When I sat down for my phone chat with author, producer, speaker, and internationally recognized relationship expert Karinna Karsten, I knew I was in for an enlightening and intelligent conversation.
After all, the LOVE TV creator, innovator, and “The Love Educator,” has had an interesting life so far, so I went into our conversation with high expectations.
Little did I know, that Karinna’s wealth of knowledge and passions goes way beyond studying and making sense of relationships. She has a passion for human beings, for empowering people, and for helping both men and women become the very best version of themselves.
Her 5 books, including the best-seller Intimate Wisdom: The Sacred Art of Love, are just one of many ways she has honed in on love and meaningful relationships. In short, Karinna is definitely living the best version of herself, and she exceeded all of my expectations. Here is my sit-down with the refreshingly honest and wonderfully layered Karinna Karsten:
So tell me a little bit about your early adult years, and your background.
Sure. So, I have always taken an interest in relationships, and in gathering information and personal knowledge about the ways in which people communicate with each other that is based on history, philosophy, systems and anthropology.
Years back, when I was beginning my relationship teaching career, and I worked with various people who were in the public eye; executives, athletes, lawyers, A-list celebrities, I thought it would be fantastic to get a different perspective, from bringing down to earth people together in my living room who were trying to navigate through dating, love, relationships. I was living in NYC, which as you know is this great big melting pot, right?
So I started inviting a group of women over from every corner of the world, once a month, for about 3 years, to talk about relationships.
That must have been pretty fascinating. You know I lived in NYC for the past 26 years, and you really do meet people from every culture, every viewpoint, every background.
Yes! It was wonderful, and interesting, and we would get into these incredible discussions and constantly learn from one another. We covered so many topics, everything from sexual health to not getting discouraged in the dating world. Often times, we would bring in guest speakers, so that we would get a new perspective on a certain subject.
We even had tactile experiences like a sculpting night, where each participant was asked to sculpt their hidden feminine self-very revealing. So, eventually, word got around about my gatherings, and it led to me being asked to speak at places such as N.Y.U., and everything sort of snowballed from there.
What would they ask you to speak about at these events?
Relationships. Wellness. How they affect one another. I started becoming very passionate about the integration of the two.
And how would you define the word ‘wellness?’
Well, my very first company was actually called Paradise Wellness, and those were the kinds of things that we explored. What is wellness? I think there are several components. Wellness is a state of body, and a state of mind, coming together. Having total awareness of your mind and body, at all times. Everything from breathing, to movement, to overall mindfulness. The most important thing to remember about wellness, is that we never really arrive there. As human beings, we are always in a state of learning and becoming more aware.
So how do wellness and relationships affect one another, or connect to one another?
I believe, in every single way. It is extremely difficult to find access to or experience high-quality relationships, unless you are on a path of self awareness yourself. The more aware you are, in terms of wellness, the richer your relationships will be.
I have seen evidence of this connection, in all my collected research and data, of all the many people I have worked with over the years in relationship development. My biggest passion is helping people individually, and collectively, to find and build higher-quality relationships. If I can help move that needle, and assist people in adding a new level of value to their love lives, I will feel like I’ve truly succeeded.
Wow. It sounds as if you have found multiple ways to help people do these things. Tell me about “Sacred Love-Making.”
Sacred Love-Making is a film project I both created and produced, which was distributed by Netflix. It’s a spicy documentary in which we explore ways that couples can add more meaning to the bedroom.
There is so much to deal with in today’s dating world, that people just didn’t have to deal with years and years ago. How do you feel the internet / modern age has changed love and the dating scene?
Technology is powerful. What we do with it determines whether it is empowering or not. I believe that as we have accelerated into being a digital society today, we have lost something in translation for relationships that was part of our DNA in prior generations. We used to get to know someone before we started dating them. The fundamental complexity of today’s world is that relationship building has become transactional. We have lost sensitivity and common courtesy, because this is just a transaction, right? So if I don’t get what I need immediately, I’m going to cut you off or disappear …
Ghosting. I found out all about that when I started dating again after losing my husband to sudden death. It was shocking to me how I’d just be talking to a guy, and think that things were going along wonderfully, and he would just stop contact with no explanation or reason. I never thought about it being a “transaction” for people, but you are so right. That’s the perfect word for it.
Yes, the human factor is missing. We often forget that there is a human being on the other end of that conversation. There are so many amazing people out there dating, such as you, and who are seeking quality experiences in their love life. As a society, we need to crack through this “transaction” mindset, in order to keep evolving forward.
Now, with all that being said, I do want to make it clear that I think online dating is pretty amazing. I am really impassioned by it, because it exposes us to so many people that we would never know otherwise. This is why at LOVE TV — we are giving daters the support and guidance they need, so they can speed up their online dating success. It is so easy to get lost on the apps and sites and actually make headway when what you need is a real buddy system. We provide that for you, as part of a LOVE TV membership.
You have so many ideas in your head. Do you ever sleep?
(laughs) Yes. Because sleeping is part of wellness. I definitely receive inspiration though, first thing in the morning.
Any recent or new ideas going on at LOVE TV?
Yes, actually. We are launching a new set of ongoing fictional, narrative videos — based on real scenarios people are going through right now — designed to help people relate and move through dating and relationship building challenges.
That sounds awesome. Here’s an important question. How can women take on more of a leadership role, instead of a reactionary one, when it comes to love, dating, and sexuality? Why is this so important?
Oh boy, how long do you have? (both laugh) It is so, so important. Women innately understand relationships, because of our makeup, our ability to bear children if we so choose, our natural caring, nurturing, and maternal instincts. The instinct to care and nourish — these are so fundamental in relationship building. This is a good thing.
The complex part arises when we look at what women are exposed to, historically, from a young age. The Cinderella or Snow White fairy tales that helped shape us. The Prince Charming coming to rescue us, the happily ever after. The idea that we need to be led into love by the masculine, when, in actuality; the feminine has natural leadership in this area.
This is good stuff. I think you should run for President. (laughs) So how do we begin to change this passive expectation, into something healthier and more realistic?
We have to take initiative. We have to flip that switch on with bright lights, own these innate qualities, and be leaders in our own love lives. If we start to do that, we can create real change on the behaviors that feel insensitive or transactional towards us. We can care for ourselves better, we can choose higher quality relationships, we can share resources that inspire us. This is what LOVE TV is all about, this is that collective support we offer. We say: ‘support your girlfriends, but don’t be their therapist.’
There is a lot of pain around relationship development, more than I have ever seen. Step out of the pain, by moving toward resources that are more empowering and constructive. We can help each other by guiding one another toward more quality connections in our lives. And keep in mind, when I say quality, that word is defined differently for everyone.
There are endless types of relationships, and ways to feel connection. The word “poly” was one of the most googled terms in 2017. People are open-minded today, people are curious, and they define quality in different ways. LOVE TV provides an open platform, in a safe environment; so that whoever you are, wherever you are in your relationship journey, whatever you want to explore, you can find topics that are helpful to you and the relationship life that you want to create.
What advice would you have for men who are trying to navigate both the modern age and the modern woman?
One huge challenge is that too many men and some women do not have the emotional intelligence needed for the dating process. Behaving as adolescents when you are in your twenties and thirties or playing games when others take dating seriously is not helping anyone to find the love they seek.
Dating is challenging. Young men living at home or not hitting their career stride are often insecure and act out when in the dating process. Also, the media often over caters to the immature male and can support their staying undeveloped rather than inspiring and educating them to grow up.
Emotional development can vary from person to person. Playing too many video games doesn’t necessarily help. My advice for men dating online would be to go to LOVE TV and become a LOVE TV subscriber. Here, men can enhance their emotional intelligence with interactive quizzes, and learn from the content library of tutorials in the membership.
Once men have a better understanding of their EQ, when on dating apps explore profiles of a potential date who would match your EQ or be in the same zone. Does the profile match how you would naturally communicate or hold your interest? Men need to seek to advance their relationship development skills, just as they would in business. If you were in a business deal, would you move right to the close? No. So, with females, don’t communicate to close right away. Get to know her, build some trust and develop a relationship.
This has been so educational for me. Writing articles for LOVE TV is such a pleasure, but getting to do this interview with you is definitely ranking up there as my favorite LOVE TV experience so far. When I was doing all my dating, after losing my husband, and before meeting him, I wish I had a “Love Educator” such as you to help guide me through. So on that note — we will end with this — what inspires you? What gives you hope?
Without a doubt, love! Love has the innate power to change any individual’s life, and our collective experience. Whether it be a community, set of friends, romantic love — having the ability to truly see another person for who they are, and understand them — those are the things that inspire me. Those are the things that we will care about in our last breath. It is all that really matters. Love.