Not one to hesitate, sex columnist Nadia Bokody put her intimate life on the line this week to explore the surprising world of sex therapy.
DISCLAIMER: Sexualized content
I meet a man who says he will change my sex life.
Chris Brett-Renes may look like a shy, bookish guy, with his quirky retro glasses and carefully groomed dark, gelled hair; but for the next hour at least he’s going to do something with me that doesn’t allow a lot of shyness or decorum.
Of course, it is often suggested that I have no modesty to begin with. That I talk too much about sex and that I should “get a real job”.
My own mom once told me to âget some self-esteemâ (I may have discussed my vagina over Christmas lunch while passing ham to my grandmother).
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Either way, it’s no exaggeration to say that sitting in the same room as Brett-Renes, I look like a prude.
“One thing you quickly learn in this job is not to be shocked,” he informs me, as I take a seat in one of the beige high-backed armchairs in his wacky, decorated desk. of dildos.
âPeople tell you about everything from anal fisting to the sexual trauma of their childhood,â he adds.
It is evident that Brett-Renes’ exposure to the vast array of other people’s sexual dilemmas dampened his awareness of the taboo.
In the first five minutes, we cover everything from foot fetishes to erectile dysfunction and buttocks.
I learned more about the dos and don’ts of douching in a few words with Brett-Renes than in the entirety of High School Sex Education.
Finally, I find the courage to ask him what I really came to discover here.
“Is it true that some sex therapists get physical with their clients and teach them how to masturbate in person?” I inquired, surreptitiously spotting the nearest exits.
âIt’s more closely related to the work of sexual surrogates. I don’t have sex with any of my clients, âhe replies, grabbing a stuffed version of a vulva.
âI rely more on using models like this if we’re going to talk about things like genital anatomy and masturbation,â he concludes by offering me the toy to inspect.
âWhy did you accept this job, instead of following more conventional therapy? I ask, palpating the model’s bright pink kitsch lips.
âI started to realize all the shame we have around sex when I was 16,â said Brett-Renes.
“I remember watching a scammer magazine and my eyes kept going to the guy and not the woman.
âRealizing that I had these feelings and felt guilty, I threw myself into religion to escape.
âWhen I was 21, a friend of mine who had suggested that she thought I was gay suggested that I try seeing a sex worker to understand my sexuality.
âThe experience has been incredible. But because of my shame about it, it led me down a very dark path where I finally thought about suicide at some point, âhe concludes.
The mirth in his voice has faded and, although I can see that he is trying to hide it, Brett-Renes’ face betrays the pain that is still tangible to him as he digs into this memory.
âIn a strange way, I’m grateful for what I’ve been through, because when people walk into my office with shame because of their own gender, sexuality or flaws, I’m able to empathize with them,â he adds. he does.
I suddenly understand why I feel strangely comfortable since we started chatting, despite being strangers.
“Now do we have to bring your boyfriend into the room?” Brett-Renes asks, grabbing a big notepad that I guess will soon be filled with all of my sexual problems.
My boyfriend sits on the chair next to me, and Brett-Renes begins.
“So tell me why you came here today,” he said, starting to jot something down on his notepad.
We are talking about our sex life; about how I stopped having sex since my work schedule got longer and how my boyfriend wishes I weren’t so embarrassed about my naked body since I took weight.
I complain that there is no more foreplay and my boyfriend laments the fact that I have lost interest in physical intimacy, but Brett-Renes quickly shifts the conversation to something else.
“What’s wrong with us?” “
âIt seems to me that your problem is not sex related at all. And if that problem isn’t fixed, there won’t be a sex life to work on anyway, âhe mumbles, frantically writing in his notepad now.
I swallow a big chunk of panic. My boyfriend looks at me stoically, like he’s preparing for some really bad news.
“So what’s wrong with us?” I ask shyly.
âIt seems to me that you are dealing with an issue that most couples struggle with: time,â Brett-Renes said.
âYou obviously care a lot about each other; you just need to spend more time for each other, to spend time as a couple without work or other distractions.
âThen the sex will take place naturally,â he explains.
It occurs to me that I came here for the same reason that most of Brett-Renes’ clients walk through his office door – only to be told that I’m actually fine.
âPeople think they’re coming here for sex advice,â he says, shaking my hand as we prepare to go our separate ways.
“But what they’re really coming here is to satisfy the same need that every human being on this planet has – to feel normal.”
This story is part of a docu-series called ‘Nadia Goes’. You can follow more of Nadia’s adventures in the world of sex by watching her Youtube channel