Part 21 – Did You Ever Pet a Bee?

This is a serial about love and awakening. Previously:Billy and I both get HIV tests and pass. But back in his house, there’s a shy awkwardness. To see all posts in chronological order,Click Here.

Billy asks me to come and lie down so he can hold me. He folds my body into his arms on the kingsize bed, with its dark leather frame. “It’s okay to cry,” he says.

Tears come, and I confess that I wanted him to contact me, despite the fact that I told him not to. He says he must have known that because he refused to give up.

We start to make love, slowly, for hours. Sunlight filters through the massive pine trees outside the windows, and he’s playing his favorite kind of music, which is also my favorite: singer-songwriters, from Tom Russell to Sheryl Crow to Leonard Cohen.

The bedroom suite is so big I keep losing my way, opening the wrong doors as I look for the bathroom. There’s a closet so large it has an island in the center, a sauna, a TV nook, and two separate toilet enclosures.

The next day we go for a walk and eat lunch at an outdoor café. A bee lands on Billy’s plate. “Did you ever pet a bee?” he asks.

“God, no. I’m allergic to bee stings.”

He runs a finger, ever so softly, along the bee’s back, barely touching the fur. I brace, expecting the bee to freak, but it just sits there as if hypnotized. After a while it flies up, circles and returns to the plate for more. Watching Billy stroke its back, I want him to touch me that way. When I tell him, he laughs and starts referring to me as “the bee.”

Billy’s not working these days, and I’ve just been told that ABC is canceling the pilot for the series based on “Leap,” which I’ve been working on for a year. It feels as if I’ve been racing on a treadmill and suddenly, the switch has been turned off. I’m at loose ends, so we’re both free to lie in bed the rest of the day and evening.

I drive home and have 2 days to catch my breath before Billy shows up at my place. For the next 4 days, we don’t leave the bedroom except to eat. When Hunter Thompson drove to Las Vegas to write “Fear and Loathing,” he loaded his convertible with bags of grass, speed, acid, a salt shaker of cocaine, beer, loaded guns and a pint of raw ether. Billy and I packed in Prosecco, wine, grass, frozen entrees from Whole foods, energy bars, vibrating toys and loaded iPods. It did not occur to me at the time that this was excessive. I thought, as did Billy: it’s the only way to fly.

Not until a year later did I see what it was: a binge, a four-day bender, our days of wine and roses. As with any addictive substance, the more we indulged, the more we craved. Billy marveled: “I’ve never made love like this.” I’d made love for long expanses with the cowboy artisan I’d been with for 7 years. But when that relationship ended, I believed it was best in show, the sex of a lifetime. I doubted I’d ever come close to those heights again.

Well, what was going on with Billy was… no doubt… absolutely… even better. Can you imagine? It was like an exorcism. I was free from the massive belief I’d been holding onto for 8 years: that the best was in the past.

On the afternoon of day 4, my friend, Wendy, a Buddhist psychologist, calls from Chicago. Both of us have been out of relationship for some time, and when I tell her what’s going on, she’s so happy she’s chirping. I put her on speaker phone. “Billy,” she says, “we haven’t met yet, but I want to welcome you. Welcome to my friend’s life!”

“Thank you,” Billy says, smiling, and there’s a loud pop.

“What’s that?” Wendy asks.

“We just opened a bottle of Prosecco,” he says, “and the cork hit the bed post…”

“You guys!” Wendy says. “It’s not even morning anymore.”

Not only is it not morning, but after four days, we’ve run out of food. I have to write an article now and Billy has to meet his daughter in Lone Tree, so there’s no time for a final meal. Right after driving off, Billy calls while I’m in the shower and leaves a message: “I want you more than I want food.”

PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT: Is sex a drug, a road to intimacy, a sacred practice? All of the above?



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26 thoughts on “Part 21 – Did You Ever Pet a Bee?

  1. Harry Tucker

    In regards to the question: Is sex a drug, a road to intimacy, a sacred practice? All of the above?

    I think it is all of the above and it is because of this that I wrestle with the concept of it, especially the latter of the 3 choices.

    For example, I believe it is a sacred practice in that it allows people to connect on a divine level.

    We are also wired physiologically to want and need to do this, including with multiple partners.

    However, we have man made constructs, including our definitions of morals, that prohibit this.

    So I wrestle with how well we have tried to mash together our definition of morals with the concept of divine connections.

    I'm not suggesting that everyone sleep with everyone. Nor am I suggesting that man made constructs that fly in the face of the wiring that the Universe has given us work either.

    I think it creates a bizarre structural tension that gives us additional stress in our lives.

    Having said that, I don't know what the “correct” answer is. Anyone else have thoughts on this?


  2. rick the celestial cowboy

    dear sara,

    i congratulate you for the way you handled billy, and i offer my congratulations to him for becoming real to you.
    that is what sex — and love — to me are all about.
    it's reality mixed with fantasy mixed with celestial happenings that must leave the gods smiling. and perhaps even God Himself.


  3. Anonymous

    From Sue ( previously of Highlands Ranch)….. seems to be a “drug” most men seek over and over, while women precieve it as the elixir of desirability….

  4. Mona

    Is sex a drug, a road to intimacy, a sacred practice? All of the above?

    It seems to be all three. It is addictive as a drug, with the right person.

    It does lead to a type of intimacy that you don't have with just any old friend.

    It is a sacred practice to obtain a type of enlightenment and express love.

    Although truthfully love doesn't have to be involved.

    sometimes it just is what it is
    it can just mean feeling so good with someone and nothing more….and if you are with someone for that then hopfully you are both on the same page…

  5. Dr. Barbra

    Sex can be all and any of those things.
    The good news is that this is what you had to do to know that the best is yet to come.

    Now imagine all that AND a kind, faithful (as a man can be) partner.
    That's what you deserve. Why settle for less? Is 1/2 a loaf better than none??

  6. Tracy Sorensen

    Depends on whether or not you're an addictive personality. I had a gay friend who would pick up a man outside a supermarket (barely speaking to each other), have sex and cheerfully say goodbye. But for him, intimate relationship was different and the focus wasn't so much on sex – and he always knew which was which.

    If you're not addicted to gambling, you can put a couple of coins in the poker machine; if you're an addict you'll spend your life savings. If you're an addict, you're in trouble! RUN!

  7. Anonymous

    I love how you share with all of us, I love feeling your happiness and joy and wonder and I send you blessings and love from far away Canada. Sex is all of the above.

    I wish for what you have right now, I wish for it for myself,and for my wonderful, beautiful, single girlfrieds too.

    In Friendship,

  8. Debbie


    I continue to marvel at this “journey” you took with “Billy” – even though you have told us that the relationship ended, I somehow find myself “hoping” that the inevitable ending is changed to a “happier” one.

    That said, it is so admirable that you are able to look back with such clarity on the mine fields that you traveled and managed to avoid for so long. We human beings want to love – and be loved. But those happy endings can be so elusive….

    Here is a quote from Rilke that sums it up beautifully: “We need, in love, to practice only this: letting each other go. For
    holding on comes easily; we do not need to learn it.

  9. Sara Davidson

    Thanks for the great comments! I can see from your responses, sex is the great mystery, and no one, not the most illumined being, has this one figured out. So we live with the mystery. But I'm determined to let go of the addictive ways I've been responding.

    I love the Rilke quote, Debbie. Letting go is a lifetime's learning.

    Rilke also wrote this: “I hold this to be the highest task for a bond between two people: that each protects the solitude of the other”

  10. rick the celestial cowboy

    to me the most intimate moments i have spent with a woman, or the thought of a woman, happened when i read BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY for the first time. i thought the book was a non-fiction, to be honest, until a friend corrected me — it was that well written. but when robert kinkaid, the photographer, and francesca parted in the way that they parted, for the good of others and not the selfishness of their desires for each other, i literally fell apart. the same exact experience had occurred to me a couple of years before. i was working on a newspaper in hereford, texas, dating a prominent attractive woman i had met at a community function. when i met her she was practically engaged to a wealthy older rancher who was rarely in town. this lovely woman would slip through the back streets to my small apartment, and we would dream dreams, indulge our fantasies and make love as though there was literally no tomorrow. and when she left, placing her finger on my lips, she said, NOW GO. LET YOUR JOURNEYS TAKE YOU WHERE THEY MAY. AND NEVER, EVER FORGET THIS MOMENT IN TIME. i still feel my tears as i smile while thinking of beverly.

  11. Bluekelpie

    There is something special about someone who pets bees. I would look up bees as animal totems and check out his relationship to bees and what that signifies. Bees give us honey but they also sting. I think it was sweet of him to share that side of himself with you…very charming. I also think there is a message in that small action for you. Blessings, joey

  12. Beauregard

    This isn't sex.
    This is New Sex Partner.
    New Sex Partner is a new car.
    It smells good, it feels good, it’s hot, it has new gadgets to explore, you go places just for the pleasure of driving, you are happy and passersby smile at your joy.
    You can’t get enough, at first.
    And after you get tired of it, you trade in your clunker for a new model and start over.
    Unless you are willing to lovingly maintain and develop a renewing appreciation for the character of your vehicle as it ages. So what if the leather is a little cracked, the doors dinged and the windows a little slow to get up.
    You know this car and love its eccentricities; you’ve adapted.
    You can love your car when you’re not riding.
    You’ve matured and come to enjoy the comfort of predictability instead of seeking the junkie rush of the unknown, the hope of a better deal.
    But some of us just crave change and newness and will go through life trading up, or thinking we are trading up, despite the lemons we’ve bought.
    One female friend said to that love is like a good book. You sit down to read, soaking up every page, ignoring life outside the story, savoring every sentence… and then it’s over and you get another one.
    Not for me. I’m 65 and ready for my last woman. I expect she and I will work to maintain a new-car relationship permanently.

    Sex does not equal intimacy, although it often fools us.
    Men don’t really know how they feel about you until they have sex with you. That is, our lust for you colors and distorts our judgment. We will say anything, do anything and we think we are sincere.
    Remember the line from the movie “Sideways”:
    “Of course he said he loved you. He meant it. He’s an actor.”
    Or something like that.
    Apres sex, in the cool light of day, we often feel differently and that’s when many men walk
    Women, in contrast, seem to think the better the sex the deeper the love.
    It must be chemical, but if a woman is receiving respectful, loving sex (i.e., regular multiple orgasms), she thinks it’s love, for a pretty long time.
    At least until she sees a new model that might run a little better or faster or get better mileage.

  13. Beauregard

    OK, no need to use this, but here are the actual lines from Sideways:

    Do you know what he's been saying to

    He's an actor, so it can't be good.

    Oh, just that he loves her. That
    she's the only woman who has ever
    really rocked his world. How he adores
    Siena. How he wants to move up here
    and get a place with the two of them
    and commute when he has to.

    I'm sure he believed every word.

  14. Bobby

    I had incredible sex with a man that lasted for several months, however it was usually drug induced. the relationship ended when I realized he was not what I wanted although he was addicted to me. I got scared off.

  15. Sara Davidson

    Right on, Beauregard. A lot of us say we're ready for “our last relationship,” and we mean it, but we keep having serial ones. To create that mutual love of the vehicle as it ages is like grace. May it come to all.

    PS – I've had the same car now for 12 years, a personal record. And I'm stickin' with it. Maybe this is an omen?

  16. BEV HON

    I am with Beauregard all the way. As an actor, I know that a haze of sex can distort reality.Skills create illusion. Aside from the seduction with the bee, I noted that Billy's place was all the latest “stuff”. No old favorite, scuffed chair; Whole Foods, not Safeway, and plenty of alcohol at hand. Billy loves The New, and you were the latest. I came to hate being one of a chain of houris. I fear the old saying is right: The good men marry, stay married, or are gay. And Gay is marvelous for just clean fun. I took up world travel; there can be no end to that… always some new thrill, some new people…I had no home, used a storage locker, and left the country. It is great cure for bad habits. The World is bigger than sex; and sex happens all over the world.


  17. Diana M.

    What a fantastic journey you are on. Love your blog, Sara. To me sex with an emotional connection is everything wonderful in a relationship. Addictive? In the beginning , yes! most definitely! As time goes on there is so much more to a relationship than “addictive sex”. Without “the so much more” part the sexual part will eventurally crash and burn. Just my thoughts.

  18. Anonymous

    Oh, yes, love and sex can be as addicting as a drug or alcohol. It pulls in your mind, body, and very soul and then keeps them a prisor.
    I'm in a love affair with a man much like Billy and there is no way that I can,nor do I want to, get loose. I'm an intellegent woman–Now I ask WHY???–

  19. rick the celestial cowboy

    variety, variety, all is variety.
    i don't know who said that, but somebody should have said it when it comes to falling in love.
    when we were young, we played the field — and we loved it. the girls as well as the boys.
    then we grew into 'adults.' well, what is an adult? nothing but a child playing at being grown up. donald trump, a child. the pope, a child playing at being the pope. and all of playing at understanding relationships.
    and what is sex? try tickling a baby's feet. tickle, tickle, tickle. at first the baby smiles, then he laughs, then he laughs uncontrollably, and finally if the tickling doesn't stop, he cries. it's too much.
    that's sex.
    that's life.
    that, my dear sweet friends, is love.
    give me variety…and if one woman can supply it and be all those roles that i fancy or want in my life, give it to me, because that is the only thing that, in the end, satisfies.

  20. Anonymous

    I agree with those who have already commented that sex is all of the above. I further believe, and have found with my lover, that if you have also laid a foundation of caring thru small acts of kindness and loving and with meetings of your minds thru many long and short meetings and conversations, during sex will be the closest your independent souls can join and merge into one brief though intensely intimate connection.

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