Susan Bratton Saved Her Sex Life (and Could Maybe Save Yours Too)
Reinventions profiles people who've made big pivots. Meet Susan Bratton, who went from chair of the global ad:TECH conference to CEO of a publishing company that transforms sex-having into love-making.
What were you before?
As a first-generation digital marketer, I created the first broadband video advertising, was a founder of the Internet Advertising Bureau, and was chairman of the leading digital media conference in the world. Well connected in Fortune 1000 CMO suites, top global digital agencies, and all of the digital media tech companies, I had the Rolodex that dreams and careers are made of.
Then I gave it all up to pursue my passion … literally, my passion is your passion!
What triggered your reinvention(s)?
From the outside, my marriage looked picture perfect: mansion in Silicon Valley, multiple IPOs, a handsome husband, a beautiful daughter, and an impressive career. Yet after 11 years of intimacy that wasn't satisfying enough for me, I defaulted to giving my husband mercy sex only when he reached pinnacles of abject misery.
We both knew this couldn't go on. We would either divorce, like all our friends, or fix our sex life.
We started therapy and attended sex workshops. Within months of learning how to make love, we were on an upward pleasure spiral that has lasted for nearly 20+ years … and is going strong!
Procreation is pretty straightforward, but being a good lover requires learned skills. Once we gained orgasmic pleasuring techniques and bedroom communication skills, our sex life took off. We realized that most of our friends were divorcing not because of money but because of a lack of satisfying intimacy. So we decided to use the internet to to provide "sex workshops in a box" online, from the privacy of one's own home.
My husband of now 30 years, Tim, founded Rhapsody, the first online broadband music service. We knew how to digitally deliver content. And we were having a massive renaissance in our marriage because of all the great sex we were having. So we decided to do a startup together, publishing advanced pleasuring skills for people around the world, across the gender spectrum.
What did the first steps look like?
First we envisioned the constellation of techniques we knew people needed. Then we hired the most important experts in those categories to create the content experience. We published Expand Her Orgasm Tonight, The Seduction Trilogy, and Female Liquid Orgasm as our first three titles. Next I created Revive Her Drive, based on all the things Tim did to help me embrace my sexuality and learn how to love having sex with him.
Over time, we licensed and custom-ordered additional titles, including our best-selling Steamy Sex Ed™ Video Collection, and Multi-Orgasmic Lover for Men. Over the last 15 years, we've grown to have more than 45 titles that meet people where they are and open them to more.
What was one hard obstacle to overcome?
Being in the sexuality niche means it's impossible to get traffic from media publishers. What we offer is the antidote to pornography, teaching heart-connected, conscious lovemaking techniques—but we still get lumped into the sexuality category.
We got very good at affiliate partnerships, creating a win-win for our partners and ourselves financially. All our programs offer a 50 to 75 percent revenue share, so we were able to get people with email lists to promote for us. That grew our reach to the point where I could call myself an "Intimacy Expert to Millions."
What was easier than you thought?
The cool thing about teaching pleasuring skills, and how to know what you want and confidently ask for it, is that it almost instantly pays off. I tell you how to have a blended orgasm, and you can go home that night and have one. I tell you how to separate ejaculation from orgasm, and you can visualize and do it to become a multi-orgasmic man. I tell you the three kinds of sex toys you must have in your nightstand, and you use them and love them. I explain how women's arousal differs from a man's, and you're suddenly a fantastic lover. I teach you how to talk dirty without feeling weird, and it catapults your lovemaking dates into the divinely erotic.
Millions of people from 19 to 90 share their deepest fears and desires with me, which has made me able to know what you don't know that you need to. It's been an extremely rewarding career change.
What's something you learned along the way that other people, hoping to do something similar, should know?
Other sexperts call me and ask me how they can become financially solid. I tell them to get a real job.
Sex education is a nearly impossible business to run now, because media has squeezed out any possible scale. The ROI is impossible. We had an early 15-year start. It's a bad business idea to be a sexpert these days. Even my affiliates are drying up.
Which is why Tim and I started a supplement company. The20store.com sells nitric oxide boosters for blood flow, and daily vitamin minerals with libido botanicals built in. We are on Amazon. And it's a physical good that can be advertised online.
We have our legacy business with the sexuality publishing company, and a clear shot at building another seven-figure business in the supplement space. Don't think you can make money being a sexpert.
Did anyone or anything inspire you along the way?
I've been most inspired by my husband, Tim. He's been the wind beneath my wings since day one. He's encouraged me to step boldly into the CEO role. He underscores how good I am at business strategy, revenue generation and dealmaking. He's also the one who hooks up all my equipment for the hundreds of publicity appearances I do. He runs the tech, and is the platform on which I stand solidly to help others.
When my fans trust me with their deepest secrets, it's a gift they give me to learn more to solve their problems.
"My husband doesn't initiate sex. It hurts when we have sex. I've lost my erectile function. My wife has never gone down on me. I'm bored with our sex life. I can't figure out how to have an orgasm. I don't last long enough to satisfy my girlfriend. I'm afraid my penis is too small and refuse to even date. My libido is flatlined. I'm afraid to tell my partner my secret fantasies but I can't stop thinking about them. What is this thing on my genitals? How do I avoid STIs but still sleep around? My husband wants us to be poly but I'm scared."
I'm inspired daily by the kind notes I get from people, whose lives have been improved because they now get the intimacy and connection they desire.
What has this fundamentally changed for you?
I feel a great deal of mastery, because I get to help a lot of people with something that is core to their humanity. I'm in my power zone when I have a platform for doing good. I love to speak onstage, go on TV, create videos for my BetterLover channel, and write articles for my PersonalLifeMedia.com site.
My life is uber fulfilling and zesty. And yes, I'm having the best sex of my life at 60. I stand for ageless sexuality as a role model. How great is that?
Do you think you could go back/do you want to?
I've never really left digital media. My businesses are internet-first companies. Everything I learned from CPG, automotive, finance brands and their agencies, all the media strategy and research I was part of, informed the growth of my current businesses.
Tell us your reinvention song.
Bad Company's "Feel Like Makin' Love."
Baby, when I think about you, I think about love
Darlin', don't live without you and your love
If I had those golden dreams of my yesterdays
I would wrap you in the Heaven 'til I'm dyin' on the way
Feel like makin'
Feel like makin' love
Feel like makin' love
Feel like makin' love
Feel like makin' love to you
How would you define yourself now?
I call myself "Intimacy Expert to Millions."
I'm the face of two brands, the strategy director of both companies, a happy wife and mother, an author of 35 books and programs, a scuba diver, and an orgasmanaut. I go to the far reaches of orgasmic outer space to bring you the map to the territory, so you can get there, too.
I'm currently writing a 15-week orgasm challenge called Come With Me. I am teaching my followers the 20 kinds of male and female orgasms, so they too can enjoy the pleasure of their bodies and their existence on this marvelous planet.
Sex is healthy, wonderful and healing. May we all have more satisfaction and connection.