Building Healthy Relationships: An Interview with Reid Mihalko – DrZhana

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Building Healthy Relationships: An Interview with Reid Mihalko

Reid & ZhanaWhat do people who love sex talk about? The ins & outs of sex, of course! I got a chance to get together recently with my dear friend and fellow sex educator Reid Mihalko (who’s awesome). We did a Q&A about how to get what you want in sex, dating, and relationships.

Me: So, Reid, who are you?

Reid: Part of my X-men origin story as a sex geek is in 2004 in this very apartment where we’re sitting in right now. This is where I launched an event called the Cuddle Party, an intimacy workshop about nonsexual touch and how to have nonsexual affection. This turned into a huge news story, “New Yorkers are paying money to cuddle,” and everybody (except for the New York Times and Life Magazine, who was considering covering it) covered it. Basically that launched my career as somebody who geeks out talking about touch and intimacy. Eventually I started teaching more explicit stuff, because the communication skill set is the same. Being able to ask for what you want non-sexually grows muscles to ask for the kind of blowjob, or cunnilingus you want, or to explore something you’ve never done. It’s similar to talking with your partner about something like, “Hey honey I think I’ll like to take this job in another city, can we talk about what that would be?” For me as a sex geek, as somebody who loves sex, the communication piece is key if you want to get laid well or if you want to have a really healthy relationship. The communication skills are the same and when you have those skills, you can be courageous. Which translates to the rest of your life: the boardroom, the doctor’s office…

[At this point utter hilarity ensues involving Reid’s lack of 6-packed abs, covered instead by his big belly, which he lovingly named the #PleasureBumper, and how it can serve a useful function during sex. But you’re going to have to watch the video (at the end) for that.] 

Me: So how do you get what you want in bed and relationships?

Reid: The first bit is you have to learn how to ask for it. That means being able to put things into words, because getting what you want in bed, the easiest way to do it is to ask. It also happens to be the scariest thing, but body language and hinting those things don’t always work well. In most cultures, being clear and direct always increases your odds. Even if being clear means that you and your partner won’t be doing that.

The second point is what I call “dating your species”. Choose people who love who you are as a person and what you’re into.I Love Sex Ed

Me: Like, if you’re someone super slutty, you probably shouldn’t date someone who doesn’t want sex with more than one person?

Reid: Right. So for me, I’m polyamorous, I’m queer, and I’m a super slut, I sleep with a lot of people. Whatever a lot means to you, put another zero at the end. (I’m not bragging. What I’m trying to tell people is that you can be this dorky like me and still get laid.) Me being promiscuous doesn’t mean I’m more evolved than somebody else. What’s evolved is that I surround myself and date promiscuous people, who like to be promiscuous the way I like to be so there’s no argument. Me dating someone monogamous, I’m only going to drive them crazy and we both are going to be unhappy. If I want to have kids, I wouldn’t date somebody who wouldn’t want to have kids. Happiness is really important, and compatibility is a big part of that. 

Me: Yeah, it’s not like the “love conquers all” fairy tale. You need to be dating your own species because you may have this crazy kind of falling in love, infatuation, but that is not going to last. If you want to build a long-term relationship with that person, if it’s not compatible, love isn’t going to conquer that.

Reid: Yeah, then it causes you stress, then you think your relationship is broken because love isn’t conquering everything. Start learning to ask what you really want and start dating or hanging out with people who are like you. And this works for friendships too. It’s like starting a business with someone who wants to start the same kind of business that you do, so you’re not fighting about stuff that doesn’t need to be there.

Me: So how do you find your species?

ReidReid: It’s easier to find people once you get clear on who you are and what you’re looking for. For example, if you’re kinky, check out, if you’re a swinger, check out, etc. I actually created a free 9-minute video, called Date Your Species, that helps you figure out how to do this. I also have a more extensive online course that helps you improve your communication skills in relationships and learning how to get what you want out of love, sex and dating, called Relationship 10X. And you don’t have to buy anything – lots of free content on my site to point you in the right direction.

Me: This course also helps you with figuring out who you are, accepting what you are, and then finding people that you can be yourself with. That has to be the starting point.

Reid: And it’s also OK to not know who you are yet. Also, be one thing and then change five or ten years later is OK too. You’re a living and breathing human being, you’re allowed to change. It’s important to say it’s OK because many people beat themselves up about that too.

Me: Yes, I see people negating their previous selves after they change, “That me 5 years ago, that wasn’t really me.” I think it’s sad for that to not count. It’s OK to be different than who you were 5 years ago because it’s part of who you are today.

Reid: Where would we be if Madonna stayed the same? Madonna changed her look in every album. Give yourself permission to change, to be Madonna.

There’s more to this interview, but we’ll save that for another time. In the meantime, if you’d like to watch Reid in person–and witness our amazing and hilarious chemistry–watch the video below.


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