The Cosmology of Sex
Forget what polite society says is acceptable. The universe is yours, if you can be true to your essential self, and that means making peace with your essential sexual nature. Therapist Deb Laino wants to help.
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She also co-hosts a late-night radio program on 1360 AM every Saturday evening, where she tiptoes on the line between the serious and the silly. Laino also teaches various behavioral sciences at several local colleges and universities while hammering out a draft of her second book.
But all of this would be nothing without the sense.
“I’m telling you, man, I can sense people’s sexuality from across the room. It’s really weird. And it’s not just sexuality. It’s pain, anger, hostility, all of it. Good therapists are not made. They’re born that way. You’re born with that sense of understanding other human beings.”
Midnight at Toscana has come and gone and Laino is shivering outside the bar as she lights a bummed American Spirit cigarette and huddles against its flame. When she talks, Laino becomes a mélange of characters: scientist meets philosopher, socialite meets poet, sexual progressive meets blue-collar worker, post-feminist professor meets libidinous jester.
It all contradicts and connects at the same time. In one breath Laino will tell you, “I swear, birds are messengers, man.” In the next, you’ll find her riffing on the virtues of vibrators as marriage savers. She doles secret hangover cures to strangers (here’s a hint: steam rooms), makes declarations on the unimportance of, ahem, size, and rails—always, always rails—against the absurdity of sexual convention. She is nothing if not defiant of almost every expectation, and that, she will tell you, simply comes with the territory of shouting down the system.
“People are so afraid of letting their true selves out for fear of being judged. Why? Just be who you are, no matter what. That’s what I tell my patients. Normalize, normalize, normalize. Let’s make it work for you. How can we make you feel safe and accepting of yourself, of your sexual realm?”
She takes a drag. “But they don’t always embrace it, and that causes major mental and emotional anguish. Look, if someone comes into my office and says he had sex with a chicken last night, my first reaction is going to be, ‘So? What’s the problem? You tell me.’”
Here she erupts with laughter, not at the idea of chicken sex, but at the idea that it should be seen as a problem. As she says over and over again, “It’s only a problem if it’s a problem.” Zen and the Art of Bestiality.
In the world of Debra Laino, all of this is connected: A man likes to wear his wife’s clothing but he never tells her; a woman likes to be dominant in bed but suppresses the desire out of fear; another couple disintegrates slowly and painfully because, when problems go unaddressed, they become infections. Then the world becomes infected. Then our sex, our relationships—our humanity—all become compromised.
Page 4: The Cosmology of Sex, continues...