Dalma Heyn

Dalma Heyn is a bestselling author, speaker and psychotherapist whose books have sold in over 30 countries. Her decades-long dialogue with women make her a unique and in-depth observer of emerging social trends.
She has been featured on shows like Oprah, The View, Charlie Rose, Larry King Live, The Today Show and Good Morning America.
  • She consults with companies wishing to ensure women’s value and wellbeing in the workforce
  • advises industries hoping to reach women both as clients and as employees
  • and speaks to audiences of all ages about the evolution of relationships, marriage and culture

Biography

Dalma Heyn is a New York Times bestselling author and psychotherapist who has worked for twenty-five years to help women develop the best possible intimate relationships, while still flourishing as individuals. Her books, which explore the loss of self that many women experience within marriage, have been lauded as revolutionary.

Born in New York, Dalma Heyn grew up in a vibrant household that encouraged self-expression. Her father, Ernest Heyn, was the founding editor of Modern Screen and Sport magazines, and her mother, Ethel Kenyon Heyn, was an actress and a writer for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Heyn attended Northwestern University and graduated from the University of Southern California, where she studied psychology and English. She began her career as an articles editor at Redbook and later rose to editor in chief at Health. But it was her job as executive editor and staff writer at McCall’s that sparked in her a new interest in women and relationships, and Heyn left the magazine to become a fulltime writer.

In 1982, she became a monthly sex and advice columnist at Mademoiselle. For eight years her blunt, often exhortative columns struck a chord with readers, and women across the country wrote to her to express their most intimate, secret thoughts about love and sex, as well as their yearnings for fulfillment in marriage. In 1990, she left Mademoiselle and began writing the column “Smart Sex” for New Woman. A year later, in September of 1991, she married Richard Marek, former editor and publisher of E.P. Dutton. Speaking of her relationship with Marek in a contribution to the “Vows” section of the New York Times, she noted that “certain deep parts of us, once ragged around the edges, have slowly mended . . . To have the power to literally heal each other is one of the profoundest effects of commitment.”

Through her readers and extensive, intimate interviews with women of all ages, Heyn discovered that a huge number of women struggled in their marriages—and that she was able to communicate that struggle in a way that women themselves found difficult to articulate. To better respond to the hundreds of women who sought out her counsel, Heyn completed a master’s degree in social work in 2001 at New York University.

As an author, cultural critic, and myth-buster, Heyn has spoken with thousands of women and men in relationships, inspiring her to document what she sees as a failure within society and the institution of marriage to encourage a woman’s personal fulfillment. In 1992, she published her first book, The Erotic Silence of the American Wife, about married women, adultery, and modern society’s rejection of female sexuality within marriage. The book draws heavily on Heyn’s extensive, intimate first-person interviews with real women who are contemplating, committing, and acknowledging their affairs. Early feminist leaders such as Gloria Steinem and other cultural critics praised the book as “provocative” and “revolutionary.”

Heyn continued to explore the impact of the institution of marriage on modern women in Marriage Shock: The Transformation of Women into Wives (1997). Her most recent book, Drama Kings: The Men Who Drive Strong Women Crazy (2006), examines the ways in which strong women can overcome an attraction to emotionally unavailable men and instead focus on finding the romantic relationships they really want.

Heyn’s books remain popular in the United States and around the world and have been published in more than thirty countries. A sought-after speaker and commentator, she has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey ShowTodayThe Charlie Rose Show, and Good Morning America, among other programs. She produces a regionally broadcast television show, The Love Goddess Show, and can be found online at dalmaheyn.net and thelovegoddess.com. She lives in Westport, Connecticut.

Testimonials

The Erotic Silence of The American Wife

“ONE HELL OF A GOOD READ”

–Larry King, USA Today

“With the skills of a novelist, Heyn has captured complex, insightful women who are bringing a new dimension to ‘having it all’….”   –New Woman

“An important and revolutionary book….reminds us, in intelligent, reflective tones, that women are sexual beings and that, for women as well as men, sex is a fundamentally lawless creature, not easily confined to a cage.”

–Barbara Ehrenreich

“This ia a provocative, even a subversive book. Another installment of the many untold stories of women’s lives in and out of marriage.”

–Nancy K. Miller

Dalma Heyn shows us a new reality and a tantalizing hint of the future—and neither women nor marriage will ever be the same.”

–Gloria Steinem

Based on interviews with women who cheerfully embrace sex outside their often happy marriages and some smart thinking on the part of the author about why this is so and what it means, Heyn’s book is a deeply provocative breath of fresh air.”

–Cosmopolitan

“Provocative…A study of married women who have affairs and don’t regret them one bit.”

–Newsweek

“A thought-provoking look at the taboo topic of women’s sexuality…sure to trigger a crossfire of controversy.”

–Milwaukee Journal

“Read the book. It smashes old myths and gives brave new insights and freedoms. Read it from the beginning to the end. I did. In one day.

I couldn’t put it down.”

–Frances Lear

“Another silence broken—it’s about time women gave voice to all their dimensions, including the erotic, without shrinking in guilt.”

–Gail Sheehy

…for Drama Kings:

“Oh, thank goodness. We’ve all been waiting for the next book from Dalma Heyn—my students, my colleagues, my patients, myself. With each book, her sense-making pushes back the borders of nonsense about relationships. This book does so in jubilant fashion because it contains so much good news about women—and about some men. And every time things change, we need her again.”

–THELMA JEAN GOODRICH, PhD, Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Texas-Houston Medical School

“Ms. Heyn has detected a plague of drama kings and records their pernicious attributes so that wary women can spot them in time and bar the door.”

–The New York Times

“Dalma Heyn has nailed the kinds of toxic personalities that poison the hearts and hopes of so many strong, independent women. In her funny, smart style, Heyn brilliantly describes how to recognize these personalities and what to do if one of these spiders has you in his web. Her original voice and perspective never fail to inform, surprise and engage.”

–DR. JUDITH SILLS, author of The Comfort Trap

“Heyn, a longtime magazine editor and author, probes a new trend: women who value independence and personal fulfillment above domesticity and wifely duty. What was the turning point in their emotional liberation? An early disastrous love affair with an old-school selfish jerk—a “Drama King.” Despite the title, Heyn does not actually focus on men, except as creepy scapegoats for modern relationship woes. Rather, she describes take-charge women’s changing expectations of what a relationship should be.”

–Psychology Today

for Marriage Shock:

“Marriage Shock” writer, Dalma Heyn posits a provocative thesis: that upon marrying, women fall under the spell of an age-old notion of  “The Wife” and subtly change their behavior in order to conform to this ideal. According to Heyn’s informal survey, even an independent, confident woman suddenly begins speaking up less, hiding her opinions more, focusing on other people’s pleasure and happiness, at the expense of her own. What explains this odd muting of self, and is it necessarily a bad development?

The author’s frank interviews with dozens of young wives (some of whom sound like tomorrow’s divorcees) are likely to raise hackles, not to mention points for further discussion.”

–Glamour

“In 1970 most divorces were the man’s idea. No more. “Marriage Shock”, says Heyn,  ‘is the moment a new wife realizes she’s not the woman she was…She feels guilty, wrong, ungrateful…for not experiencing the bliss she expected, so she keeps quiet.’  What the author wants to prevent is not the marriage, but the shock.”

–Newsday

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