Dr. Holly Richmond is one of the top somatic psychologists and marriage & sex therapists in the United States. She works with some of the biggest celebrities. Additionally, she is a published author and has actually been the leading voice/expert on how new types of technology (such as virtual reality adult entertainment) is a positive key factor for relationships and one’s personal health. As a leading sex expert, Dr. Holly Richmond has been quoted recently for her advice in Forbes Magazine, Men’s Health and other outlets around the world.
Holly Lenore Richmon was raised in Upstate New York, near the Finger Lakes. Growing up she owned dirt bikes, a horse, a goat, a rabbit, a white mouse, hermit crabs and a cat. Being the kind soul she is, she also took in every stray she stumbled across including injured possums, birds and woodchucks. Puberty hit her hard and she changed from a gangly awkward tall kid to an athletic teenage girl. She was 5’8” by the time she was 12 years old and grew another two inches after that.
Later, she went to see a modeling agent in Rochester, NY. She was signed on to Nexus Personal Management at the age of 16 (1986) and went from making $4.25 an hour at McDonald’s flipping fries to $75 an hour for catalog and local newspaper shoots ($150 an hour if she was shooting bathing suits or lingerie). Her life changed quickly. She was working frequently in Rochester, Buffalo, Syracuse, and even in Toronto, Canada. She was a ‘Kodak girl’ and was featured on the Marriott Marquise in Times Square, as a bride, in 1987.
After graduation, she signed with Click Models in New York, New York and then with Premier Models in London, UK. She worked for a year in the “big leagues” but ultimately decided it was not for her. She just did not have the drive to ‘BE’ a model at that point. Later, she decided to move back to Rochester and attend the University of Rochester where she did a double major in English Literature and International Relations. She modeled throughout college, but the balanced life of academia and modeling felt much better to her than a life devoted to pictures. She even worked as a journalist in New York for several years and then moved to Southern California where she was a fashion /visuals editor for an outdoor sports magazine. After climbing the editorial ladder at several magazines, she started her own consulting business at the age of 29. But that all changed later after she started volunteering and teaching creative writing at a girls’ detention facility in Southern California, which prompted her decision to go to graduate school for a Master’s in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University in Santa Barbara. She learned how to treat trauma, but lacked information about sexual health. The survivors she treated desperately wanted to get their individual and relational sex lives back on track. So, she sought information to specifically address those issues. That lead her to the decision to pursue a Ph.D. in Somatic Psychology (i.e., body psychology, because to her, what is more, somatic than sex?) from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Los Angeles and a certification in sex therapy (another 350 hours of training). Her dissertation was on the recovery of sexual health after sexual assault. Working with survivors is still a focus of her work. It is incredibly meaningful to her and something she will always continue to do, but now she also includes more general sex therapy and couple’s therapy in her practice. The balance is ideal.
ACCOMPLISHMENT OVER YEARS:
The only way she believes she can measure success in this profession is through her clients’ progress. She has an exceptionally deep and connected relationship to many of her clients and has the privilege of getting to know aspects of them that they never share with others. She tries to look at success through a more quantifiable measured medium. She is thrilled with how much she has been able to use her voice and get the message out about the importance of sexual health. Since August 2016, she has been quoted and featured in 68 publications from Cosmo to Forbes, Wired, Men’s Health, CNN, and The New York Times, and had a television appearance on “The Chat” talk show this past August.
In early 2017, she was hired to write a script and oversee the production of adult entertainment company BaDoink’s Virtual Sexology II, which is a groundbreaking video series that bridges the gap between adult entertainment and education. This was the first ever Virtual Reality (VR) series written for women and produced by women. It was an amazing experience for her and she is very proud of the work she did. She even enjoyed being the part of the LA community, and have several of Hollywood’s elite as clients. That side of her practice typically builds word of mouth. Some clients stay with her for years as a support system in their lives but most are in and out in 6 to 9 months, with their primary concerns resolved.
She practices from a sex-positive perspective: All sex is good sex as long as it’s consensual and pleasurable. It is a dream for her to be able to share this message, helping take away some of the shame people have regarding what they want and how they get it. The only normal in sexuality is variance. The sooner everyone wraps their head around that thought, the better. If you like earlobes or leather whips or furies, great, own it. Do it for the pleasure, and of course with consent.
THE UNIQUENESS ABOUT THE PROFESSION:
Psychotherapy is her third career, so she thinks her strengths lie in her experience across all realms of her life. She has an exposure to many people in many places. So her lens is inclusive and forthright. She is old enough to know what she wants and how to help her clients. She looks past the exterior or shell of people. She certainly doesn’t want to be judged on what she looks like anymore. The question of, “who are you?” is so much more relevant. In addition to her private practice work and media presence, she also has a consultancy business. She consults with technology companies, adult industry entities, in sex education and product development. She absolutely loves the variety of her job.
TRAGEDIES AND HOW SHE OVERCAME:
Dr. Richmond’s mother suffered numerous tragedies in her life, including her parent’s and siblings’ deaths at very young ages, so it was through her lens that death became a known entity. It did not necessarily make her anxious or fearful, though she was over-protected. She also lost two friends in high-school. One died from drowning at an after-school party and the other had a heart attack on the football field during a homecoming game. Later in life when her she and her husband decided to try to have children, she suffered numerous miscarriages. She describes those losses as devastating tot eh mind, body and soul. With the assistance of a reproductive endocrinologist, they were able to conceive a child failry easily, and were happy and content with their baby boy. A year later, she and her husband were beyond pelasantly shocked to discover another baby boy was on the way. She is keenly aware of how quickly things can change, for better or worse. Multiple losses can certainly make the potential for connecting deeply with other people riskier. She had no idea how hard being a parent is, and trying to juggle a career raising kids is a full-time job in and of itself. But she never even dreamed this much love and connection was possible. It is just right.
She is very passionate about the intersection of sex and technology and using the newest technologies like VR, teledildonics and “sexbots” in a way that’s beneficial to individual and relational health. She is writing a book about the topic, which is exciting. She wants to continue working with people to help them bring about all the positive changes they want to see in their lives. The connecting element of the work she does even if it’s virtual is essential now. She wants to be kind, patient, empathetic. She wants to do her best for people.
WORDS OF WISDOM:
Her favorite words are by Anais Nin. “You cannot save people, you can only love them.” This is the heart of my practice, in a therapeutically and ethically appropriate way”.“Sex lies at the root of life, and we can never learn to reverence life until we know how to understand sex.”—Henry Ellis.
“Sex lies at the root of life, and we can never learn to reverence life until we know how to understand sex.”—Henry Ellis.
MAKING THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE:
She is taking the shame out of sex by creating dialogue and sharing facts, and not supporting cultural dogma that has been passed down through our patriarchy from generation to generation. None of us would be here without sex. So it needs to stop being demonized and pathologist. She is really trying to make a difference here by increasing sex education opportunities and highlighting the difference between entertainment and education.