Guest Post: M.J. Rose - Dr. Sex Will See You Now

I sat in the therapist's waiting room, magazine in hand, nervously turning pages but not reading a word. I had just come up with a great excuse to leave when the door opened and Dr. M. welcomed me and invited me into her office, the inner sanctum where we were going to discuss the one thing I didn't want to admit I needed to talk about with a professional:  s-e-x.

Like most New York City therapist's offices that I'd seen -- and I'd seen a few -- this one had the ubiquitous leather couch, big comfy armchair for the doctor to sit in, a whole wall of books and some innocuous artwork. Nothing that announced that her specialty was sex therapy.

I took my place, sitting on the couch. Dr. M lowered herself into her chair. This was my first good look at her. And if you have any preconceived idea of what a sex therapist looks like, she didn't fit it. In her early sixties, with silver gray hair, she wore gray slacks, a white turtleneck sweater set and a strand of Barbara Bush pearls.

"It's nice to meet you," Dr. M began, "Can you tell me a little more than you said on the phone about why you're here?"

At some point in our lives, many of us find ourselves in a romantic relationship that doesn't work as well as it should at every level, yet something pulls at us to stay and try harder.

For me what wasn't working was the sexual component.

At first, I hadn't wanted to admit anything was seriously wrong in the relationship that time wouldn't fix. Then once I had no choice but to admit it needed help.

Okay. You want to know. I don't blame you. What was the issue I couldn't deal with? It's only fair that I come out with it. So despite my feeling that I am undressing in public, here goes.

Years ago, in between my first-husband and my second husband, I entered into a dating situation with T, a talented man who I found attractive and interesting. But despite everything we had in common. T was addicted to porn and it was either watch a triple x-rated videos with him or nothing was going to happen.

Now, I'm no prude, but I couldn't respond to what T found erotic and it was a problem for both of us. But instead of just breaking up with him I asked him if we could go to therapy together. When he said he didn't want to, I decided to go alone.

According to several sex therapists I've now talked to, it is very common that the person who takes the step to go into therapy is not actually the one who can benefit from it the most. But one partner in therapy is still better than no one in therapy.

I'd been in garden-variety therapy three times previously but sex had never been an issue for me.

Now much to my surprise, I found I was embarrassed to talk about it. So much so that I lied in order to get recommendations for a sex therapist concocting a story that I needed to meet one because I was doing research for a novel in which the main character was sex therapist.

I kept up the charade with Dr. M for quite a few sessions. Instead of talking about T or myself, I made up a fictional character who was a sex therapist caught between wanting to help the police and at the same time honoring her commitment to her client's confidentiality.

Was I working on that book?

No. I hadn't even thought about doing a book like that. It was pure fiction to get me onto the couch.

Dr. M was no fool and used my fictional idea to get me to talk about the problems I was there to discuss.

"How do you feel when you are writing sex scenes? Are they based on what has happened to you or do you write about what you wished would happen to you? Do you write about sex that frightens you?"

Every question led to my coming up with more ideas about the imaginary book. And eventually Dr. M somehow helped me -- through all that fictional conversation -- to accept that it was ok if I never enjoyed watching porn and that T was never going to give up his addiction without getting help which he had no interest in pursuing.

But equally important, as it turned out, was the character of Dr. Morgan Snow who came to life in Dr. M's office.

A thirty something sex therapist - Dr. Snow is much more interested helping her patients than herself. Caught up in a world where she sees everything from the abused to the depraved, from couples grappling with sexual boredom to twisted sociopaths with dark, erotic fetishes.

And yes, I broke up with T. Luckily, since I'd only been with him for a relatively short time, I didn't have a long mourning period after I broke it off. Much more important was what I learned about the process itself and how it changed my attitude towards sex therapy.

Regarding M.J. Rose’s new book, “In Session,” the e-book and the audio book will go on sale Oct 17 but the e-book is available to pre-order at Amazon now.


Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...