Sex: Destination or Journey?

BlogHer Original Post

“This much sex can't be healthy,” Tristan said. “I haven't had this much sex in my life.”

“Should have been careful with what you wished for,” I said, turning and looking at him.

He smiled, “true story.”

I've never met a man who could match me in terms of desire. Being a woman of my passions, I am naturally inclined to take advantage of this at every opportunity.

“I'm starving,” he said.

“Let's go get something to eat,” I replied, rising.

A few moments later, we were standing by the door. I don't know how we got into it, but we were talking about how crazy it made us to see people flirt with the other on Twitter.

“I get so jealous,” he confessed. “I just want to...”

“Stop talking like that or we're going to have sex again.”

He threw me on the bed and practically ripped off my clothes until I was only in stilettos and sunglasses.

Game on.

We eventually made it to Craft, where we took a moment to nourish ourselves.

And then we had sex in the bathroom.

I know what you're thinking. We're out of control. I don't know what it is. The chemistry between Tristan and I is so intense, if it was harnessed, it could power the entire country for the next millennium. This isn't a bad thing. But you can't build anything on a writhing mountain of flesh, right? You need something solid.


“I don't think I remember how to date,” I told my friend John one night. “What do you people do again?”

“Go to the movies,” he replied. “Hike. See a band. Play video games. Go to social events. Hang out with friends. Walk the dog. Travel. You used to travel with your ex-husband, didn't you?”

My ex-husband and I traveled, yes. But we took separate planes because I found traveling with people unnecessarily anxiety-inducing. I have been actively avoiding travel companions from the moment I'd turned seventeen and taken off to Russia.

Once my ex-husband and I arrived somewhere, we reconvened, but never for long. Richard always had to do something, while I was content to simply be, and take in a city by quietly watching how it changed as the hours slipped from day to night.

It made me think of a fight we had one time while we were in Arequipa, Peru.

“It amazes me,” Richard said as he took a seat before me at a little street café in a small alley off the Plaza de Armas. “You can just sit here and sip coffee and smoke and read for hours and hours. If they didn’t close, I could come back in three days and you’d still be here.”

“I don’t know whether I’d still be here, but I would love it if coffee shops and restaurants never closed,” I said. “Coffee—no, drink in general, and food, too—they all invite conversation and introspection. The sensual pleasure opens the mind to the mental pleasure. So much the better when you can share this with someone.”

“You could spend your whole life sitting, drinking, eating, smoking and talking.”

“And just what is wrong with that?” I asked, taking a bite of a sanguich triple I'd ordered.

There are two kinds of travelers. Those who define themselves by what they do and what they see. These travelers think that every country is unique in its historical, artistic and architectural value and that in order to say one has been to a country, one must see all of the things that represent it. These travelers can fit more than three or four countries into their vacations—they can experience countries quickly because they know from the get-go where they want to go and what they need to do.

Then there are those travelers who define themselves by what they feel and how a place changes them. These travelers know every country has a special frequency that causes the soul to resonate in a different way if only we can sit down long enough to listen. These travelers need time in places. They never know what they're going to do and don't mind it one bit if they stay in the same city for weeks—in fact, they demand it.

My ex-husband was the former, I was the latter.

“You eat so slowly,” he said to me, looking at his watch.

“Do you ever stop long enough to actually taste something?” I shot back.

“Of course,” he said, shoving a handful of fruta martorana into his mouth from a box he'd bought at a local shop.

“You'll eat that box in five minutes and still be unable to tell me what they taste like.”

He paused.

“They taste like... dough.” he said, taking a sip of my water, which sat untouched on the table.

“Dough?” I asked. “What kind of dough?”

“Marzipan dough.”

“It is marzipan,” I said. “Do you taste the almonds?”


“Marzipan is made with almonds.”

He didn't say anything.

“Let me read something to you,” I said, flipping a few pages back on the book I was reading, Henry Miller's The Books In My Life:

The Frenchman ‘loves’ his food. We [Americans] take food for nourishment or because we are unable to dispense with the habit. The Frenchman, even if he is a man of the cities, is closer to the soil than the American. He does not tamper with or refine the products of the soil. He relishes homely meals as much as the creations of the gourmet. He likes things fresh, not canned or refrigerated…. How we really loathe all that is sensuous and sensual! I believe most earnestly that what repels Americans more than immorality is the pleasure to be derived from the enjoyment of the five senses. We are not a ‘moral’ people by any means…. We are not individuals, neither are we members of a great collectivity. We are neither democrats, communists, socialists nor anarchists. We are an unruly mob. And the sign by which we are known is vulgarity.

He didn't like that. I can't say I blame him.

We took one more trip together after that—to Graceland. It was a strange compromise. I could sit around reading and writing as much as I liked, so long as this happened in a fast-moving vehicle with a destination.


“How do you travel?” I asked Tristan.

“What do you mean?”

“When you go places, do you go to a single place or line up a few cities? Do you plan activities or do you just go to lose yourself?”

“It depends on what I'm doing,” he replied. “Usually, I work around the activity, if I'm wind-boarding or surfing or skiing.”

“I like to just sit around,” I said. “I like stay a long time and do absolutely nothing.”

“Not everyone has that privilege,” he said.

I felt spoiled. I looked out the window.

It was getting late, we were driving around Los Angeles.

“What's a city you want to visit?” I asked. It sounded awkward, like a question you ask someone you're supposed to interview when you're not really well-briefed on the material.

He named a few eastern European cities.

We went back and forth listing places we'd visit.


“Do you want coffee?” he asked.


Tristan and I had once held incredible conversations. Conversations so tuned in, we finished each other sentences. Now, it felt like we were making an effort to connect. I didn't understand it.

Then I realized what it was. It was the sex thing. We couldn't stop thinking about it and we couldn't shake the feeling that we needed to prove we could do something other than have sex.

Like what? What else could we do? Watch a movie? Take a stroll? Sit at a coffee shop? We'd done these things.

What's wrong with being with someone you can't stop touching and kissing?

Yes, I know sex isn't everything.

“Sex fades,” people say all the time. “You need a relationship based on something stronger.”

What if we stopped having such a bad attitude about sex and acknowledged how important it is? What if we approached it not like the ultimate enemy of intimacy and trust, but a celebration of these things?

What if delighting in another person is like sitting in that coffee shop, breathing in a city's essence and the pulse of its inhabitants? What if the movies and walks at sunset and all those things are just like museums and monuments in that they define a city but aren't more real than the experience of that city, any more real than a kiss or sitting quietly listening to a heartbeat as you rest on someone's chest?


Fuck this.

I kicked off my shoes, and slipped out of my pants and my shirt.

“Jesus Christ,” Tristan said, smiling, looking over at me as we pulled into a Coffee Bean parking lot. “Are you just going to wear your fur coat to the coffee shop?”

I lifted myself over the console between us and straddled him.

(And yes—afterward I only wore a fur coat to get coffee.)

The crazy thing was that once we'd let ourselves go, we were able to talk normally again.

“It felt forced,” he said as we reflected on our outing later, stretched out on my bed after an acrobatic session.

“What's wrong with just wanting each other all the time?” I asked.

“I don't know,” he said. “Sometimes I just look at you, in a certain light, or when you say a certain thing and I'll just need to be inside you. I think that's a good thing.”

Maybe we just need to embrace the journey and not think about the destination. Maybe we need to ignore the paths that have been taken and make our own way, leisurely, between beds and showers, trace a route through the wilderness in kisses and held hands.

After all, any traveler worth his salt knows that the best experiences are never spelled out in guidebooks.

“Ready to go again?”

“I don't know if I can.”

He could and we did.

I fell asleep exhausted, my head resting on his chest, his strong arm around me and his heart beating against my temple softly. And I thought to myself, yes, I could live here.


Dating During the Holidays? There's No Need to Stress by Zandria: “I found a Holiday Dating Do's and Don'ts article that recommends not logging into your dating account over the holidays at all. Umm...WHY NOT? I understand not logging in on a Friday or Saturday night (when you're supposed to give off the impression that you're away from home because you're too popular and desirable to spend a weekend night alone). But refraining from signing-in at all is just silly.”

Older Woman, Younger Man: Works For Me by Liz Rizzo: “Now, normally I don't like to link or even acknowledge drivel, but I find this piece by Spencer Morgan in the New York Observer has some fascinating aspects I keep thinking about: 'Rrrowl! Beware Cougar's Young Niece, the Cheetah.' Amusingly, while trying to Google this article to refind it, I found myself trying to remember which cat I'm supposed to be today. Lynx? Puma? Leopard? Cougar?”

When Their Relationship Changes Who Do You Unfriend? by Maria Niles: “There are situations where we do choose, however. And it can get complicated. If the relationship impasse is between friends you might want to play peacemaker in hopes of keeping the gang together. You're likely to remain friends with person in a couple you met and befriended first, especially if you perceive their partner as having wronged your friend. But what if you are part of a couple who befriended another couple? Or if it's part of a circle of friends who break things off? Or a relative gets a divorce from a partner you've come to love as family - how do you maintain your relationship with your relative and and stay friends with the ex when they are no longer speaking and the ex isn't welcome at family gatherings?”

AV Flox is the editor of Sex and the 405--what your newspaper would look like if it had a sex section.


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