Max J. Van Praag: Bringing Sexual “Private Matters” to the Public

Originally posted November 13, 2013. Please note that Private Matters is now called Love, Intimacy and Sex Talk.

View this article on Elephant Journal

When was the last time you had a frank and multi-perspective conversation about G-spot orgasm?

How about porn addiction? Or being an “ethical slut”?

Virgins over 30? Power play? BDSM?

While, for many of us living in mainstream America, the answer may be “never,” it’s simply a day in the life of Talk Show Host, Max J. Van Praag, founder of the Private Matters TV show.

Private Matters is a San Francisco Bay Area-based series (though episodes are available to watch online from anywhere in the world) that interviews sex and relationship coaches, teachers, therapists and experts with a variety of specialties.

The show’s mission is to awaken men and women to their erotic potential through raising awareness of the many aspects of sexuality and bringing these kinds of topics to the mainstream. The belief is that through raising awareness of sexuality, intimacy can arise, shame can be released and old wounds can be healed.

Mr. Van Praag is so passionate about his mission that he has personally financed the first 40 episodes of Private Matters. Now, he wants to go bigger. More episodes, higher profile guests, a greater reach of people and broadcast on major television networks—which is why he is ambitiously raising $150,000 via Indiegogo to improve the quality of his show and to develop a website portal with advice, products, workshops and links to sexuality teachers.

In the following interview, Mr. Van Praag delves deeper into his inspirations, desires and personal relationship to his own sexuality and reveals why he is so passionate about bringing Private Matters to the public.

1. Who are you and where are you from? What did you do in your “previous life” (before starting Private Matters)? 

I was born in Holland, and have lived in several countries growing up. I am a polyglot (fluent in five languages) and consider myself a citizen of the world. After my studies in the performing arts, classical music and psychology, I came to the US from Holland in the mid-nineties to study and do research in human development and spiritual growth. I first lived and worked in a large workshop retreat center in the Catskill Mountains, then settled in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1996. I have also facilitated seminars in self-expression.

2. What inspired you to create Private Matters? 

My own life journey and learning with women and the awareness that both of those may serve a greater purpose. [I was also inspired by] watching the movie Bliss in the nineties. This profound and beautiful movie brings potent knowledge about sexual healing into the mainstream. I shared the movie with hundreds [of people] and decided to create art and media with similar messages. As I explored various possibilities, I finally settled on the talk show format. 

3. Why are these topics so important to you and how do they affect you personally? 

I am passionate about bringing messages about intimacy and sexual awakening into the main stream. I love to take people to new places and I know that I am extremely comfortable in some of these controversial, edgy, taboo areas where most people are not. Nothing shocks me. Also, the quickly growing interest in these topics in our culture is apparent. Look at all the TV shows and movies coming out: Fifty Shades of GreyThanks for SharingThe Sessions, etc. 

4. Describe your relationship to your own sexuality. 

I am a romantic at heart and am deeply moved by powerful love stories and by people walking their own path. Many of my relationships and connections with women have been powerful, catalyst experiences for healing and growth, both for her and myself. I think I am a very good communicator and I love that about myself. I am also really comfortable with who I am sexually as a man and I make it a point not to label myself but to stay open to what is most loving and fulfilling in any particular situation. 

5. Who has been your favorite interviewee so far? 

One of my favorites, because of her niche, is Marion van der Stad in Holland, an intimacy coach who only works with virgins over 30 years old. There are more people in their forties, fifties and sixties who have never had sex. This is news for many viewers—just watch the new feature film The Sessions

6. Whom would you most like to interview (the person can be living or dead)? 

David Deida. It will happen! I remember when I had just moved to California in 1996. I had the trunk of my car filled with the first version of The Way of The Superior Man in spiral bound format to give away to all my friends. 

7. What has Private Matters accomplished so far? 

40+ episodes about different topics, viewed by over 100,000 people worldwide, [along with] many letters from people thanking me for influencing the way they relate and communicate. 

8. What is your desire for Private Matters in the future? 

A high-caliber show that is trusted and watched by millions worldwide, and that changes peoples intimate lives. A show that networks want to broadcast, with a live studio audience and bigger sets in the US and Europe.