Packin’ Em In – In Pittsburgh

I just got back from the Sex Therapy conference.  I talked about Erotic Recovery After Infidelity.  What a great crowd. 

Aside from all the intellectual stimulation and the great connections I made, I had an outstanding experience in the room itself.  A smaller conference room than others I have spoken in, I laughed when I saw the 14 chairs the conference organizers had set up, when I first walked into the room.

“Oh, we’re going to need more chairs then that!”  I laughed. 

He looked at me like I was SUCH a braggart. 

“Really?” he snickered.  He brought 10 more chairs.

“No, really,” I said.  “A lot more chairs.”  He ignored me.  He told me to take a picture of this so-called crowd I expected. 

“Look,” I said, “Its a popular topic, affairs.”  And, “I’m a pretty good speaker, too.” 

He really laughed at that one.  I told him to come back half an hour into my talk, and to bring his own camera.

Forty minutes later he stood outside the door, with a line out into the hall.  Therapists were crammed into the corners, sitting on the floor up to my feet, at the bottom of the power point screen.  They were jammed against the wall, and standing in a row five deep in the back of the room. 

And it was hot in that room.

“So?” I gestured to him, as I made eye contact with him in the back of the room.  I noticed he wiped some sweat off his brow.  There were still people trying to get into the room.  I probably had over 120 by then. 

Then the crowd noticed that the wall in between the room we were in and the room behind us was actually a collapsable wall.  One that slides open in pieces.  And the room behind us was empty. And it had chairs.

The conference organizer, in his black shirt with the microphone pinned to his lapel, and sweat dripping down his back, began to beg them to stop, as they shoved the panels aside, trying to open the room to make it large enough to hold the incoming crowd. 

“The fire marshall….” he gulped.  I almost felt sorry for him.

Half an hour later, with rows of chairs stretched into the conference room next door, and everyone finally in a comfortable seat, I talked about Infidelity.  And they listened.  And no one got up and left.  I was not surprised.

Every day in the news and in our offices we are struck by couple after couple breaking up over a third party entering their marriage, or the visits of a partner to a paid sex worker.

What are we, the therapists, supposed to do to help?  And can we?

You’ll have to come to my next talk to find out.  Or buy my next book. 

I’m hoping the next talk is a sell out crowd as well. 

I saw Joe later that day, my conference organizer friend.

“So I wasnt bragging, was I, Joe?” I asked. 

“Hey, its not bragging if you’re telling the truth,” he said humbly, and gave me a knuckle bump. 

I have the feeling that next  time they’ll bring enough chairs.


Dr Tammy Nelson

Look for my next book, The New Monogamy; Erotic Recovery After Infidelity — as soon as I find a really good publisher….

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