What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learned as a sex counsellor? For Maureen McGrath, an Irish Catholic nurse turned sexpert and radio host, this question inevitably leads to many hot-button issues.
Written with intelligence and an ever-present and tension-alleviating sense of humour, McGrath takes us on the diverse journeys of men and women and couples of all ages and all walks of life—navigating the rocky terrain of sex with all its follies, hiccups, and moments of self-discovery.
In her TEDx talk and in her newly released book, McGrath explores the ideas of what it means to be sexually “normal” and the shame that is associated with people who feel that they exist outside these socially accepted boundaries.
“I want people to lose their feelings of shame around sex and to normalize issues which may crop up,” says McGrath. “I hear so often in my clinical practice, ‘Have you ever seen this before?’
“‘Yes,’ I tell them, ‘from the eight people who came in before you today.’ These issues are very common.”
McGrath has many stories from her experience as a sexual health nurse, which she shares in Sex and Health. Her mission statement is to shed light on the often taboo topics associated with sex and to help people come to terms with the sexual challenges in their own lives.
“There are health care professionals who are able to help,” says McGrath. “They’re bound by confidentiality. When someone comes to me, I really don’t judge their issues because I understand them; I’ve seen so many different cases. I just want people, basically, to know that they’re not alone. And there is help.”
Sex and Health is a fitting title for her book. McGrath emphasizes how closely sex is linked to health and health to sex. One of the ways people may understand their sexual challenges is to educate themselves about healthy sexual function and the benefits of good sex.
To learn more, tune into the CKNW Sunday Night Sex Show and check out her TEDx talk.