Transcript of 60th Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Ms. Anna Green, Thursday, October 30, 1997 at 4:00 pm.

Dr. Balis: Hello, Anna. How are you this week?
Ms. Green: Very well, Doctor. How are you?
Dr. Balis: Just fine, thank you.
Ms. Green: Did you go and check out the Exotic Erotic Ball? Or should I say the Exotic Neurotic?
Dr. Balis: No, that's not my thing. Exotic Neurotic, hmm?
Ms. Green: It was actually almost sort of sickening.
Dr. Balis: Why?
Ms. Green: Well, I hang out with the S&M community. Maybe I don't get into a religious fervor about it, but I've been around.
Dr. Balis: And?
Ms. Green: I guess I mostly stay away from the super extreme stuff--branding, cutting, rib removal...
Dr. Balis: Rib removal?
Ms. Green: The sixteen-inch waist is back in style, and it's much easier to get there by removing the lowest set of ribs. Cher did it. And I've even heard that Jane Fonda did it--you know, that's the part they don't put on the work-out tapes.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Ms. Green: Not very funny, I know. But Kathy told me that quite a few girls that she knows are saving money for this operation. These women are into corsets. They bind themselves so tight that they sometimes lose consciousness.
Dr. Balis: I wouldn't think that there would be many doctors willing to do that surgery.
Ms. Green: A doctor could be into S&M, too, you know?
Dr. Balis: True.
Ms. Green: In fact, quite a number of them are. S&M couples with children have to worry about some state child protective service coming in and taking away their children because of their sexual preference. It's happened before. The thinking goes that if they are beating each other, they're probably beating their children. So a lot of people in the community go to doctors who are part of the community.
Dr. Balis: Obviously the sexual practices of mutually consenting adults have little to do with how they raise their children.
Ms. Green: Yeah, but a lot of people don't agree. But back to the Exotic Neurotic Ball--there were people who were into severe body mutilation. This one guy had his waist bound for a number of years, and now he's abnormally thin in that way. I was getting queasy just looking at him. And there were so many--what felt like very young kids- who had multiple scars from self-inflicted knife cuts, or branding burns, or body-piercing rituals...
Dr. Balis: Rituals?
Ms. Green: Don't pretend to be naive with me, Doctor. I know you're from New York.
Dr. Balis: I haven't had a lot of exposure to the scene in San Francisco.
Ms. Green: I'm sure it's the same old shit. They get themselves suspended by hooks going through thier muscle tissues--real sick stuff. And these kids were so young. I'm not even sure they were legal. Kathy said that a lot of runaways stop at the store seeking some sort of self-emancipation from god knows what. It's like their bodies are their only way of getting some sort of control over their lives. Very sad.
Dr. Balis: I agree. How does Kathy handle those kids?
Ms. Green: She said most of the time, there's really nothing she can do for them--they're going to do what they're going to do regardless of Kathy's advice. She said that she tries to at least point them away from abusive freaks that pray on kids like that. I said, I saw a lot of kids there.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Ms. Green: Kathy told me about a study done recently. It seems that a lot of these kids suffer from depression. The infliction of pain releases endorphans Pain infliction releases endorphins--like a runner's high. So pain is used as a home remedy for depression. Except, like with any drug, it takes more and more pain to achieve the same high.
Dr. Balis: Hmm. And obviously it is a very temporary solution to depression.
Ms. Green: I've seen people totally addicted to branding. The first time they did it, it took them a full six months to recover. But soon, they were doing it almost every month. They wouldn't even wait for scars to heal.
Dr. Balis: Is Kathy very involved with this crowd?
Ms. Green: No. Although she said that when she first came to San Francisco, she was offered a job--a stage job.
Dr. Balis: Oh no.
Ms. Green: They asked her to get branded as part of a live show.
Dr. Balis: Did she do it?
Ms. Green: She told me that at the time she was so screwed up that it seemed like a good idea. She worked at this place serving drinks and saw quite a number of these shows. She said that there was an unbelievable high that the performers got--and there were both men and women doing it. The fear and the anticipation of pain before a performance lasted for days and sometimes weeks. These people were already in a state, way before they got to the stage. And then everyone was so focused on them. The audience took in their every breath, every movement. Even as they were subjected to this excruciating pain, they were on top--riding the high. I know it's a contradiction--these people are masochists by definition.
Dr. Balis: I understand. So did Kathy go through with it?
Ms. Green: She has three parallel lines of scars going across her left shoulder. They are not very big, but I don't like touching or even looking at them.
Dr. Balis: How does Kathy feels about them now?
Ms. Green: She said that she's sort of proud to be able to know that she could stand so much pain. But she'd never do it again. She proved it once...
Dr. Balis: I see.
Ms. Green: It makes me sick to think of her on that stage. She has a videotape of the show, but she said she never watched it.
Dr. Balis: A videotape?
Ms. Green: They used to tape all the shows and bundle them into S&M videos for sale or rent. There are a few in Kathy's bookstore. Believe it or not, they are popular. People are into watching that sort of thing. But from what I understand, the videotapes are not even half of the experience of people who actually attend the show.
Dr. Balis: In what way?
Ms. Green: Kathy said that there was a feel to that place. It was almost indescribable. It was as if your body somehow understood on some primeval level what was going on there. There was a smell of fear and burning flesh...that's what Kathy said.
Dr. Balis: I see.
Ms. Green: I would never go to a place like that. I even have trouble thinking about it.
Dr. Balis: How does Martin feel about this?
Ms. Green: He feels the same, of course.
Dr. Balis: Did you ever talk with him about it?
Ms. Green: Hmm. I mostly talk with Kathy about stuff like that. But Martin could have been around for some of these conversations. I just don't remember.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Ms. Green: He doesn't have any scars like that. And he never expressed any interest in that sort of thing. And when I said that I felt sickened by all the displays of self-mutilation, Martin offered to leave the party. So I don't think his desires go in that direction, thank god!
Dr. Balis: Good. So how has your home life been? Everything going smoothly?
Ms. Green: Pretty much. Kathy worked a lot last week--catching up on some inventory and accounting. And I had to work a lot, too. We have a new project starting, and I'm on the prototype team. It's fun, and I get to work with Martin. But it's also a lot of work.
Dr. Balis: Has Martin changed jobs already?
Ms. Green: Yeah. He is officially part of the future research and development department--he's a futurist now. He sort of replaced this guy Richard Watson who died of cancer or something.
Dr. Balis: Does Martin like his new job?
Ms. Green: Very much.
Dr. Balis: Good. So it's going very well for you three.
Ms. Green: Yeah.
Dr. Balis: You don't sound too convinced. Is there something...
Ms. Green: Oh, it's nothing.
Dr. Balis: Do you want to tell me about it?
Ms. Green: Shit. Last Tuesday, I came home early and found Martin and Kathy doing it.'s nothing, really. They can make love if they want to without me.
Dr. Balis: But it bothered you that they did, right?
Ms. Green: It made me feel a bit uncomfortable. But it shouldn't have.
Dr. Balis: It's not about what you should or shouldn't feel. It's what you actually feel that counts. Why did it make you feel uncomfortable?
Ms. Green: I don't know.
Dr. Balis: Do you know of any other times when Martin and Kathy made love without you?
Ms. Green: I don't. But they surely must have, right?
Dr. Balis: Well, before you walked in on them last Tuesday, did you ever think that they were engaging in sexual activities without you?
Ms. Green: We usually specifically make plans for Kathy to do a session with Martin. And a few times, I've chosen not to be there for it. So it has happened in the past.
Dr. Balis: But it has always been with your explicit permission before.
Ms. Green: I suppose that's true.
Dr. Balis: So this is the first time they did it without your explicit knowledge or consent, right?
Ms. Green: I don't know. Maybe. I've got to go now, Doctor. It's getting late.
Dr. Balis: Okay. We can continue our discussion next week.
Ms. Green: Sure.
Dr. Balis: Have a good week, Anna. I'll see you next Thursday.
Ms. Green: You too. Goodbye.
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