COLUMBIA — When Dr. Drew Pinsky started answering questions about sex more than 20 years ago, the term “sexually transmitted disease” hadn’t been coined yet and condoms were still sold behind the pharmacy counter.
“I walked into something in a period of history when people were not talking about sex,” Pinsky said.
Listeners have been calling into “Love Line,” Pinsky’s nationally syndicated radio show, since 1983 to ask questions about sex, love, dating and relationships.
“Dr. Drew,” as the internist and addiction specialist is more widely known, is also the host of the VH1 shows “Celebrity Rehab” and "Sober House” and the MTV show “Sex … with Mom and Dad.” He spoke at Jesse Hall at MU on Wednesday evening.
“What he deals with is very wide,” audience member Michael Kayson said. “Relationship, addiction and sexual questions. He is kind of like the Dr. Phil for the younger generation.”
True to the style of his radio show, Pinsky opened up the talk as a conversation, rather than a lecture.
“I want to make this as interactive as possible,” Pinsky said as he introduced the program. He quickly and easily established a rapport with the audience, asking questions and receiving immediate feedback.
The environment seemed comfortable to audience members, who had no trouble sharing intimate details of their lives with Pinsky. They easily shared stories of hurt as well as their insight on today's sexual culture.
“This is a very honest group,” Pinsky said in the midst of a conversation about what Pinsky refers to as the “hook-up culture.”
Pinsky listened to the opinions of audience members as much as he talked, reflecting on the feedback from an audience made up of mostly students. Several times, Pinsky emphasized the fact that he does not judge.
“He doesn’t beat around the bush; he just says it,” MU student Amber Pinnell said. “He’s real.”
No question or topic was taboo to Pinsky and his audience. Why do women date jerks? Why is there cultural resistance to the Gardasil vaccine? Are there hormones that bond women to their partner in a sexual encounter? These were just a few of the inquiries that Pinsky addressed.
“He doesn’t talk down,” MU student Kelsey Jones said. “He’s not high and mighty, and he’s not awkward in (answering questions) about sex.”
Pinsky approached the discussion with comedy, intermittently cracking jokes, keeping the audience at ease while tackling sensitive topics. He spoke in relatable terms that seemed to make the audience want to talk. In discussing a wide variety of topics related to sex and relationships, Pinsky’s message remained clear.
“Trust your instincts,” Pinsky said. “Life is better when you live with integrity.”