All The King's Horses: Adapting
Copyright© 2007 by Shrink42
Romantic Sex Story: Chapter 1 - The devastating discovery left three marriages in mortal danger, as far beyond repair as Humpty-Dumpty. This is a variation of the original, with the husbands reacting differently.
It was Trent O'Connell who got the first small inkling that something might be amiss. It was after one of his regular dates with his wife Sandy, this time at a dance club, that Trent mentioned to his pals something that puzzled him. On that night, Sandy had drunk much more than usual and the romp in bed was even more vigorous than usual. And make no mistake, usual was very, very good.
Going into more detail than he normally would, Trent told the others "Maybe I'm imagining it. I had a few drinks, too. But it was something we had never done - ever. And she just moved right into so smoothly! There was no hestitation, no fumbling. Her hands and... everything just went to the right places automatically. I just had this feeling that she had done it before."
The others did not ask what the exact move or position was, and Trent did not offer more detail. Will Crozier did respond, though. "Well, the night before, after our date, Val asked me about swinging. She was all giggly, like it was a joke, but it shook me up."
It was just two unrelated events involving two unusually inebriated wives, but none of the guys ridiculed the expressed concerns. They agreed to a higher level of vigilance - 'Defcon 3' as Bud VerBeek jokingly referred to it. None of the men wanted to believe that anything was wrong, but some nagging doubts had been sown. Over the next month, they all became hyper-sensitive about their wives' behavior and comments, especially in bed.
Being careful not to let vigilance grow into paranoia, the group still came up with a number of little things that raised questions. By themselves, none was significant, but the sheer number of them made the men uneasy. Most of the signals were something like an unusual level of distraction, a couple of unexplained bruises, and one or two turn downs of sex because of unexplainable tenderness. All three men had noticed that some of the phone calls between the wives were more secretive than usual.
"What could be going on, anyway?" Bud asked. "I can't imagine they would actually cheat on us. If they're doing something we wouldn't like, it's probably going to a male strip club, or something."
Will, often the group's idea man, told the others "It goes without saying that if there is anything going on, they're all in it together. We need to follow them when they all go out in a group."
"Yeah, but the kids will know we're gone. They might tell. I don't want to make a problem out of nothing."
"We can arrange a fake call from work or something. What say we invest in a tracking device that we can put in whichever car they leave in?"
"Does anyone really think there is a real chance they are screwing around? I mean, come on, guys! We do our damndest to keep them happy. Speaking for myself, I just can't see Sandy cheating on me."
After some more fairly energetic discussion, it was agreed that one guy would be assigned to follow the girls each time they went out together. The designated spy would get a fake emergency call before the wives left, and be in position to shadow them. The tracking device was never purchased.
Will Crozier was a Human Resources Director for a medium sized local company. A very good athlete, he had not been good enough for the large university he attended, but he was still playing in some league most of the year. He loved to compete.
A psychology major, Will was the prototypical people person, perceptive, intuitive, and empathetic. Except in sports, he was non-confrontational. As a former quarterback and point guard, he thought well on his feet. He had dabbled in local politics, and was intrigued with the possibilities.
Emmett (Bud) Verbeek embodied some interesting contrasts. As a corporate lawyer, he was comfortable with the dry intricacies of the law. He had been on the debate team as an undergrad. Perhaps surprising, given his cerebral occupation, Bud had quite a temper, and a generally volatile, expressive personality. On top of that, he had a quick wit and natural comic timing. He was big and strong, and loved outdoor sports. To reduce the impact on his family, he went fishing very early in the morning whenever he could. He also took an extended Canadian outing every year.
Trent O'Connell was an engineering manager, and in many ways fit the common perception. Rather reserved socially, he could easily get lost working on or thinking about a project or a problem. He was a very good musician, playing drums and keyboard. Once his two boys got into the sports scene, he quit playing any gigs to avoid the time away from the family.
Trent had a self-confidence problem. Probably because of it, he was fanatical about conditioning and self-improvement. Each spring, he ran in a half-marathon, and had aspirations for the whole twenty-six miles.
Sandy O'Connell and Valerie (Val) Crozier were cousins, daughters of twins, who grew up next door to each other. Celia (Cece) Verbeek had lived a few houses away, and the three were about as close as any three women could be.
Sandy and Val had similar temperments. They were vivacious, gregarious, and bright, but with an underlying reserve that was recognizable to those close to them. There was always something that seemed to be held back or hidden.
Cece was as vivacious and gregarious as her friends, but without the reserve. With her, nothing was held back. She was at least as volatile as her husband, which made for some very interesting clashes. Those clashes, however, were always more cathartic than destructive, and the makeup sessions were off the scale. Cece and Bud did not need the battles to get great sex, but it invariably happened after they fought.
Will's approach to marital disputes was to absorb, deflect, and redirect. Sometimes, his 'bobbing and weaving' infuriated Val. When she wanted something to pound against, he just wasn't there. Instead, he was coming at her from a different direction, trying to defuse her anger with kindness and occasional humor.
In some ways, Sandy was just as infuriated with Trent when it came to controversy. He just gave in and would not fight. He had never really believed his great fortune in winning Sandy. There was always a lurking fear that if he did anything to displease her, he would lose her.
From all indications, there were three happy marriages with lots of genuine friendship, shared interests, mutual respect, and fulfilling sex.
The men had a strict 'date-a-week' rule that they enforced on each other. That had started several years back when the marriages of a number of mutual acquaintances began to crumble. Will was an avid student of psychology and relationships, and he encouraged the others to focus on specific activities to keep romance and excitement in their marriages.
All three men were achievers, and all had some travel demands on them. In part, the date nights were compensation for some very long hours at work during the week, and frequent nights away from home. They all thought they were striking the best balance they could, and the consensus was that the wives were all happy.
Variety was enforced, as well. None of the three had any financial problems, so premium events such as concerts, ballets, gallery openings, etc. were regular dates. Trips to vacation hotspots and exotic destinations happened less frequently, but all three wives had plenty to brag about. The awesome wardrobes needed to support so many events took a definite bite, but there were few complaints from the guys.
All three couples enjoyed vigorous, extended sessions of lovemaking with lots of variety. The men were never turned down, and the wives initiat sex often. They all enjoyed plenty of loving, contented snuggling afterwards.
For three weeks, the spy job proved very boring, as five different group outings proved totally innocent. Trent and Bud wanted to forget the whole idea, but Will hung tough.
It was Will on the tail the next Tuesday night when the wives' group ended up at a house that he did not recognize. As he watched from a few houses down the street, several couples and a few singles entered the house. Will was probably the one most concerned that there really was a problem, and the situation he saw was just too strange.
"Get Trent and get over here right away," Will said on a curt call to Bud. He gave the address where he was parked. "Bring cameras and a full toolkit. See if you have a ladder that will fit inside the Suburban."
While waiting for the others, Will did a little exploring. The house was quite secluded, but the yard was not surrounded by a fence or a wall, except for the pool area. Apparently, there was no concern about discovery on the part of the owners. He found a way into the back yard, and made a mental note of all the windows that were lighted.
The walkout level had a patio door that was covered by drapes, as were several other windows on the lower level. The lot sloped downward from one side to the other, so the walkout exposure was on the end of the house nearest where they were parked. The pool deck opened off of either the kitchen or the family room on the main level. He could not see over the wall to tell for sure which it was. He could tell from music and laughter that there were a number of people already around the pool.
Once they were all together, they sat in the Suburban to strategize.
"Do we even know what we're looking for?" Trent asked.
"We know our wives are in the house. We want to find out what is going on in there," Will answered.
"I say we just walk in," Bud insisted. "We'll find out pretty quickly that way."
"And if it's a network marketing party or something, what will the women think?" Trent pointed out.
Ignoring the potential argument, Will said "Let's try the wall around the pool. Maybe there's a gap that will let us see into the house a little."
With at least that much of an objective, they headed back toward the house. Just as they reached the edge of the yard, the lower patio door opened and they all ducked behind some shrubs. Muttered oaths were mixed with groans as a naked man stepped into the side yard and lit a cigarette. It was a badly shaken trio that retreated to the Suburban once more.
It was two or three minutes before anyone said a word. Then, it was Will who once again took the lead. In a shaky voice he said "We need a plan. I think we should all act together, since the girls are together in this."
"Maybe it's not that bad," Trent said, the hope drowned out by the sadness in his voice.
"Don't kid yourself," Bud said angrily. "That's a swinging party going on in there. Do we bust in there and get them out, or what?"
"I think we need to know more," Will counseled. "I think Bud is right, but I would hate to jump to a wrong conclusion. Let's try the pool enclosure again."
This time, they were very careful, lest someone else come out the patio door and spot them. When they got to the pool area, they found that the redwood slats were old enough that there was some warping and there were some gaps. The gaps were easy to find because of the light coming through from the pool side. The gaps were all behind some very thick, prickly bushes.
Very carefully, working hard not to curse at the pokes and scratches from the thorns, they all got in position to look through a gap. What they saw made Trent turn violently away, ignoring the cuts and scratches he got. Only the moderately loud music piped out to the pool hid the sound of his vomiting.
Sandy could be clearly seen, sitting naked on a lounge chair on the lap of a naked man. That was bad enough, but after a few seconds, she raised herself slightly and moved in a way that could only mean that she was impaled on his cock. Her facial expression verified that fact.
Val was standing just outside the patio door, talking to a man and a woman. All three were naked. In fact, not a single item of clothing was visible on the dozen or so people gathered around the pool and hot tub. As Will and Bud watched, Val reached out and took hold of the man's limp penis and led him to the pool. Once in the pool, the man sat up on the edge while Val moved in front of him and began a blowjob.
Around the edge of the pool away from the house, there were several pads scattered. On two of those pads were scenes of obvious intercourse. There was no chance that this was just a friendly skinny dip.
Cece was not in the pool area, nor could she be seen in the family room that was visible through the patio door. Trent did not return to his peep hole, but wandered unsteadily back toward the cars. Will and Bud watched for several more minutes, but Cece still did not appear.
Bud was the one to break away, but he did not go back to the car. Instead, he headed for the downstairs patio door, and Will followed. The door was draped, but Bud very carefully pulled on it and found it unlatched. Taking many seconds, he very slowly opened it enough to look into the room. There, on one of two leather sofas, he saw his wife. She was stretched out on the sofa with her head in one man's lap and her legs over another man's. Her hand was reaching back to fondle the cock that stuck up right by her cheek while that man teased her nipple. The other man's hand was busy with her pussy. It was apparent that they were watching a porn flick as they played. Will also came to the viewing crack and they both watched as Cece reached a small orgasm.
Bud had been transfixed by the sight until Cece came. Then, he stiffened, and Will knew that he was about to charge into the house and commit mayhem. He quickly squeezed himself between the larger, stronger Bud and the door, risking discovery as he pushed it shut. "Think, Bud! You know how much trouble you could be in if you go in there and start busting heads. Please! Back to the car!"
Will thought at first that Bud was going to punch him out to get into the house, but he suddenly went slack, and Will was able to lead him away without resistance.
Back at the Suburban, no one said anything for a long time, and Trent cried openly. Bud was panting, obviously struggling to control the anger that was returning full force. Will just sat, his unfocused eyes pointed out the windshield. Bud was the first to speak.
"Let's go and drag their cheating asses out of there!"
That jarred Will from his stupor, and he replied softly. "No, I don't think that would be a good idea."
"Why not?" Bud demanded.
"You're so angry right now, you might do something to land you in jail. We all might," Will explained.
"But we can't just leave them in there to... to... God damn it!!" Bud was nearly at the breaking point.
"Whatever they might do, I'm sure they have already done before, sad to say," Will told Bud. "I really think the best thing is to just leave, get away from here?"
"Why do you think that?" Trent asked.
"Well, it will give us time to settle down a little and think before we act."
"Thinking won't change what they've done," Bud spat out.
"No, but it could keep us out of trouble. Also, when the women realize they've been found out, what's the first thing they will want to do?"
"Explain it away, probably apologize. Maybe try to lie their way out of it. Try to talk us out of leaving them," Trent ventured.
"Wait a minute! Wait a minute!" Bud said angrily. "That's my wife! It's my house! My kids - my family! I'm not leaving!"
"What? Are you just going to ignore this?" Will asked.
"No fuckin' way!" Bud declared. "But if I just leave, I lose. That's just wrong! You were right, Will. Let's get the hell out of here. I'm getting angrier all the time."
Bud drove the Suburban and Will followed in his car. Bud and Trent were silent except for Trent's heavy breathing as he fought for control. No one had said where they should go, so Bud just headed for home.
Will parked in his garage and walked across the circle to Bud's house. Trent just sat in the passenger seat of the Suburban until Will opened the door and said "Let's talk on Bud's patio. His kids should be asleep."
"We have some choices about what to do," Will said. "The one thing we can't do, at least I can't, is ignore this. I think the big question is whether we can stay with them after what we saw."
"Do you realize how divorce fucks up a man's life?" Bud demanded. He had used more coarse language in the last half hour than he normally would in a year. "I want to punish Cece. I want to hurt her so bad! But I'll be damned if I going to give up everything I've worked for because she's been fucking around on me."
"Would you ever be able to have sex with her again?" Will asked.
"Damn right I would. But it would be different. No more of this thinking of her first shit. Oh, no offense, Will. I know how hard you tried to help us all, but guess what? It didn't work. I don't blame you. It's their fault. Cece will become my bitch from now on!"
"I can't imagine how I could ever make love to Sandy again after what I saw," Trent said. "Did you see the size on that asshole? I can't compete with that."
"I don't know, Bud. I hear what you're saying and part of me agrees. I don't know, though. Something is just too strange about this whole thing. It's so out of character."
"You mean you think they were drugged or something?" Bud asked.
"Well, it didn't look like it, but... God, there was never any sign that they could do something like that!"
"You know what," Bud said as he paced around, unable to relax enough to sit, "I'm turning over a new leaf. I've only ever had sex with Cece. That's gonna change pretty damn fast. I've been a faithful fool, but no more."
"We've all been faithful," Will said angrily.
"You know what, Will?" Bud said, "I know how we can get back at them. You don't want to leave Val and go through a divorce, either, do you?"
"No, you were right about that," Will agreed.
"Let's have our own orgy, right here on my patio. It's nice and private. I'll bet it wouldn't be hard to hire some women to come out."
"Would we really have sex with them?" Trent asked.
"I sure would," Bud declared. "I'm done being the one-woman man. Wouldn't you do it, Trent? Will?"
Will thought about it for quite a while. "I really do love Val and want to stay with her. Unless I somehow feel equal, though, I'll be angry at her for the rest of our lives. Yes, I'll do it. Call it equalizing."
"Count me in," Trent finally said.
None of the men seemed happy about the decision and there was silence for quite a while. Will snapped his fingers and said "How about we make them be the women for our orgy?"
"You mean have sex with each other's wives?" Trent asked in amazement.
"That's exactly what I mean," Will said. "If they can give it up to those assholes, why can't they give it up to us, supposedly their best friends?"
"Will, that's brilliant! I think they will find it more humiliating than anything else we could do," Bud said excitedly. Then, he thought a moment and said "I don't mind you two having Cece - she deserves it. But if either of you don't want your wife fucking us, we'll just forget it."
"I'm not sure I'll be able to make it with any of them, after what I saw," Trent said, "but I agree. Sandy deserves that?"
"Do you suppose there's any chance they'll like it?" Will asked. "Could they have been secretly wanting this?"
"Shit! I never thought of that," Bud said. "Well, if we think they like it, we'll just get some other women."
"How do we set this up?" Trent asked, now getting into the idea fully.
"Look, the important thing from now on is that we have to be strong, Bud said. "We're the offended party. We can never appear to be hurt, just angry and determined. We have to stop asking and start just telling."
"That's... that's a pretty big change," Trent complained.
"Don't you think if you keep that scene of Sandy riding that big-cocked bastard in mind that you can do it?" Bud asked.
"Yeah. Yeah. I see want you mean. It can make me do anything except maybe fuck Sandy."
The men went to bed early, and all of them feigned sleep when their wives came to bed. None of the wives were inclined to rouse them. Since Bud was the host of the upcoming 'orgy', and also a good actor, he was the one to deliver the blow. When he was all ready to work out the door for work, he told Cece "Oh, be sure the kids are sleeping somewhere else tonight."
"Oh, why? Are we going out? They can stay alone, you know?"
"No, we're not going out. We're having a swap party on the patio," he said matter-of-factly.
"A swap party. You know, where guys get to fuck other guys' wives?"
"Bud! What are you talking about?"
"Well, after you fucked all those assholes last night, I'm sure you'll be happy to give my best friends a chance. I'd sure love to try out Val and Sandy."
"Bud, you're talking crazy. I didn't..."
"Don't even start, Cece. We were there last night. We saw."
Cece turned ghostly pale and staggered to a chair, where she collapsed in tears. Bud just stood and watched her cry for a while, then he lifted her chin and told her "Cece! Cece! Are you paying attention? I'm leaving it up to you to tell the other two. Can you do that for us? You're to be on the patio at nine, naked and ready for some more fun. I hope your pussies are all recovered enough from last night."
Bud walked toward the door to the garage. Just before he went through he turned back. "Oh, I almost forgot. If for some reason all three of you can't be there, be sure and let me know by noon. We'll get some other women and just call it an orgy instead of a swap party."
When Bud met the other two men out on the street, he was much less flip than he had appeared to Cece. "God, that was hard. I did want to punish her, but... I know it's crazy, after what she did, but when she collapsed, I almost couldn't stop from comforting her."
"I guess that's the best argument for not just leaving. We still love them. Wanting to protect them is just natural. We've got to stay tough, though," Will cautioned.
"Are you sure they'll end up in your kitchen?" Bud asked Will.
"They do 95% of the time. I hope that old dictation unit will pick up what they say." By the time they had thought of it, there was no place open to buy a voice-activated recorder. The hand-held dictation unit from another era was voice activated, but was designed to be spoken into. For want of anything better, Will had taped it to the underside of their kitchen table.
Cece somehow got to her feet and watched as Bud talked to Trent and Will in the street. Trent and Will: would she be having sex with them by the pool that night?
When all three had driven away, Cece hurried across the circle to Val's house, which was next door to Sandy's. Val was their de facto leader, plus her kitchen provided the most privacy with a door that could close it off from the rest of the house. That is where the trio usually gathered for something that needed to be private.
It only took Val one look at Cece, besides the unprecedented fact that she had not dressed, to see that something was seriously wrong. Before Val could even ask, Cece said "They were there last night. They saw."
Staggered by the news, Val managed to pick up the phone and call Sandy. "Get over here, quickly. We'll tell you when you get here."
"What did they see?" Was Sandy's first reaction.
"It must have been enough," Val said. "But why didn't Will say anything?"
"Trent didn't either," Sandy added. "He was asleep when I went to bed. I thought that was kind of funny."
"Same here," said Val.
"I think it was all planned out," Cece said. "Here's what Bud told me before he left just now." She repeated the conversation with Bud.
Neither of the others could respond for many seconds. "Is... is that how they're going to get revenge?" Sandy wondered.
"They could just leave us - divorce us," Val suggested.
"Trent couldn't divorce me over that," Sandy insisted. "It wasn't that big a deal. It didn't hurt the two of us!"
"I don't think they mean it," Val stated. "They would never go through with it. It must be just to scare us."
"Are you willing to risk them bringing in other women?"
"Will would never do that."
"He probably didn't think you would ever do last night, either."
"Oh. Do you really think they're that upset?"
"Do you remember the time when I took off my top in the pool? Remember how they all reacted?" Sandy asked.
"Yeah, it was a deep-freeze night."
"That probably tells us what they think about group sex."
"Then why would they make us do it with them?"
"It... it would be Bud's first woman other than me," Cece said with a catch in her voice.
"Cece, be honest. Do you want that to be one of us? Or would you rather it be some prostitute or escort?"
"I don't want him to have anyone but me!" Cece said through sobs.
"Why is it so important to you? You've had so many men."
"It just... makes it seem so special."
"Do you think the men feel the same way? The all knew they weren't our first."
"I just don't know!" Val moaned. For once, she was as confused and upset as the others.
"I wish we could talk to someone who could help us," Cece said. "Say, Sarah Tolliver raved about that psychiatrist that helped her. I wonder if we could get an appointment?"
"Not before tonight. No way."
"I'm going to call Sarah, anyway."
"It's an emergency."
"Hello, Sarah, this is Cece. Sorry to call so early."
"No problem. I've been up. You sound... stressed."
"No kidding! What's the name of that psychiatrist that helped you so much?"
"It's Dr. Julia Waxman. I'm afraid you'd have real trouble getting to her, though. She's now the director of Transformations. She still has private patients, but she is trying to cut back."
"S... sounds like you know her p... pretty well," Cece said, trying to hold back the tears.
"We've become friends since my treatment. She's an awesome person. Cece, you sound like you're about to lose it."
"I... I can't tell you, but the three of us are... we did... Sarah, we've got big trouble. I guess if Dr. Waxman is too busy, we'll just have to... I don't know. We need to talk to someone. Today!"
"Are you at home, Cece?"
"No, at Val's."
"And you all three need to see someone?"
"And your marriages could all be in trouble if you don't?"
"How... how did you know that?"
"Cece, it didn't take a genius. Stay by the phone."
"Julia, this may be impossible, but is there any chance you could squeeze in some people today?"
"Yes, three friends of mine. I don't know what the problem is, but it sounds like if they don't get some help today, their marriages could be in trouble."
"What kind of trouble could it be?"
"That's just it, Julia. These are three almost fairy tale marriages. I just can't imagine anything serious happening there. But there was no question about the panic in Cece's voice."
"Sarah, you know I don't have the time and you know I don't do group therapy. Because I believe you, though, tell these women to be at my office at 11:30 today."
After introductions, Julia told the three women "I cut an appointment in half, so I have until one o'clock. That isn't much time, but it's all I could spare. What would you like for lunch?"
All three indicated that they could not eat. That gave Julia the clue she was looking for. It certainly matched the looks on their faces.
"All right. Forgive me if I eat something. Now, as concisely as you can, not leaving out anything important, tell me what's wrong."
"Last night, our husbands found out we were at a party and saw us there," Val said, taking her usual role as the leader. It was a, well, a... a swingers' party."
Julia could not help the expression on her face. After her years of practice, she thought she was immune to such surprises, but that got her. That revelation triggered a hundred questions, but she just said "Go on."
"None of them said anything last night. They were all asleep when we got home. At least we thought they were. This morning, my husband and Sandy's just left for work early. But Bud, Cece's husband told her... you tell it, Cece."
"He told me to make sure the kids slept somewhere else tonight because there was going to be a swap party at our pool. When I asked him what he was talking about he said... he said... 'After you fucked all those assholes last night, I'm sure you'll be happy to give my best friends a chance. I'd sure love to try out Val and Sandy.'"
"I asked him what he was talking about and he told me they were at the party last night and saw us."
"So they did not know you were participating in parties like that?" Julia asked.
"Oh, no! Of course not!" The women all said in unison.
"I thought swingers always participated as couples, ' Julia said. "Why didn't you have them with you?"
"They would never... we didn't want them to know... " Val was not able to get any farther and neither of the others was any help.
"OK, there are many things I need to find out, but what's the rest of the story. Why the emergency for today?"
"Well, they want us to swap with them tonight," Val said. "We can't do that!"
"Wait a minute," Julia said, purposely playing dumb, "You mean you don't want to swap with all of your husbands?"
"Of course not!" Val said indignantly. "We don't do that sort of thing."
"I'm still confused," Julia acted out. "You said you don't do that sort of thing, but just last night you WERE doing that sort of thing. What am I missing here?"
"Not with our husbands!" Val said with a shock in her voice.
"Oh, you mean you have never exchanged partners before?" Julia asked.
"No, never. Our marriages aren't like that."
"So, you go to your swingers' parties and what do your husbands do for sexual variety? Do they have their own parties? Do the have mistresses? What?" Julia knew the women were hurting, but she could not resist sticking the knife in. There was no doubt that this would go down as one of the strangest of all of her cases.
The three women looked at each for a moment, then Val said "They don't... they don't do any of those things."
"Let me get this straight: your husbands are all completely faithful, but you go to swingers' parties. Is that right?"
"You make it sound so... so unfair," Cece complained.
"Is it fair?" Julia challenged.
"You don't understand," Sandy whined.
"No, I don't understand," Julia admitted, "That's why I'm asking these questions. Was last night the first time your husbands had any idea you were cheating on them?" She purposely introduced 'cheating'.
"We weren't... we weren't cheating... not exactly," Val objected.
"Do you think they saw it as cheating?"
"Oh, I..." Val got no farther.
"Let me summarize, if I may. Last night your husbands, suspicious for some reason, found you at a party where they saw you having sex with other men. That discovery was a complete shock to them. Am I right so far?"
"We don't know if they actually saw us having sex. We don't know how long they were there or what they saw," Val corrected.
"I think we can assume that they saw one or more of you having sex. If not, they saw you doing enough other things and they saw other people having sex. They saw enough to know that you had already had sex or would soon have sex. Is that a fair assumption?"
"I guess so," Val conceded.
"So, last night, your husbands discovered for the first time that their supposedly faithful wives were engaging in group sex. Do I have that right?" There were glum nods from all three women.
"What do you think their reactions were?"
"Shocked, I suppose."
"Probably angry. But he never said anything. He didn't yell at me or threaten," Sandy said.
"When was the last time he yelled at you?"
"Oh! I guess it was... I can't remember," Sandy admitted.
"All of them were in bed, at least pretending to be asleep when you three got home, right?" Julia asked to nods of assent. Julia made notes for a few minutes, her way of buying time to think.
"All right, this is just conjecture, but here is my take on what I believe happened with your husbands last night. After they discovered what you were doing, they got together, probably in a car.
"It is my guess that there was a pretty vigorous debate about how to react. Of course, I do not know your husbands, but I assume that, just like you three, they tend to act together.
"At least one of them wanted to break into the place and haul you out bodily."
"That would be Bud," Cece interrupted.
"Cooler heads prevailed because no one wanted to end up in jail," Julia went on. "Next, I would guess they talked about just leaving, not letting you know where they were, and seeing divorce lawyers in the morning." There were gasps at the 'D' word.
"He wouldn't divorce me over that!" Sandy declared.
"Frankly, I will be surprised if you aren't served divorce papers when you get back home."
"Why? He wouldn't throw away all of those years over this!" Val insisted.
"Oh, he most definitely would," Julia asserted, "and I would consider it completely justified."
"What? How can you say that? We came here for help!" Cece wailed.
"It appears that one way I need to help you is to give you an appreciation of exactly what you have done to your husbands. I need to speak with my assistant for a moment."
The women sat in sullen silence as Julia cleared another hour to meet with them.
When Julia returned, she told them "I'm going to sound like a professor for a while. I think we need to review some basic anthropology, so bear with me.
"Procreation is one of the basic drives of humans. That drive manifests itself in both men and women, but in somewhat different ways.
"Men are born to compete. They compete for the privilege of inseminating as many females as they can. They compete the hardest to inseminate the most desirable females. The most desirable are the ones who will produce the most survivable, most competitive offspring.
"It is part of the male psyche to want to have sex with every female that catches his eye. It is not a character flaw - it is the way they are wired.
"Now don't get feeling all smug. We women really don't have anything to brag about. We are just as driven by the need to procreate. We strive to give birth to the best children, those that are the most survivable and competitive. Sound familiar?
"How do we give birth to the best children? By being impregnated by the best males. We are wired to entice the best stud around to have sex with us. Is that clear so far?" Julia stopped to take a drink and let her comments sink in.
"OK. In prehistoric times, a dominant male got access to the best females by killing, subduing, or driving off his competitors. It was very much the same system as with many animal species today. Females obtained the sperm of the best males by making themselves the most appealing to the males.
"What we have, in our natural state, is a strict survival of the fittest situation. However, onto that, we have little by little layered civilization. A definition of civilization that I like is this: controlling, curtailing, and/or restraining our natural urges for the sake of enlightened self-interest.
"Hopefully, I have not put you to sleep. Believe me, I am getting to the point, here. One very important concept of civilization is marriage: the permanent access of one male to one female that is understood and respected by all of the other males and females. You could say that marriage benefits all by eliminating the worst aspects of competition and allowing everyone to apply their talents and energies to pursuits that benefit the entire society.
"There are, of course, other benefits from marriage. Since human children mature slowly and require a long period of care and training, a stable family unit is beneficial for the long-term growth of the society, as well.
"When entering into a marriage, both a male and a female agree to permanent compromises. The man agrees to limit his urge to spread his seed and agrees to inseminate just his partner female. She may not be the absolute most desirable female in the tribe, especially today, when the tribe is almost infinite in size. He will always encounter another that he considers more desirable, but he decides that she is the one that he will be satisfied with indefinitely.
"The woman also makes a compromise. She probably has not attracted the dominant male of the tribe. In such an immense tribe as we have today, she will always encounter another man whom she wishes she could mate with. She has made the choice, though, to be satisfied with the seed of her partner indefinitely.
"For humans, the compromises involved in marriage are easier because of that thing called love. That strong emotional attraction between a male and a female is the secret that lets marriage work.
"Today, instead of clubs and raw strength, men compete with wealth, power, and luxury. Instead of just comely bodies and enticing pheromones, women also compete with wealth, power, luxury, and adornment. Of course, I am simplifying and trivializing, but you get the idea.
"Now, after that long-winded explanation, what went wrong in your marriages?"
"I don't really think anything was wrong with our marriages," Val claimed.
"Oh?" Julia prodded. "What about the part where the woman chooses to be satisfied with the sperm of one man, instead of seeking to be impregnated by the very best? Did you all do that?"
As Julia had expected, none of the three responded. Neither was any of the three able to look her in the eye.
"You see, it's as simple as giving in to your basic, primal urges. There is another important factor that has made your situation what it is. Remember how I stressed the naturally competitive nature of men? Well, in a marriage-oriented society, a man no longer just goes out and fights for any woman he decides he wants. But as compensation, he 'possesses' one woman exclusively.
"It is certainly not PC to talk about one person possessing another, but that's just too bad, because that is exactly a man's view of his wife and her body. Contrary to popular psychology, it is not a character flaw that men must be trained out of. It is built into the human male DNA.
"Validation of his sexual prowess is very important to a man. He can no longer impregnate numerous women to demonstrate that prowess, at least most men do not. Therefore, his sole validation is in the possession of his woman.
"Even more important to you three is one final thing - respect. As women, we may never completely grasp the importance of respect to a man, but we ignore it or underestimate it at our own peril. One could safely say that women and respect are equally important incentives for a man's natural competitiveness.
"I don't want to seem like I'm hammering you, but there is no way to sugar-coat this. Much of your husbands' self-respect was tied up in possession of your pussies." Julia's use of the street word was purposeful. "You gave them away, delivering the cruelest possible blow to their self-respect."
"Damn! Damn! Damn!" Cece swore. "Does that mean it's hopeless?"
"I can't say it is ever hopeless," Julia stated. "We're talking people here, and people, and love, can make surprising things happen. If I did not think there was hope, I would not be talking to you now."
After a short break, Sandy interrupted before Julia could start the intended topic of the session. "I watch every kind of relationship show I can find. I read a dozen women's magazine's, especially the 'marriage improvement' articles. I've read a whole shelf of relationship books. How come I never before heard some of the stuff you told us last time?"
Julia was human - very human. "Did any of those shows, magazine articles, or books suggest swinging as a way to improve your marriage - swinging without your husband?"
There was a simultaneous gasp from all three women and many seconds of silence before Cece asked "Do you really see it that black and white? We're the bad guys and they're the victims?"
Julia regretted her question, but decided not to respond to Cece.
"Ladies, we live in a culture that is severely skewed toward attention to the psychological needs of women while practically denying that men have any such needs.
"Lest you think I am exaggerating, go to a book store or browse Amazon. Make a rough count of the number of books on how to keep a woman happy and satisfied vs. those on how to do the same for men.
"Pick up a handful of women's magazines and look for articles on improving marriage. Almost exclusively, they deal with making the woman sexier. Almost never do they talk about how men tick. The exception is that they often talk about men's overpowering sexual drive.
"Look at sit-coms. Who is the boob - the butt of the jokes? It's always the man. Even a classic like 'I Love Lucy': she does all of these dumb things but comes out as lovable and well-meaning with a sort of instinctive wisdom. What about Desi and Fred? Totally clueless, every time.
"So you see, there is a pernicious, pervasive doctrine in our culture that says that men are simple bags of testosterone with no more true feelings than a pet rock. Feelings and emotions are strictly the province of women."
"How can everything be so lopsided?" Cece asked. "If what you say is true, and I believe you, how has this happened? Why have men let it happen?"
"Do you really want another soap box speech?" Julia asked with the first bit of humor she had been able to manage. All three patients nodded.
"I see two reasons. The first, and an enormous one, is economic. Women spend the vast majority of the money on products advertised in the media. There are some notable exceptions: cars, beer, computers, audio, but that all pales in comparison to the vast dollars spent on advertising clothing, cosmetics, food, jewelry, etc. If the shows or articles do not please the advertisers' target audience, the ad money dries up.
"In a very real sense, today's consumer economy is fueled by promoting the battle of the sexes - from our side.
"The second reason has to do with the male ego. In general, men like to think themselves above all the 'psycho-babble'. I think the general male attitude toward all the shows and the articles could be described as a combination of indulgent and condescending. Of course, they know what happens to any man who raises a voice in protest."
"Wh... what happens?" Cece asked, setting Julia up beautifully.
"All those shows and articles turn against them," Julia replied. "Let's face it, ladies. We have the power - between our legs. Men are just not suited to shooting it out on the sexual battlefield. For us, it's as natural as breathing. We are genetically equipped to use sex to offset the superior physical size and strength of men."
Julia called a short break to refill water glasses, then changed the subject. "Now, I would like to learn more about your marriages. I would much rather do this with you individually, but let's see what we can find out together."
The wives talked in great detail about their marriages. It was a very tearful discussion, with each of the wives breaking down completely several times. When the discussion wound down, Julia delivered the cruelest blow. "So, how would you compare your marriages to those of most women you know?"
The response to Julia's question was a deluge of tears that lasted for minutes. Cece, the first one able to speak again, asked rather angrily "Are we just paying you to make us feel worse?"
"No, Cece. I get satisfaction by helping people feel better. I sincerely apologize for what I've had to do, but what was the attitude of all of you when you first came in today?"
"Yes, I'm sure you felt all of those things. But weren't you all angry with your husbands because they would want you to do such a terrible thing as swapping? And weren't you puzzled why they were reacting as they did?" The three looked at each other and nodded.
"We could not get anywhere with a possible solution if you did not have a realistic understanding of what happened and why they feel as they do. Are you still angry with them? Are you still puzzled?"
"Not puzzled, I guess," Sandy answered. "But it's still not fair to ask us to do that."
"Was what you did fair to them?"
"Um, no. But..."