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Dr. Suzy in
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Dr. Susan Block overlooking her penthouse view of central Cannes... VIDEO PHOTO: XAM
Dr. Block's top by Shiba ... Dr. Block's choker by Elizabeth Duffey of Artistic Visions

Following is the unedited English language version of the interview that Dr. Susan Block did with French Journalist Anna Mori for French Penthouse. For the published version (in French), click here.

Anna Mori: Why did you become a sex therapist ?

Dr. Susan Block: Sex is the essence of life, the origin of the species, the source of infinite pleasure and tremendous pain, the great communicator, the grand motivator, the last temptation, the stuff of romance, the expression of love, the giver of life, the taker of innocence, the greatest good and the evil impulse, the dirtiest alleyway and the holiest temple, the Bonobo Way versus acting like a Baboon. Sex is the essence of life, the trick we play on death, the last gasp, the eternal flame, the art of the squeal, the mystery, the profanity, the vanity, obscenity, divinity, infinity… For all these reasons, and so many more, sex has always interested me. I wanted to get into a field that would always interest me. We are all Children of Sex. We may or may not be Children of God. But, until we start cloning ourselves, we are all Children of Sex. I became a sex therapist because I wanted to learn more about sex, because there is always more to learn.

Since when do you work as a sex therapist ? Can you tell us about your "course" ?

I've been a sex therapist for about 15 years. I'm a magna cum laude graduate of Yale University with a Ph.D. in philosophy with an emphasis in psychology from Pacific Western University. My personal philosophy is "Ethical Hedonism." Inspired by a variety of sources, from Epicures of Ancient Greece to the Bonobo Chimpanzees of the Congolese jungles, Ethical Hedonism supports the pursuit and cultivation of pleasure, while keeping the peace as civilized, considerate ladies and gentlemen.

How many patients do you have ?`

I prefer the term "client" to "patient," since "patient" implies that the individual is "sick," and most of my clients are not "sick" (though a few are!). Currently, here at the Dr. Susan Block Institute, I have about 1000 active sex therapy clients. These are clients who come in or call at least once every two or three months, though some call once or twice a week. We also have another 3000 or so inactive clients whom we may not hear from for a few years, then they call us again for some help or for a lift.

I see some of my clients in my office like a "typical" therapist. Some come to my public and private seminars in sexuality. But I talk with most of my clients-who come from all over the world, including France-on the telephone. By the way, if you are interested in becoming one of my sex therapy clients, you can call my office in Los Angeles at 213.749.1330. You can also call my office in France at (0)699962410. The telephone sex therapy page is:

Since when do you have a TV-show ? How did it happen ?

I started in radio in 1985, hosting a call-in show about dating, relationships and sex. One night, about 10 years ago, one of my listeners asked me if he could bring a video camera into the studio and film me doing the radio show. That was such a fun, erotic experience that we started filming the show once a week, adding props (sex toys) and costumes (sexy lingerie), and within a few months, The Dr. Susan Block Show evolved into a call-in TV program airing once a week on American cable.

In 1994, with the help of modern technology, I started hosting the show from my bed at home. Then HBO (Home Box Office) did their first television special with me. It did very well in the ratings and they started doing more, helping to make my weekly cable TV show extremely popular in America, and it is now gaining popularity in various countries all over the world

Can you describe one of your TV-shows ?

At a typical show, I have about 20 or so guests gathered around my "stage," that is, my big brass bed, relaxing on couches and sensuous chairs, or perhaps strapped to the Bondage Cross, playing with the Female Masturbation Machine or another piece of interactive erotic art, or maybe sitting by my baby grand piano. I usually open with a monologue on some subject related to sex and current events, or maybe I do something funny, like my "Old-Time Sexual Revival," a take-off on fundamentalist preachers. Or sometimes I just talk about something sexy. It's sex education with titillation.

Then the calls start coming in. People call in who are watching the show on TV or live on the Internet at Both men and women call, and sometimes couples. They are all ages, and come from a variety of backgrounds, religions, nationalities and professions. They ask me questions about every aspect of sex that you can imagine (and some you definitely couldn't). They tell me their erotic fantasies. They confess their deepest desires. Sometimes they even orgasm right on the air!

Almost half the calls I get are from men and women who want to know if moderate masturbation is "normal" or "okay." I tell them to check and see if they've grown any hair on their palms. I agree with George Carlin: "If God had intended us not to masturbate, (s)he would have made our arms shorter."

After a couple of calls, I'm usually joined in my bed by my first guest. For some shows, I only have one special guest. For others, I have a bed filled with people. Sometimes, we just talk with each other and with the callers. But often, we play with sex toys and each other, getting involved in all kinds of wild erotic activities, sometimes at a caller's prompting.

After about two hours, we wind up the "formal" part of the show, and we move into the "after-show" party. That means that we get off of the bed (though some guests might stay on it), and we turn up the music, mix with the studio audience, dance, interact with the erotic art, bondage and spanking equipment. Some shows develop into wild orgies or erotic performance art. Others are more low-key and intimate. You never know, because most of it is quite spontaneous. We try to plan as much as we can, but as far as sex and live performance is concerned, the best-laid plans may not get you laid the way you planned!

You told me you are in a big bed… Where does it come from ? Was it made specially for the show ?

The "stage" for my show is a beautiful big old-fashioned brass bed with four posts (the better to play bondage games), a custom-made gift from a former lover. When I first started hosting the show from bed in 1994, this was the bed in which I slept, made love, masturbated, everything! Now I have a different bed for sleeping and private lovemaking, so the brass bed is just my "show bed." I call it "my magic carpet into your imagination." It is filled with sumptuous pillows, sensuous fabrics, feather boas, masks, erotic art and, of course, lots of dildos, whips, paddles and vibrators.

What about your guests, the subjects, etc…

I have all sorts of guests, from professors to porn stars, from swingers to priests, from celebrities to couples we invite to the studio. We talk about all sorts of subjects related to sex, and since everything is, in some way, related to sex, we talk about everything!

Common topics include Sexual Positions, Erotic Fantasies, Sexual Fetishes, How to Make Love Last, Oral Sex, Anal Sex, Dominance and Submission, Masturbation, Swinging, Bisexuality (Male and Female), Secret Love Affairs, Sex and the Five Senses, Sex and Intimacy, Penis Size, Premature Ejaculation, Exhibitionism and Voyeurism, Safe Sex, Sex Toys, Food and Sex, Spanking, Bondage, Piercing, Porn, Sexual Abuse, Sex and Religion, and, of course, Sex and Politics. Right after the 9.11 attacks, I did a series of shows on Sex and Terror.

Can you tell us the most amusing TV-shows you made ?

That's difficult because there have been so many. Every January, we celebrate Eros Day, the time when the planet Eros is closest to the Earth. That is always a wild show with lots of orgiastic sex on the bondage cross, in the bed, everywhere! We've done several shows on Female Ejaculation that are wetter than a wet T-shirt contest! Our Foot Fetish Salons are always lots of fun, with bacchannalian grape stomping and "Tequila Toe-Shots." One of my favorite shows featured UC Berkeley Theater Professor Mel Gordon, author of "Voluptuous Panic: The Erotic World of Weimar Berlin" and four incredibly horny porn stars, Teri and Merle Weigel, Mika Tan and Monique de Moan. The Professor gave us all aphrodisiacs and regaled us with tales of Weimar Berlin as the porn stars played with each other and hopped on and off his amazing Female Masturbation Machine, a large sex toy based on a prototype from the Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld Institute.

The most surprising ?

The most surprising shows would have to be the two that were raided by the Los Angeles Police Department. In both cases, we were not charged with anything, and I am in the process of suing the LAPD for their infringement of our Fourth Amendment Rights.. But it was extremely surprising-and frightening-to be invaded and occupied by 25 armed and dangerous police officers, one of whom held a gun to my head while he questioned me about my lingerie and jewelry. Everything that we do is perfectly legal (even in the United States!). But some people watch the show, see us having all that fun, and assume there must be something illegal going on. Or maybe this is just their way to join in. Not a good way, if you ask me. Not the Bonobo Way.

How many people look at your shows ?

My HBO specials get my biggest audiences, and they are always rated #1 by the Nielsen ratings on the nights they premiere. Approximately 2.5 million households watch when they premiere. Then they repeat the shows. The producers estimate that about 50 million people in America have watched my show at least once. My internet website at is rated by Alexa in the top 1% of websites in the world. About 5000 people a day watch and listen to the show on the Internet.

What kind of people ? How do they react ?

All kinds of people, from sexy couples to lonely guys to horny housewives to parties of people that turn into orgies while they're watching the show. Most people who contact me are fans, of course, though occasionally I hear from fundamentalist loonies who threaten to bomb me off the air. Some people tell me (or the station) that I'm a menace to society. But all over the world, I am amazed and touched by how many people I run into who watch the show on TV or the Internet, and tell me that it has not only given them pleasure, a few laughs and some cool ideas, but changed their whole attitude towards sex and opened their hearts to love.

Why did you decide to write a book about pleasure ?

In a world obsessed with pain and violence, I wanted to write a book about how to give pleasure. Pleasure? The power to give pleasure is the greatest power we have. It's the power to heal, the power to appeal. The 10 Commandments of Pleasure guide you to finding your partner's Pleasure Points which, like Pressure Points, are all over your body, and in your mind. Of course, many Pleasure Points are also Points of Pain. The 10 Commandments of Pleasure show you how to overpower Pain, and become a Master Pleasure-Giver. People gain power in one of two ways: either through fear, or through love. The 10 Commandments of Pleasure guide you toward the second way, the Bonobo Way, how to gain power with love. It is something I believe we all need, as individuals and as a society.

Do you work with your husband ?

Yes, all my work is done is collaboration with my wonderful husband Max. He has been involved in the field of sexuality for 35 years, mostly in publishing. Now he is working with me, and he is especially involved in setting up the Dr. Susan Block Institute and The Dr. Susan Block Show in France.

What you think about marriage ?

I love being married, because I love my husband and we have a very special, very sexy marriage. But I believe that marriage is not for everybody. For many people, marriage is the least sexy relationship on Earth.

About fidelity ?

In the beginning, there is love. A hot and steaming love supreme that can heal our wounds, open our eyes, shake up our governments, give us more zing than a case of cappuccino and make us happier than we ever imagined. And it's real. As scientifically real as the chemical changes it unleashes within us. But alas, it is not eternal. Nor is it exclusive.

Monogamy is not the norm in nature, since it's not normally to a male's genetic advantage to stay with one female when he can get it on with several and recycle more of his genes. For females, monogamy isn't so natural either. Despite the old saying, Hoggamus higgamus, man is polygamous. Higgamus hoggamus, woman's monogamous, studies show that human females aren't much more faithful than males, even though almost all societies punish women for cheating far more than men. Hoggamus, Hiscuous, Nature's Promiscuous. From nature's viewpoint, romantic love merely serves an evolutionary purpose for both sexes: to make us so HOT for each other that we reproduce (otherwise, considering the high cost of child care, we might not!). We fall in and out of love so we'll mix up our genes, increasing their odds of "winning" the human race.

Never mind that society values long-term monogamy. Nature isn't so picky. Anthropologists tell us that nature only provides for us to feel "in love" for a few months, or at most a few years, enough time to rear a child through babyhood, at which point theoretically, the kid is brought up by the tribe, leaving the parents free to fall in love with someone else and start the process again. In modern terms, you could say that's when Junior goes off to pre-school, and Mummy and Dadda go off and have affairs.

It all seems like a nasty trick that Mother Nature is playing on those of us who'd like to make love last. And there's only one solution. If you want to make love last, you have to trick nature. Trick nature? You can't fool Mother Nature, can you? Don't be intimidated by Her PR. You can fool Her. At least, sometimes. And "sometimes" might be all you need to keep love hot through Ice Ages of mortgages, meetings, seductive strangers, soul-consuming children, personal tragedies and platinum anniversaries.

The "trick" is to crack the chemical code of love. It all comes down to chemistry--literally. Falling in love floods your bloodstream with a fricassee of powerful chemicals: dopamine, norepinephrine, phenylethylamine (PEA) and other natural cousins of amphetamines, stimulants and painkillers.

Yes, falling in love is like being on drugs. Hard drugs. It's a natural high far finer and smoother than anything you could smoke, snort, drink or swallow. Of course, love isn't something you can just pick up at the pharmacy or even on the black market. It strikes you like a mystical gift from God, or maybe like a practical joke from tricky, fickle old Mama Nature. Then it stirs up that euphoric, love-juicy chemical stew that permeates your cells, creating a place within you where hormones meet holiness, and the city never sleeps.

To differentiate it from long-term love, I call this giddy, speedy, slightly insane, falling-in-love feeling Hot Love. Hot Love is the supernova of affection, but it's just too hot not to cool down. After a while, your body builds up a tolerance to the PEA and other sizzling chemicals. The feeling fades. And you wonder, where has love gone? Where is the passion?

But don't despair! All is not lost, chemically speaking. If your relationship continues, another set of chemicals--opiate-like endorphins and sweet-feeling oxytocin--flows in, sensitizing nerves, stimulating muscle contraction, enhancing orgasm and making cuddling feel just luscious. I call it Warm Love, as it brings on that nice, warm sense of well-being you get when you're really comfortable with someone.

The coolest thing about Warm Love is that, unlike Hot Love, it can last forever. No tricks necessary. In fact, it's habit-forming. That's why breaking up is so hard to do. Even when you really don't like someone anymore and you know you should move on, it often feels like you "can't" because you're chemically addicted. Oxytocin, when it's got you hooked on the wrong partner, can be tougher to kick than heroin. In fact, there's a prescription painkiller, OxyContin, based on similar ingredients, that has recently been declared one of the most addictive medications on the market.

But if you're with the right person, the cozy compounds that concoct Warm Love create a "good addiction," helping to keep you happy together long after your Hot Love peaks have petered out. Warm Love chemicals aren't just a high; they're a health benefit, naturally strengthening your heart and immune system. And yet, without that giddy fizz of Hot Love, you may feel you've fallen out of love. Have you?

Well, yes and no. It's natural to only feel Hot Love with your partner in the beginning. Then, if you just go according to Nature's Plan, the relationship evolves into Warm Love, never to scale the delightfully dizzying summits of Hot Love again. Not that all of us require multiple helpings of Hot Love throughout life. But without it-even with plenty of Warm Love-most of us feel a bit empty and bored. That's why so many people from "happy marriages" have affairs, restlessly seeking that elusive Hot Love fix.

After all, the easiest way to experience Hot Love is with a new lover. Novelty triggers PEA like the sun brings out the string bikinis. But it's also possible to trick those mercurial Hot Love chemicals into kicking in, by adding new elements to your old relationship.
Sometimes all it takes is the simplest novelties: Surprising each other with a sexy new look or spending the weekend in a strange locale. These are some of the oldest tricks in the book because they very often work, literally tricking your nervous system into reacting as if "This is new! I'm falling in love!" Your chemical soup is stirred, your heart beats fast and fireworks explode, all with the same old sweetheart.

More exotic ways to fool Mother Nature into giving you a Hot Love chemical shower:
1) Sharing Fantasies. Fantasy creates the feeling of novelty in the erotic theater of your minds, if you relax and suspend disbelief. Sharing memories of Hot Love experiences you've had together (your first kiss, your first sex) also works, but only if you've already shared loads of Hot Love in the beginning. Chemistry can't be conjured from nothing.
2) Role-Playing. Take fantasies a little farther by dressing up, acting the part, wearing masks. You might even pretend to meet for the first time, maybe in a bar. If you play it out and don't giggle too much, it's amazing how easily your Hot Love button can be pushed even when you know the sexy stranger with whom you're carrying on some serious flirtation is really just your spouse.
3) Make Love First if you Want to Make Love Last. Make it a priority in your lives. Make plans for love, Hot and Warm. But remember: the best laid plans may not get you laid the way you planned! Be open to the magical mysteries of surprise.
4) Chemical Combo. Give your lover a massage to activate Warm Love endorphins as you whisper fantasies to kindle Hot Love amphetamines.
5) Try New Things. Sex toys, porn, swing parties, bondage games--the list of potential aphrodisiacs is endless. Some are better than others, depending on your taste and mood. Experiment. That's one way to fire up your PEA Bunsen burner. But keep in mind that Hot Love chemicals are highly combustible. Things that ignite them can also elicit feelings of fear, anger, jealousy and embarrassment. Take good care of each other with lots of reassuring Warm Love when you undertake Hot Love experimentation.

Don't let yourself become a Hot Love junkie. A little spice makes a tasty stew, but too much spoils the meat. If you can whip it up right, you'll keep love and sex hot and warm your whole life long.

And if you can't, hey, you're only human. Forgive yourself, but never give up. Remember the wise words of that horny old Victorian, William Thackery: "To love and win is the best thing; to love and lose, the next best thing."

About swinging ?

The North American Swing Club Association estimates there are over 5 million active swingers in America. Why do so many people swing, try it, or at least fantasize about it? For as many different reasons as there are different swingers (or, as the French say, "libertines"). Some couples swing because it allows them to explore the excitement of having sex with other people right in front of each other, which feels healthier, or at least more honest than cheating. Many folks actually get aroused by watching their spouse have sex with other men or women. Most enjoy the intimate camaraderie that swinging fosters. For them, sex and socializing go together.

Many delight in the sheer orgiastic atmosphere of a swing environment. I sure do. Humans, like other animals, experience a high level of sexual energy in a place where they see, hear and smell others having sex. Modern group sex may awaken primitive sense memories of prehistoric times when families and even whole tribes lived and slept together in giant caves. Ancient religions held fertility orgies in the midst of the Dionysian, Bacchanalian, Carnival and May Day festivals, celebrating the mysteries of sexuality and giving widows, homely virgins and spouses of infertile mates a chance to conceive. Modern swingers don't swing to get pregnant, of course, but the desire for a transcendent, orgiastic experience remains. Many don't even go "all the way." They just watch, or have sex with their partners in the midst of all the collective aphrodisia.

Swinging won't turn a bad relationship into a good one. In fact, if your relationship is fairly weak, swinging can destroy it in less time than it takes to make a Daisy Chain . But if it's already pretty strong, and if the two of you have cravings for adventure and sex drives like bunnies, it can be the ultimate extracurricular activity.

If you're NOT into swinging, you probably think of it as a man's domain. And in the old days of wife-swapping, it usually was. But that's no longer true. Now, women rule the Swing Scene. In a typical couple, it's the man who's initially most excited about swinging, often to the point he has to cajole, encourage, beg, bribe or trick his wife or girlfriend into trying it. But if she does participate, after a while, the wife often gets even more involved than her husband. Then what might happen? Any number of possibilities, the worst of which involve hubby fuming jealously as wifey basks in the glorious newfound attention of several sensual men and women. Group sex presents women with certain benefits that neither dating nor relationship sex offers. Some ladies use swinging to experiment with different forms of sex, such as sex with women or with more than one man. They can explore playful erotic encounters in an environment where there is little worry about rape, physical abuse or being vilified as a "slut." In many ways, a good swing party is a feminist sexual paradise.

Natural human sexuality is like the jungle--wild and free, dangerous, out of control. Monogamy is like a garden--lovely but controlled, a little boring perhaps, but secure, serene. The happiest "playcouples" seem to be gardeners who like to swing through the trees every so often. Ideally, in between their adventures in the wild, they cultivate their garden together.

Whether their marriages are rock-solid or their relationships change as frequently as bonobos eat bananas, all swingers are attempting to deal with their desires in a relatively open, honest manner. Through their burgeoning conventions and private threesomes, they are evolving beyond the deceitful cheating and debilitating repression that pervades most marriages around the world. They are helping us all to swing into a new era of sexual freedom, honesty, tolerance, peace and understanding.

For the French version of this interview,, published in French Penthouse Magazine,
click here


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