I have a pretty cool job. People talk to me about their sex lives. The topics and discussions never cease to fascinate me because sex is complex and just so damn interesting. I really enjoy what I do, and I’m pleased and proud to be able to create a safe, nonjudgmental space around uncomfortable and socially taboo topics.
However, sometimes my work is challenging in unexpected ways, like when I get weird phone calls. I take all phone calls seriously and professionally, even if the person sounds odd or particularly nervous. Lots of people are nervous the first time they contact me, so I try not to use that as an indicator that it might be one of those phone calls.
I was helping my friend Josh with some deep cleaning at his house on a Saturday afternoon when I received a phone call from a restricted number. I rarely answer restricted calls, but was happy for an excuse to stop scrubbing. The call was from a gentleman asking about my phone counseling services (this was before I was doing long distance sessions through Skype).
Through a heavy accent, he asked for a sample of my approach to sexual topics, and I acquiesced. He wanted advice on how to bring more sexual pleasure to women, and somehow it morphed into asking how to stimulate his own nipples during sex. “Use your own hands?” I suggested, confused. Our discussion continued for quite some time, as I struggled to understand what he was asking of me. Josh poked his head around the corner and with a raise of his eyebrows inquired if I was all right. I nodded vigorously – I had this under control. I ended up suggesting that the gentleman try rubbing up against a pillow or the edge of his sofa or bed. Several times he asked, “Now? Are you saying I should do that now?” By the third time, I realized he was also breathing heavily. I promptly hung up.
Josh popped his head around the corner again. “How’d you enjoy that phone sex?” he laughed. “I didn’t know!” I cried. “That SOB was jerking off while I was trying to be a professional. I wasn’t even getting paid for it!” As if that hadn’t been enough, the gentleman actually called back and left a message, inquiring more about my services. Perhaps my unintentional phone sex skills were better than I thought.
Despite my discomfort and the unexpected challenges of working in the sex field, I appreciate the variety and complexity. I think it all comes down to respect. I have immense respect for my clients who choose to face their sexual or relationship concerns head-on. But a man yanking his wank under the guise of professional inquiry? Not so much.
~Dr. Jenn Gunsaullus, San Diego, CA -- Sex Therapist, Marriage Counselor, Sexologist, College Sexual Health Speaker