09/07/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Is Sex a Drug or a Sacred Path?

This is part of a serial, "Sex Love Enlightenment." 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 cafe. 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."

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

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