"Good to see you again."
Dr. Flynn opens every session like that, as if he's surprised that I've returned for yet another psychoanalytic workout. I can't blame him if he truly is surprised. I'm not the most compliant patient. I suppose many people show up to therapy eager to get to work, sort out their problems, get on with their life. The good doctor's hourly fee is probably incentive enough to sort your shit out in a timely manner. The fee is not problem for me.
Still I wonder if he's learned his opening line in psychology school. If there was a class titled "5 ways to open a therapeutic session." His office is warm and comfortable, yet I can't imagine spending all day inside one room. There's a nice potted plant in the corner and I stare at it briefly wondering if its real or fake. His degrees are perma-plaqued on deep mahogany hanging on the wall above his desk. In the corner, by his computer screen sits a single framed photo of his wife, Rhianna. Will I ever have a photo like that on my desk? Of Ana? Shit, Christian where are you going with this?
"Christian, you seem...distracted. Is everything alright?"
"Sorry, John. I've just, well I had an interesting couple of weeks."
"Oh" he says, in that very faux intrigued way that psychologists do.
I usually see Dr. Flynn weekly, but he's just returned from a three week vacation to visit his family in England. He sure picked the wrong time to go out of town.
"Well, I was actually wondering if I could get your opinion on something?" err someone.
"I'm all ears. That's what you pay me for" he laughs.
"I know I had mentioned before that I was conferring degrees at WSU, Vancouver."
"Yes. I remember you saying that you thought it was a bit lame, but it was a 'gotta do,' since you gave all that money to the school,"
"Well, in the same line of lame 'gotta do's' I somehow got roped into an interview for the college newspaper. Their editor was very persistent. The editor who was supposed to interview me apparently had the flu. So her roommate turned up to interview me, and well..."
I don't know what to say. That she stumbled into my office and all I could think of was tying her up in my playroom? That I had Welch find out where she worked and I flew from Seattle to Portland just so she could sell me cable ties? He'd turn me into the police...
"And well..." Dr. Flynn encourages, noticing that I've drifted off into thought.
"Well I'm hoping she'll agree to be my submissive."
"John. You seem surprised. What were you expecting me to say."
"Well, Christian. Let me start by asking you this. When you say 'agree to be my submissive' what do you mean? Is she in the submissive community?"
"Well, er, not exactly."
"What does that mean Christian?"
"She's actually a virgin. Well she was, until last week. We actually had vanilla sex a few times. I've never done that before."
"And how was that for you."
"Surprisingly satisfying. It just didn't seem right that her first time be tied up on a grid in my playroom."
"Why do you feel that way Christian?"
"I don't know what you mean, John. I mean isn't it obvious."
"Well Christian, I think this is an important point for use to explore. We've talked about your sexual desires extensively, and you've been very consistent in maintaining that you feel there is nothing to be ashamed of. And I agree with you. Shame is not a useful emotion. And there's no reason for it when you're talking about a relationship between two consenting adults. However, despite saying that you don't feel shameful, you still keep this part of your life a closely guarded secret, which we've also discussed. However, I find it interesting that when you meet someone who is not from the community, who is inexperienced, you engage it 'vanilla sex' as you call it. Do you feel like something is wrong with what you do in your playroom?"
"John, that was a very long statement. I can't tell if there was more that one question in there."
He laughs "Well lets start with the last question. Do you feel like there is something wrong with the sex you have in your playroom?"
Absolutely not. Where is he going with this?
"Well then, Christian, let me ask you this? Why, then, did you feel like it would be inappropriate when it was her first time?"
"I don't know." I suddenly want out of here. Shit we still have twenty-five more minutes.
"I can wait while you think of an answer Christian."
"Well, I...I guess I just felt like she was so...good. I didn't want to spoil her. Make her broken, like me."
"You feel like you're broken?"
"I know that I'm broken, John. I'm fifty shades of fucked up. Oh let me count the ways I'm broken."
"Well, I'm curious, though Christian. After having quote un quote vanilla sex with this woman, why are you still hoping that she will become your submissive?"
"John, that's what I do. I don't have relationships. It's not who I am. I need control, complete control. And I'm a sadist. We've talked about this. I like to beat the shit out of little brown-haired girls because they look like the crack whore."
"Well, when you did have this vanilla sex with this woman, were you able to, how shall I say, maintain arousal?"
I laugh. "Yes John, that was not a problem."
"And along those same lines, were you able to reach orgasm?"
What the fuck is he getting at. Get me out of here. God this is uncomfortable. "Yes John. Several times. That was not a problem."
"Well, Christian. What that indicates is that you are not as dependant on your playroom as you think. Emotionally, I understand that you feel you need a degree of emotional detachment to maintain control. Because intimacy is all about giving up control. But that fact that you were able to become aroused and reach orgasm with this woman, without the playroom, indicates to me that, sexually at least, you're not as dependent on the playroom as you think."
"Well, never-the-less, John. I told her that it was a one time deal. That I don't do vanilla, I don't let women sleep in my bed."
"She slept in your bed?"
"And how was that?"
"I slept well actually. No night terrors."
Dr. Flynn pauses for a minute. It's an awkward silence. I know what he's trying to do. He's hoping if he just shuts up, I'll keep talking. Spill my guts. I'm not playing this game. I keep my eyes focused, staring him down. Two can play at this game John.
"Well tell me a little about this girl Christian. What's her name?"
"Anastasia..." I love the way her name rolls off my tongue. I love how every part of her roles off my tongue. Shit Christian, stop it. What are you doing...
"That's a very pretty name."
"Yes it is." I'm done. This has already been more revealing that I wanted. Flynn's not getting more out of me.
"Well Christian, we're almost out of time. But over the next week, I'd like you to think about a few things. I know you don't do homework, and I won't ask you to do any. But I'd just like to leave you with some questions to think about. We're doing solution focused brief therapy. The purpose is to asses your goals and do the work necessary to get you to those goals. In the past you've wanted a certain kind of sexual and interpersonal relationship, and you've sought out women who wanted the same type of relationship. So regardless of why you wanted this relationship, what traumas in your past drove you to seek these types of relationships, it was not a problem. But now you've met someone who did not actively seek out this type of relationship, and you are hesitant to impose it on her. Yet something in you still wants to be involved with this woman. So I'd like you to think about whether you might be willing to explore a different type of relationship. If your goal is to be in a relationship with...Anastasia, and to achieve that goal, you might have to change the way things have always been. I want you just think about that. Think about what you'd be willing to negotiate, if you had to, to achieve the type of intimacy that's fulfilling to you and to Anastasia. Just think about that over the next week."
"Will do John."
"Okay, well we're out of time. Now, don't forget, I will be out of town at a conference until next Monday. But if anything urgent comes up, you have the number for my messaging service."
"O.k. John. Laters."