Q&A: Sexpert Ian Kerner tells what makes NYC sexy - and what kills our buzz rite
Sex counselor, founder of goodinbed.com and CNN.com columnist Ian Kerner, PhD, is the author of the seminal "She Comes First" and co-author, with actress Lisa Rinna, of the newly released "The Big, Fun, Sexy Sex Book. Kerner, 47, lives in Nolita with his wife, TV director Lisa Rubisch, and their sons, Beckett, 6 and Owen, 9 and their pit bull Jitterbug.
By Sheila Anne Feeney
What would you most like to see accomplished in NYC?
More green space. Sexual health is a function of overall health and parks and green space offer city-dwellers important opportunities to exercise, relax and disconnect from the stresses of the concrete jungle and connect with others. A leisurely stroll through a park at dusk is a natural aphrodisiac that has been known to cause couples to hold hands, kiss and engage in public displays of affection. There's such an emphasis on commerce here and you really need places you can go for peace and to get in touch with your senses. There used to be pockets! Also, we're desperately in need of more excellent public schools, with the city supporting excellent principals, teachers and staff. It's almost impossible to raise kids in New York City if you're not rich.
Is New York sexy?
New York's brand of sexiness has always been intellectual. We're not Santa Monica, running on the beach. We're more cynical, skeptical and fiery. But we're fundamentally a sexy city because we attract people who are passionate and energetic and we allow people to be eccentric and unique. We're also tolerant: You can be a guy walking down the street hand in hand with another guy or a guy walking hand in hand with two guys and feel completely at home. What makes New York sexy is that it's a walking city. But walking is not what it used to be: It's extremely congested and traffic is over the top.
What is the city's sexiest place?
The Central Park Reservoir is really sexy. Walking that reservoir at dusk and seeing the skyline lit up panoramically gives you a feeling of exhilaration. Sex is about touch, taste, sight and smell, and Central Park is a sensory experience.
And the least sexy?
For me it's Times Square. All of midtown is just a huge buzz kill. It so crowded, so much commotion and commerce. There's all this (alleged) sexiness, but it's commerce for titillation and sexual provocation that disengages us from real sexiness: It's all manufactured. I miss the old Upper West Side and the New York of the 1970s and '80s -- the book stores, the record shops, the vintage clothing shops. What is New York without record and book stores?
What is the greatest threat to NY libidos?
Technology. It's always on and in New York people are always on their technology. Always working and keeping devices on 24/7 really impedes relationships. People are consumed by digital distractions and so distracted by their digital devices, they have no time for sex. It's easier for people to Facebook and to be on line trying to find some sort of digital connectedness than to have face time with their partners that will provide real gratification. Turn off the technology! Tune in to your partner! Your partner really needs to be more of a priority.
How do New Yorkers rate on their frequency of sex versus people in other cities? The rest of the country thinks of us as Sodom and Gomorrah, but we have more single people here than anywhere else in the country and don't surveys show that singles have sex less frequently than married people?
I'm not sure about that: There are various surveys that come out. But having fun together, feeling connected to your partner and being in the kind of relationship that supports having great sex is a lot more important than the sex itself.
What do you do to keep the spice in your relationship with your wife?
We get out and do a long of fun things. I love going to a little Mexican restaurant, Tacombi, that has a V.W. van right in the restaurant. It has the best tacos! In this economy, a lot of people are scrimping on date night. It can cost hundreds to go out for a few hours without the kids, but it's really important to find the resources and a way to stay connected with each other.
What is the best investment a New Yorker can make?
Investing in your relationship. Invest time in your relationship! Divorce and infidelity are on the rise and sex ruts are an epidemic right now. Something like 40 million Americans identify themselves as being in sexless relationships. Go explore a new neighborhood together, go take a walk together, discover something together. Take the time to exercise together -- without your cellphones! Exercise plays such an important role in sexual and physical health. We work so hard and are so driven, it's important to turn off work mode and be in living mode. Investing in your relationship and in intimacy has trickle down benefits into all other aspects of your life.
I looked you up on Twitter and saw some message like, "Ian Kerner has never tweeted."
People give me crap about that all the time. I don't tweet at all. There's nothing I feel like sharing with the world in 140 characters or less. I don't Facebook either because I find social media really, really empty. It's shallow. Suddenly everyone has a marketing or branding or promotional agenda. And there's so much all these people want you to do for free. I'm much more focused on the people around me for feeling connected.
Have you been to the Sex Museum?
Yes! I did my book party there! That's a wonderful stop for any couple. It's absolutely a museum that gets people thinking about sex in a positive way.