Susie Bright/Reid Mihalko Interview Part 10

by Reid on June 18, 2018

Susie Bright/Reid Mihalko Interview Part 10






Join author, feminist and sexpert Susie Bright as professional sex geek Reid Mihalko of interviews her about sex, porn, growing up, raising children, feminism and everything in between.

To download the full transcript and audio from this video series, go to:…

From her life story (recently told in her memoir “Big Sex Little Death”) to her vital role bringing women’s enjoyment of porn out of the closet to her current status as sex-positive stateswoman and cultural commentator, Susie Bright’s seen it all and talks about it with insight, warmth and humor with sex and relationship expert Reid Mihalko at San Francisco’s historic Center for Sex and Culture, October 11, 2011!

ABOUT SUSIE: Susie Bright from is the editor of The Best American Erotica series and host of the weekly audio show In Bed with Susie Bright on She has been a columnist for Playboy and Salon, and has been profiled in USA TODAY, Los Angeles Times, Esquire, Rolling Stone, Mother Jones, and Vanity Fair, among other publications. An international lecturer on sexuality and feminism, she won the 2004 Writer of the Year Award at the Erotic Awards in London. Ms. Bright lives in Santa Cruz, California.

ABOUT REID: The golden retriever on espresso of sex and relationship educators, Reid Mihalko of helps adults create more self-esteem, self-confidence and greater health in their relationships and sex lives, no matter what their self-expression of those happen to be. Know for his charisma, wit, and emphasis on integrity, Reid’s workshops have been attended by close to 40,000 individuals from myriad walks of life, orientations, relationship styles, countries and religions. Reid has been a writer and producer on a number of films and television projects about sex and relationships, lectures often at colleges across North America, and appears regularly in the media. He has appeared on the Emmy award-winning talk show Montel, Fox News, VH1’s Scott Baio is 45 and Single, Showtime’s Penn & Teller’s Bulls**t!, Canada’s The Sex Files and SexTV, on NPR, Sirius’ Maxim Radio and Cosmo Radio, and in Marie Claire, GQ, Details, People, Newsweek and The National Enquirer, as well as media across the globe in thirteen countries and at least seven languages. Follow Reid twittering as @ReidAboutSex.

Many thanks to Cathy Vartuli of for editing this interview and for organizing the transcripts and audio downloads!

Reid: And I think that what helps too, is this joke I tell: “Don’t go shoe shopping at the grocery store.” Like, if you’re hanging out with sex-positive people who are into sensuality and aren’t necessarily ageists, and those are the people you’re making invitations to, and you’re not pulling off some sort of unconscious or conscious creepy vibe, I think in those ways, the rejection is either… Because people who are savvy, they can let you down nicely too.

There is something to be gained from hanging out with people who have done some consciousness rising. And the rejection still, on a small day, it kills me. Because I’m not much more than a seventh-grader, really. Maybe eighth grade, on a good day.

Susie: You know, that’s a really good point. So often, I’ll hear from people who want to say, “I want to have my first gay experience, but I don’t want to go to some weird gay event where everyone is gay,” or “I really want to have a threesome, so I keep going to church, hoping that I’ll meet someone who would be willing to try this,” and I’m like, “Are you fucking out of your mind?” [laughter] You need to go to where the kinky people are to find the people who want to have threesomes.

And you have to go to things that say “gay, gay, gay” if you want to get laid by a homo. And the chance that you will meet some quiet, shy, timid person who is afraid of everything that wants to do this, it’s just… You really have to think of the statistics and work from there. I know, when people talk about… I’m sure this isn’t you, but for the most part, when I meet people who say, “I don’t know where to begin, I don’t know how to meet people, I’m in a loveless marriage…” – you know, those kinds of things – they haven’t opened the door and walked outside. They have not gone to a destination where it could even be possible.

And the prison of loneliness that they’re talking about, in most cases, has to do with that great fear of taking a chance in a new milieu. I mean, my God, if I said my social life was restricted to the people that went to my daughter’s elementary school – I mean, are you kidding? That would not have been the sexual hunting ground for me. A couple of exceptions, but…

Reid: Wonderful, wonderful exceptions.

Susie: Wonderful exceptions!

Reid: Any other questions? Yes, in the back.

Audience Member: *** And basically, they’re saying that there are gay people out there who *** okay, but there isn’t really the in-between of communication, ***, and so forth, and all these things that come up for them. ***

Susie: Well, I’m going to give you the shortcut answer and then the big picture.

The shortcut answer is you have to look at the used bookstores and find a copy of Joanie Blank’s “A Kid’s Book About Sex.”

Audience Member: It’s available for free download on my website.

Susie: It is? Oh my God! That’s wonderful. So it’s a free download on Joanie’s website.

 Reid: Then leave your browser open when your kids are around. And then…

Susie: And here’s why. Because this book was intentionally designed – and it says so right off the bat, in an impudent way – there are other books about reproduction and disease. But this is about everything else about sex. And it’s all those wonderful open-ended questions about what sexual feelings are like, what orgasms are like, pleasure, nudity, why you get a tingle around a certain kind of person. You show it to adults, and they practically cry, because they realize, “Well, no-one ever asked me these questions.” They’re very childlike and they’re very ageless at the same time.

So I think that is something wonderful. But the other, more general question is, to have a household that is filled with books and movies and talking about the news and just dealing with the events of the day, you know, just having conversations with your son about anything and everything, and having that world be part of your home life, and having different kinds of people in your home and in your social life that they are meeting, it opens up all these questions. And they already… He’s 10? He already realizes that school is kind of a strange slice of life, and that they’re so indoctrinated about some things that they have limited use, you know? And why do they have the conversations they have about drugs in school? It’s awful. It’s just as bad as the sex stuff.

And so, feel free to criticize it. He’s old enough. He’s 10, my God. They’re very smart at ten. You can sit around and go, “Sex Ed in school is so ridiculous.” You know? And he’ll be intrigued about what you have to say about that. Tell him your memories of what Sex Ed was like when you were in school. So having a life where you’re just discussing the world… And this is really fun. My favorite part of parenting, as far as sex education goes, I always used to read Dear Abby and Ann Landers with my daughter, because it was right across from the comics page, which she liked to read the comics, and then she loved these people’s problems. And we would talk about how YOU would answer it.

And, you know, sexual stuff comes up, and of course it’s a G-rated version, but it definitely comes up, and at some point, she started bringing in Dan ***, and then she wanted to read that out loud, and what do you have to say about that? Talking about other people’s dilemmas and how other people solve a sexual question will introduce these notions of pleasure and attraction and desire, and how kooky sex can be sometimes.

That is, as far as I’m concerned, one of the funniest parts of parenting, to see how their little minds are working. It’s so exciting. You know? Sometimes they say the most insightful things, and your kid has already done that, more than once.

Reid: We have a couple more minutes, then a final question, and then we’ll… And thank you for the kid questions because it actually pertains to this. If you could give… If we could buy you national air time, and you had five minutes or three things to tell younger America about sex and relationships, what would you tell them?

Susie: You’re getting me at a vulnerable moment because this past week, a blogger friend of mine did a series about Mister Rogers, and Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, and how his underlying theory about childhood development and children’s education had to do with being able to understand your feelings and treat yourself gently and others with compassion.

And one of his most famous phrases – oh, this gives me the shivers thinking about what it would mean as time went on – remember when he would always have his little sweater on and he’d look into the camera and say, “I like you just the way you are!” My God, that was like early gay pride. That was early sexual self-acceptance. He was saying to all those kids out there, and you know what they’re like, because they’re like, “I’m never going to find anyone who likes me!” “I’m covered in acne!” “I’m skinny.” “I’m fat.” “I’m this, I’m that.” And they’re so overwhelmed that they will never find their way in the world.

And older people look at them, and we go, “Omigod, they’re so beautiful. They’re so delectable and lovely, you know, like a rose, but they don’t know that.” So this giant message of saying, “I like you just the way you are,” and that I’m here for you, that I’m listening to you, that your sexual life is as essential as living, breathing, eating, sleeping; it’s the center of who you are creatively. And you can never go wrong listening to it. Never! You know? To just have that offer of friendship would probably be a decent sound byte. Thanks, sweetie.

Reid: Thank you, Susie. So, in closing up, I want to thank the Center of Sex and Culture for having us here today. Carol is in Berlin; she sends her love. She couldn’t be here today, and she was kind of bummed because she wanted to introduce you.

Susie: Aw….

Reid: I want to thank you for coming up today from Santa Cruz, and for all of your work. And where, because we’ll be putting this on YouTube as well, where can people find you?

Susie: You can always find me at, and I love my e-mail box. It makes me happy! Everything flows from there, I’d say.

Reid: Thank you very much.

Susie: All right.

Reid: And thank you guys for coming out today. We really appreciate it. Share it on Facebook and tell all your friends!

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