If two Americans who had been held in an Iranian prison for two years credited prayer with getting them through their ordeal, religious broadcasters and secular news outfits would make sure we all heard the uplifting story of two Americans who in prayer found the strength they needed to endure imprisonment, fear, and privation. But it wasn't prayer that sustained Shane Bauer and Sarah Shourd during the darkest days of their lives. It was sex—hot, forbidden, risky, dangerous prison sex:

Shane turns to me and our eyes meet. His eyes never had that quality before. He is undaunted by his own fear. This moment, like so many moments, feels surreal to me. At first, I’m watching it happen, like my eyes are trying to catch up to what my mind is telling me. Then, when Shane reaches out his hand to touch my face, it is suddenly happening to me and only me. Shane’s breath is delicious. I look at his sweet face, his gentle eyes, and his sensuous, cherry red lips. My finger traces his lovely neck, strong shoulders, and dewy skin. His hands help me remember why I love having a body, not only a source of complaints and needs that I can’t satisfy, but pleasure, beauty, joy!

I don’t know how our clothes come off, but they do. Seconds later, we’re on top of each other, around each other, and inside each other. What a joy to see Shane, who had only been a voice for me for three weeks, naked and alive, his face soft, his muscles tense, words of love and lust and longing spilling from his lips. I abandon myself. For fifteen or twenty minutes I forget everything else, the blindfolds, the interrogation chairs, the yelling, the screams, even the fear in Josh’s voice as they led him away from us.

We have defied them; the fabric of this place is forever torn. No matter what happens to us in the next few days, weeks, months, these moments will live in me forever. I will carry this love like a shield.

To find out how Shane got into Sarah's cell—and her Iranian prison-issue pants—go read the whole thing.