A day in the life of… a sexpert

SheSaid gets the goss from Dr Gabrielle Morrissey, Sexologist, author of Urge.

Describe a typical day

My typical day is a real juggle and it’s long! I head into my office on campus in the morning to prepare lesson plans and teaching materials, and deal with my endless email- From students, prospective students, colleagues and media. Just after lunch I teach a sexology class, then meet with graduate research students, and then I’ll head over to a radio studio, either the ABC or RTR FM, to do my regular on air segment. Afterwards I’ll head back to the office. I’ll work on sex research or writing for a few hours. Looking up statistics, interviewing people etc. Or I’ll start more lesson materials for the new, about to be launched Forensic Sexology Graduate Programme I’m heading. I usually do one Australian media interview a day by phone, with a magazine or paper which is often done in my office, but sometimes as I head home, I then start up my home laptop to work on my column in the West Australian paper, ‘Dear Gabby.’ (If it’s a Tuesday, I’ll squeeze in an evening board meeting for the West Australian Sexology Society). Then late at night, at home again, I email regularly with London Press and write my column for Zest Magazine in the UK. This works out because of the time difference. Sometimes in the middle of the night I wake up to do a media interview by phone (promoting my book, or answering sexuality questions) in New York since they are in the middle of their day when I’m in the middle of the night. I then sleep, often dreaming about other book ideas, and lesson plans for my students! I wake up and start it all over again, with a new set of students, class, media questions, book writing and columns!

What’s the best part of the job?

The subject matter! I love my work. I’ve been working in the sexuality field nearly fourteen years and I truly am passionate about it. I love teaching and getting students inspired to work and do research in human sexuality. I also love talking to the media and putting positive sexuality messages out there for people to read, hear and learn from. On a practical level, the work always changes and I love that. I am self-directed: I teach basically what I choose, write what I want, and hop between media gigs and classrooms. I’m certainly not chained to a desk!

What would you consider to be your key talents?

I guess I was naturally drawn to this kind of work cause I’m a good listener, I’m sensitive to people’s needs, I’m a devoted teacher (I was trained very well), I’m non-judgmental and passionate about the field. I’ve always loved writing and teaching, so I throw my whole self into it. I firmly believe you have to love what you do.

April 8, 2003

A day in the life of… a sexpert (cont)

What did you want to be when you grew up?

So many things! I first wanted to be a ballerina. Then I discovered horses and wanted to be a vet. Then I discovered books and wanted to be a writer. Then I discovered boys. Then I became a Sexuality Educator. Then I grew up went to Graduate school and became a Sexologist and Author!What would you spend your last $100 on?

I’m a walking paradox. I can be highly indulgent, yet responsible at the same time, so I’d probably make sure I had plenty of dog food for Romany, and then splurge on a massage or pedicure, or something similarly dive and impractical for myself!

What would you never wear again?

Shoulder pads. What was I thinking? I’m tall and broad shouldered naturally, so with shoulder pads I look like some sort of uber power suit bitch from hell. A semi-femme incredible hulk! And leg warmers over jeans. And those John Lennon sunnies. And jelly shoes. Oh I was a tragic 80’s child who made so many awful fashion no-no’s!

What can’t you live without?

I believe in living, so there’s little I can’t live without. But I’d rather live with my dog, vanilla bubble bath, lots and lots of perfume to choose from, fresh flowers, picnics, peaches, swimming in the ocean. But most of all, patience, deep belly-holding-tears-streaming-out-of-your-eyes-uncontrollable laughter and love.

What inspires you?

Fridge magnets. I love them. Small inspirational quotes and pictures that remind me to make the most of each day. I read them and am reminded of people who battle odds greater than I do, who embrace life and all its challenges and joys… so I look at those everyday. This week the two prominent ones are: ‘The more you let go, the more you accomplish’ and ‘If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun!’

Dr Gabrielle Morrissey is the author of Urge.

Buy this book from the SheSaid Bookshop

April 8, 2003