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). More recently, 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. Dalma’s most recent book, A Godsend: A Love Story For Grownups, written with her husband Richard Marek, captures in the novel form all of the stories and challenges of relationships that Dalma’s nonfiction has so expertly covered for her entire career.
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 Show, Today, The Charlie Rose Show, and Good Morning America, among other programs. She produces a regionally broadcast television show, The Love Goddess Show. She lives in Westport, Connecticut.