“I met my old lover on the street last night. She seemed so glad to see me, I just smiled. Then we talked about some old times and we drank ourselves some beers, still crazy after all these years.”
~ Paul Simon
I had dinner with an ex-lover last weekend. He waited until we ordered and then looked directly at me across the table and said, “I read your article, 6 Ways to Have Radically Intimate Sex, and you forgot the biggest one.”
I looked back at him trying to detect if he was serious or just playfully sparring. He was serious.
“Yes? Which one did I miss?” I said with tentative curiosity. Without hesitation, he said, “Morning Sex.” It came out of his mouth like the moderator at a spelling bee, each syllable deliberately and matter-of-factly articulated.
MOR. NING. SEX.
I felt my chest and throat tighten. My resistance tells me I am at my edge. He’s right. Morning sex is radically intimate.
“Oh right, I forgot that about you,” I replied.
I love middle-of-the-night sex—the kind when it’s pitch black and you’re half asleep, when a good naked spoon slowly becomes a fork—but when the sun streams through the windows, I usually want to sneak out undetected. As a boyfriend of mine once said upon waking, “You look like you’ve been dragged through a hedge backwards.” Even his charming London accent didn’t soften the blow. I am not a morning person by nature. Having post-coital company exacerbates this condition.
In the days after our dinner, the conversation stayed with me. I asked my ex-lover to tell me what he loves about morning sex. This is what he said:
“I love watching the woman I have been intimate with stirring in the morning light. It’s like that Leonard Cohen lyric, “I loved you in the morning, our kisses deep and warm, your hair upon the pillow like a sleepy golden storm…”’
A time of true heartfelt exchange
And then…without the liquid intoxication
It’s like first steps again
Freshness of the skin sensations
Eye to eye acknowledgement and smiles
A playful scene
Kissing past the bad breath and leftover scents
I love the force of sobriety
If you can fuck in the morning, you can win the world
Maybe it’s like blowing off the ash of the fire burned the night before and then feeding it again.
His words moved me. This is a man who is not afraid to feel. I know well the benefits of radical intimacy; the deep connection that is made through mutual vulnerability—the healing that comes from being seen and from the witnessing of another. I want to feel about morning sex the way he does.
“What would have to happen for that to happen?” I asked myself. It’s not easy—but it’s simple.
I would embrace my imperfections. I would be naked in broad daylight. I would love my scars that grace my body after 17 surgeries. I would rock my bed head like it was the mane of the goddess mother herself.
I would see my pale cheeks and bare lips as an expression of natural beauty.
The great researcher and author, Brené Brown, says that people who live “wholeheartedly” believe that what makes them vulnerable makes them beautiful. I imagine a space where physical imperfections actually make me more beautiful—because I embrace them with courage and the kind of self-love and compassion that it takes to dance naked in the sunlight with a lover, without shame. I want to live there.
And as far as the morning breath goes, I have found that a single sip of bubbly water from a bottle—strategically placed on the nightstand the night before—has a way of freshening a morning mouth.
Editor: Jenna Penielle Lyons
Photo: elephant archives
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