Dana MénardA book by UWindsor professor Dana Ménard won the 2021 Consumer Book Award from the Society for Sex Therapy and Research.

Award recognizes appeal of study on sex

It’s not often that a book outlining the findings of a large body of research wins a consumer book award.

But that is exactly what happened when Magnificent Sex: Lessons from Extraordinary Lovers, co-authored by Peggy J. Kleinplatz of the University of Ottawa and UWindsor professor Dana Ménard won the 2021 Society for Sex Therapy and Research Consumer Book Award.

Magnificent Sex is based on the largest, in-depth interview study ever conducted with people who self-identify as having extraordinary sex. It gathers the nuggets of wisdom from the “experts,” distilling them into an attainable blueprint for ordinary lovers who want to make intimacy grow over the course of a lifetime. It explores such factors as individual and relational qualities, empathic communication, and the myths and realities of magnificent sex.

Dr. Ménard describes Dr. Kleinplatz as a “legendary” sex and sexuality researcher and educator.

“I’ve known Peggy since 2003, when I took her third-year ‘Sex and Sexuality’ course and then her grad course,“ Dr. Ménard explains. “I did my master’s thesis with her, and she oversaw my dissertation.”

Parts of the book are based on Ménard master’s and PhD dissertations. The pair started their research in 2005 and continued after Ménard completed her doctorate in 2013.

“This wonderful success has been seven years in the making,” she laughs. “Now I understand the saying ‘overnight success’.”

Since Ménard left Ottawa, the team’s main focus has been on running therapy groups using the principles that were identified during the previous two phases of research.

“Yes, we can help people using the principle findings of our research,” she says. “So, I started working on the book not long after I graduated.”

But when you have two people who are working full-time as clinical psychologists while writing a book together, the writing goes slowly.

“I would say that a draft of the book was finished in 2018, and it took a while to find a good publisher match, editing, and all the other details,” says Ménard. “So it was very strange to get calls from the Windsor Star and CBC to talk about this book that’s just out and is this wonderful success, that you know, has been seven years in the making. It’s exciting!”

The publisher recently emailed Kleinplatz and Ménard to say that their book is being translated into Spanish for the Latin American market.

As a faculty member in the Department of Psychology, Ménard’s currently focuses her research on ‘The Impostor Phenomenon’, academic lab safety, mental health and wellbeing in students, representations of sex and sexuality in the media, healthcare workers' mental health and support use during the COVID-19 pandemic.

—Susan McKee