See Dr. Drew's Daughter, Who Co-Wrote a Sex Ed Book With Him
Paulina Pinsky and her father penned a book to help teens and parents talk about sex.
Dr. Drew Pinsky is one of the most well-known psychologists on the planet. If you didn't catch him on call-in advice show Loveline, you might remember him from his hosting gig on Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew or appearances on 16 and Pregnant on MTV. Pinsky has appeared as an expert voice on more than a dozen reality series and radio shows and written five books on addiction, relationships, and the cult of celebrity—all while maintaining a private practice in Los Angeles.
All told, Dr. Drew has nearly 40 years in the advice game and shows no signs of slowing down. His latest gig, however, is something of a family affair. In September, Dr. Drew and his daughter Paulina Pinsky released a new book called It Doesn't Have To Be Awkward: Dealing with Relationships, Consent, and Other Hard-to-Talk-About Stuff, a guide to help parents and teens tackle difficult subjects. Read on to learn more about Paulina and how the family collaboration came about.
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Paulina Pinsky has spoken openly about the struggles she has faced.
Paulina, 28, is one of three triplets born to Dr. Drew and his wife, Susan Pinsky. Growing up in a home with one of the world's most famous doctors didn't shield her from struggling with a crippling eating disorder for seven years. In 2013, she revealed the extent of her food struggles in a post for the Columbia Spectator that detailed how her mother's desire for her to be perfect led to battles with bulimia and anorexia.
"My mother was not the only one demanding perfection from me. I was the pretty blonde girl who was a cheerleader and an ice skater. I got good grades, had a boyfriend, and was thin: I was living the life everyone had always told me I should want for myself. But I was suffering under the weight of 'perfection' in a way that even I didn't completely understand," she wrote.
Paulina said in the post she sought therapy and treatment in order to heal herself and her relationship with her mother. After the post was published, Dr. Drew came out in support of his daughter in a statement to Entertainment Tonight. "We are so proud of Paulina and her outreach to help others and particularly empower women. When she recognized she needed help, she sought treatment and actively engaged in the process. And now she is using her insights to help others," he said.
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Now, she uses her voice to write about body image and sexuality.
After graduating from Columbia University with an MFA in 2018, Paulina began teaching at the school and online. She also kicked off her professional writing career.
Paulina has written about body image and sexuality for Huffington Post and Medium, and in 2020, she published an essay called "How to Learn About Sex When Your Famous Sex-Advice Father Teaches You Nothing," which outlined just how difficult talking to your parents about sex can be—even when your dad is famous for it.
"There have been fleeting moments of clarity, in which I share some part of myself: a breakup, a rebound, a boyfriend. But still, talking to my parents about anything related to sex makes me cringe," she wrote at the time.
Paulina and Dr. Drew collaborated on a book meant to foster conversations between parents and kids.
Less than a year later, Paulina and her father published It Doesn't Have to Be Awkward. In an interview with the publisher, Clarion Books, Paulina said the book was "a conversation waiting to happen. My instinct is to cover my ears and scream and run, so for me it was about digging in and really thinking about what it means to communicate effectively when having these conversations."
The book focuses on various aspects of teen life, including bullies, friendship, consent, and identity, and offers quizzes and surveys to help teens and parents communicate around difficult subject matter—like sex.
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The father and daughter recommend that teens and parents try meeting each other where they're at.
"You have to keep it on the level of the person you're trying to communicate with—that's what I always tried to do back in the day with Paulina," Dr. Drew told Clarion. "When having these conversations, we'd stop when she wanted to stop, and we'd revisit when she was ready to revisit. With that basic paradigm in our relationship, we started looking at consent as a much richer territory for all kinds of relating. We talk about consent as a model for healthy relationships of all types."
Dr. Drew recommends that parents approach questions from their children about relationships and sexuality by remembering that it's a conversation, and not a time to "unload." "The key is that it's just a conversation," he told Clarion. "It's not an opportunity to unload everything you're anxious about and want your children to know—avoid that. Just give them the opportunity to ask questions."
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