Sex and relationship expert Reid Mihalko teaches adults how to create more self-esteem, self-confidence, and greater health and satisfaction in and out of the bedroom.
Using humor, insights and solid information, Mihalko appeals to audiences of all orientations, backgrounds, ages and identities. He’s one of the only male sex and relationship experts touring the country today who can speak pragmatically to nearly all areas of sexual self-expression, intimacy, dating and relating. Reid’s mission is to give men and women new tools to transform their love and sex lives into fulfilling, satisfying and sustainable expressions of self. His popularity, reach and reputation as a “sex geek” have landed Mihalko on Netflix giving Chelsea Handler advice on marriage and monogamy, coaching Emily Morse on BRAVO’s “Miss Advised,” and throwing a bonafide Oprah Network-approved orgy for Lisa Ling’s “Our America.”
If you can’t talk about sex, it can only feel dangerous and shameful. –Reid Mihalko, Sex Educator
In this exclusive Q&A, Mihalko talks to XBIZ about his career as a sex educator.
XBIZ: What prepared you to teach about sexuality, self-esteem and intimacy and what motivated you?
Mihalko: Being a bartender! From when I started bartending in college (at Brown University in Providence, R.I.) through the next 20 years in Manhattan when I was acting, I’ve had over 200,000 conversations with people about sex and relationships.
As one of four boys growing up in New Hampshire, I became motivated watching my parents’ marriage go from great to catastrophic. They loved each other tremendously, but lacked the skills to communicate their relationship needs and work through their upsets. My mother was so frustrated she began drinking. My father, thinking if he made enough money she’d be happier and stop, became a workaholic. Because of their inability to communicate, they lost everything and lived in their van with our family dog for years. It was sad. I had proof that love was not enough, and so I set out to understand what makes relationships thrive.
XBIZ: You teach at colleges . Why do young people in 2016 need to learn about sexual communication?
Mihalko: The current way we teach young adults about consent and sexual misconduct isn’t working. We assume that young people have it all figured out because the internet “knows and shows all.” But they don’t. They’re starving for sex education, which is why my seven-step “Safer Sex Elevator Speech” is so popular on college campuses. Like anyone, they fear ruining the moment, and wait for the other person to speak up first. So the important conversations about health and safety often never happen at all because no one initiates them. If you can’t talk about sex, it can only feel dangerous and shameful. It makes asking permission, getting consent, and speaking up when you change your mind impossible. Then add alcohol! But once you give young adults a tool to find their voice and assert their sexual agency, they feel more confident and competent. This becomes contagious, and makes for healthier young adults with higher self-esteem.
XBIZ: In addition to your workshops, retreats and seminars, you make videos where you often share your personal sex life . Why?
Mihalko: People can be so afraid to talk about sex. Many folks are scared to walk into a sex store, or even order a toy online in case the packaging tips off the UPS guy. When appropriate, I talk about my sex life and use humor to make sex less scary and role model what’s possible.
XBIZ: What do you do in a Show-N-Tell Sex Education workshop?
Mihalko: My Show-N-Tell Sex Education workshops — which, by the way, are never done at colleges — feature live demonstrations for an over-18 crowd. I role model essential communication and physical skillsets for great sex, showing adults in a shame-free and educational setting where to touch and how to communicate preferences and desires. Some people are so out of touch with their bodies they don’t even know what they like, so how would they have the words to ask for it? Many don’t even know where the clit is! And we can laugh together about that sad fact while showing them where it is, what one looks like, and how to touch it. Not all the demos are explicit with nudity. Show-N-Tell Sex Ed is not for every occasion or every person, but to talk about sex openly, ask questions and get answers in real time, while sex is being taught in front of your eyes … That changes lives! And I’m willing to drop my pants to change lives.
XBIZ: What is “Sex Geek Summer Camp?”
Mihalko: It’s a five-day, sleep-away, business retreat for sex educators. Many educators are broke because they’re copying business models that aren’t congruent for them. If you model your career after the amazing Carol Queen, who runs the Center for Sex and Culture in San Francisco, only to discover that owning a brick-and-mortar makes you miserable, you’ll be too burnt out to discover that, for example, you’re happier coaching people or running a successful podcast. Camp teaches you how to “date” the right business model so you’ll be happier and more successful.
Sex Geek Summer Camp has interactive lectures — interviews with successful educators and sponsors. We’ve got campfires and s’mores. And we end with the legendary Camper Talent Show! This year’s Camp will be held on July 31-Aug. 4 at Abrams Creek, W.V. For more information, visit http://Sex-GeekSummerCamp.com.
XBIZ: Any final thoughts?
Mihalko: As the trailblazers of the sex geek industry, we need to give ourselves permission to explore our own bodies and erotic lives. How do we role model that our customers can claim their pleasure when we’re too busy for own erotic lives? Pleasure is one of the best forms of self-care. As we grow our businesses, and make the tools and toys that will help shift the world, let’s be sure to practice using them on ourselves!
For more information about Mihalko, visit ReidAboutSex.com.