“Oh, what lies there are in kisses.” ~ Heinrich Heine
It was his idea and she loved him all the more for it. They sat together on a surprisingly comfortable couch in a room that looked more like a favorite uncle’s den than a therapist’s office. Thighs touching, he held her hand on his knee. Waiting for the doctor to start, they joked in low voices.
Their wedding was still a few months away, but when he suggested they have pre-marital counseling she embraced the opportunity. What better way to begin their lives together than making sure they addressed all potential roadblocks.
“For this to best benefit you both,” the doctor began, “you must be completely honest – with me, with each other and with yourselves.”
They got through the difficult parts early – religion, children, finances. It wasn’t until the one area where they thought they were most compatible that the problem started.
The doctor questioned them about intimacy – how long had they been together, were they involved sexually, for how long, how often…
“Are you able to reach orgasms,” The doctor asked, absently writing their answers on his notepad.
He laughed lightly, still holding her hand, raised it up to kiss the back of her wrist, “oh, yes!”
Swallowing hard, she said nothing at first, looking straight ahead at the doctor.
Looking up finally, the doctor directed his gaze back at her.
“What exactly do you mean?”
Blinking, the doctor steepled his fingers, elbows on the arms of his chair.
“When you are making love with him, do you climax?”
Frowning slightly, she took a deep breath.
“When you say making love, do you mean all of it, or just intercourse?”
“Do you need to make a distinction,” the doctor asked. “Complete honesty.”
Letting go of her hand, he shifted slightly on the couch so he faced her.
She sat forward, hands on her knees, inspecting her toes with extreme interest.
“If you mean only intercourse, then no. I don’t always.”
“That’s perfectly normal,” the doctor reassured her. “How often would you say you did? The majority of the time?”
Still with her head down, in a soft voice, “no.”
“Half the time,” the doctor asked, writing again on his notebook.
“no,” so hushed she barely spoke above a whisper.
He slid off the couch, going down on one knee before her, “ever?”
She tilted her head back, a deep sigh deflating her. Tears, pooling on her eyelashes, threatened to spill over. The shake of her head almost imperceptible.
The doctor leaned forward in anticipation of her answer.
Turning toward him, she reached for his hand. Standing, he pulled away from her, and began to pace from the couch to the door.
He stopped a few feet from her, raking his fingers through his hair, suddenly he didn’t know what to do with his hands. He tried crossing his arms across his chest, but that didn’t feel right. In his pockets? He finally decided to just jammed them on his hips. Taking huge gulps of air, he tried to calm his breathing, tried to keep his heart from slamming out of his chest.
“It’s not like I never have with you,” she swore to him, pleading with her eyes for him to understand. “That’s why I asked about whether it was just during intercourse. You are a wonderful lover, you make me feel incredible.”
“But I don’t satisfy you!”
“I didn’t say that,” she stood and moved toward him. “You are amazing. You are patient, thoughtful, creative… everything I could ever hope for.”
Backing away, he held up a hand, warding her off, spitting out his allegation, “everything except being able to get you off!”
She turned back toward the doctor. “It’s me, don’t you see. I have never had an orgasm through intercourse alone.”
Facing him again, she flinched when he looked disgusted, and turned away from her.
“Don’t do that! You knew from the beginning you weren’t my first.” She shouted at him, then admitted to the doctor, “I couldn’t with any of my other lovers either.”
She was frantic now, looking from the doctor to him. He wasn’t listening. She stepped behind him, laying her hands on his shoulders. “I love you. It doesn’t matter to me.”
Recoiling from her touch, he growled, “it matters to me. You lied!” He flung the accusation at her, his face red, his fists clenched.
“If I had told you, what would you have done?” Still trying to touch him, he batted her hands away.
“I would’ve try harder, I would’ve done whatever I needed to do,” he said, walking wide around her to sit back down on the couch.
“That’s why I didn’t say anything. I didn’t want our love-making to become a chore, something you felt you had to ‘get right.’ I didn’t want that to be all there was to it.”
The doctor took in this exchange, watching both combatants intently.
“I think it would be a good idea to schedule another session, there is a lot here you both need to work out.”
“I don’t know if I want to go through with this,” he said, his voice breaking. “If she lied to me about this, what else has she lied about. I don’t know if I can ever trust her again.”
“It wasn’t a real lie,” she sighed, as she began to quietly cry. “Only a little white lie.”
* The 10th Daughter of Memory writing prompt muses, “White lies belie a darker truth.”