I found myself on a leather couch in someone’s homey office.
“So tell me,” she said, “what brings you in today?”
I looked around, awkwardly, a little shy and embarrassed to say. But I had to tell her. I was paying her by the hour to tell her. I had tried everything else. Self-help books. Advice from friends. Sheer determination and willpower. But nothing was enough. I was stuck. And I needed help.
She noticed my hesitation.
“This is your time, Mr. Roberts. Take as long as you need.”
“Well,” I said, avoiding eye contact, staring at one of her plants. Was it a real plant? It sure looked real. Then again, they’re really good at making realistic fake plants these days. Still, it made her office feel more comfortable. She had one of those little pebble rock water fountains in the corner too. The gentle sound was quite soothing. I took a deep sigh. Looked back at her. Kinda shrugged my shoulders. “I need help… being a little less inhibited, I guess.”
“Less inhibited?” she asked.
“Yeah. I mean, with girls. With sex,” I finally admitted.
She nodded slowly, softly biting the tip of her pen. She wore glasses—something sharp and somehow sexy. A professional yet comfortable blouse. Black skirt. Silk leggings. Matching heels. Professional, elegant, sexy. A powerful woman. Yet, somehow at the same time, approachable and very likeable. There was a very calming presence about her. Maybe it was her kind smile. Or the soft, compassionate way she looked at me. Like I wasn’t just some client. In her eyes, I felt like a close friend. Maybe even a family member. Someone she genuinely cared about. Someone she wanted to help from her heart.
Paying her was just secondary. She chose a career where she could help people transform their lives. She chose this path because she cared and wanted to help – not to get rich.
I felt that. I saw that. And in her presence, I felt safe. I felt like I could trust her. With anything.
She adjusted her glasses. She held eye contact with me, patiently, gently. She didn’t need to say any words. She let me know by the way she looked at me, we could take as much time as we needed. I was in charge here. She wanted me to feel comfortable. As much or as little as I wanted to say, as fast as I wanted to move, she’d be here to listen, ready to help, as soon as I was ready to ask.
How’d I know all that? Hard to say. Somehow, I just felt it. In my soul. The soothing sound of the pebble waterfall and the lush fake—or maybe they were real, they were beautiful either way—green plants in her cozy little office… The soft leather couch, so comfortable and inviting. All of it was so relaxing. I could just… relax.
“Performance anxiety?” she finally asked.
“No, not exactly,” I said.
“Confidence to ask out a girl you like?”
I smiled. But no, that wasn’t it.
“Then what, Alan? May I call you by your first name?”
I nodded. Sure.
I sat up in the couch, centered myself, and just decided to go for it. “Okay, so the thing is… I don’t exactly have a whole lot of sex experience. I mean, I’m not a virgin or anything, but… I guess you could say I was a late bloomer. I’ve only been with two girls. Neither relationship lasted that long. The first one, well, you know how it is. The first time is always awkward.” I laughed lightly. Mostly trying to break the awkward tension I felt sharing this. “We did it a couple times, then she broke up with me. Couple years later, I dated this other girl. Really amazing girl. But she lived far away. We hardly got to see each other. Eventually it was too much so we broke it off. Needless to say, we didn’t exactly have a whole lot of opportunities to enjoy each other physically much…”
“I see,” she said nodding, nibbling on the tip of her pen. “Wait, did you say two years?”
“You didn’t date anyone else during that time?”
I shook my head no.
“You’re a handsome young guy. Why not?” she asked.
I shrugged. “Shy, I guess?”
She seemed to understand.
“And, um,” I admitted, “I also grew up in a really, like super conservative religion. Starting at like age 11 or 12, they started warning us about the dangers of sex, and how it was this horrible sin, and it could ruin your life, and…”
“I know what you mean,” she said. “I get a lot of clients who see me to help overcome toxic beliefs like that from religious upbringings.”
“Yeah. My family’s super religious. We went to church all the time. I had to go to Bible studies every Wednesday night. Went to a Christian school. Everywhere around me, everybody was making chastity vows to save themselves for marriage, and teaching us to resist temptation and avoid anything and everything that’s the tiniest bit sexual.”
She nodded, understanding.
“I know it doesn’t affect everybody the same, but for me, it really went deep. I was afraid to even look at porn for years. Afraid I’d have some lustful thought and end up in hell or something.”
She giggled. Then caught herself. “Sorry. Go on.”
“So in high school and college, I only dated other religious girls who were also saving themselves for marriage. Honestly, I thought I’d be married by the time I graduated, or soon after. But…” I shrugged, “that never happened. Now I’m in my thirties, still single, virtually a virgin for all practical purposes, everyone around me’s either married and having kids of their own, or just not interested in me. I wish…” I stopped myself.
“Go on,” she encouraged.
“I feel like I missed out on my twenties. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I regret saving myself for marriage for so long. I didn’t date much. Didn’t have sex until I was almost thirty. I feel like your twenties are a good time to sleep around, experiment, have fun, date lots of people… Now I’m older. So many women my age carry tons of emotional baggage and refuse to date anyone unless he’s Mr. Perfect. Or they want to rush into starting a family right away. I’m not ready for any of that. Part of me wishes I could go back in time, back to when I first started college, and live my life differently.”
She nodded, listening fully.
“But that’s the thing,” I admitted. “I can’t get past all this conservative religious conditioning. I’ve read all the books. Even tried listening to a self-hypnosis audio at home. I can’t help it. I’m still shy, still too reserved, still feeling way too inhibited. It’s like… it’s like I can’t give myself permission to just enjoy my body and my sexuality. I’m afraid to enjoy sex. I know it’s messed up. I don’t want to be like this way. I know it’s all in my head. But—”
“But conditioning is a powerful thing,” she said compassionately. “And it sounds like you were inundated with anti-sex messages during your formative years. Instead of being encouraged to explore your new feelings and desires, you were taught to shut them down and fear them. Instead of being taught how to enjoy sex safely and responsibly, you were taught to feel guilty and ashamed about it. That’s not healthy. And if no one’s said it to you before, let me be the first to say, I’m sorry,” she said. “No one deserves to be told their body and their sexuality is wrong or forbidden. Sex is a very natural, healthy, and fun part of life. I’m sorry you were so strong taught to fear and avoid it. To feel guilt or shame around it. You don’t deserve that.”
“Thanks,” I said with a half smile and weak shrug.
“So how can I help you, Alan?”
“You’re a hypnotherapist,” I said. “One of the best, according to the Yelp reviews. I know my fears, guilt, shame, inhibitions… it’s all in my head. All from that negative conditioning all around me growing up. Can you… undo all that? Make me less inhibited, more confident, more, I dunno, like comfortable in my own body? I want to re-condition my mind to enjoy sex, to want sex, without all that guilt and fear in the way.”
She nodded, understanding.
“I know it’s too late to start over,” I said. “Somehow, I feel if I wasn’t so awkward around sex, I would’ve found someone long ago and probably be married with a family of my own right now. But you’re a hypnotherapist, not a magic genie. I know my twenties are gone and I’ll never get to re-live them. But I need hope for the future. Hope for tomorrow. That my thirties and forties and the rest of my life won’t be this stuck way. I need to get past this. Get over this. Get through this somehow. But everything I’ve tried on my own, just isn’t working.”
She smiled and nodded softly. Took a calming breath. And said quite gently and kindly to me, “Alan, I can help you.”
She nodded, jotting some notes down into her book. “Mmhmm. I can give you want you want. It’ll probably take a few sessions. The mind is malleable, but it takes time. I’ll help you overcome this. Help set you free to enjoy yourself and sex like never before. We can remove all those inhibitions. All that guilt and fear and shame. All that harmful conditioning can and will be replaced. But I need a commitment from you.”
“Anything. Name it.”
“Stick with me through the process. Like I said, it’ll probably take multiple sessions. During the transition, you may not completely feel like yourself. That’s normal. The old you will be dying. A new you is being born. In that time in between, you might feel uncertain, confused, maybe even a little scared. That’s natural. All change does that to us. But if you stay with me, if you commit to the process all the way through, I guarantee you you’ll be a brand new person, inside and out, and finally get to catch up on and fully enjoy all the sex and pleasure you’ve been missing.”
“I promise,” she said.
“Then I’m in. As many sessions as it takes. I’m tired of living like this.”
She smiled softly, eyeing me up and down through her sexy smart glasses. She bit on the tip of her pen again, then wrote down a few more notes. Then she glanced at the clock on the wall. It was one of those old analog clocks, with a golden swinging pendulum. “We’ve got enough time left today for your first session,” she said. “First, I need you to sign some forms. And then we can begin.”
“Let’s do it.”
I was so tired of living a life of forced celibacy. Forced by my own subconscious mind, that was so afraid to let me even want or enjoy sex. I’m a man. Sexual thoughts and desires came whether I wanted them or not. But I always felt conflicted. I’d see a pretty girl—desire her, want her for her body—and then feel like it was somehow wrong or bad or sinful to desire her in that way. Even in a relationship, even when I was dating the girl, I still couldn’t get out of my head all those old voices warning me about STDs, how premarital sex ruins your life, unwanted pregnancies, condom failures, and the image of some uptight old god watching and judging me the whole time. Ugh. I had to get over this. I desperately wanted to be set free.
I signed every paper she put in front of me, not even bothering to read it. I just wanted to get started. Soon, hopefully very soon, I’d be able to look at a girl, imagine her naked, get an erection, and actually do something about it. Soon, hopefully very soon, I’d feel confident asking a girl out—and feel no shame or inhibition in making my move and getting her into bed with me. Soon, very soon, I’d start having sex, enjoying sex, loving sex—without any guilt or shame or inhibitions. I’d finally get to enjoy my body. And her body. Fully. Completely. Freely. With nothing holding me back.
“Just one question,” I said, signing the final form. “I don’t know if this is even possible, but can you use hypnosis to also make me last longer in bed? It’s always over really quick for me. I want the pleasure to really last.”
She smiled. “Sure, I can do that too,” she said. “I’ll make it so you can keep going a long, long time, Alan.”
“Cool,” I said, smiling. “Right on.”
She continued smiling and shook her head playfully. “Let’s begin.”