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Some friends from the play community recently organized a trip to a massive Airbnb right on the water in Three Rivers to have sex and take drugs. We began the weekend with an opening circle and intention-setting (extremely Bay Area shit). Mine was to deepen my friendships. The group consisted of a bunch of old friends I wanted to know better and a few entirely new people. My new BFF Maeve drove us up and we roomed together.
I ended up making a few new friends, including a part of myself I’d been ostracizing.
The play was wonderful, of course. Everyone was consent-trained and experienced with substances. Everyone was hot. Everyone was good, giving, and game. So many amazing moments. Blowing my friend while my second friend dripped hot wax on my third friend’s twitching dick while his partner sat on his face. A gorgeous woman calling me a beautiful mermaid after getting me off while I kneeled in the hot tub and she stood outside of it under a moonlit sky lighting up mountains in the distance. Beautiful women sitting on my face. Watching them fuck each other with a strap. Licking them off dicks. It was a very gay weekend for me.
While all that was very enjoyable, the most meaningful part for me was the second day when I woke up, ate breakfast, and then dropped some acid. I didn’t enjoy acid the first two times I took it. I blamed the settings. This would be the perfect set and setting, I thought. I had nothing to do but enjoy myself for the next 12 hours. I was in a beautiful place. I had normal levels of anxiety.
The first two times I had back pain for 12 hours straight. I guess due to the chiropractic and yoga, instead of pain in my upper back I just felt my whole body clench. I couldn’t get physically comfortable. I laid down in the living room on the squish and watched the colored lights we’d set up dance on the wall as I came up. Then a beautiful naked woman started distributing whipit canisters from a Target bag into cardboard boxes for some reason. A man in his underwear started putting Googley eyes on the deer carved into the mantle over the fireplace. He also gave me a third eye.
Feeling kind of horny, I went to my room to try to masturbate. But I kept getting distracted by how hilarious genitals are. I laid their laughing to myself about that for a while, then grabbed a book of erotic art off the bookshelf. Then I had a long laugh about whether dogs really looked that different in the 1400s or medieval artists were just not great at painting them.
It was 100 degrees outside and I am roughly the shade of a sheet of paper. So outside was out of the question. Finally accepting that I wasn’t having a good time and wasn’t likely to, I looked up taking some Xanax to cut the trip short. Assured by Reddit that that was a decent idea, I did so.
Figuring I might as well try to get something done, I tried to do my gut hypnotherapy. Getting hypnotized requires relaxing, and that’s when I realized I was physically incapable of doing so. It reminded me of what someone once told me about getting high on cannabis. They said they spend the entire time trying to get clear-headed again. I realized my body was clenching because part of me was fighting this experience. My mind felt ready and open but my body said, nuh uh.
I realized something about this experience felt unsafe to me. I flashed back to many of the times in my life, including in childhood, that it felt unsafe for me to let go. I thought about the stakes I lived under. I remembered how badly I knew things could have gone for me if I’d fucked up. Suddenly I had deep compassion for this anxious part of myself. She was my protector. She was guarding us. Reminding us of the stakes. Keeping us in line. I felt deep compassion for her. No one had loved her or appreciated her. Not even me. I’d always hated her. I’d always wanted her gone. I’d resented her. But she was just doing the job I needed her to do at the time. I sobbed for her and for us. I welcomed her in. I pulled out a chair and invited her to stay as long as she liked. I thanked her for her service.
I’d been fighting the anxiety so hard coming up on acid. I wanted so badly to have a good time. Things got so much better when I gave up on that and let myself have the kind of time I needed to have. It wasn’t straightforwardly pleasant. But it was deeply healing. I’m not saying I couldn’t have gotten there without the acid. But I’m not sure how I would have gotten there or how long it would have taken.
Maeve had a great time on acid. Watching her put on makeup while tripping was amazing. The air conditioning gently swung the mirror back and forth on the wall. She joked about doing a makeup tutorial for when you’re on acid. “Step one, find a mirror that is literally moving.”
But the comedown was hard. She told me she felt self-conscious about going into the second night of play as the biggest woman at the orgy. She is not big by any stretch of the imagination. And big women are beautiful. But, as one of our well-known organizers likes to say, play parties have a way of bringing up high school shit. Trooper that she is, she dried her tears, put on her lingerie, and headed down to dinner.
For me, play parties have been an amazing opportunity to see that we’re all flawed and beautiful simultaneously.
There was more play that night, which was very fun. But the best moment was smoking outside with Maeve. There, the conversation naturally flowed to what we meant to each other. We put words to things we’d known or hoped. We talked about how romantic relationships are under too much pressure. How no one person can be everything to anyone. How important it is to have multiple people who are there for you through thick and thin. We verbally committed to each other, then and there. Our relationship can’t be described accurately with the words our culture uses to define relationships. We are neither “just friends” nor are we “dating.” We simply love each other in the way the other needs at the time and will continue to do so as long as we can. I hope that’s a lifetime.
I do want to fall in love again. But, regardless of whether or not that happens, I am not alone. Even some parts of myself it didn’t occur to me to love are no longer alone.
I think it would be easy from the outside to see sex and drugs as shallow, meaningless, hedonistic experiences. And I’m sure it’s possible to use them that way. But for me and Maeve and the people we indulge with, there’s so much more to it than that. Sex and drugs end up being tools for connecting deeply with each other and with ourselves. They help us see that we’re all beautiful, flaws and all. They help us see, accept, and even love the parts of us that we’ve been ostracizing. To invite them in, thank them for their service, and stay as long as they’d like.