Sexpert Advice

Photo by Jeanne Rice at the
Long Beach Museum of Art, another
Dr. Tina favorite.Self-help books are lame.
My friend, Dr. Tina Tessina, who has written 11 of them, appreciates my opinion, even if she doesn't agree. Now that's a good therapist.

Tina has been around. Her book How to Be a Couple and Still Be Free has been selling for 20 years, and The 10 Smartest Decisions a Woman Can Make Before 40 has been translated into 14 languages—even Turkish, where the No. 1 might be "Get out of Turkey."

Her new book, It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction, is soon to be released—and I won't read it. But since Tina's a 20-year resident of Long Beach, I will get her advice on where to eat in town and what to do with food other than eat it.

OC Weekly: Have you ever suggested people use food to solve sexual problems?Dr. Tina Tessina: Well, some people come to me with food ideas, like using chocolate syrup and whipped cream. Mmmm-hmmm . . .

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Where food comes into play is in dating: people go out to eat or want to cook. And cooking at home is a very sexually attractive thing to do—unless you burn it. That's not good PR.

So it's better to go out if you suck at cooking?


Where do you like to go to eat?

For breakfast, I like the Coffee Cup. They've got good food, and they're really friendly and efficient—some places can't balance that. They also have a really varied menu. There's a weird dish that I eat: potatoes, chiles and cottage cheese.

All mixed together?

Just the chiles and potatoes. Cottage cheese on the side.

That sounds kinda gross.

I know! A lot of people think it's kinda gross! But I like it.

So the Coffee Cup would be a good place to take a date?

Yeah, they can cover any base, and they're very cooperative. But it's a little noisy, so don't take someone there to whisper sweet nothings in their ear—it won't be heard!

What about a lunch place?

For a fancy lunch, I love Utopia. It's California food, and everything is really interestingly seasoned. It's surrounded by windows, and the owner, Cameron, is an artist, and the place is beautifully decorated, very impressive—a great place to take a date for lunch. Also, MOLAA [Museum of Latin American Art] has a really interesting Latin/Caribbean restaurant called Viva. It's so appropriate to go through the museum and then get good Latin cuisine—it's not just enchiladas and tacos; everything's fancy.

Ever recommend going on a fake dinner date to rekindle a soggy relationship?

Absolutely! I suggest people try to replicate what was going on early in their relationship, before they got to the point where they took each other for granted and built up resentment.

Would staying in a local hotel help a relationship?

It might not help infidelity—

Especially if you've been there before and know where everything is.

But it can be a lovely thing if you did it for your spouse now, as if you were dating—making sure everything is just right, setting it all up. . . . We don't often put that kind of effort out for our spouses. Especially for days other than a birthday or anniversary. If you're thinking of food and sex, you can't forget Madame Jo Jo. It's designed to look like a Victorian bordello, and on each menu, there are "shocking" pictures of women in lingerie. The food is great—continental/French/Italian—and the atmosphere is romantic.

But don't fawn over the lingerie-clad women too much?

Well, they're 180 pounds and up, which was very sexy in the Victorian days—shawls and lace. You can't get into too much trouble.

Oui. Playboy pictures would be très skanky.

And the Vintage Tea Leaf—it's a great place for romance if a man wants to impress a woman, or a woman impress a woman, or a man impress a man. Straight men might not want to go it alone because it's frilly and the tea is served very properly with little sandwiches, and that's not generally masculine fare—they're not going to slap a rib-eye steak on you—but the men who take women there get rewarded for it later.

And now the question all the Weeklings wanted me to ask: Is it okay to use a cucumber in the bedroom?

Yes. Especially if you need to demonstrate condom use.

THE COFFEE CUP CAFÉ, 3734 E. FOURTH ST., LONG BEACH, (562) 433-3292; UTOPIA, 445 E. First St., LONG BEACH, (562) 432-6888; VIVA AT THE MUSEUM OF LATIN AMERICAN ART, 628 ALAMITOS AVE., LONG BEACH, (562) 437-1689; MADAME JO JO, 2941 E. BROADWAY, LONG BEACH, (562) 439-3672; VINTAGE TEA LEAF, 969 E. BROADWAY, LONG BEACH, (562) 435-5589.

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