Claire reached her office a little late that Thursday, mentally reviewing today's appointments. Not too busy. Maybe she'd have time to follow up with some of her medical colleagues on progress or the lack of it in people they had referred to her.
Today she had no sex offender or problem couple case, just plain, everyday people who were having difficulties coping with their world. Not always the sharpest knives in the drawer, but sometimes surprisingly brilliant in sheer brain-power, people with a first class honors degree, say, who had never learnt to deal with the normal everyday trivia of living in a world with other inhabitants, inhabitants as irritating to a logical mind as only humans can be.
Claire picked up the file on her first case, a new referral. Male, late 50's, with some vaguely expressed concern about his behavior he had been unable to make clear to the doctor who made the referral. Name of Greg Smith. Quickly she skimmed the file, but really it told her nothing beyond the usual background; date of birth, meds, illnesses, surgical procedures etc.
Realizing it was almost time for Greg's appointment, she walked over to her closet and checked herself out in the full-length mirror inside the door, making sure she looked comfortable and reassuringly normal – someone who could be trusted. She wore a dark blue silk blouse and a knee-length black skirt, full rather than fitting closely, one that swirled about her slender legs as she turned. Black shoes with a small heel completed her outfit. The only thing to catch the eye besides her slender good looks was a nice looking broach pinned to her blouse above her left breast, a broach with a good-sized opal at its center.
Norma, Claire's receptionist, knocked briefly on her door, responded to Claire's "Come in," by doing just that, and ushered in a man who looked vaguely embarrassed, but there was something about him that made Claire's eyes widen a little, and quicken her pulse. Clearly a professional of some sort from his clothing and demeanor. Not conventionally handsome, but slim, lean, and fit-looking. He certainly looked eight or ten years younger than his real age. Yes, there was something about him...
Claire walked to greet him as Norma left, closing the door behind her, and held out her hand to shake his. "Mr. Smith? I'm Claire Bridges. It's nice to meet you. Do please sit down – these chairs cost an arm and a leg, but they're quite comfortable." Noticing the anxiety that showed through his effort to be calm and relaxed, she continued; "And please, try to let go, relax, and feel comfortable – I promise I don't bite! Well, not hard, anyway."
Greg, relieved that she seemed a nice, normal, relaxed and really quite good looking woman with no "I'm the doctor; you're the patient" look about her, did just that, or at least tried hard. He took one of the chairs to one side of Claire's desk, and Claire sat opposite him in the other. She had his file and a notebook within her reach on her desk, but didn't pick up anything.
Claire crossed her legs, clasped her hands around her knee, and smiled warmly. "I have some idea of how you're feeling, Mr. Smith..."
"Please, call me Greg," he interjected quickly.
"Thanks, Greg, and please – it's Claire if you're comfortable with that. Ms. Bridges sounds like - I dunno – something do with roads and rivers, and I'm NOT a river!" she smiled at him.
"Tell me a bit about yourself please, Greg – I promise I won't pigeonhole you! It just helps me to have the scenery around you in my mind's eye, if you understand me – like at the theater."
Greg liked this woman. She had immediately put him at his ease, and it didn't hurt that he found her quite attractive.
"Well, I live by myself now – my wife and I are divorced, but no grievances there. We like each other better now than when we were together," he smiled with a wry grin. "We have a daughter who's in her thirties. She's single and has her own place. She's a nurse actually, at the local Hospital."
He paused, wondering how much detail to give her. Claire quickly said; "Just ramble on, Greg, please – I'll ask anything you miss, don't fret about that!" she smiled gently.
"I'm an academic at the State University – I'm a historian actually. Worked there since I finished my PhD years and years ago – teaching and research. Nothing mind-blowing. I have a small house on a few acres in a rural part of the area, about twenty minutes or so from campus. I love reading, some TV but not much I'm afraid, good music – mostly classical, playing sport, walking nature trails – that sort of thing – when I have the time. Sounds pretty trivial really – a purposeless life in a way." He hung his head, a look of dejection showed briefly before he straightened, squared his shoulders, and looked at Claire with a determinedly bright expression.
Claire looked in his eyes, and could see a hint of glistening moisture there. Clearly Greg had some teary emotion not far beneath the surface. She waited, with her usual kind, open expression on her face, a face that seemed to say; "It's OK – you can relax, and trust me."
Greg made an effort to keep talking, but stalled before a word emerged.
"Greg, I know and understand that something is troubling you, but at the moment I don't have the slightest idea what it might be. Is it linked to what you said just now – a purposeless life?"
Greg shook his head. "No, it's not that, though maybe that's part of it. It's more ... much more personal, and honestly, it's really hard to talk about."
His voice dried up once more, and now he was avoiding Claire's eyes.
"Greg, may I touch you?" asked Claire gently. Greg's head nodded, still avoiding her gaze.
Claire leaned across and put her hand on his knee, squeezing it gently. "It sounds as if you have your life and relationships pretty well worked out OK, and they're not the problem, am I right?"
Greg raised his eyes, comforted by her gentle touch, trusting him. He looked at Claire and nodded. "Yeah, you're right about that; most of my life is fine, but I have a pretty personal problem, and it ... it really gets to me. And I'm worried about ... Oh God it's hard to explain."
Claire leaned back in her chair, giving him space and time, then said, "When I hear a story like yours, Greg, where the everyday stuff is running along OK, I find that the culprit if I can call it that is sometimes worry about illness or approaching death – either you or someone you feel close to, or maybe sex comes into it, or – I dunno – it's difficult to create a short list of the things that really worry we humans. Try to set me right on which part of the problem globe I should be planting my feet, and I can begin to get my bearings."
Greg quickly spoke, in a rush to get the words out; "You mentioned it – sex – it's in that area, anyway."
Claire smiled at him, with a look of calm confidence and trust. "Don't worry, Greg – you couldn't possibly shock me, I can guarantee that, whatever it is. You can be absolutely specific. You can use whatever words and language you like to tell me about it. I need to understand, if I'm to be of any help. It would take me an hour just to tell you all the swear words and obscenities I've heard in this room, and I'm pretty sure I use them all myself when something gets my goat, like if the heel comes off my shoe – now that makes me say ... well, you can probably guess," she grinned.
Greg couldn't help responding with a flashing smile. The idea of this charming, well-conducted and classy woman mouthing obscenities at a shoe heel was innately funny.
"OK, Claire, I'll do my best. The root of the problem – oh God that wasn't meant to be a pun on rooting..." Claire laughed out loud, and, grinning, encouraged him to go on.
"The HEART of the problem has its origins in something very simple. For whatever reason, as I've got older, I've found it more and more difficult to err ... have an orgasm," he said, blushing slightly and avoiding Claire's smiling gaze.
"Try harder with the language, Greg," said Claire gently.
"I have trouble cumming. Is that better?" he asked, slightly shame-faced.
"If you're comfortable with the word, that's fine," answered Claire. "I have no problem with it. Do you mean when you're fucking?"
Looking a little startled at Claire's casual use of the f word, but quickly recovering his composure and realizing that this was Claire – quite matter of fact, and simply using the best word in common usage - Greg continued; "Well, actually, it's several years since I was able to ... do that."
"Say it, Greg, say what it is that you haven't been able to do. Honestly, it's best to get over this hurdle. Yes, I'm a woman, but that doesn't mean you have to guard your language with me. Actually, being more explicit can be a good, therapeutic step," said Claire gently, with a slight smile and another squeeze of his knee.
"OK – several years since I was able to ... able to ... Oh Shit! Since I was able to FUCK! There, I did it!" he said with a wry grin. "It boils down to this – I have a lot of trouble achieving a decent erection – need a lot of stimulus for some reason. And I can't sustain it for any length of time. So – making love – screwing – fucking – hasn't been on the cards for a long while. And even with masturbating, it can take me several hours of trying, with different types of stimulation – reading erotic literature, pictures and videos of nice looking, scantily clad ladies and so on – to cum. It's a nightmare!" he ended despairingly, clutching his downcast head in his hands.
Claire looked at him with a sad, fading smile, sorrow in her heart for this poor man, who gave every appearance of being a gentle man. To be almost anorgasmic at his age must be a great trial, if he still had a typical libido for his age.
"Greg, I'm so sorry. It must be awful for you. I guess you've had your doctor look at your meds, to spot any that sometimes have a list of side effects that includes that awful phrase – 'sexual difficulties'?" she probed gently.
Greg nodded his head. "Yes, we've been through that, and I'm getting to be an expert on the subject," he answered with a wry grin. "The pills for erectile dysfunction certainly help, if I can get and sustain a decent level of sexual excitement, or maybe I should say an indecent level. They give me something to work with, if you understand me?" he said, rather shamefacedly.
Claire was actually a little puzzled by what he had just said. "I'm not sure ... I quite follow you. Could you bear to explain?" she said softly.
"Well, to be blunt, it's hard – delete that – it's DIFFICULT for me to get an erection of sufficient size and hardness that stays that way long enough for me to work on it with a massager for a spell long enough to cum. The massager is the best thing for me, I've found, incidentally. If I take an ED pill – that can make the difference. You've no idea what it's like trying to massage a tiny, soft, limp little dick to orgasm. Not that I haven't tried, but ... it's virtually impossible." He shook his head in despair.
Claire looked at him silently for a few moments, with great pity in her heart.
"Has your doctor investigated your – you know – physical condition – blood work, tests, that sort of thing – to make sure there is no physical cause of your problem, Greg?" and she reached out and put her hand on his knee again, squeezing it gently for a moment, letting him know she was full of compassion for him.
"Oh yes, we've been through it all. No physical problem we can identify causing it. My testosterone level is below the lower end of the normal range, so I have some stuff to help with that, and it does help some – I find attractive women much more attractive now," he grinned with an attempt at a boyish cheekiness, "but it hasn't helped with the – what do you call it – anorgasmia, I think?" Claire nodded her head.
"But – well, I can live with it. I can cum once or twice a week – nearly go nuts if I don't – but I wish it was more often, and much much quicker and easier. Honestly, it can take me most of a day, and sometimes even after several hours of trying, I still can't cum, and have to try again the next day. But you see, my NEED to cum, the urge, is SO strong."
Greg did in fact seem quite philosophical about it, thought Claire – he could cope with it. He might not like it, but he could live with it, as he said. She wondered intuitively if there was more. She waited in silence, looking with great kindness at Greg's face as he slowly recovered his composure.
When the silence had stretched a good while, she felt it right to say; "Greg? There's something more, isn't there?"
Appalled but comforted by her quick understanding, Greg nodded his head slowly.
"Yes. It's obvious really, now, when I think about it. What I find is that something that I read or look at once that can give me a spurt – no, delete spurt – a feeling of sexual excitement when I first come across it – oh God, honestly, I'm not TRYING to make puns – when I first encounter whatever it is that gives me a feeling of sexual excitement, well, it doesn't have the same impact if I go back to it, and the more I read, let's say an erotic story – the less impact it has, so I struggle to find new sources of inspiration, if I can put it that way... ," said Greg slowly, his voice tapering away.
"Have you tried dating?" asked Claire softly.
"Not really. I have a feeling of revulsion about that – it would just be quite immoral to date a woman just for the possibility of getting some help for sexual relief for myself. Oh I know, it could be a two-way thing, with a liking, and with mutual benefit for both, but..." his voice trailed away.
"But you have such a long history of not being able to 'get it up' as they say, and fuck, that you don't want to risk the embarrassment and shame, am I right?" Claire said softly.
Greg looked at her strangely. "How can this woman be so intuitive"? he thought to himself.
Raising his eyebrows a little in mock irony, he saluted her. "Spot on. Though if I'm honest, it's the morality of it that would really appall me. So," he went on, "anyway, because sources of sexual excitement lose their edge with use, I keep trying to find – you know – new stories, new web sites, new things that will kick-start me and keep me there. And this is where it gets a little strange, and maybe a bit scary."
Claire's eyes were steady. "You're telling me you've discovered some new source of getting turned on, right? And you think it might be a bit wrong, a bit risky?" she asked softly. "Maybe a bit of a risk factor – something that, say, the law might frown on? Or something harmless you feel ashamed of?"
"Well," answered Greg quietly, with an expression on his face that was quite new, a hunted, scared look, a look of self-loathing, perhaps; "in a way, you might be right. It's harmless at the moment, but I'm afraid of it escalating, you see..." and he grew quiet again, his eyes troubled, his chin dropping into his chest, looking down.
Claire thought rapidly. Pinching knickers off clothes lines? Frotteur? Inappropriate touching?
"I can't guess, Greg. I think you may have to give me a hint for once," she smiled at him.
Greg took a deep breath, steeling himself to say something he was afraid might truly shock this nice young woman.
"OK," he began, "a few weeks ago, I was driving somewhere – can't remember what I was doing exactly, and it came into my head to get my cock out while I was driving and just play with it a bit."
At this, Claire felt a flash of pure excitement streak through her, totally unexpected, her heart beat rapidly, her eyes went wide, her face flushed, and she almost lost control of her bodily functions, almost peeing herself in her sudden overwhelming excitement. "It couldn't be," she thought, "surely not – why is that so, so exciting?"
She fought hard to control herself, glad Greg was not looking at her, as he quietly continued his story. "So I did. It was a quiet road, a few cars, countryside mainly, a few shops and houses here and there. I steered with one hand and undid my zip with the other, then fished inside my trousers, delved into the opening at the front of my underpants, pulled out my cock, then just sort of quietly played with it a bit, pulling on it, pulling the foreskin back and then up again, wiggled it a bit – you know, just sort of played with it, like a little boy would do. It grew a bit. I knew really there was no way anyone could see what I was doing - they'd have to be standing right beside my car door to see it – but there was just that element of naughtiness, you know? Just that it was something sexy and naughty I was doing, and nobody knew. I found that quite erotic. When I got – I know, I stopped at a shop – I left my cock out as I pulled into the parking lot, then just let it go back inside my trousers but left it out of my underpants if you follow me, did my zip up, and went into the shop with my cock outside my underpants, though no-one would know – I didn't have an erection, you see. That was the start of it."
Claire swallowed, struggling to maintain a calm and professional manner. THAT had been the most erotic thing she had heard EVER! So simple, so harmless.
"And then, a few days later," Greg went on, "I have a deck at the back of my house, overlooking woods and fields. There's a house either side, but a good hundred yards away, and the bushes and so on hide them from most places on the deck, so..." he swallowed, "I thought it might be exciting to leave my cock out while I was standing on the deck, and just sort of – play with it a bit. And it was – exciting, I mean. Not a lot, but every little helps. I was fully clothed, you understand, just my cock hanging out of my trousers. I've done that several times."
She cleared her throat, struggling to speak in her normal, gentle manner. "I can understand how you might find that very erotic, Greg. I'll be honest with you; your story turned me on a bit – more than a bit. It surprised me, truly. Maybe I'm an exhibitionist too!" she added with a shaky laugh.
Greg looked at her sharply. He had recognized that what he had done was being an exhibitionist in a very harmless way, and was surprised beyond measure that someone else could find his telling the story erotic. Still, the ways of human nature are strange, he knew.
"Greg, don't do it right now, but could you, when I ask you, do just what you told me you did in your car, pulling out and playing with your cock, here, in front of me? I think that might be a very good, helpful thing for you, and – well, you and I will just have to wait and see what my reaction is. You know of course that waving your cock around in public could get you in big trouble, don't you?"
Greg nodded his head. "Yes, I'm well aware of that, and I think that's what I'm afraid of, that it might escalate, and I WILL start flashing it in a situation where I could get in serious trouble, and be arrested. As to your question about doing it here ... I'm astounded! I won't ask why – I trust your judgment, but ... I'm curious, a bit scared – no a LOT scared – but a little excited by the idea at the same time. Does that make sense?"
Claire nodded her head. "I understand completely. I would feel the same, I think, if I were you I mean. So – will you do it when I ask you to?"
Greg nodded his head, a blush on his cheeks, and hung his head a little in fear or shame or some more complex mixture of emotions.
"OK, good. Just give a few moments, will you? I'll be right back. Just sit here and enjoy your very expensive chair!" she grinned at him.
Picking up Greg's file, she walked quickly to her office door, allowing her hips to sway from side to side as she did so, then left the room, closing the door behind her.
Norma looked up at her with a smile. "Anything I can do for you, Claire?" she asked.
Claire perched on a corner of Norma's desk. "Actually yes, there is, but it's a little unusual. The patient I'm working with at the moment – Greg Smith – has a problem that he's afraid might get out of hand and land him in trouble. Now – this is confidential, understand?"
Norma nodded. She was perfectly used to Claire's sometimes unorthodox methods, and was also bound by confidentiality.