Remember how I told you I hated talking about sex? Even after endless conversations with my counselors, friends, and doctors during four sexless months of marriage, I still hated talking about sex. I’d gotten used to hearing the words come out of my mouth, but the act of sharing such private information was still a chore. You can imagine my chagrin, then, when I discovered that the only sex therapist in town was a man a little older than my father. A man whose son I once kissed during a game of Spin the Bottle.
But I had sworn to myself and to my husband that no matter what I had to do, I was going to have a fulfilling, fun sex life with the man I married. Even if the remedy was something monstrously awful like eating a live scorpion every Saturday night, I was ready to say, “Pass me the hot sauce.” I was committed. So, since talking to a paternal man whose son’s mouth had once mashed itself against mine was still short of the live scorpion, I sighed and opened the door to Dr. B’s office. We shook hands and introduced ourselves, and he asked why I’d come in. “You indicated some sexual dysfunction?” he commented while glancing over my paperwork. Some. Ha.
I told him the story I was so accustomed to telling. Confusion, counseling, lack of sex drive, more confusion, doctors’ appointments, rage, blockage, surgery, recuperation, excruciating pain, sadness, more doctors’ appointments, and finally the call to Dr. B himself. It no longer fazed me that less than an hour ago, the man didn’t know my name, and now he was privy to the most personal details of life in my bedroom. “Ah-huh,” he kept grunting while taking notes. When I finished recounting my saga, Dr. B said, “Well. Looks like we have some work to do, Amie.” I gave him a yeah-ya-think? smile and concurred. “What I’d like to do is talk about your upbringing a little, your beliefs about sexuality, and your feelings about your body…and then as we need to, we’ll work on practical suggestions for making sex work for you. We might put together a home program of sorts, you know, some tools and products you can try…We might do some reading and writing together, work through some educational materials…” He was furiously writing, and I got the sense he felt like Michelangelo looking up at a blank ceiling. Finally, he looked up at me. “Alright, Amie. Sounds good?” He rubbed his palms together as if we’d just discovered positronic distillation of subatomic particles. “Sounds…great,” I said, a little overwhelmed.
I drove home wondering if the scorpion might not be so bad.
PS: Wondering who those ten people are? My husband, me, our two premarital counselors, my best friend, my mom, the nurse practitioner, the doctor, the gynecologist, and the sex therapist.