CommitmentNow.com: You have a Ph. D. in human sexuality. What sparked your interest in studying sex?
Gloria Brame, Ph.D.: I realized in my late 20s that I was a pretty kinky woman and I began to read up on it. Then I realized there wasn’t much out there for me TO read, so I began doing independent research, and ultimately – since I had an academic background, and was teaching English at Hofstra and NYU at the time – decided to write a book about kinky sex, called Different Loving. The book was very successful and all my research led me to decide I wanted to pursue sexology as a career. I saw that there was so much new work to be done in the field. It inspired me and became my passion in life. I went back to school at age 40 and threw myself completely into studying everything I could about human sexuality. It was the best decision I ever made. I love my work.
CommitmentNow.com: How important is sex to the way we, as individuals, function?
Dr. Gloria: As I emphasize in my work, you can’t separate sexual identity from human identity. I tell my clients “what happens in the bedroom also happens outside the bedroom,” meaning that if you have a bad sex life or are sexually unhappy, those problems will reverberate – and have repercussions – in your daily life, at home and at work.
CommitmentNow.com: Why are so many of us so uptight about sex?
Dr. Gloria: There is no one easy answer to that. Most people point to the culture and how we are raised. I too believe that our raising determines most of our attitudes about sex, and particularly the messages we get that sex is “dirty” and that genitals are shameful, smelly parts of the body that we should hide, or only use when we get married. To a sexologist, it’s a very primitive construct yet it’s a universal: all cultures have significant taboos around sexual behavior. So the complete answer, if there is one, most likely also involves some impulse in the evolutionary brain to place restraints on sexual activity.
CommitmentNow.com: Your latest book is The Truth About Sex: A Sex Primer for The 21st Century: Volume 1. What truths do you reveal that might surprise many of us?
Dr. Gloria: Perhaps the biggest surprise is how incredibly healthful orgasms are. I list 18 reasons why everyone should aim to have orgasms three to five times a week to promote mental health, cardio fitness, reproductive health, and longevity. I know readers have been shocked also to learn the true history of circumcision in America: it was first introduced to U.S. medicine as a means of preventing masturbation, based on theories by the father of cornflakes, Kellogg!
CommitmentNow.com: Is there such a thing as too much sex?
Dr. Gloria: Anything done to excess is usually bad for you, whether it’s eating or having sex. As a therapist, I define “too much” as having sex to a point where it is negatively affecting your physical health, or when it is interfering with intimacy, relationships, or career. Otherwise, some people are wired with strong libidos.
CommitmentNow.com: In your book, you state that masturbation is healthy. What’s so healthy about it?
Dr. Gloria: Just to list some top health reasons (I list 18 in my book): studies have shown that frequent (3-5 times a week) masturbation/orgasm reduces the risks of heart attacks, strokes, depression, and reproductive cancer.
CommitmentNow.com: What are some steps a woman can take to enhance her pleasure?
Dr. Gloria: For most women, the real challenge is getting to know and love their own sex organs, and to learn which kinds of sensations actually give them the most pleasure. Women are taught to expect satisfaction from penetration but, in fact, many women don’t climax from intercourse. They aren’t “abnormal,” more likely, they just need a different kind of sensation, and may do better with a vibrator or fingers.
CommitmentNow.com: What is sexual intelligence and how do you know if you have any?
Dr. Gloria: Sexual Intelligence, in brief, is when your sexual maturity matches up with your age, and you are able to apply reason and judgment (appropriate to your age and circumstances) over your sexual choices. If you want to know if you have any, read my book :)
Gloria Glickstein Brame is a U.S. writer, board certified sexologist (American College of Sexologists), and sex therapist in private practice (Athens, GA area). Described as "the Albert Einstein of kinky sex" by Annie Sprinkle, Dr. Brame - a former English professor (NYU, Hofstra, CUNY) - writes, researches, studies, and blogs about all aspects of human sexuality, from sexual function to esoteric fetishes.
Visit Gloria at www.gloriabrame.com