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Watts is an Atlanta-based psychologist, a longtime sex educator certified by the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists—and a mother. She’s smart, articulate, and witty, with a delightful sense of humor. I’ve been interviewed on dozens of podcasts, and Dr. Watts’ podcast is among my favorite interviews of recent years. By the end of our conversation, I felt like we were becoming friends.

BTW: The interview took place in my dining room. The mixed-media art piece you see on the far right was created by my son when he was in high school. He now teaches art.

Here’s what we discussed:

• How I discussed sex with my own kids. I have a son and daughter both now in their thirties. But I have vivid memories about the challenges I encountered talking about sex with them. Even though I’d spent decades talking and writing about sex education, when it came to discussing sex with my own kids, I sometimes found myself tongue-tied.

• Sexuality discussions must be appropriate for children’s ages. You don’t say the same things to five-year-olds and 15-year-olds. In my recent book, Sizzling Sex for Life, there’s a chapter on discussing sex with toddlers, another on talking with school-age kids, and another on discussing sex with late-teen and young-adult children. They all summarize the research—leavened with my own experiences with my kids.

• We also talked about the enormous number of studies I reviewed when writing Sizzling Sex, more than 2,500. When dealing with complicated subjects like sexuality, it’s very important not to rely on just one study, but to review all the research. The news media often tout “the latest study” as though it cancels out all previous research. No. One study is just one study. To get a realistic picture of what’s going on, you have to look at all the research, which is what I did for Sizzling Sex.

• We spoke about the fact that these days, most sexuality resources are written by women. That’s fine, it’s great, I’m glad women are speaking out and getting published. However, when relationships or families face sexual issues, men are often the problem. For example, many men don’t understand the importance of the clitoris to women’s sexual fulfillment and orgasm. Some men won’t listen to what women have to say about sex. But maybe they will listen to a man like me.

• We discussed the sorry state of school sex education, which comes in two flavors, advocating abstinence until marriage or discussing sexual infections and unplanned and birth control. Abstinence-only sex education has been a disaster. Kids don’t remain abstinent, but they don’t learn anything about sex, so they wind up with sexual infections a unplanned pregnancies. So, discussions of infections and contraceptives are important, but insufficient. No school sex education program discusses what kids really want to know—how to do it, how to be a competent lover, and give a partner pleasure. Sizzling Sex for Life deals with that in great detail, how lovemaking is based on leisurely, playful, whole-body mutual massage that eventually includes the genitals.

• Finally, we discussed “sex addiction.” I place it in quotes because if you really delve into the research, you see that there’s no such thing. The issue with so-called sex addiction is not thinking about sex all the time or compulsive masturbation to porn. People diagnosed as “sex addicts” don’t have any more sex or any wilder sex than everyone else. They just feel more distressed about it because of upbringings in families that demonized sex before marriage and made their children feel ashamed about their perfectly normal sexual curiosity as they grow

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