He was 19. I was 34. It was another drunken wild night in Thailand, and I got it in my recently divorced head that the only way to prove, "I still had it," was to get him into bed. Well, I definitely still had it -- as all of the hostel could attest to the next morning.
Apparently our 2 a.m. tryst in the common area of the hostel hadn't been as private as we thought. I never thought I would be the hottest sex gossip, but then my post-divorce life was definitely anything but expected.
Yes, I cried and wept. But what really made me heal was sex. A lot of sex. And I loved it.
At 33 years old, I had already been married for just over nine years. Sex with my husband was good, not amazing, but I had nothing to compare it to since I entered the marriage as a virgin. I was content. But five years into our marriage, he began to make better love to the liquor bottle than to me. I blamed myself for four more years, but I finally realized that I would always come second to alcohol. I did something I had always considered unthinkable. I asked for a divorce.
Newly single, I knew I would be lonely. But I couldn't begin to comprehend the depth of loneliness I would feel, or how it would translate into a sexual craving that I didn't seem able to fully control. Perhaps I was rebounding. Or perhaps I was just fully living my life for the first time. I wasn't ready to process the reason for it.
All I knew was that I needed to get away, and Southeast Asia seemed the perfect place to spend seven months escaping divorce reality in the arms of as many men as possible. Travel provided an international buffet of men and I was heaping up my plate and going back for seconds.
My first guy was an Irish lad on the sultry beaches of Thailand, who lured me in with the incredibly heady promise of, "I bet you've never been properly fucked." He was right on that account, but his incredibly small penis and 30-second performance failed to back up that claim.
And then there was that lanky, long-haired Australian guy that shared my bunk space on a train to Mumbai. I still get hot and bothered just thinking about him. I quickly set my sites on seduction, suggesting we share a room, "to save money." He definitely knew his way around down under.
After him, I gave myself a Belgian for my birthday. Let me just tell you, it was a verrry impressive present, and he worked long and hard on the delivery.
And then there was...
Oh wait, I really shouldn't divulge EVERY male conquest, as that would make for a very long blog.
But during my sexual post-divorce journey, for the first time in my life, I discovered my own boundaries. I claimed what I wanted and disregarded what I didn't. I gave myself permission to make choices and not be attached to the outcome. My sexual freedom gave me sensual pleasure, but it also gave me courage.
I made mistakes, too. Alcohol, travel, loneliness and sex don't always mix well. I found myself slipping out of a few too many rooms early in the morning with only a hazy recollection of the night before. I became part of a drunken threesome in Northern Thailand, of which I quickly realized I did not want partake and had to make an awkward exit.
As a divorce and travel coach, I have met women who are ashamed of their post-divorce, sexual journey. But sex is not something to be ashamed of. Women should embrace their sexuality, especially if their sex lives were non-existent in their marriage.
Of course, I am not advocating being sexually irresponsible or practicing unsafe sex. But perhaps sex, and exploring your sexuality post-divorce, are symbols of claiming back what you let go in your marriage.
Call me a slut, but I'd rather be called a sexual freedom seeker, explorer or pioneer (the latter being only if I slept with someone really, really interesting).
Remember when Britney Spears went off the deep end, shaved her head and went into rehab? That was the year she divorced, and she did some crazy stuff. I think the same thing happens to us, but with a lot less media attention. We do dangerous shit, drink too much and sleep with as many people as we can. It's our "Britney Year," and it's the rite of passage into normalcy.
Following my seven-month journey, I was calmer, clarified and finally at peace. Had I been sucked into the paradigm of being a "shameful slut," I would have never discovered me.
Sure, men go on the same post-divorce sexual journey, but I doubt they feel guilty or slutty because of it. So neither should women. Not because men don't, but because sex can be a tool for rediscovery and healing.
So ladies, if you're ready to become a sexual freedom seeker, do not feel guilty. Embrace it. Be safe. Love yourself first.
Now, go get laid.