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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Interview With Drew Pinsky

Aired June 23, 2003 - 20:41   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Some couples can count the number of times they've had sex during last six months on one hand. Those numbers from "Newsweek" might surprise you. But they're not exactly shocking everyone.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't think there is enough time in a person's week a lot of times to have as much sex as they want to have.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: So are kids and career paths putting a damper on the once freewheeling baby boomer libido? Dr. Drew Pinsky joins me now from Los Angeles for a closer look at these statistics. Good to see you, Drew.

DR. DREW PINSKY, RELATIONSHIP EXPERT: Thanks, Paula.

ZAHN: So take a stab at these statistics and what they tell us. I am going to put it on the screen what the "Newsweek" finding was that 15 to 20 percent of couples have sex less than 10 times a year. Some experts have said that that is a grossly underreported number. What do you think?

PINSKY: I think that that number probably is reasonable for people of reproductive age, believe it or not. If you start to include people in older age brackets, you probably get more towards 40, even 50 percent.

I think we've lived in a time where there has been sort of a fantasy that you can live throughout your life with wonderful sex whenever you want it. If you get married, it is going to get even better. It is a little bit unrealistic. Life stresses come to bear. Child bearing, the biology of aging, the biology of child rearing comes to bear, and things change with time. But we need to be a little bit more realistic about these things.

ZAHN: But how concerned should a married couple be about these statistics? Is it any reflection of a longterm health of a marriage?

PINSKY: Absolutely, and that's something people do need to be aware of, that the bedroom is a very good barometer of what is going on in terms of the emotional health, particularly again if people are healthy and of normal reproductive child-bearing age. People were very involved passionately, intimately involved, and suddenly it begins to wane; that's a significant issue.

It is interesting, I did a pre-interview for your show before I read the article in "Newsweek," and I was saying basically the same thing the article said, which is that people need to pay attention to this. That when intimacy begins to wane in a relationship, you see it reflected in the bedroom. So if somebody was previously very passionately involved and suddenly there seems to be some sort of a dropoff, pay attention to that, unless there are specific things in their life that are coming to bear, like a recent child, like an illness, like medication.

ZAHN: And I think another thing we need to pay attention to are some of the misconceptions. I think one of the more interesting parts of this article is the fact that women, there is a stereotype that women are more likely to dodge sex than men. And "Newsweek" says that's simply not true.

PINSKY: No, men definitely have a waning in their sexual drive, and there is something called the coolage effect, which men need diversity, quite literally, and when they don't have diversity, there is a drop in testosterone, a drop in their drive, and men -- we don't do a good job of paying attention to intimacy. We're not really biologically inclined that way, we're not socialized that way. And women are very keen on this. And we as men need to pay attention to that. When a woman says we need to spend more time together, we need to be -- have dates, we need to have intimate time alone away from the children, that is something that is exquisitely important. And lo and behold, if people pay attention to the nurturance and intimacy needs of a relationship, the sexuality tends to come along and heat up a little bit.

ZAHN: And a sense of humor is also needed in marriages. Here is what comedian Ray Romano had to say when asked by "Newsweek" about this. He said, "after kids, everything changes. We're having sex about every three months. If I have sex, I know my quarterly taxes are due."

PINSKY: Yes. And if it is down to that level, as Woody Allen would say, I definitely would look into it. It is something to pay attention. On the other hand, we have maybe some unrealistic expectations about what should be happening when we hit our 50s, 60s and 70s. We aren't really well educated on what to expect from our biology in the first year after child rearing, where women have a dramatic drop in their libido sometimes. The whole syndrome of being peri-menopausal (ph). Women are not prepared for how to identify that, for how to realize that when there is a drop in their libido, it may not be their fault. The women's magazines, God forbid, would make them believe that there is something them that's faulty, when in fact, it is a natural part of their biology and there are treatments for that.

ZAHN: Well, hopefully you helped a lot of us out there tonight. Dr. Drew Pinsky, as always, thanks for your reflections here this evening.

PINSKY: Thanks, Paula. Appreciate it. TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com




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