Am I Normal? Exploring Common Sexual Concerns with Michael Castleman

In this episode of Better Sex, host Jessa Zimmerman welcomes back Michael Castleman to discuss the most frequently asked questions about sex that he has received over the past decade. They delve into the pervasive ‘Am I normal?’ question, addressing the cultural confusion surrounding sexuality, the impact of upbringing on sexual attitudes, and the normalization of diverse sexual practices. The conversation also touches on the influence of pornography, social media’s effects on intimacy, and the progress in societal acceptance of various sexual behaviors. Castleman shares insights from his extensive experience as a sex columnist and educator, emphasizing that most sexual behaviors are normal unless they involve criminal activity.
00:00 Introduction to Better Sex Podcast
00:47 Guest Introduction: Michael Kasselman
01:35 Am I Normal? Common Sex Questions
02:23 Solo Sex and Cultural Stigmas
09:01 BDSM and Fifty Shades of Grey
16:31 The Impact of Pornography
20:19 Teens and Pornography
28:31 Social Media and Sexual Health
33:42 Conclusion and Resources

Take the quiz:

Michael Castleman is the world’s most popular sexuality writer. His twice-monthly blog on, “All About Sex,” launched in 2009, has amassed more than 59 million views. The free Question & Answer site he has published since 2010,, has attracted 2 million more. January 2021 saw the publication of his book, Sizzling Sex for Life, a cradle-to-grave sexuality guide. His two previous sexualitacy guides—Sexual Solutions (1980) and Great Sex (2004)—have sold more than 600,000 copies. He also writes a free, weekly sex-related blog on Substack.

He has answered more than 12,000 sex questions from people around the world of all ages and sexual inclinations. In addition to his Question & Answer site, he spent 10 years (1997-2007) answering sex questions from customers of Xandria, then a major sex toy marketer, and five years (1991-1995) answering the sex questions submitted to Playboy’s “Advisor” column. He has also answered questions for WebMD and several other websites, magazines, and call-in radio shows.

In 1978, he earned a Masters degree in Journalism from UC Berkeley. From 1979-2007, he wrote more than 1,500 health articles for newspapers, magazines, and Web sites about all of the above, including the New York Times, WebMD,,, AARP, Reader’s Digest, Smithsonian, Cosmopolitan, Redbook, Self, Family Circle, Ladies’ Home Journal, Prevention, Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness, Men’s Journal, Natural Health, Mother Jones, and The Nation. Library Journal called him “one of the nation’s leading health writers.”

In 2007, he retired from health journalism but has continued to write about sexuality. Why? “The thank-you notes. Readers appreciated my health writing, but I’ve gotten many more thank-you notes from answering sex questions and providing sexuality information and counseling.”

Castleman grew up in a Long Island suburb of New York City. He earned a BA in English from the University of Michigan and graduated Phi Beta Kappa (1972). He lives in San Francisco.

We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By agreeing you accept the use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.