For much of the past decade, Sarah Forbes served as the Curator of the Museum of Sex in NYC, honing a technique of making sex smart, educational and socially responsible.
Sarah has put together impressive (and super interesting!) exhibits for the museum ranging from the sex lives of animals to exploring why we like what we like—by analyzing internet searches ?..
Her latest adventure? Writing a memoir detailing her journey from graduate school student to sexpert entitled, “Sex in the Museum: My Unlikely Career At New York’s Most Provocative Museum”.
We got to chat with Sarah about all things S-E-X including one sexy thing you can do for your partner today and her best tips for tired, busy parents. ?
Why was it important for you to write this book?
SARAH FORBES: After almost twelve years working at the Museum of Sex I had so much information I wanted to share beyond the Museum’s walls. A book felt like an incredible opportunity to teach, but also let people get a sense of who I am and how this surreal adventure shaped and impacted my life. I hope readers will find both education and entertainment in its pages. There will be moments of shock and moments of laughter. It really has been a once in a lifetime experience!
How has sex changed for you throughout your journey of motherhood?
SARAH FORBES: While sex and sexuality has been my professional field, it has taken on a whole new meaning for me now that I’m a mother.
I understand the topic in a whole new way.
I’ve had the kind of sex that defined my single days, the sex with the intention of getting pregnant, the kind of sex when you aren’t getting pregnant, anti-acrobatic awkward pregnant sex, new parent exhausted sex and now, as I think our family is complete with our two children, the kind of sex that is about staying emotionally and physically connected to the man I plan on spending the rest of my life with.
How you will talk to your children about sex? When?
SARAH FORBES: The building blocks of a positive relationship with sex are feeling confident, comfortable and empowered in your own body.
For children I feel even more passionately about this foundation as a means of keeping them safe from predators. For this reason, from day one I have been using the real names for body parts. Yes, we say “penis” and “vagina” in the same tone of voice as arm, leg and other words we teach our children about their bodies without giggling.
We talk about who and who isn’t allowed to touch their bodies. We talk about how special their bodies are as well as where and when it is appropriate to touch those special parts of their bodies.
While my two year old is more interested in proudly exclaiming she has a vagina and her brother has a penis (or asserting “Grandma Penis” which does make me smile for how uncomfortable it makes my mom), my four year old son has recently started to ask about where babies come from. For now the answers are basic, increasing in detail as he matures and is able to understand.
Being age appropriate is key. Facts work best.
My goal is that when my kids are adults they won’t think back to that one time they had the sex talk, they will have been getting the building blocks since the very beginning.
What are your three best sex tips for busy, tired parents?
1. Don’t always feel pressured to have intercourse.
Touching your partner, kissing your partner or engaging in other acts can go a long way toward bonding and letting the other know you are still attracted to them.
2. Nothing wrong with a quickie.
3. While all forms of relationships exist, for many “sex” is an act that makes your relationship with your partner different from any other.
Nurture and prioritize this unique aspect of your relationship. Shortly after I got engaged my grandmother felt it was her duty to call me and say: “sex is very important in a marriage.” Only now, two kids later, more stressed and exhausted than I’ve ever been do I really understand how on point her statement was.
What’s one sexy thing you could do for your partner today when you see them?
SARAH FORBES: Maybe it’s just me, but letting me know I’m appreciated goes a long way. Each person is different, the gesture doesn’t need to be big, just something that reminds them how special they are to you in a way that is meaningful to them.
How can you keep sex spontaneous and exciting after being together for so long?
SARAH FORBES: For me, the best thing to keep a relationship sexually exciting actually has nothing to do with introducing new sexual techniques and props (though I think these can be fun if everyone is on board), but rather has more has to do with mindset. More than arousing genitals, arousing each other’s brains can bring a relationship to a new space.
Particularly in long term relationships, when conversations about the kids and things that “need to get done” dominate, we often forget to actually get to know the new grown ups each of you have become.
Communication is critical. It’s much easier to be spontaneous when you are feeling connected to your partner.
Why do you want people to buy your book, and what do you hope they get out of it?
SARAH FORBES: I think we all (even me) can learn more about the ever-fascinating topic of sex. While working as the Curator of the Museum of Sex made my circumstances unique, I think readers will appreciate and relate to the fact that “Sex in the Museum: My Unlikely Career at New York’s Most Provocative Museum” is also the story of a young woman transitioning from a young twenty something just starting out, to a young woman single in a big city, to a wife and eventually a mother.
Many of us know that adventure well, but here it all happened with the Museum of Sex in the background. Purposefully written to be an accessible and fun read, I think moms in particular will appreciate how “snackable” the book is, and I hope, will be the book on your nightstand you actually finish cover to cover. As a mom myself, it’s a huge accomplishment.