Sex was an act of willful forgetting. It was the kind he made more and more in the rooms above the barbershop. (21.96)
Of course, Susie's talking about Len Fenerman, the lady-loving detective. He's using consensual sex to help him forget the vivid details of rape that come with his job. Do you think this is a healthy way to cope?
I held the part of him that Mr. Harvey had forced inside me. Inside my head I said the word gentle, and then I said the word man. (21.127)
For Susie, sex with Ray is a chance to face her fear of sex. The fear doesn't exist in heaven because up there she has no body. In Ruth's body, she gets to feel that unique trust that can happen between individuals during sex, a most vulnerable state.