Sexual Health Expo N.Y. Speaker Preview: Dr. Jessica O'Reilly
LOS ANGELES — She not only hosts a TV show about swinging for Playboy, travels the world presenting relationship seminars and workshops on G-spots and squirting, but celebrity sexologist Dr. Jessica O’Reilly — aka Dr. Jess PhD — also has a passion to improve sex education for teachers and students.
Canadian-born and Chinese-Jamaican and Irish by descent, O’Reilly personifies the new breed of savvy, highly attractive and enthusiastic sex expert strikingly contradicting the commonly mistaken stereotype of stodgy, bookworm academicians.
O’Reilly reaches more than 30 million people a month through the iVillage website and has shared her knowledge through top mainstream publications including Cosmopolitan, Women’s Health, Men’s Fitness, Glamour, along with appearances on Entertainment Tonight, ABC Spark and Showtime.
Alongside her academic and television credits, O’Reilly is also an accomplished writer, chalking up a best seller, “Hot Sex Tips, Tricks and Licks.” Her new book, “The New Sex Bible” is sure to attract millions more as consumer demand for straight talk and entertaining sex education continues to grow every day.
Between sifting through her huge Twitter account — @SexWithDrJess. — and her demanding schedule that includes preparing for her talks on G-Spots and Squirting sponsored by Astroglide, and Hotter Oral Techniques, for her appearance at the upcoming Sexual Health Expo (SHE) in NYC in September, O’Reilly made time to answer questions from XBIZ about her illustrious career
XBIZ: How did you enter the sexual wellness field?
O’Reilly: I was a high school teacher working with high-needs; urban youth and I saw the costs of a sexual health education system that was lacking. I went back to school to be a part of a solution that involves improving classroom-based education through teacher supports and training.
XBIZ: Do you consider yourself a “sexologist?” If so, explain.
O’Reilly: I do. But I believe that each of us is the ultimate expert in our own sexuality — experts like me offer additional resources, information, support and guidance to help you to carve your own healthy, pleasurable path.
XBIZ: What do you consider to be your specialties?
O’Reilly: Intimacy for busy couples is my first specialty. I work primarily with corporate executives and their spouses to improve communication, heighten intimacy and build passion.
'Edutainment' (sex education that is entertaining) is my second specialty. I host a reality series for PlayboyTV and speak at entertainment events to spread accurate information wrapped in good times and humor.
My passion, however, is sexual health education for teachers and students. With the financial support of the corporate and entertainment components of my business, I’m able to dedicate time and resources to work with school boards, teachers and students. These groups often don’t have adequate budgets to hire external sex education resources.
XBIZ: What are your techniques for helping people with sexual dysfunction and/or relationship issues?
O’Reilly: I work with a solution-focused approach that often incorporates components of the cognitive-behavioral model. This means that we talk about specific problems and look for the ways we can shift our own thoughts and behaviors to change outcomes. We use worksheets and spreadsheets — in many ways, it’s very much like problem solving in a business environment. This doesn’t mean that we ignore our feelings, but simply that we don’t spend a lot of time looking at the past — we’re very focused on the present.
XBIZ: Tell us a bit about your international seminars?
O’Reilly: This year I’ve been in Mexico, Jamaica, Turkey, Poland, Switzerland, Austria and the Czech Republic working with couples who are willing to invest 1.5 days into their marriages/relationships. The intensive one and half day workshops are designed to improve relationships in the long-run by encouraging changes in the way couples speak, listen, express affection and interact daily. The sessions are highly interactive and facilitate coupled discussions about the topics we tend to avoid. I love this part of my job.
XBIZ: You host PlayboyTV’s “Swing.” What is it about and how does it fit with your practice?
O’Reilly: 'Swing' is a reality series about swingers. My job involves meeting with ‘newbie’ couples who are interested in swinging, but want to try it for the first time in a safe, controlled environment. I help to demystify the process, answer questions and ensure they feel safe before introducing them to a group of experienced swingers. Though most reality TV is scripted, this is a program that gives no direction or production notes to the cast — the content is real, raw and often emotional. The producers don’t highlight or fabricate drama, but simply try to tell an authentic story about each couple’s journey into the swinging world. The program fits well with my work, as there is a heavy emphasis on communication, honesty and the fact that a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work when it comes to successful relationships.
XBIZ: You’ve also authored a number of books. Which is most relevant right now?
O’Reilly: ‘The New Sex Bible’ is my latest book and I’m excited for the project, as I’ve taken the latest sex research and distilled the information to provide practical advice, tips and techniques that readers can use tonight. I’ll be signing books at SHE next month.
XBIZ: What do you feel are the biggest issues facing people today regarding sexuality?
O’Reilly: Talking honestly about sex is the greatest challenge. Even people who claim that they’re great communicators struggle to talk about their most vulnerable fears and deepest desires. I know I do. I’m comfortable talking about the topic in front of 5,000 people in a theatre, but I still struggle with certain topics with my partner of 14 years. I’m lucky, as I have the tools to encourage me in the right direction, but it can be a challenge to force myself out of my comfort zone. None of us is perfect, but once you start a conversation, it goes a long way.
XBIZ: What do you think will be the hot buttons for consumers at the upcoming NYC SHE conference? Tell us about what you’ll be addressing at the event.
O’Reilly: I’ll be talking about the fun stuff: pleasure techniques from blow jobs and cunnilingus to multiple orgasms and squirting. Even though we’ll be laughing and learning about techniques (while practicing on edible props), I’ll be sliding in some good information about communication and empowerment in each session. The SHE crowd is so much fun to work with and I can’t wait to meet their NYC peeps.
XBIZ: Is the field of enhanced sexuality and wellness growing?
O’Reilly: It sure is. I receive at least five emails per week from students and professionals looking to transition into the field of sexuality. Some see it as a profitable market sector, but many have a passion for helping others to feel great about their sex lives.
XBIZ: What advice would give people interested in entering the field of sexology and related fields?
O’Reilly: I always suggest that you study in a traditional field (e.g. teaching, nursing, psychology, medicine, social work) and specialize in sexuality. You’ll have a governing body to assist with business and ethics guidance and well as the support of an established field — sexology is growing, but it’s still on the sidelines in terms of recognition.