Tiffanie Davis Henry believes technology has had a crippling affect on real relationships. “So many people have problems navigating conversations, social and romantic interactions, and I find that a lot of it’s due to this wave of new technology that allows so much indirect communication,” she says. (drtiffanie.com photo)
Sex is one of the most taboo topics of conversation to have — often even more than politics and religion.
That’s why women who speak up about our bodies and sexuality in educational, informational and conversational ways are to be applauded — especially when they’re as hilarious as Dr. Tiffanie Davis Henry.
That’s why I promote this woman’s work.
Perhaps best known for co-hosting The Revolution and All About Sex, Henry has had multiple television appearances, including on Good Morning America, The Dr. Oz Show, The Steve Harvey Show, The Doctors, My Strange Addiction, What Chilli Wants, The Chew, Today, Anderson Live, Dr. Drew On Call and The View.
Henry is an active member of the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists and maintains a thriving private practice in Atlanta, focusing on helping women and couples forge healthier relationships.
Randi Zuckerberg: When did you realize your calling to be a sex therapist?
Tiffanie Davis Henry: While I’m a certified sex therapist, I think my true calling is helping people in relationships — whether that’s love relationships, work relationships, familial relationships or what have you.
It’s taken me a while to whittle it all down since I’ve had an active career in mental health — corporate, institutional and nonprofit — television, radio and in my own private practice.
I know that I was put on this earth to help those who struggle with navigating their closest relationships and need assistance in making them better.
I truly believe that my calling reaches far beyond the four walls of my office. I realized this as I began doing more work in TV and radio. I’m able to reach so many more people, many of whom I’ll never actually meet face to face.
My calling/purpose is always reaffirmed when I get a message from someone on Facebook or Twitter or an email stating that they just saw or heard me on x show and what I said changed their life in some way. I can’t begin to express to you how incredible it feels to know that you’ve impacted someone’s life in a positive way. It never gets old, and every time I hear or read something like that, I know that I’m doing exactly what I was put on this earth to do.
RZ: Why is personal branding in every industry, including the sex industry, so important?
TDH: I believe that personal branding is critical because people’s loyalties reside with the relationship you create with them. I think of branding as an opportunity to connect with your clients, customers, followers, viewers, etc. People want to be able to identify with you, and if you can find a way to connect whatever dots your brand may have with them, you could potentially have them for life.
These days, we are inundated with products and services of all kinds. And in the grand scheme of things, rarely is something new introduced into our consciousness.
What I must do for my clients, viewers, followers, etc., is offer them something that no one else can: me. That is and always will be the way to set my brand apart from any other. I must be true and authentic to who I am and what I do. That includes sharing more of yourself, which is something that I admittedly rarely do and need to work on, and allowing yourself to be vulnerable.
That vulnerability is the dot that connects us all and ultimately builds a brand that no one can emulate or duplicate.
RZ: How has technology most changed sex and dating?
TDH: Technology has literally changed the entire game of dating. Online dating used to be something that was totally taboo and a bit sketchy. Now many people date exclusively online.
Gone are the days of falling asleep while talking to your love on the phone. These days, many couples speak very few actual words to each other and would rather rely on texts and emojis to convey how they’re really feeling.
In terms of sex, you can now recharge your vibrators rather than fumbling through the nightstand for batteries that don’t exist. You can even link your sex to your MP3 players and get off to the beat of your favorite playlist.
Don’t get me started with virtual sex! It’s never been more realistic! Now there are devices that allow you to kiss and even have oral sex with your lover a million miles away.
Technology, in some ways, has crippled our ability to maneuver real relationships. These days, so many people have problems navigating conversations, social and romantic interactions, and I find that a lot of it’s due to this wave of new technology that allows so much indirect communication. When people finally do meet someone in person and realize that actual women and men don’t live up to the expectation set by porn and Snapchats or that once you get a real woman naked she looks nothing like that Photoshopped and filtered image on her Instagram profile, they don’t know what to do.
So beware of relying on tech too much to find lasting love.
RZ: What are the biggest challenges in overcoming sex shaming?
TDH: Sex shaming and slut shaming are often tied to our own values systems, and that’s something that’s established from a very young age. When our beliefs and values around sex and sexuality are that deeply engrained, it can be difficult to overcome, but certainly not impossible.
Our focus should be on teaching our daughters and sons about sexual health, respecting ourselves and treating one another with dignity and respect.
RZ: What is your personal mantra, and what does it mean to you?
TDH: My personal mantra is “embrace the journey.” My life — much like everyone else’s — comes with its fair share of ups and downs. It’s super easy to ride the highs, but when things get low, we tend to think about how to make the pain, the hurt, the discomfort all stop.
For me, it’s especially important to remember that God doesn’t allow us to go through anything without there being some sort of purpose. No matter how uncomfortable the situation and no matter how impossible the struggle, I challenge myself to embrace it. When I wrap my mind and heart around those things that challenge me most, I find greater meaning and, more often than not, learn something new about myself.
What’s really interesting is that oftentimes the journey isn’t about me at all. The journey is about how God wants to use me, what he wants others to see in me or something that he wants others to learn through me. When I think about the journey that way, I can consider whatever I’m going through an honor that God chose me to do His will.
It doesn’t work for everybody, and I’m not trying to convert or preach something no one wants to hear. But for me, how could I not embrace the fact that I’m really not the one in control? I’m blessed and owe all my many successes to enjoying the ride, not running it.
— Randi Zuckerberg is the founder and CEO of Zuckerberg Media, a best-selling author and the host of a SiriusXM weekly tech business show, Randi Zuckerberg Means Business. Follow her on Twitter: @randizuckerberg or connect with her on Facebook. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.