“Now, to cut to the chase,” I continued, feeling that momentum was on my side, “You’re here because you… you enjoy the sensation of being naked. In front of people.”
She tilted her head as if she was thinking about the answer. I wasn’t sure why: it was the only reason she was here in the first place. But I knew that hearing your most personal secret put into words for the first time was not an easy thing to process.
“Well, I…” Melissa started. I nodded to urge her to continue. “Well, I guess, yes.”
She took a deep breath, as if somehow the admission was a major step forward. Personally, I felt no judgement towards her, neither good nor bad; I’d been studying this and similar subjects for long enough that they had become quite commonplace to me.
“As I said,” I began reassuringly, “There are no judgements being made here. We’re studying people with particular… preferences, that may not be what society views as normal, but you’d be surprised at just how many people share the same…” I was momentarily lost for words. “How many people have desires that are not what others would categories as the everyday.”
Melissa smiled and sat back in her seat. It was as if she’d heard someone way “don’t worry, you’re not alone” for the first time. I thought it worth pressing the point.
“Anyway, whatever people think is normal… it applies to almost nobody.” I managed to deliver the line as an aside and Melissa relaxed again. I was glad I’d said it, and that it was the truth was even better.
“But you’ve never let your preferences take hold of you, to such an extent that you’ve gotten into trouble?”
Melissa shook her head.
“No run-ins with the police? Not even embarrassing situations with friends?”
She shook her head again, but blushed at the same time. I wondered if she were perhaps hiding something, but maybe something that wasn’t all that important: a minor incident in the past that she’d rather not relive, perhaps.