My ex-husband and I might have had sex more than once in 1988, though it’s doubtful, but the minute we started our marriage counseling in August, marriage counseling that went on for ten endless months, the counselor figured out that our sex life was so attrocious that she took us all the way back to square one: to kissing.
The issue of our horrible sex life came out in our first session. We walked in and Ron stomped over to a couch opposite from me. As an extremely snotty claims adjuster with a substandard insurance carrier he proceeded to hassle the marriage counselor about her billing methods.
“You do understand that I only want a diagnosis of Anxiety used for these bills?”
“Yes, Ron. Why?” she responded calmly.
“Well, it’s well-known in the insurance industry that if you’re diagnosed with Depression that it becomes a black mark on your record and you can never get insurance again.”
“Do you think you suffer from Depression, Ron?” she asked.
“No. Why do you ask?”
“Well, you mentioned Depression.”
“It’s just very important to me that we get the diagnosis established correctly. And also, I don’t want this billed as marriage counseling because I’m sure our insurance won’t pay that. Just bill it as individual psychotherapy.”
The marriage counselor nodded her head, humoring Ron as he used up half of our first session discussing various issues of what he would and wouldn’t allow as far as the billing went.
When he finally allowed her to begin she asked us for a quick recap of the various parts of our marriage. I’m Jewish, he’s Catholic. I’m one of seven sisters; he’s an only child. Both college educated, Ron with a law degree he refused to use, saying that he always wanted to be a claims adjuster, that he found the job very exciting and intellectually stimulating, so much so that he didn't plan to ever practice law.
We got to the subject of sex and she looked at me, asked me how our sex life was. I was a little embarrassed. I tried to put a positive spin on it.
“I guess we have sex about once a month,” I said, exaggerating.
She opened her eyes wider. Repeated what I said. “Once a month? And you’re how old, Linda?”
“I’m twenty-nine, but what does that have to do with anything?”
“Well, it’s unusual for a twenty-nine year old male to not want sex more than once a month, Ron.” She looked at him pointedly.
Then he waved his arm in my general direction and said, “Why would I want to sleep with her when she looks like that?”
And there I was, in the spotlight of our dark marriage counseling chamber, all 185 pounds of me – I was on a weight upswing right then – the despised, sexless spouse, the one my husband couldn’t stand to sleep with, although apparently he would and could if I were thinner.
So the marriage counselor, after telling Ron that he was full of it, suspended our sex life, started us on homework of kissing and back massages. And everything would have been okay except Ron and I never did our homework or we did it in a rush the night before our marriage counseling sessions like cramming the night before an exam in college and we would hurriedly and unenthusiastically kiss with our mouths closed like relatives. At this rate, I could see the sexual bases of adolescence yawning ahead of me; we were never going to graduate to back massages, to fondling, to foreplay. We were never going to have sex again.