Obituary: Aiding couples was life's work for Michael Metz
- Article by: DAN BROWNING
- Star Tribune
- March 13, 2012 - 7:52 PM
Michael E. Metz had sex on his mind right to the end.
Metz was a psychologist and marital and sex therapist who counseled more than 5,000 couples over the years on how to maintain a lifelong sense of playfulness in the bedroom.
In addition to his private practice, he was an adjunct assistant professor with the University of Minnesota's Department of Family Social Science.
He died March 7 at his Bloomington home after a yearlong battle with bile duct cancer. He was 68.
Metz won international acclaim for his approach to resolving relationship and sexual problems using both biological and psychosocial methods. He and Barry W. McCarthy called their collaborative concept "Good Enough Sex."
"The legacy that mattered most to Michael is this notion of caring about couples continuing to enjoy sexuality throughout their life span," said McCarthy, a Washington, D.C.-based psychologist who co-authored four books with Metz.
Metz's death prompted an outpouring of e-mails and cards from fellow researchers and therapists praising him for his work.
"He made me a much better psychologist, but more importantly, a much better human being," said McCarthy, who visited Metz as he wound down his clinical practice in December.
Julian Slowinski, a psychologist and sex therapist at the University of Pennsylvania's medical school, described Metz as one of the "warmest, most gentle, wise human beings I know."
He said Metz had a practical view of sex. "What happened is, the whole field of sexuality became very goal-oriented, almost pass-fail sex," Slowinski said. By talking about good-enough sex instead of high-performance sex, the model developed by Metz and McCarthy "gives people permission to just relax and enjoy themselves," he said.
Metz, a native of Iowa, graduated from St. Ambrose University in Davenport and became a Catholic priest. He quietly left the priesthood after a few years to pursue a doctorate in marital and sexual therapy at Penn.
Slowinski -- a former Benedictine monk who'd attended St. John's University -- said they met in 1978 and became fast friends. "He certainly had a way with people," Slowin-ski said. "He was a Midwesterner in the positive sense. He never talked or bragged about himself."
Metz met his wife of 26 years, Hildy Bowbeer, during a cross-country ski weekend in 1983 shortly after he moved to the Twin Cities. .
Metz wrote six books, including "Enduring Desire," which won Book of the Year in 2011 from the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists.
Metz is survived by Bowbeer; their children, Kristin, 25, and David, 23, and siblings Barbara Randolph of Kansas City, Kan., and Marilyn Snyder, William Metz, Margaret Houk and Brian Metz, all of Davenport, Iowa.
Dan Browning • 612-673-4493
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