When my first love and I broke up, I was still new to the world of sex. I was 22 years old when we said our tearful goodbye, knowing full well that what we had at that young age wouldn’t be able to transcend time. I remember thinking I’d not only never love again, but never, ever have sex again either. Sometimes I really miss the equal parts drama and naivety that comes with youth.
As a way to cope with the loss, I set up camp on my couch with endless supplies of veggie burgers and Ben & Jerry’s, and drowned my sorrows in “Beverly Hills, 90210″ reruns. I still contend that Emily Valentine really was one of the highlights of the show, and I have the months of obsessively watching it as scientific evidence. I also saw a wee bit of myself in her.
After a few years had passed, I started dating men here and there, having superficial flings steeped in alcohol as the common denominator, and by the time I moved to New York City, casual sex was all I was really interested in. It was there for the offering, I knew I enjoyed it, at least most of the time, so why not take advantage of sexual opportunities that life presented me?
Then I fell in love again.
But this time when things ended — actually the FOUR times it ended — with whisky bottles being thrown dramatically out of windows, almost an entire case of cheese being hurled at his head after he told me he’d fucked someone else, and tearful pleas on my part for him to just respect me enough to treat me as a human being, I came out on the other side different. I was irrevocably changed. I was hardened. What love and softness and affection that I had in me once upon a time had been sucked dry from my being. I was devastated at the loss, a loss that, as I said, I had to endure four times because I was too weak to tell him to “fuck off” every time he strayed. I was angry. I was pissed off that I was not the one for him, that he would never love me, something he told me over and over, but yet he wouldn’t let me go, and I hung on for dear life hoping for a miracle in which he’d “come to his senses.” There was no sense at all to be had in those four years.
I wasn’t just table-flipping mad, I was smash-that-table-to-bits-after-I-flipped-it mad.
So I fucked someone else too. It felt amazing. I was completely in control and knew that every time he penetrated me I was somehow getting revenge on a relationship that had bound me and broke me. With each orgasm, I felt a wave of success and satisfaction. I took all that angry energy I had and used it in bed with this other man. I felt like I was on top of the world. Maybe the man who broke my heart didn’t want me, but I was going to take my sexuality and use it to feel something other than rage and sadness. I was going to come and come again, and know that each moan that bordered on a scream was just pushing him further back in my memory. That’s when I realized revenge sex is the best sex.
With revenge sex, I was reaching heights of pleasure and satisfaction that no amount of therapy could offer. I felt empowered to know that I could fuck, without strings attached, and then walk away, never seeing the man again or, if the mood struck, only once or twice more. In the year after the final ending with the man who broke my heart, I had more one-night stands than I had had in my entire life. I had threesomes. I tried things, both sexually and otherwise, that I hadn’t before; I was liberated. This revenge sex was healing for me and made me stronger. I was bouncing back from the broken person I had been. I finally had control over my heart again.
I realize revenge sex isn’t for everyone. I have more than a few friends who wince at the thought of climbing into bed with a one man one night, then doing the same with another man the next night, and I understand where they’re coming from. We all regard sex in different ways, and that’s part of the beauty of it. While I would never advise that someone go out and fuck the pain away, as Peaches would say, I will always defend revenge sex as a means of shifting feelings in the body, a way to take the ache in your heart and replace it with an orgasm between the legs. I mean, honestly, have you ever been able to think about anything mid-orgasm besides the orgasm at hand? It may not be what the doctored ordered, but when it comes to love and loss, I don’t think anyone should judge how we choose to tackle pain so we can move on or, in my case, get back to the person I was.
[Photo of orgasmic woman via Shutterstock]