Transcript of 34th Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Mr. Thomas Darden, Monday, November 2, 1998 at 12:00 pm.

Mr. Darden: Hi, Charles.
Dr. Balis: Hello, Tom. Please come in.
Mr. Darden: Sure.
Dr. Balis: How was your week?
Mr. Darden: Uneventful, even by Tom Darden standards.
Dr. Balis: I see.
Mr. Darden: Just the normal routine. Sometimes getting caught up in routine can be a good thing, though.
Dr. Balis: How is that?
Mr. Darden: It's helped me get my mind off my problems.
Dr. Balis: That's good. Last time you were here, we talked a bit about your high school days. I would like to pick up on that and move on to your college years, if we could.
Mr. Darden: What do you want to know?
Dr. Balis: We can be as specific or as general as you'd like. But let's start off with, for example, your first impressions of college. Why don't you describe for me your thoughts and feelings the first day you arrived on campus at...which school did you attend?
Mr. Darden: Penn State, like my brother.
Dr. Balis: Uh, not a bad school.
Mr. Darden: Yeah, I was surprised I got accepted--my SAT scores weren't the greatest. I definitely squeaked in. The fact that my grandfather went to Penn State didn't hurt my chances, either. Funny that a guy I never knew could help me from beyond the grave.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Mr. Darden: So do you want me to start talking about my first day from the point I moved in and unpacked--the whole sha-bang?
Dr. Balis: If that's where you'd like to begin, sure.
Mr. Darden: Well, the reality that I was finally in college didn't really hit me until my mom had hugged me goodbye and I was left there alone in that dorm for the first time. I remember that moment as one of the loneliest in my life. I had never felt more abandoned, more homesick. School wasn't scheduled to start for another two days, and I was the first person on my floor to have arrived besides the residence hall assistant.
Dr. Balis: What did you do those two days?
Mr. Darden: I cried a lot. I blubbered myself to sleep both nights. I didn't really know how to react to my new home. All I could do was cry and wait for my roommate to show up. I wanted to meet him and the rest of the students on my floor and get the introductions over with.
Dr. Balis: What was your roommate like when you met him?
Mr. Darden: Tom was several years older than me. I guess he took some time off after high school before enrolling at Penn State. It's funny that his name was also Tom. The rest of the floor had to develop special nicknames to differentiate the two of us. I was "Silent Thomas," for obvious reasons, and he was "Tom of Porsche," since he drove one. His family was pretty well off. It was amazing how much stuff he had managed to pack in that car when I went to help him unload.
Dr. Balis: He fit all of his belongings inside a Porsche?
Mr. Darden: Well, no. Most of his stuff was in his girlfriend's car. Leah was a junior there. I was really taken aback by how attractive she was. She had jet black hair down past her shoulders and deep green eyes. I would have to say I developed an enormous crush on Leah, since she ended up spending a lot of time in our dorm that year.
Dr. Balis: Did she know of your feelings?
Mr. Darden: That I had the hots for her? I'm sure she did. Leah was a very perceptive, confident, and dominating person. She definitely wore the pants in her relationship with my roommate. For such a petite woman, she was very commanding and convincing. She knew how beautiful she was and knew exactly how to use that to her advantage. I liked Leah, though, because she was always willing to talk to me when no one else was around, and she always had a reassuring air about her that made me feel less homesick. She put me at ease, one of the first women to succeed at doing so. But Leah was also partly responsible for one of the most traumatic experiences of my life.
Dr. Balis: How so?
Mr. Darden: Like I said, Leah was a very manipulative woman. She derived a certain level of pleasure from screwing with the minds of men. And despite my roommate's macho posturing, he was a complete pushover when it came to his girlfriend. One night, when I thought I was going to be left alone in the dorm for a significant amount of time, I began to relieve myself by masturbating. Well, Leah had forgotten something she left in the dorm, and Tom gave her the keys so she could return and get it. She ended up walking in on me and catching me in the act. I never felt more embarrassed in all my life.
Dr. Balis: Masturbation isn't something to be embarrassed or ashamed about.
Mr. Darden: I know that. But like I've told you before, I'm a very active whacker, pud-pounder--whatever you want to call it. I'm definitely not against boloney-bopping. I'm a chicken-choker all the way. It was the circumstances that humiliated me. While I was masturbating that night, I had been fantasizing about Leah. And then suddenly, there she was standing at the doorway, staring at me with my dick in my hand.
Dr. Balis: I can understand your predicament.
Mr. Darden: Yeah, it was very unnerving. What made matters worse was that she didn't even have the decency to leave. She continued to walk in, casually strode to Tom's dresser, picked up her purse, told me to have a good night, and then closed the door behind her. I think she derived pleasure from catching me, and I guiltily wondered if she knew she had been the object of my fantasies. The next night, though, really changed my relationship with Tom and Leah forever.
Dr. Balis: What happened then?
Mr. Darden: This is going to be a little difficult for me to get out.
Dr. Balis: It's all right, Tom. Take your time.
Mr. Darden: I just don't want you to get the wrong impression about me after I tell you about this. I'm not proud of the experience in the least.
Dr. Balis: I will not pass any sort of irrational judgment on you, Tom. I assure you of that.
Mr. Darden: Okay. I'll trust you not to. The next night, we were all in the dorm together, and Tom and Leah had been wrestling around on his bed. I was seated at my desk, trying to finish writing a paper. Soon, I realized that the wrestling had stopped and that they had begun touching each other much more gently and intimately. I could really begin to feel this incredibly thick tension in the room, to the point that the hair on the back of my neck raised on end. Before I knew it, I had dropped my pencil and was watching the couple making out. They began kissing, slowly at first, moving their hands up and down each other. I wasn't sure they realized I was still there, but at the same time, I also felt like perhaps this was all somehow being orchestrated on my behalf. The thought that I was somehow watching something I shouldn't be really started to arouse me. Tom had unbuttoned her blouse, and as he continued to kiss at her neck, Leah looked over at me and said, "You can stay and watch, if you'd like." Tom glanced over at me, smirked, and then gave me a wink, as if to say, "Yeah, Tom, stick around; this is going to get good." So I just sat there, watching, rather stunned. I felt some of the strangest sensations I had ever experienced as they continued undressing and kissing each other harder. My whole body began to tingle. It was like we were all doing something so incredibly wrong and risky that the urge to flee that moment would overwhelm us. But I stayed. Soon I realized, as Tom removed Leah's panties and started performing oral sex, that I had an erection. I wanted to leave the room. I really did. There were a few seconds in which I thought I would surely run out.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Mr. Darden: I don't know what kept me there. You read about this stuff happening to people or watch it in an X-rated video, and you think, "I wish something like that would happen to me." But when you're actually in one of those situations, there's a lot of emotional conflict going on inside you. I was torn between my own morals and my raw sexual desire. Ultimately, I think I was disappointed at how quickly my instinctive sexuality won over reason. I had soon taken my own pants off and began masturbating right in front of them. Neither one of them seemed shocked by this. And as I jerked off, Leah sat up and pushed Tom back so that she could give him a blow job. After a few more moments, Tom and Leah started having sex. A thousand thoughts were buzzing through my brain, most of which were negative. I thought about how wrong this all was, it was like I was committing some horrible crime. But I kept watching, I kept masturbating. I finally stood up from the chair and approached the foot of the bed, by Leah's pillow. As Tom continued to thrust at her, she turned her head to me and whispered, "Do you want me to put it in my mouth? Hmm?" As I continued to slowly beat off, I just sort of nodded stupidly, and she grinned. I soon realized she had no intention of performing oral sex on me, she just wanted to toy with me.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Mr. Darden: "You want me to suck you off really bad, don't you?" she went on to say. As I started whacking off faster, she continued her little game: "Tell me you want me to suck you off." And of course I managed to mumble something out along those lines. But before I knew it, I was shooting off onto the bed. This apparently was exactly what they wanted--Tom started to really pound at her, and she began crying out. After several more moments, it was all over with. I was already putting my underwear back on, when Leah turned to me and said, chuckling: "Welcome to the family, Tom." I didn't answer. As they cuddled each other in Tom's bed, I finished putting my clothes back on, grabbed my keys, and went out for a long walk. I didn't return for two hours.
Dr. Balis: How did this episode make you feel afterwards?
Mr. Darden: If I had been more comfortable with my own identity and self-esteem, perhaps I'd look back on the incident differently. Hell, maybe I'd be bragging about it. But as it stands, I regret that it ever happened. I felt like I had been taken advantage of, used. The only thing I got out of that experience was more confusion about myself.
Dr. Balis: Did you talk to Tom or Leah about how it made you feel?
Mr. Darden: I spoke to each of them separately later on. I found out from Tom that they had led a swinging lifestyle for a few years. I didn't really know what the term "swinging" was. Leah explained to me that she and Tom agreed to sleep with other partners, often in the form of group sex. She apologized to me later, because I told her that it made me feel very uncomfortable. My friendship with the two of them was somewhat strained after that, as you may imagine. But they agreed not to involve me in anything like that again.
Dr. Balis: Was that the first sexual experience you ever had with another person?
Mr. Darden: Yeah. It's funny. Some guys would have killed to have done something like that. My cousin brags to me about similar experiences he has almost routinely, but I've never told him about this. I just don't want people to know that it happened. Tom told me that he and Leah were both bisexual. So while I had been getting off watching them have sex, he and Leah had gotten off watching me.
Dr. Balis: I see.
Mr. Darden: And what worries me is that I'm not sure what turned me on more: watching her get fucked or watching him fuck her.
Dr. Balis: Meaning?
Mr. Darden: Meaning, did I have some sort of pent-up, latent homosexual tendencies I'd never realized? It really bothered me afterwards. To them, I was merely an extraneous sexual device to aid in their lovemaking. But to me, the whole scenario served as a metaphor for my own sexual and social frustrations. At the time, I was more worried about being gay than I was about how the incident related to my other personal problems on a broader scale. That was my biggest mistake. I must have dwelled on that threesome for months. Well, I guess I can't really call it a threesome. It's more like a two-and-a-half.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Mr. Darden: I can't believe I've revealed this to you. Do you realize you're the only person besides Tom, Leah, and Sharon who know about this? And who knows how many people each of them has told? That thought alone scares the hell out of me.
Dr. Balis: Why?
Mr. Darden: Why do you think? I just don't want people to know that about me, that something like that happened. People already wonder what sexual orientation I am because I never seem to be around women. Hell, I think even my own mother thinks I'm probably gay.
Dr. Balis: Why do you think that?
Mr. Darden: The last time I went home to Pennsylvania, I took a drive to Pittsburgh to visit my brother Alex and his fiancé, Martha. They have a little son named Jordan who has recently started talking up a storm. While I was there, in front of everybody, Jordan said to Martha, "Mommy, why does Uncle Tommy live by himself?" Alex and Martha grinned and looked at me sort of nervously. And I recall that there were a few seconds of silence. I wanted to throttle the little runt. Damned if he weren't so innocent with his questions. If a three-year-old child can figure out the obvious, what must everyone around me think of my social life?
Dr. Balis: So you believe everyone assumes you're alone because you're a closeted homosexual?
Mr. Darden: I'm not gay, damnit!
Dr. Bails: I'm not implying that you are, Tom.
Mr. Darden: I don't know what people think. I just know what they tell me.
Dr. Balis: And what's that?
Mr. Darden: That they thought I was gay, or assumed so, because I never went out with women. They don't understand that I'm not a closeted anything. I'm just afraid to be around others. People can't comprehend how another human being can have so much trouble doing something so basic as socializing. They can't possibly know what it's like for me.
Dr. Balis: I want to go ahead and stop here for today, Tom, as it appears we've run over our usual time. I feel there's a lot more to discuss with regard to your college days and the feelings they've since evoked. How's your supply of Zoloft? Do you need me to write you another prescription?
Mr. Darden: Yeah, I think you better. I'm just about out.
Dr. Balis: How has the medication been?
Mr. Darden: I haven't experienced any side effects that I've noticed.
Dr. Balis: Very well. I'd like to increase the dosage by ten milligrams. We'll do a six-week trial on it and see how that goes.
Mr. Darden: Fine.
Dr. Balis: And I'll see you back here in two weeks.
Mr. Darden: Okay.
Dr. Balis: Take care, Tom.
Mr. Darden: Bye.
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