Dr. Judy talks sex in times of terror

Sex — it’s what the doctor ordered.

Radio sex therapist Judy Kuriansky spoke to nearly 40 students about “Sex in the Age of Terrorism” at a Berkeley College Master’s Tea Wednesday. The event was one of numerous discussions and panels being held on campus for Sex Week at Yale.

Kuriansky, who is commonly known as “Dr. Judy,” participated in Sex Week at Yale two years ago. She returned to campus this week to raise awareness about the importance of intimacy and relationships in times of crisis and terror.

“We live with terrorism every day,” Kuriansky said. “When people are in a state of fear and their lives are at stake, there is a general need to be closer to people and to think about what is important.”

Kuriansky spoke about conversations she has had with individuals grappling with war, death and loss. These conversations, in addition to results from surveys she conducted at Columbia University, where she is an adjunct professor of psychology, led Kuriansky to the conclusions she presented at the talk — in times of crisis, she said, humans tend to connect with others in order to create a sense of comfort and meaning.

Kuriansky also said many people felt the need to be in a close relationship or to distance themselves from negative relationships in the wake of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

“Life is short,” Kuriansky said. “Why stick in a bad relationship if the world is going to end tomorrow?”

The discussion with Kuriansky, as well as many of the other Sex Week events, has provoked dialogue about sex, romance, intimacy and responsibility.

Kuriansky closed her Master’s Tea by fielding questions regarding her experiences on talk radio, her interest in Eastern practices of Tantric sex, and the affect that the Clinton sex scandal has had on national debate.

“Monica Lewinsky is the best thing for sex since Dr. Ruth,” Kuriansky said. “It put sex in the news.”

Eric Rubenstein ’04, who serves as the chief coordinator of Sex Week, said the idea of Sex Week is to bring different ideas of sex and the practice of sex together. Love, intimacy and romance, he said, are all brought together by this week.

“I’ve been very impressed with the attendance at all of the events, and with the interest of all students on campus,” Rubenstein said.

Josh Ehrlich ’07 said he appreciated the opportunity to talk frankly about sexual issues.

“I went to a religious Jewish high school and we didn’t have open sexual discussions,” Ehrlich said. “It’s important to be laid-back when talking about sex, and this week has been important for that.”

Other students expressed surprise in reaction to the discourse that Sex Week has provoked.

“I knew Yale was a very liberal campus,” said Nate Pocksta ’07. “[But] I was surprised to see people’s willingness to engage with presenters. I know you wouldn’t see this at Princeton or Harvard.”

Kuriansky received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology at New York University. She has published numerous books on love, relationships and sex, including, in “The Complete Idiot’s Guides” series, books on “Healthy Relationships,” “Dating,” and “Tantric Sex.”

Dr. Judy Kuriansky shares her thoughts on creating and maintaining intimacy in an age of external terror during a Berkeley College Master’s Tea on Wednesday afternoon. Students at the talk said they appreciated her advice and candor.
Smita Gopisetty
Dr. Judy Kuriansky shares her thoughts on creating and maintaining intimacy in an age of external terror during a Berkeley College Master’s Tea on Wednesday afternoon. Students at the talk said they appreciated her advice and candor.

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