Hi there! I'm Dr. Zhana

I'm here to help you build the life you WANT, not the life you've been told you SHOULD want.

We live in a world where, for the first time in human history, men and women alike have an unprecedented opportunity to embrace the love life they truly crave. 

Yet it’s not that easy to live authentically. The sheer number of possible relationship alternatives can be overwhelming and confusing. Many sexual lifestyles remain highly stigmatized. Social norms about what's acceptable keep shifting. Misinformation and lack of information abound.

Sex and love are obviously not a one-size-fits-all solution, but how do I figure out what’s right for me? And, how do I make it happen in a healthy, confident, gratifying way? Especially if my desires are a bit outside the box?

I've designed the Open Smarter course and my consulting practice to help you separate the signal from the noise, and answer these questions using scientifically sound principles. As an incorrigible science-nerd, I will make sure you have the most up-to-date, accurate information. As a fellow nonconformist, I will never judge you for having the desires you have. Take control of your love life, and build a future you didn't even know was possible.

Nothing in human psychology is black or white.
Everything exists on a spectrum. 

My story

Growing up in Macedonia, a small Eastern-European country with fairly traditional views about sex and love, I always felt like an outsider. From a very early age, I was interested in things my society deemed unacceptable, especially for a girl. I was attracted to people of all genders. I craved lots of casual sex. I had sex with people a lot older than me. I wanted crazy group sex in every possible variation. I was curious about kink. I could not, for the life of me, understand monogamy.

It's not easy being that kind of horny teenager in a hostile, repressive environment, with no guidance or role models. I endured years of ridicule and ostracism. I got myself into some really sketchy situations that my adult self shudders at. And I didn't always act in ways I now find admirable.

Yet, throughout my whole life, I felt an unmistakable force to follow my heart. Living in alignment with who I was made jumping through hoops a no-brainer. It's what led to me to devote not just my personal life, but also my career to understanding how people with nonconforming desires navigate sex and love. How do we stay safe? What helps us maintain resilience and sanity? How do we find belonging and commitment, not just sex?

My 30-year obsession to find answers to these questions encouraged me to develop the Sexual Authenticity Model and the Open Smarter course. I look forward to sharing them with you.

Courses Consulting

"Dr. Zhana is New York City's own Master of Sex" 
The Daily News

My name is Dr. Zhana Vrangalova and I’m a NYC-based sex researcher, speaker, writer, and consultant.

I have a PhD in Developmental Psychology from Cornell University, where I studied how different aspects of sexuality are linked to health and well-being. You can access my many research papers here. 

I am currently an adjunct professor at New York University where I teach several Human Sexuality courses.

In 2014 I created The Casual Sex Project so people could share their own true stories of hookups. Check out the thousands of stories submitted. 

Between 2017 and 2019, I hosted the Science of Sex Podcast together with my co-host Joe Pardavila, where we interviewed scientists about their latest research. Listen to the 59 episodes.

Most recently, my lifelong interest in  nontraditional lifestyles led me to create the Open Smarter course which guides people to their ideal relationship type using science-based assessments of their unique personality. 

Press

I’ve written for Psychology Today,  Playboy, Forbes, and served as a featured expert in major magazines and websites like The New Yorker, Bustle, Refinery29, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Men's Health, and Women's Health. You can also find me as a guest on many podcasts, including Huff Post's Love & Sex, True Sex & Wild Love, and Pillow Talk. 

Let's Stay Connected

I continue to write, speak, consult, and do research.
Check out my Instagram where I regularly answer people's questions.

Get Open Smarter for FREE!

Sign up to Dr. Zhana's newsletter and you could win full access to the Open Smarter course for FREE, coming early 2021. 

I Believe...

Everyone has the right to have the sexual desires they have without shame or guilt. 

There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to sex and love. Everyone deserves a life that fits their unique personality and life circumstances.

Everyone deserves access to comprehensive and accurate information about sex, love, and relationships.

We are obligated to be ethical to our partners, but we are also allowed to make mistakes and learn from them.

Nothing in sex and love is black or white. Everything exists on a spectrum, and is often gray and nuanced. We need to talk to each other, with honesty and compassion, so we can understand the beautiful complexity of human sexuality.

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