Minx has been in therapy for a while, and when we hung out last night she said that at her last appointment her therapist managed to narrow in on some triggery phrases that made her cry immediately (it’s unclear whether the intent was to make her cry, or what). Minx said that even as she burst into tears, she was also feeling a bit turned on by the therapist being able to undo her so effortlessly. It gave her a bit of a submissive or bottomy thrill.

Oddly, my own therapist seems to bring out something toppy in me (or maybe my toppy feelings for my new boy are just slopping over onto everyone around me…). He’s my one-on-one session guy but he also convenes some of the group therapy sessions I’m in. The other day he was teaching the group of us a script for being more assertive. It’s this big long spiel that encompasses saying we have an issue, acknowledging the other person’s feelings on the issue, and then asking for some kind of favour or compromise that allows us to get what we need. I’m okay at being assertive when I need to be but I dislike that script, mostly because it seems way too elaborate and flowery and because to be honest I often don’t know someone’s feelings about a particular topic so I can’t do the step where I empathize with them. I think it would come off as presumptuous to just guess.

I told this to the therapist/convenor, and said that my usual thing is to just go “Soooo I’ve noticed that you do this thing…” and just wait. Usually the silence will become so awkward that the other person feels a need to fill it and will talk about what’s up with them. Then I can empathize and tack on a “but here’s what I need, so can we find a midground?”

He said “Ah, but with someone like me who is comfortable with silence, you’ll be waiting a long time.”

God only knows why this was my immediate reaction but I said “Challenge accepted” and I leaned back in my chair, crossed my arms, and looked at him, deadpan. He raised an eyebrow and looked back at me. Both of us were silent. I could feel the others in the room watching our standoff. They tittered nervously at the weird energy between us.

After a few seconds he said something like “Awww, not even a smile?” and dammit, my deadpan facade broke and I laughed in spite of myself. The other group members laughed, too, probably in relief that the tension was broken. The therapist looked triumphant.

I caught his eye and pointedly, quietly, said:”You spoke first.”

A few scandalized little “Oooooooh!”s from the crowd and then the therapist started a new topic and life went on.

It was an oddly titillating moment for me, though, despite me not being attracted to him at all.

I completely understand why therapists/psychiatrists/etc are forbidden from fucking their patients (or wait is it illegal or just unethical?): there is an intimacy there, at least in one direction. And a massive power imbalance, because the intimacy only goes in one direction. This dude I’ve been assigned to is really perceptive and the moment I got to our one-on-one session he noticed and/or intuited a whole bunch of shit about me that few, if any, people have ever remarked upon. It does feel like caring when someone notices your little details. It feels personal. I’m well aware that this is his job and he probably does these little feats of intimate magic with everyone he talks to, but oh boy, if I were doing this program twenty years ago when I was less stable and so entirely desperate for love…

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