The ups and downs of my life as a sex expert
WITH more than 25 years’ experience as a sexologist, Dr Angela Brokmann is one of the leading experts on sex. After graduating in 1984, she completed a PhD in 1989.
The same year, Dr Brokmann became the Scientific Director of the Sexological Institute (SEIN) in Hamburg.
Dr Brokmann’s varied experiences include running a sex helpline, conducting EU wide surveys and monitoring sex experiments. She has been published in papers worldwide, as well as appearing on TV and radio.
Her list of publications contains more than 20 papers and books on sexuality, one of them being The Love Guide – Sex Talk & The Irish (Merlin, Dublin).
Currently Dr Brokmann is working on a survey-based report on the changing sexual climate in Ireland.
She is a sex columnist for the Sunday World.
AS KIDS, we often dreamt about becoming a famous singer, actress or ballerina; or maybe a fire-fighter, a vet, or a soccer-player.
I actually wanted to be a sailor…
So how did I end up as a sex expert, with a little punt in my back garden as the only reminder of my big childhood ambitions?
Well, that’s actually one of the questions I’m being asked most often:
How did you become a sex expert?
It all started in the ’80s when I specialised in sexology, conducting surveys and countless interviews on all aspects of sex and relationships.
Sexology was still a new field that needed more understanding and exploring, and I embraced the challenge to be part of it. And then Playboy came along.
My work had caught their eye, they were looking for a female sex expert, and I jumped on board.
Do you enjoy helping people, or is it just a job?
If you want to be a good sex expert, you need to care about people and enjoy what you’re doing.
You need to be understanding, open-minded, have an open ear and, above all, you can’t be judgmental.
You must deal with a lot of weird stuff, is that not frustrating?
No. And what’s weird?
I come across many people with, let’s say, unconventional habits and desires, people who are going through tough times because they live in a place where their preferences are not regarded as normal.
Sometimes all it takes to make somebody feel better is the simple assurance that whatever they’re into is perfectly fine and ok.
Is your work rewarding?
Every problem solved – regardless whether small or huge – is rewarding.
It’s great being able to help.
Do you read every book about sex, like the Fifty Shades novels?
No, that’s not exactly a textbook and I only made an effort to read it because I had to write about it. Don’t get me wrong, books like that can be lots of fun, and the Fifty Shades series helped to open people’s minds about bondage.
Do you think sex is the most important part of a relationship?
Sex is extremely important, but sex alone can’t make a relationship work, at least not long-term.
You need to be able to fully trust your partner; you need to communicate with each other about all aspects of your lives; you need to respect and appreciate each other, and never take the other for granted.
What are the biggest misconceptions people have about sex experts?
There are several. People think that as a sex expert: You have sex all the time – not true.
You are an easy lay (pardon my French) – not true.
You test every new sex toy that comes on the market – no way, not every one.
You’re into every fetish that you write about – open-minded, yes. But acting out? No.