The next few days flew by in the activities of living; Ben going to school, Daniel going to work, Joy caring for the house. Joy and Daniel continued to be intimate on the level they had reached, but still avoiding actual intercourse. While it was steamy and sexy on one level, Joy was hungry for more.
Thursday came and it was time to see Dr. Mayer again. Joy dreaded it like she had nothing else that she could recently remember. She sat in the car at his office trying not to have an anxiety attack. She had taken two Xanax before leaving the house, but they didn’t seem to be helping her much now. Her appointment time came and she forced herself on wooden legs to walk into the office. She was shown back to Dr. Mayer’s office, where she sat in her usual window seat.
“Good morning, Joy. How are you feeling today?” Dr. Mayer sat across from her.
“I’ve got to say, I don’t want to be here. I don’t think we are a good fit for each other. But I promised Daniel I would try this week with you before I give up.” Joy looked down at her hands in her lap.
“I’m glad that you are giving this a chance. Therapy is a lot like dating. It doesn’t always gel on the first, or second, or even the third meeting. We have to get to know one another and that involves testing limits. I realized that I exceeded your limits on Monday, and I know where to tread lightly in that area now. I do want to ask whether you and Daniel had intercourse yet?”
“No, he felt it was too soon after the rape. We have engaged in other areas of intimacy that we had never touched upon before and it has been wonderful.”
“That’s great, Joy. Is there some reason why you two had not been utilizing these forms of intimacy before now?” Dr. Mayer asked as he made a note on his chart.
“That’s a long answer. We had our son so early in our marriage and we devoted a great deal of time on him. I was inexperienced sexually and extremely shy in the bedroom. I think Daniel wanted more but was afraid to push in fear that I would retreat further back out of our sex life.” Joy looked at the trees outside as she spoke.
“Were you a virgin?” Dr. Mayer looked at her intently.
The question flustered Joy. “Yes, when I first met Daniel, I was.”
“So I guess my next logical question to you is why your sudden need for greater intimacy with Daniel?” Dr. Mayer looked directly at Joy as he asked this question.
“What do you mean? Now for me is after having a knife at my throat and realizing that life can be short. I want the most out of my life while I’m here. I had wanted greater intimacy with Daniel before the rape occurred; I just had not found the courage to bring the subject up with him. Now I feel I can’t just dilly-dally with my life; I have to make the things happen that I want in my life.” Joy said with a stiffness to her spine; like she was standing her ground.
“That’s good. Joy. Knowing what you want and going after it in a productive way is a healthy reaction to your ordeal.”
What? This is the man who vehemently opposed her seeking a sexual relationship on Monday. What changed? Joy’s thoughts must have been apparent on her face.
“I know I deeply opposed you seeking intercourse with Daniel Monday, but we had not had this conversation then. This is what I mean by getting to know each other. The more I get to know you, the better I can advise you and guide you through you process of recovery.” Dr. Mayer had relaxed back into his chair.
“This is somewhat reassuring. So now you don’t oppose my intimacy with my husband? Joy looked skeptically at the doctor.
“I still find it a bit soon after your assault. Did something happen during your assault that is affecting your outlook on your sex life with Daniel?” Dr. Mayer stared at her through those thick glasses.
“What kind of question is that? I find that offensive.” Joy said with put upon disdain, and a finger of fear trickling down her spine.
“It’s a pretty straight forward question, Joy. Why don’t you look at me and answer the question.” Dr. Mayer said pointedly.
Joy squirmed under his scrutiny, not able to meet his gaze.
“Joy, you know everything you tell me is confidential. This is just you and me. I feel strongly you have something to say and I am here for you to confide in.” Dr. Mayer said softly.
“Dr. Mayer, I can’t answer that question.” Joy said, her affect flat.
“Joy you can answer it; there’s not anything you can’t talk to me about. That’s what this is for.” Dr. Mayer continued to speak in a soft calming tone.
“No. I can’t go there. It’s time to end. I’ll see you next week.” Joy made to leave, but Dr. Mayer stopped her.
“Wait, Joy. I don’t have a next appointment, so we have some time to explore this. I really feel you have something to share and I think it’s important for your well-being if you do so.” Dr. Mayer worked hard to engage Joy in her therapy.
“Dr. Mayer, you just don’t know what you are asking. What if your notes get subpoenaed? I can’t take that chance.” Joy said, greatly agitated.
“Joy, my pen is down and it will stay that way. It is just you and me. Will you please tell me what is eating you up inside?” Dr. Mayer leaned forward, urging Joy on.
“What is eating me up? What is eating me up is how about the fact that wen that man was raping me, I had an orgasm.” The confession practically exploded out of Joy.
“How does that make you feel?” Dr. Mayer looked on, astonished.
“How do you think; I am humiliated and terrified of anyone, especially Daniel, finding out.” Joy stared out the window; how in the world had she just let that cat out of the bag?
“You are being too hard on yourself. Your body was inundates with fear, shock, and adrenaline. There’s no accounting for how your body responded to being assaulted.” Dr. Mayer said gently to Joy.
“Daniel would never understand this. Before the rape, I hardly ever reached orgasm with him. I cannot bear the thought of it. I don’t want to talk about this anymore today. Please be judicious when making your case notes.” Joy stood to leave, picking up her purse.
“Joy, I understand your discomfort. But let me say this. I think you are selling Daniel short. I think he would not only be understanding but would be the support you need to accept this part of the assault. Call me anytime you want to explore this, or just need to talk. And I’ll see you next week at the same time.” Dr. Mayer stood and saw Joy out of his door.
Joy found herself in her car, feeling wrung out and flabbergasted that she had admitted the orgasm to Dr. Mayer. She dry-swallowed two Xanax before starting her car and heading home.