Sex Talk



How do we talk with our patients about sex? What makes for lively and creative engagement on the subject? What shuts down the conversation – for us and for our patients? In treatment, how can we invite our patients to openly explore conflictual aspects of sexuality, such as heightened sexual behaviors, absence of sexual desire, secrets and forbidden wishes? Just as talking about sex with our patients can open up new pathways or quickly shut them down, so too, can writing about sex be enlivening or awkward, cumbersome or deadening. What makes a sex scene come alive and sizzle? What reduces it to rote mechanics or something sensational but disconnected? As writers and as clinicians, we so often miss the mark or avoid the topic altogether. What makes it possible to address the topic of sex with candor, warmth and even humor? We’ll consider these questions and more as we explore sex on the couch and sex on the page.

Coordinators: Anne Adelman Ph.D. and Anne Rocheleau, Ph.D


Suzanne Iasenza, PhD is on the faculties of the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy (ICP) in NYC, the Ackerman Institute for the Family, and the Adelphi University Derner Institute’s Postgraduate Program in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy. She also teaches at the Westchester Center for the Study of Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy and the Family Institute of Westchester. She maintains a private practice in psychotherapy and sex therapy in New York. She is co-editor of the books Lesbians and Psychoanalysis: Revolutions in Theory and Practice (1995) and Lesbians, Feminism, and Psychoanalysis: The Second Wave (2004) and maintains a private practice in psychotherapy and sex therapy in New York. Her latest book, Transforming Sexual Narratives: A Relational Approach to Sex Therapy was published by Routledge (2020).

Matthew Klam is the author of the novel, Who Is Rich?a 2017 New York Times and Washington Post Notable Book, longlisted for the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize, and Sam the Catwinner of the PEN/Robert Bingham Prize for a Debut Short Story Collection, and a finalist for The Los Angeles Times Book of the Year, First Fiction. He’s a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Award, and a National Endowment of the Arts. His writing has been featured in such places as The New YorkerHarper’sGQThe New York Times MagazineEsquire, The O’Henry Prize Stories, The Best American Nonrequired Reading, and The Ecco Anthology of Contemporary American Short Fiction. He’s currently a Visiting Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Stony Brook University. 

Danielle Knafo, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst in private practice in Manhattan and Great Neck, New York. She is currently a professor in the Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program at Long Island University’s C.W. Post campus and faculty and supervisor at NYU’s Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis. She has published nine books and dozens of articles on topics including the psychology of art and creativity; working with trauma, immigration, and psychosis; gender and sexuality; and the effects of technology on the human psyche and relational life. Her book, The Age of Perversion: Desire and Technology in Psychoanalysis and Culture won the ABPP 2018 best book award. Her most recent book is The New Sexual Landscape and Contemporary Psychoanalysis