A night out ends up back with a familiar face.
Doctor Coughlin joined Argie on the leather couch, and said, "Erotic touching and sex are sometimes a part of the experience. In some cases, we have genital touch, or erotic feeling. I would say that's only 5 to 10 percent of the total therapy experience, and only if it makes sense clinically and is acceptable to both client and surrogate."
"Yes, I understand all that," Argie said with just a hint of impatience.
Doctor Coughlin recognized it and picked up his pace. He laughed, placed his right hand on her bare knee. The heat of his touch sent a lightning bolt to her crotch.
"Despite our fevered imaginings," he went on, "nudity may not be part of a session for weeks or months, if it ever is. The first session with a client is a lengthy interview. The next session will involve verbal exercises, in which the client asks for what he wants. The idea is for people to verbalize. If they have a huge fear of rejection, even to get it out of their mouth is a victory," he told her, as they made eye contact.
"They get to ask for what they want," he said, giving her knee a light squeeze, "without the intent of it getting carried through, just to ask for what they want and to hear you say, yes."
"The actual physical exercises start slowly. All the exercises are about retraining someone to get out of their head and be more present with the other person."
His hand began to move upward on her thigh, Argie was still staring into his eyes, almost hypnotized by the smooth tone of his voice. "The touching exercise is called SENSATE FOCUS," he said, and began to massage the ball of her shoulder with his left hand. Then, opening the fingers of his right hand, he moved an additional few inches until touching the edge of her panties.
"Okay, now, please close your eyes. I'm going to ask you a few questions, and I want you to be absolutely truthful with your answers. Do you understand?"
She closed her eyes, and nodded, shifting around slightly on the couch until she was completely comfortable and relaxed.
"You said you feel uninhibited sexually, that you are not afraid to let go?"
"Yes, usually . . ." she replied.
"When do you enjoy sex most?"
"I guess when I feel completely relaxed and not worried about anything," she admitted, having taken a moment to reflect.
"What kinds of things do you worry about during sex, Argie? Do you worry about reaching orgasm?"
"No, well ... I almost always come," she said, feeling the butterflies take flight in her belly and she unconsciously raised her knees slightly off the couch.
"You do have orgasms, don't you?"
"Yes . . ." she said softly, "I . . . just said . . ." Argie was shocked, for it sounded like she was slurring her words. 'Was something wrong with her?' She wondered.
"Are your orgasms better when you are having sex with your husband, or when you masturbate?"
Argie couldn't help opening her eyes slightly and glancing at him. "Um, probably when I have sex ..." she whispered, feeling somewhat ashamed at revealing such personal information, but at the same time a feeling exhilaration filled her. This time she had spoken clearly and succinctly. Argie thought it a victory of sorts and then realized the doctor was still speaking to her.
"Did someone tell you that masturbation is wrong? "Did someone tell you that sex is dirty-especially oral sex?"
"Well, sure . . . my parents . . . and people at church," she admitted, ruefully and started to bite a fingernail, would have, but his hand touched hers and she moved the errant hand to her lap.
"Can you have multiple orgasms?"
"I think so," she answered, as if the question caught her off guard.
His voice dropped an octave, for he was well aware how seductive a man's voice could be to a woman, and he almost spoke to her in a whisper. "Not everyone likes being touched in the same way. It is about building trust and communication skills."
He paused for a moment, and saw that her face and neck had