In a world where discussions about sex are often veiled in secrecy, Dr. Tara is breaking barriers and fostering open conversations about sexuality and relationships. As a respected expert, educator, and coach, she is on a mission to transform the way we approach intimacy and communication.
Explore her journey, insights, and passion for empowering individuals and couples on their paths to fulfilling relationships!
Who is Dr. Tara of Luvbites?
Dr. Tara of Luvbites is a sex and relationship expert who helps people improve their sex lives and relationships. She is a tenured associate professor at California State University, Fullerton, where she teaches courses on human sexuality and sexual communication. She is also a certified sex therapist and a licensed marriage and family therapist.
Dr. Tara is passionate about helping people have better sex and relationships. She believes that everyone deserves to have a fulfilling sex life and a loving relationship. She offers a variety of services to help people achieve their goals, including:
- Sex therapy: Dr. Tara helps people overcome sexual problems such as erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, and low libido.
- Couples therapy: Dr. Tara helps couples improve their communication, intimacy, and conflict resolution skills.
- Sex education: Dr. Tara offers workshops and presentations on a variety of topics related to sex and relationships.
Dr. Tara is also the host of the Luvbites podcast, where she interviews experts on sex and relationships. She is a frequent contributor to media outlets such as Cosmopolitan, Men's Health, and The Huffington Post.
Dr. Tara's Mission: Transforming Sex Lives and Relationships
Born and raised in Thailand, Dr. Tara remembers a childhood where any talks of sex, dating, and intimacy, were never addressed.
Growing up with little knowledge and a lot of shame and guilt, Dr. Tara often felt confused as she entered puberty.
That’s why, years later, she’s hoping to change that.
Now living in Los Angeles, California, and with a focus on communication and sex issues, Dr. Tara has since built a career--and life goal--that focuses on communication practices and how we use them as a tool to have a healthy sex life and better relationships.
Through the a class she teaches at Cal State University, her own podcast Luvbites, as well as her own practice as a sex and relationship expert, Dr. Tara combines her personal experiences and beliefs, with naked honesty and principles that are a mix of western social science research and eastern philosophies, to guide her students, clients and the couples of Couply through an educational and healthy understanding of sex, intimacy, and all that it entails.
An Exclusive Interview with Dr. Tara of Luvbites
We got a chance to sit down with Dr. Tara to discuss her journey, what she’s learned while helping others learn, and some extra steamy tips to reignite the passion in any relationship!
So how did you start on your journey to being a sex and relationship expert?
"I went to University studying human communication. I specifically studied relationships and I learned the the issues people face the most are anything related to communication and sex issues. So, in my PhD program I studied human communication, within a relationship, and my research is now more on how we use communication as a tool to have a healthier sex life and a better relationship.
Then, after my PhD I got my dream job as a college professor at Cal State University and I was working towards my tenure and I applied for my early tenure. And once I got tenure, I asked myself, “What’s next?” That’s when I started my coaching practice two years ago and then I started my sexual wellness podcast.
And once I was two years into coaching, I asked myself how I could translate all this knowledge into a mass media form, so I started also putting out content on my Instagram, my TikTok, and now I’m also working on producing a TV show!
But on top of all of that, I also do research as a part of my job. I’m really interested and driven by new social scientific discoveries, including new factors that will help with relationship and intimacy, like technology – this is why partnering with apps like Couply is so exciting to me!"
Wow, that is awesome! And what classes are you teaching at Cal State?
"Sexual Communication. I’ve taught this class for several years. I’ve also co-wrote a textbook that’s called Sexual Communication: Research in Action which is out now!"
That sounds fun! What topics do you cover with a course with that kind of name?
"The course starts at the very beginning where we discuss genitals, anatomy, giving my students the right vocabulary. Then it goes into what is sex, what is sexual orientation, what is gender, then it goes into the first encounter – so your sexual debut, we no longer use losing your virginity. Then it goes into young adult, dating life, flirting, love style, attachment style, how do people of different attachment styles have sex. Then we go into understanding communication during sex – dirty talk, pillow talk - then we go into alternative lifestyles like BDSM, open relationships, swinging, fetishes, and all of that.
And the course ends with communication technologies like sexting, onlyfans, camgirls, porn usage - the dangers, the benefits - and then we conclude with research that looks at sexual wellness for the rest of your life from like your 30s all the way into your 80s."
So then how did you get into coaching?
"My passion is in helping people and I wanted to take what I knew outside of the constraint of just four walls within the classroom. So I started my coaching practice to help people one-on-one. I’ve helped a lot of couples, and single individuals.
My coaching style is very non-traditional. I don’t follow traditional psychotherapy. For me, therapy is therapy: you should go see your therapist. But if you have a sex and relationship goal that you want to meet, I think a coach like me is going to be more effective.
I may do things like naked sexual meditation with couples, for women that have issues with their self esteem we will do naked yoga together, we do exposure therapy, it’s coaching through doing different things. I always “prescribe people to do things” - I prescribe actionable Xanax!
For one of my clients, I prescribed her three days this week, go on three dates, and dictate where you want to go. I told her to take charge of what she wants to see."
How does your work as a sex and relationship expert differ from other therapists who may be doing similar work?
"Usually therapists, or psychotherapists, look at your pasts, your patterns, your traumas but, in my method of coaching it’s more about how do we set a clear goal and how do we get there through communication. How to get anywhere is through communication—and unsurprisingly so many people are just so, so bad at communication, they’re just expecting the other person to magically do a lot of stuff."
Is there a problem you’ve found across a majority of your clients, whether they’re single or in a couple, that they all share in common?
"For most, if not all couples, they all have the same issue: sex drive differences, also known as sexual desire discrepancy. For a lot of them, there are differences in sex drive and how to navigate that. They come in [to work with me] claiming there is a lack of passion in the relationship, and after I investigate then we discover it’s differences in sex drive. And they want to regain their passion.
For single people, it’s usually dating confusion. A lot of them are unsure of what they truly want, they want help figuring out what they want. A lot of them also reach out about confidence or like a lack of confidence and sexual confidence."
What piece of advice do you generally give your clients?
"Communicate your expectations. This literally works for everyone! I can’t understand why people don’t talk about what they want, whether it’s what they want from their partner romantically, sexually, or generally throughout the relationship.
So to work through this, I walk them through journaling because before you communicate, you have to know what your expectations are. What are your thoughts? What is your ideal sex life? That helps you prepare for the conversation. Then the next step is to schedule a check-in. This time shouldn’t be rushed or stressful, it should really be intentional. And then when you start the conversation, always preface it with, “Here’s what I want for us.” Then share what you’ve been journaling and your expectations.
Then always end the conversation with, 'Thank you for listening to me.' "
And what advice do you have for couples in long distance relationships if they do have sexual discrepancies and they’re not physically in the same space often?
"I would say mutual masturbation - whether that’s Facetiming or on the phone when you do it - and sexting. Sexting really allows you to feel playful."
Is there something you’ve learned over the years of your practice that has really stuck with you and or added to/elevated your practice.
"I’ve learned so much. I would say I’ve learned that, there’s no one right kind of relationship. Like I’ve known that theoretically and I’ve known it in research and watching TV. There are people who swing, there are people who are allowed to have sex with others as long as they don’t ask, or don’t tell, there are people that always have a threesome, or one that is a traveling partner. You have no idea how much diversity of relationship types there are, because we as a society are often so subscribed to the heteronormative stuff. We’re taught that a “man and woman get married and have kids.” But the diversity is beautiful to me. It’s whatever works for you and whatever makes you and your partner happy."
And can you tell us a little bit about your podcast and what was your favorite episode so far?
"So my podcast is called Luvbites and I aim to help normalize sex talk. I always tell people I want to help normalize sex talk. The more people feel more comfortable talking about sex in their relationship the happier they’re going to be.
As for my favorite episode, my first thought is the one where we talked about female sexual arousal with Dr. Lori Brotto because she is the leading expert on female sexual arousal. And for couples who listen to it, they’ll learn about their sexual differences and understanding how they can pivot based on this professor’s recommendation, they will live a much happier sex life.
If you like the sound of that, please tune in here!"
Overall, what do you recommend for bringing passion back into any relationships?
"For couples that want to reinvigorate their intimacy is to try new things together. In basic human theory, we get comfortable with consistency and stability, but that is the killer of passion. Stability and passion don’t thrive together, even though we want both. So try new things: like a new kind of toy, maybe even visit a nudist beach, have sex in a car, try a new thing where it makes you feel like naughty couple! I’ve always seen It to reinvigorate long-term relationships and the passion within it.
I’ve also been prescribing sexual meditation together. It’s free and you get to be naughty and do something new and you sit in silence and it’s interesting for most people."
You can find Dr. Tara’s advice in the Intimacy Course in the Couply App and her podcast is here.