It’s Saturday night. I'm sitting in my parked car; letting the two glasses of champagne, sipped at a tango party, settle a bit before driving home.
In the darkness of the car, it’s just me and my glowing iPhone, my body alive and pulsating from the Eros that is tango. It’s been three weeks since our break up (Joey and me). It was my first relationship since starting divorce proceedings from my husband of 12 years.
Spent and damp, but somehow energized from dancing, my head swims with the memory of Joey -- his face above me, the eye-gazing, mid-lovemaking I-love-yous and near-tantric whispers, “You feel amazing” -- the memory of the way we looked at each other, bewildered, almost, that we fit together so perfectly.
It ended abruptly 21 days ago, with unforeseeable ugliness. I look down at the phone, open up my text app. It would be so easy.
I should sext him.
I sit, I breathe, I wait for the impulse to pass. It doesn’t. Thoughts of him consume me.
But to sext him? After the way he started treating me? Gloria Steinem would have my head. Hell, my friends would, too.
I never dated in the texting age. But it was always a primary part of my budding relationship with Joey. Oh, those early texts: “I fall more in love with you every day” to “I don’t think I really ever stop thinking about you.” He’d leave my place, and text, “Tonight was wonderful,” and, “I’m so glad I found you!” I’d read and close my eyes, a soft smile spreading on my lips, and fall asleep.
Joey dealt well with texts. He could hide behind them. Texts soon devolved into bad-form behavior, last-minute cancellations, i.e., 30 minutes before a lunch date, “I’m not going to be able to meet up :( ” and other lame excuses.
A week before it ended, I pulled the Sext Card for the first time in my life.
I hadn’t seen him in nine days, let alone had a real date in weeks. As an experiment, I decided to send him a sext. It was a Monday, late afternoon and he was at work.
Me: “I miss your _____ I can’t wait to _____ and feel your _____.”
Him (instantly): "Damn, you are so _____. I miss your_____ against my _____."
Me: "I’m so _____ for you."
Him: "I’ll be there in 15 min."
Afterward, I luxuriated in our stolen time together. He'd left work early, around 4 pm, and he didn’t have his kids tonight. I looked at the clock, delighting in the fact that we’d have the whole evening.
So, when Joey got up and put on his clothes, that’s when it hit me: somewhere along the way, I had gone from kindred spirit to a convenient pit stop for sex on the way home.
Despite the way he had begun disrespecting me, I still wanted to _____ and _____ him all day and all night. And it made me wonder: how many other intelligent, self-aware women have been in this position? You know logically and intellectually that to sext an ex, particularly one that began to treat you like a fuckbuddy, would be:
- Unhealthy on every level
I had to come up with a solution to get through my dark night of desire, and it can help you, too. So here's "How to Sext Yourself -- A Primer for Self-Seduction AND Self-Respect":
- Look at your message app on your cell phone. Tap the pen icon. Type in your own phone number.
- Sext: “I’ve been thinking about you, and your amazing _____ and the way it makes me _____ and _____. Your body is _____! God, you are superhumanly talented at _____. I want to _____ you until you _____. It’s so hot touching your beautiful _____and _____ all night long."
- Read your sext. Does it sound too I-miss-you? Too needy? Too slutty? Not enough? Ask yourself, what am I going for here -- to spark real desire and a 90MPH visit to your door? Or to ignite instant regret and woe that he was a complete asshole, and has probably lost you forever?
- Revise as necessary
- Put your finger over the SEND button but do not press. Notice: how does it feel, your hand hovering over that SEND button? Do you feel butterflies? Or trepidation?
- Hit SEND, imagining the sext is going to him. Was there a cringe? An instant regret or unease? Do you feel liberated or devastated? Do your hands fly to your eyes and emit an, “Oh, shit!” or are you already in the bedroom polishing your disco ball and untwisting your garter belt and stockings?
- Wait for the little “bloop!” that tells you your text has been sent, and hear the ding as you watch your text come through. Imagine it's him receiving it, him hearing his phone, looking down, and seeing those words pop up.
- How do you feel?
The things about "self-sexting" is that it buys you time, when you’re not sure if sexting him is a good idea.
When you write your lust, it loses the power it had over you -- the should-I-or-shouldn’t-I drama. Sexting yourself has all the therapeutic effects of the Unsent Letter exercise advocated by grief counselors the world over. With the Unsent Letter, you write anything and everything you want to say, and then you toss it. You’ve excised the demons -- but (and this is important) you don’t send the letter. You burn it or throw it in the ocean or do some kind of ancient ritual involving sand and sage. Not that I’m going to throw my iPhone into the ocean, but you get the idea.
The morning after I composed the sext and sent it to myself, I wake up as I have for three weeks, weepy and still heartbroken. Then, I see it: a single green text message on my phone -– not from Joey as I have longed for every time I look at my phone, but from Sarah. I read over the words I wrote to myself: Amazing. Glorious. Beautiful. Talented. Hot.
Fifteen minutes later, I have three earth-shaking orgasms, AND my self-respect.
Afterward, I do the thing I thought I could not do: I take his number out of my phone. Goodbye, Joey. The next time I think of you, I’ll sext myself.