As soon as I met Brittany Lacour, I knew she was brilliant. Our bond formed quickly, and before you could say KinkyThinkTank, we were modeling and performing together, pushing the boundaries of sexuality and art, leaving people with a sense that they just broadened their horizons. It’s no coincidence we both ended up studying social work to pursue sex therapy. While my passion for the topic waned, hers grew into an impressive career that’s lead her all over the world speaking about sexual health. Along the way, she never lost her penchant for performance. Still very active in producing edgy art, you’ll find her on stage acting for various companies like Denver’s Dangerous Theatre. It had been a moment since she and I played catch up and I thought you’d be interesting in meeting Ms. Lacour, one of the most fascinating women I know.
What are your credentials?
BL: I’m a licensed clinical social worker, and a diplomat to the American Academy of Clinical Sexology.
Tell me about where you went to school and what inspired you to become a sex therapist?
BL: As an undergrad, I interned on the psycho-endocrine unit of Cornell Medical Center/New York Presbyterian Hospital. There were two doctoral students doing summer internships too, and they were always getting passes to lectures and trainings. But they were so swamped with their coursework they would give them to me. I learned so much about sex, hormones, intersex, gender, etc. Academia was seductive because of this constant access to learning opportunities, so I decided I was going to go to graduate school for psychology. In my sophomore year, I met Dr. Donald Williams, who taught our human sexuality courses. We decided to do an independent study together. This all culminated in me going to work at The Dungeon of Mistress Jasmine (an establishment in Manhattan that catered to the BDSM scene), first under the pretense of research, then under the pretense of being broke.
How did you respond to the dungeon?
BL: The dungeon was a flood to my senses. I have always felt like my energy was too big for my body, and periodically it would “shoot out” of me in spastic ways. I knew I had a high threshold for sensory input, but after playing on some of the dungeon equipment, I actually felt grounded and peaceful in my body. This was a state I had rarely experienced before.
Naturally, my ego had a hard time accepting that the worlds of academia and sex work could co-exist, so I spent a few years moving in and out of the dungeon in sort of a binge/purge fashion. Then, I finally gave myself a freaking break and accepted that I could have love for both of these things without it meaning anything about me, and allowed them to both exist in my life in an honest above-ground way. This opened the door to a really honest relationship with myself and my work. Of course, before that could happen, I had to listen to my ego and attempt the “legit” path of getting a Ph.D. which naturally led to me falling apart completely.[sc:shn-ad3]
BL: I got into a biopsychology doctoral program in my home state of Louisiana, working under a professor who had published in the field of human sexuality. When I arrived, he informed me he was at the end of his career, and wasn’t looking to open up anything “new.” I was charged with the task of replicating findings from two of his already existing studies, which meant inducing brain lesions to the ventromedial hypothalamus of rats and then watching them become aggressive, hypersexual and obese. One part of this research involved me sitting in a dark room, with one red light bulb and a rat tank. In this rodent version of Amsterdam, I had to write down how many times this aggressive, obese male rat tried to mount his female friends, the number of failed attempts, successful intromissions, etc. Sitting in the dark alone watching rat porn really makes you reevaluate your life choices. I was depressed. I wasn’t ready to be back in my hometown, and I felt like a fraud trying to do this very academic lifestyle. I was less than enthusiastic about this work. I got sick, and dropped out. Really though, I was looking for any excuse to leave and getting sick was good enough.