We had the opportunity to sit down with Dr. Jenni Skyler of The Intimacy Institute to find out what makes her one of Denver’s sexiest people. Here’s what she had to say:
1. How and/or why did you decide to get into the field of sex therapy? What’s your background?
Short version: My dad was awesome. I grew up in a really open and honest household where sex was talked about, and talked about in a positive fashion. (This is NOT most people’s experience). In high school I became the Dr. Ruth for sex and relationships for my group of friends, and by college, I was performing in the school production of the Vagina Monologues. (I wrote my own monologue on masturbation and my personal vibrator collection, which is now triple in size)! After college, I worked in fitness and health trying to decide how to make a career out of my passion for human sexuality. I revisited the idea of Dr. Ruth, and a masters and doctorate degree later, here I am.
My masters is in Counseling Psychology, marriage and family therapy focus. My PhD is in Clinical Sexology with an emphasis on sex therapy. That said, sexology is the study of human sexuality and I apply this to my work in journalism, public health, and education.
2. What’s your favorite thing about the work you are doing?
I love when couples are in session, and even in the midst of the thickest pain, they hold hands. There is a beautiful energy that washes over me when I get to be in the presence of such love. It’s that love that inspires them to do the deep work they are doing to reconnect, sexually and emotionally.
3. What (or who) inspires you to do this work?
I am inspired by a number of mentors—Dr. Marilyn Volker-sex educator extraordinaire; Dr. Erika Pluhar—the most compassionate sex therapist I know; Dr. Bill Stayton—grandfather of sex and religion; Dr. Mitch Tepper—The Prophet of Pleasure and extraordinary disability activist; Dr. David Satcher—16th US Surgeon General who took me under his wing as a sexual health scholar. From afar, I love Dr. Betty Dodson for her candid and hands-on approach towards women’s health and sexuality. I am inspired by so many more. My field is small but rife with unique and passionate souls that encourage me to do the work I do.
4. Who do you hope to touch with the work you’re doing?
Ideally, I hope to touch all society. I want to help create a culture that offers people permission for full sexual pleasure. After that, I hope to touch my clients and help them feel empowered, sensual, and intimate with themselves and partners.
5. What’s your favorite decadent treat?
A TCBY chocolate and white chocolate mousse frozen yogurt shiver with half cookie dough and half oreo. Blizzards of this sort from Dairy Queen work too. Or a pint of Phish Food or Half Baked from Ben and Jerry’s. Note, when it comes to this kind of decadence, I don’t share. Get your own pint and sit next to me.
6. Do you have a favorite sex icon? If so, who?
Michael Jackson. I love his music, beat and lyrics. Not that I get turned on by his looks, but when I dance or sing to his music, I feel so alive and sexual in my own body. He’s the only one that can inspire that in me.
HOWEVER, if you are looking for who in Hollywood I wouldn’t kick out of bed, then my top choices would be either Jon Stewart or Michael Rosenbaum. I love good-looking, Jewish, witty men.
7. What has been your biggest challenge in this endeavor?
Well, Jon and Mike don’t know me…yet.
Ok, ok. My biggest challenge is working with a client who doesn’t really want to work on his or her issues. I think any therapist would say this. When a client is resistant, hesitant, or denying aspects of his or her growth, then therapy becomes more stagnant and far more of a struggle.
8. Where do you see yourself in five years?
I want to expand The Intimacy Institute into a larger operation where I have numerous holistic health practitioners working in partnership at the Institute—from pelvic floor specialists to massage and yoga practitioners. I see us having tons of collaborative workshops and educational opportunities for the community. It’s already started with my Becoming Orgasmic workshop series that I do in tandem with colleague Deb Rubin. We are a great team and I see us helping take pleasure and orgasm to all of Boulder!