish thing to do! Looking forward to reading the rest of this saga….

  13. Tracy

    My first reaction was, “are you NUTS”! But then I began to think the “bad boys” are so exciting and challenging for you. You want to make them love you, and ONLY you? That something about your self sacrifice “ought” to endear them to you and realize what a woman you are. As much as these bad boys are attractive they will always suck your soul right out of you.
    So why are WE attracted to them…why do other men “pale” compared to them? We all know what we are missing as therapy and/or self observation has shown us but why can’t we stop being attracted to them?

  14. Anonymous

    I have found this blog very instructive.

    At almost 54, I am still struggling with the masochism that has dogged me since I was a teen.

    In a few weeks, I am traveling west, where reside two lovers from my past.

    After reading this blog, I am resolved to stay away from both of them.

    Thank you, Sara, for your candor.

    It is never too late to heal, and never too early.

  15. Anonymous

    Yes, there are plenty of men who don’t keep asking if he was good. And putting on the condom after he was already in you and THEN having the conversation about unprotected sex….kind of unbelievable, actually. And, then still being interested after he tells you he’s going to be dating other women he met online AFTER you are intimate together. Yikes….do grown people actually behave like this??? Not sure why I’m still tuned into this story…’s not because I am learning anything about love and/or awakening (the stated premise) ….there are so many great men out there….why put up with someone with such little integrity????
    It’s not like this guy is subtle….what clues were you missing, Sara, as this thing went along????

  16. bluekelpie

    Hi Sara,
    First off, you are certainly NOT a fool. You are far too clever, beautiful, intelligent, accomplished, thought-provoking, life-affirming, inspired and inspiring etc…. to ever be considered a fool. Did you sleep with the guy too soon??? In retrospect, yea, you did. Well, we all have. We are trusting, loving, sexy and we want to be able to be vulnerable with someone who adores us. (Probably because we worked our asses off to break through a million stereotypes and barriers of the past and made ourselves so strong and empowered). It is nice to be able to let the guard down, be ourselves, be authentic and still just be completely open and trusting with a man. You did that. You may not have done hat with a person who actually is worthy of you and all you bring …. but, it really is his loss if he’s too shallow to recognize your worth. If he didn’t cancel those other dates because he sees how incredible you are and how lucky he is to have found you,…. tough luck for him! So, chalk it up to the fact that you went for it, had yourself some sweet sex and grew a little wiser. You, Sara, are too talented, brilliant and beautiful to be a fool. You, my dear, are a truly magical and passionate woman. You have been one of my main sources of inspiration sine 1978. I carry Loose Change around when I travel and your life has been and continues to be both powerful and enchanting. Anyway, he’s just one guy! (Sound familiar?) Respect and Blessings, Joey from CA.

  17. Lyda

    Somehow, I sense the problems you are having are the same ones I do: we are aiming too low!! But what to do about it? It’s tricky! I saw an interview with Mia Farrow after the Woody debacle, where the interviewer asked her if she would date again. She said, “I’d love to meet someone, but how would I go about it? Do I ask out the repairman who comes to fix the fridge?” Wow, that was depressing! Sometimes women are so strong and brilliant that it’s hard to find a man “large” enough who won’t act out by running off with a child or bimbo. I’m tired of intimidating people. Sara, I feel you are moving in lower circles than you need to find someone worthy enough that he won’t be defensive. I’m aiming too low,too, I know, but I’m stuck “outside” my level. I’m so tired of “mini-souls.”

  18. Slohabob

    Dear Sara, I continue to read your chapters with great interest. As others have stated, it’s hard to tell what it is you’re looking for. If you’re looking to get laid, “Congratulations!” You’ve succeeded, and I hope it was “Good for you.” If you’re looking for a relationship that would alleviate much of the loneliness you might feel, well, this guy doesn’t seem to be “the one.” You are a free human being…so are we all…and you get to make the decisions that determine the kind of life you will continue to live. Best wishes! Aloha, Bob

  19. Sean

    Sitting in Baja on a balmy afternoon and reading the options here is an interesting way to pause in the day. Fool isn’t the word that comes to mind for me, rather I would pause and ponder what I was really seeking were I in your place. Great sex is a powerful drug, both addicting and capable of distorting our vision. However there is the consideration that to be truly great sex, it would be best to have continuity and commitment, which appears sadly lacking in Billy the bad. Good luck and keep the words coming. All the best from Baja,

  20. Kirby

    Sara – I have regarded you with the highest esteem and affection for nearly 48 years. This story most definitely makes you look foolish. Why are you writing this stuff? And how could you have wasted time with this turkey when everything that came out of his mouth made it abundantly clear that he was a problem?

  21. veek

    it may not be good for you in the long run, but that doesn’t make you a fool. he obviously fulfills a need or desire in you, even though he may not fulfill your desire for a long-term, monogamous relationship.

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