Interview with Laurie Watson, author of Wanting Sex Again

Publisher: Berkley Trade

Publish Date: December 4, 2012

Order From:  Amazon / Barnes & Noble

Synopsis:  “I never want to have sex again.”

If you feel like sex just isn’t worth the effort, you’re not alone. Forty million American women are frustrated by their lack of sexual passion. They know something’s missing—and their husbands know it, too—but the emotional, physical, and mental obstacles to healthy desire can be a knot that seems too tangled to unravel.

Drawing on twenty years of clinical experience, Laurie Watson shows that it really is possible to restore the thrill of sex, using proven psychological methods and personal accounts from actual therapy sessions. Her strategies will:

• Offer a glimpse into the reality of other people’s bedrooms
• Address the sexual problems that can develop with life changes—from marriage to motherhood to menopause
• Uncover the hidden factors that impact desire—stress, cultural messages, emotional connection, chemical and hormonal challenges, physical appearance issues, and more
• Show how joyful, meaningful, satisfying sex can be yours again

Candid, practical, and much needed, this book can help you rediscover your sexual self or discover it for the first time. Instead of dreading bedtime, you can look forward to it again.

Author Interview: Q. Please tell us about your current release.

Wanting Sex Again is like sex therapy in a book designed to address all the issues of a woman’s low libido. I wrote it with a soft voice for the anxious Southern women I see in practice. They come to therapy fearful that they’ll be judged and worried that no one else is having the same problems.  I’m so excited for the debut this December 4th from Berkley Trade and hope it will comfort women and help them recover their sex drive.  As many of you know who have published, it’s this amazing process of work, thought, sweat, and blood synthesized into paper and ink (still!) suddenly appearing in your hands.

Q. How did you come up with the idea for your book?

Thirteen years ago, I started marketing primarily to gynecologists when I opened my sex therapy practice in Raleigh.  Almost without exception, the women referred to me said the same thing, “I really don’t care if I ever have sex again!”  Low libido affects close to 40% of the population; more than 1 in 3 women have lost their lust in their long-term relationships.  Several themes became familiar and I started to have good results helping women want to want again.  My book categorizes the problems I see in my office every day by chapter: lack of orgasm, clumsy technique, poor seduction on their spouse’s part, family of origin shame and push-pull dynamics in the marriage.  Your romance writers probably would cringe to think about how all that lovely courtship seduction can boil down to a shout-out from the shower, “Hey hon, you wanna do it?”

Q. Can you tell us about the journey that led you to write your book?

I kept a family diary for a long time about the anecdotes of my children.  Friends and family all teased me that I should write a book.  In a serendipitous turn of events, I got connected to a writing coach who asked me to send the fragments of my early chapters.  I did and she wrote back 3 exciting words, “You can write.”   Even though I was a favorite at holiday parties with people clamoring to talk with me about their sex lives, I wasn’t sure that the intimate individual treatment I was doing professionally could translate to mass appeal.  Eventually, I went away to the lovely B&B Crippens in Blowing Rock, NC which has a romantic front porch (y’all know Jan Karon’s Mitford?), sat myself down and wrote it.  I’m not just kissing up when I tell you that I told myself to write it like the romance novels I like to read – to find a way to make the characters real so that women could relate and show the steps back to an alive, passionate romance.  Too many sex books are either technical and dry, or edgy and salacious.  I wrote the book the way I like to learn things.

Q. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything about the book?

I’d write every chapter from the pursuer-distancer angle.  We all need closeness, love and sex, which is why we marry.  But we also need autonomy, respect and purpose.  In marriage or long term partnership (skipping the ceremony doesn’t change this dynamic), one partner seems to corner the market on one aspect.  One spouse is concerned with connection, home and hearth, security and family and wants intensity inside the relationship.  The other wants distance, an exciting career, adventure and usually gets intensity outside the relationship in their work.  Sex is the perfect place to deal with the push-pull from the power struggle that ensues.  Often times they flip flop their typical place on the polemic; think of a male distancer who won’t put his phone down but wants to be close in bed and a female pursuer who longs for deep conversation but turns away from sex. The distance between them stays constant and unhappy.  I’ve woven this theme throughout Wanting Sex Again, but in my second book, I am going to pound this struggle as central to the sexual problems.

Q. What was the hardest part of writing your book?

The critic inside who wasted hours of my time and kept me staring at a blank screen saying my old boyfriends were going to read this, my mother would disapprove, my religious friends might ban me from polite company (some have)… all the fears of vulnerability and exposure.

Q. Do you have a musical playlist you listen to when writing? If so, what kind of music?

Mama Just Wants to Barrelhouse All Night Long – Bruce Cockburn, Tonight’s the Night – Rod Stewart, Sex Therapy – Robin Thicke, Brick House – Commodores, etc.  It’s a playlist my husband and I developed of all the hot, sexy songs.  We play it in the bedroom too.

Q. What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Having to eat between each sentence I type.  I can’t write at home and when I do I add weight like nobody’s business.  I have to go somewhere in order to manage the anxiety of putting my thoughts down on paper.

Q. Do you plan any subsequent books?

Well, I’ve given this away but I’m outlining my second book called Sex – the Between Place over the holiday and I will focus on additional male dysfunctions, like fetishes, porn addictions, erectile dysfunction, difficulty with and premature ejaculation.  I’d like to show how every sexual dysfunction in ordinary (not pathological personality disorders) patients is often maintained in the space between the distancer and pursuer.

Q. Please tell us your latest news.

Thank you so much for asking!  I’m releasing a 5-part video series on synching sex between the genders.  It will be on YouTube this week and I’ll link you here!  By way of recommendation, the young male videographers all came up and said they were so glad to have been able to hear the talk and learned a lot.  Given that they weren’t my demographic, I was super pleased to have reached them.  I talk about the differences in desire and arousal between men and women and how if we understand each other we can close the gap.

Q. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to our readers?

My favorite romance writers offer heroines who have a balance between receptive desire and initiating desire.  It’s true that male seduction is the elixir of female libido.  But women can turn themselves on using borrowed fantasies (romance novels!), their own mind, and their imagination and occasionally meet him halfway to end the power struggle.  Desire resides in the male body given vast male testosterone levels but for a woman, her anticipation and her fantasies are what keep her body throbbing.  Having her own erotic center makes her life spicier, her self-image more resilient to the media and aging and her relationship away from a power struggle.  Please keep your sexy stories coming!

Author of Wanting Sex Again, sex therapist Laurie Watson, blogs for Psychology Today Online in Married and Still Doing It.  See her Sexless Marriage series or follow her on FB and Twitter!

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