The Farmington Hills native, who has called San Francisco home since graduating from the University of Michigan in 1992, turned a natural curiosity of relationships into a thriving career as a sexologist. With the release of her first book, an illustrated guide to sex called Hot Sex: 200 Things You Can Try Tonight (Weldon Press; $19.95; 240 pp), the former campaign aide to several Bay Area politicians, including Sen. Barbara Boxer, Rep. Nancy Pelosi and former mayor Willie Brown, is poised to become the Dr. Ruth of her generation. She also released an app on iTunes called Kegel Camp that sells for $1.99, and she has frequent stints to speak about her area of expertise on Sirius XM’s Stars Too station.
Before there was sex, the 41-year-old made a name for herself as an award-winning documentarian, making the film See How They Run, an account of the 1999 San Francisco mayoral race. The film traveled the indie circuit and eventually aired nationally on PBS.
Currently working toward a Ph.D. in human sexuality from the Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality, Morse is quickly becoming a cottage industry unto herself. She took some time to give Red Thread a quickie — and now we, too, are smitten.
RT: We read that your mom is cool with your career, but how do other family members feel about your liberated loquacity?
EM: They’re all cool with it, although my brother [Huntington Woods attorney Michael Morse] doesn’t want to necessarily listen to me talk about my sex life. But I know he’s proud of the success of the show.
RT: Your new book, Hot Sex: Over 200 Things You Can Try Tonight, which debuted in October, has been called “The Joy of Sex without cheesy art or outdated photos.” How much research was involved in choosing which things to highlight?
EM: We spent several months researching topics and issues and took pictures of actual people having sex, and then had them illustrated by an amazingly talented illustrator in London named Benjamin Wachenje.
RT: Your podcasting of interviews and advice spurred the launch of your webcast on emilymorse.com as well as a talk show on Sirius XM’s Stars Too station. Who are some predecessors in your field you are hoping to emulate?
EM: I really admire and respect the work of Dr. Ruth and am currently working on my doctorate in human sexuality.
RT: What are the three sexiest things men and women can accentuate when seeking a mate?
EM: Personality, sense of humor and eye contact.
RT: Do men find your knowledge of sex intimidating?
EM: I think some do, but those aren’t the guys I want to be with.
RT: What is one of the strangest questions you’ve fielded?
EM: I haven’t had anything particularly ‘strange’ because all of sex is fair game and most of what people think of as strange is quite normal. I’d have to say one of the most shocking emails I received was from a man who had been married to his wife for 10 years, and she had just admitted to him that she’s never had an orgasm with him — and had been faking it for 10 years.
RT: Have you ever been asked anything that has made you blush?
EM: No. I don’t blush easily.
RT: What is the No. 1 myth about sex in America?
EM: I’d have to say that it’s men want more sex than women do. Many couples have mismatched libidos, and I believe it’s pretty equal across couples. I hear from women all the time that they’d like to have more sex than their partners and while I also hear this from men, I believe the stereotype that every man is a hot-blooded scavenger always ready for sex is false.