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Lisa Rinna on writing a book about sex

By Nicki Gostin, Special to CNN
updated 10:22 AM EDT, Wed May 16, 2012
Lisa Rinna shows off her book at a release party.
Lisa Rinna shows off her book at a release party.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Lisa Rinna has written a book with sex therapist Ian Kerner
  • "The Big Fun Sexy Sex Book" is a guide to rejuvenating your sex life
  • Rinna: "I feel like not enough people talk about sex, we feel shame about it"

(CNN) -- Lisa Rinna has a new book out -- and it's not what you'd expect.

"The Big Fun Sexy Sex Book" is a fun and innovative guide to rejuvenating your sex life and libido, co-written with renowned sex therapist Ian Kerner (who writes about sex on CNN's medical news blog, The Chart).

The vivacious 48-year-old actress is married to "L.A. Law" actor Harry Hamlin and mother of Delilah, 13, and Amelia, 10. She spoke, very honestly, to CNN about her own sexual problems and how she got her groove back.

CNN: How did this book come about?

Lisa Rinna: I wrote a book back in 2008 called "Rinnavation." I spoke very candidly and openly about losing my sex drive and mojo and how I figured out a way to get it back. It seemed to really touch people. They came up to me and wanted my help. It started a conversation.

Bringing the sex back into your marriage

So cut to, I met Ian Kerner, who is a sex therapist, and we got to talking. He said, "Maybe we should write a book together -- he said, she said." I thought it was a great idea because I feel like not enough people talk about sex, we feel shame about it. There's so much taboo in this country around sex, yet it's something that is really the glue that holds a marriage together. With 50% of all marriages ending in divorce, I said, "Gosh, it needs to get out. Let's empower."

CNN: How did you get your mojo back?

Rinna: Firstly I set my mind to do it. I opened up to my husband. I was very afraid to do it. I was terrified, and I held it in for so long, until one day I burst into tears, and I told him. And he was so very supportive. He said, "Well, what can we do? We'll do whatever we have to do."

The next day in the L.A. Times there was a piece about pole dancing classes given by an actress named Sheila Kelley. She created this class to help women get back in touch with their sexuality. She taught us how to move in ways that I had never allowed myself to move in.

What those kinds of things do is they give you permission. That led me to a woman who threw sex toy parties. She brings out dildos and everyone's giggling and she teaches you how to give great (fellatio and masturbation) -- everything I think a woman needs for confidence, because nobody really teaches you this stuff. Growing up you're not really supposed to be doing it, because you're a bad girl if you do.

So this was all part of my own sexual awakening. Even though I lost my sex drive, I didn't have the sexual confidence to begin with, so it happened for a reason. So I could really delve into my own sexual exploration.

CNN: What did you discover?

Rinna: I just know how important it is in keeping a marriage going. Without it, you're roommates, you don't value each other, and boom -- someone's going to have an affair and get divorced. It's not easy being married; it's hard after 20 years! If you don't have sex you just want to walk away half the time, so you really need to make the effort.

CNN: Who would have thunk, you're like Dr. Ruth!

Rinna: I certainly never set out to do any of this. I never thought I'd write a book about sex. I'm not an expert. But I have lived through something, and I have been in a marriage for 20 years that has lasted, so I think I have valuable things to say. Because of Ian's expertise it's an encyclopedia on how to get out of a sex rut, how to take risks in your sex life, how to start a conversation with your partner that you've been terrified to bring up. It's really about communication. I really believe anything two people do behind closed doors, as long as it's consensual, is OK. But you've got to talk about it and be open. I hope this book opens people up to try new things.

I don't understand why it's not OK to do something that makes us feel so good and so connected to another human being. It's a gift, a beautiful gift that our bodies were made to do, and not just for procreation but for enjoyment.

CNN: You and Harry seem to have a Lucy/Ricky thing going on.

Rinna: We do. It's exactly our relationship, 150%. But he lets me do my thing and supports me. He shakes his head and walks out of the room. We're complete opposites but it just works.

CNN: You have two daughters. They must have been horrified that you've written this book.

Rinna: Up until a few days ago they just knew I'd written a book about relationships. They didn't really know I'd written a book about sex. The other day the book was sitting on the table and my daughter Delilah comes in, looks down at it and says, "Oh, that's awkward," and walks out of the room. (Laughs).

I'm hoping when they're adults they can have this book and have a healthy sex life as opposed to waiting until their mid-30s to try and figure it out. We don't want to have to think about our kids having sex, but they will.

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