A couple of months ago, I wrote about being done with dating my phone. I’m still adhering to that life decision, but I want to back up a sec and discuss how a sexting relationship helped me get over my depression this summer.

In July, I ended a relationship with a man who had also been a friend of mine for almost a decade. To make a long story short (meaning I don’t want to bombard you with images of myself, all greasy-haired and tear-stained, picking at a cold plate of mac ‘n cheese, watching Katherine Heigl movies… aw, damnit!), we are no longer friends. Losing our friendship (no matter how essential it was to my healing) was just as, if not more so, upsetting to me than our breakup.

After more than a few days in bed and feeling blue, I realized that my mood had less to do with my broken heart and more to do with my skewed serotonin levels. For me, depression and breakups tend to go hand-in-hand. That’s just the way I’m built. The unraveling of a relationship causes me to pick at all of the other things that aren’t working out in my life. Before I know it, I’m way, way down the despondent rabbit hole.

I was uncomfortably numb for a couple of weeks when a male acquaintance of mine began WhatsApping me from summer school in London. I had recently visited London and Paris in the spring, so our first initial chats revolved around attractions and restaurants and things to do while on a European vacation. They soon progressed to inside jokes and spiritual questioning, and got intense but in a good I-like-getting-to-know-this-side-of-you way. To my surprise, our messaging quickly became a daily routine, and one I looked forward to. Everyday for a month I would leave him messages on my daily walks and I could feel my spirit becoming lighter and lighter with each text and voice note I sent and received.

“Your notes are like, little Christmas presents,” I said to him after a couple of weeks, which was a pretty positive sign of my mental turnaround. It was then when I realized I hadn’t thought of my ex in a while. Wait a minute, I thought. Is this a rebound?

He was thousands of miles away and we were only messaging each other, and our clothes were on (as far as I knew) and so it didn’t count. Right?

“You seem happy when he messages you,” my friend remarked when I picked up a text at dinner. I was happy. But I wasn’t – because a virtual pseudo-rebound was making me happy – at first. Can you tell that it’s a jungle up there in my brain? I wasn’t sure if I was reading into things, and I sure as shit didn’t want to get hurt again.

A few days later, my male friend seemed to be reading my mind because dude started dropping some serious sexual hints. That’s when the cooler side of my brain kicked in and said, “Fuck it.” Rebound sex is essential to getting over someone; doctors basically prescribe it. Besides that, sex is good for you and your brain – and my brain definitely needed some TLC.

Before I knew it, “how was your day?” texts turned into graphic descriptions of “this is how I want to fuck you.” This lasted for a couple of weeks, with each week escalating to new levels of naughtiness.

I was feeling good about myself again. My ego was definitely relishing all of the attention, and the best part: I was distracted. I was so busy with listening and reading his saucy messages, and trying to come up with my own (as well as shooting pics of my lacy thongs) that I just didn’t have the time, nor the impulse, to wallow any longer over what was missing and/or wrong with my life. My new sexy sense of wellbeing had ignited a fire in my belly – and not just in my loins. Writing became a source of pleasure again (as much as writing can) and I began to leave the house for activities other than my mood-enhancing walks. My horny escapism had helped me to escape from the darkness of depression.

In-person relating is more neurotic, more vulnerable, and more real; it includes sometimes wondering more about how the other person feels about you than how you feel about yourself (which is what had been a detriment in my last relationship). But in mine and my sexting buddy’s case, and especially when it came to my healing, less turned out to be more. The sexting helped recharge my batteries, and the detachment reset my emotional state so I could allow myself to be open again.

We ended up having IRL sex upon his return. It was fun to fantasize about, but maybe it was best left to our imaginations.