Meet Dr. Aline Zoldbrod
Dr. Aline P, Zoldbrod, Psychologist and Sex Therapist
Dr. Zoldbrod is an AASECT (the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists) certified sex therapist since 1993, and a member of SSTAR (The Society for Sex Therapy and Research)
She is a repeat author, including the award-winning book SexSmart: How Your Childhood Shaped Your Sexual Life and What to Do About It.
It won Foreword Magazine's award for being one of three top self-help books published in 1998, and it is endorsed by American's top sexual experts.
She also wrote Men, Women, and Infertility: Intervention and Treatment Strategies (1993), and Sex Talk: Uncensored Exercises for Exploring What Really Turns You On (2002), co-written with the talented erotica writer Lauren Dockett.
Hello Aline, tell us about yourself
Hello, my name is Aline Zoldbrod. I am a psychologist, couple and individual therapist, trainer and speaker, and the author of three commercially published and well respected books about sexuality and relationships.
I'm known for several of my ideas, many of which I plan to share here. One of the most useful techniques I came up with is SexSmart BodyMaps. I am the creator of the interpersonal theory of sexual development, The Milestones of Sexual Development. I want to make women aware of the "non-sexual" things in their family of origin which actually constitute a kind of sexual trauma. I call these things Developmental Sexual Trauma.
I have been cited in the lay and professional literature in America, South America, Europe, and Africa since 1993. I have been invited to teach my ideas nationally and internationally.
I am widowed and am now partnered again, and I have two grown children. Besides being with friends and family, I am thrilled by traveling. I have snorkeled in Australia, New Zealand Hawaii, and Fiji, and once COVID is over, I will happily snorkel again. Right now, I'm spending a lot of time in my garden.
Why did you choose to be a sex therapist?
People always want to know why anyone would want to be a sex therapist—what the journey was. For me, becoming a sex therapist as part of becoming a psychologist was completely natural.
My mother was ahead of her time in every way imaginable. She was a medical social worker and was always appropriately open about sex. When I was young, she read me books about where babies come from which used all the correct names for sexual organs and nearly accurately described how babies are conceived. I say “nearly” because somehow, they left out the concept of erections…. This was a source of confusion for me as a teenager. I remember a conversation with my friend Evan when we were teenagers. We could not figure out how the penis got into the vagina. We hypothesized that maybe a penis grew little legs and walked into the vagina…This memory cracks me up, even now.
When I was a small child, I was able to talk about sex in an open and unashamed way. No question was out of bounds. There was nobody shame or criticism of anyone’s body--theirs, mine, friends, people we saw on TV. Bodies were just bodies. My parents were also very affectionate, so I have wonderful associations to touch.
You probably had a much different experience. Most people in this country did.
In addition, some cultures are particularly sex-negative, paternalistic, or repressive to women’s sexuality, so you might have grown up in one of them, as well. If you grow up in a sex-negative home or a “sexual vacuum” home where people act like sex does not exist, you’re likely to feel squeamish and ashamed talking about sex. (Luckily you can overcome this as an adult.) I’ll be writing about this a lot here at xxTALK.
After college and graduate school, I became licensed as a psychologist. My training included classical psychodynamic training, hypnosis, and Reichian/bioenergetic therapy (which is very body-based). In the 1970s, I actually worked intensively with Myron Sharaf, Ph.D., who had been a beloved student of Wilhelm Reich’s, and I took intensive workshops with John Pierrakos, another brilliant student of Reich’s. In more recent years, I have trained in Sensorimotor psychotherapy for trauma, also a very body-based kind of psychotherapy.
My training in sex therapy took many years and involved studying with famous sex therapists from all of the country through AASECT. My work on sexuality has been featured in AASECT publications since 1992. I became an AASECT certified as a sex therapist in 1993. I am also a member of SSTAR, The Society for Sex Therapy and Research, which is a more sophisticated organization that one has to be voted into.
So that’s the story of how I got into sex therapy. Writing this all up makes me want to ask Dr. Ruth some questions. If you are interested in even more details, I wrote even more about my evolution in a column in 2020 in my Newsmax blog.
What are the most memorable moments of your work experience?
There have been multiple thrilling moments when I have helped women FINALLY get "what all the fuss is about."
You know, or maybe you don't: the AHA!! moment when it all clicks and the woman experiences that bolt of sexual pleasure from the top of her head to the tips of her toes. It is profoundly moving, too, when a couple who were horribly disconnected "softens up", repairs wounds, forgives, and reconnects
Do you have any advice to us women?
For most sexual "dysfunction", the issues are in the tissues. Do your SexSmartBodyMap, figure out where you like to be touched and where you do not, and work on your ability to patiently and mindfully stay with good sensations in your body.