Sue Johansson, who spoke about sex with confidence, dies at 92

Sue Johansson, who spoke about sex with confidence, dies at 92

Sue Johansson, outspoken, lewd and sweet Canadian sex educator and host of the long-running television call-in program “The Sunday Night Sex Show” and its American counterpart, “Talk Sex with Sue Johansson,” at a care center on June 28 I died. Facility in North Toronto. She was 92 years old.

His death was confirmed by his daughter, Jane Johansson.

Sue Johansson used to dress modestly, often wearing a blazer and wire-rimmed glasses, but she had the timing and instincts of a comedian who brought cool to the hot-button topics she addressed. (At demonstrations, she had a manner of spreading condoms—she was a publicist for them—reminiscent of a clown making balloon animals.)

And like Dr. Ruth Westheimer, Holocaust survivor and one-time Israeli sniper-turned sex therapist, Ms. Johansson, a registered nurse and mother of three, who ran a birth control clinic at a public high school for nearly two decades, a media Became a star. in midlife.

“I wasn’t young,” she said “Sex With Sue,” a 2022 documentary about her Directed by Lisa Rideout, Jane was her mother’s interlocutor and the film’s creative advisor. “I was not beautiful. I didn’t have bodacious tatas. I was a mother of lots of information.”

Is it weird to put body glitter on your boyfriend’s testicles? Is it safe to have sex in a hot tub? Can a Ziploc Baggy Work as a Condom? If condoms are left in the car and they freeze, are they still good? Answer: No, no (chlorinated water is very harsh on the genitals, especially women). Definitely not. And yes, once they are defrosted.

Every Sunday night, questions were asked about straight sex, gay sex, masturbation, and all kinds of sexual arousals, fantasies, and fears. At the show’s peak, in the early 2000s, around 100,000 calls were fielded and screened by operators, although only 10 or 12 made it to the air on a given night.

Manufacturers of sex toys shipped their goods in boxes. Ms. Johansson would split them into her youth crews for road tests — “Canada’s unofficial sex toy testing facility,” she called them — and display their features at her desk, her “Hot Stuff” bag in hand, a black tote. Adorned with flames, to pour out the latest offerings. “The good, the bad and the ugly,” she liked to say. (The makers attempted to gild the lily, like the company that made a vibrator with a camera on its tip. “It gives a whole new meaning to ‘I can’t get enough of my close-ups,'” Ms. Johansson said.) I’m ready.’)

A child of the Great Depression, she was frugal and cost-conscious, and she often offered home substitutes. Why not turn on your cellphone’s ringer to vibrate, why not put it in your underwear and let your friends call you incessantly?

Canadian comedian Russell Peters said in the documentary, “I remember she used to give cucumbers a hand job.” “I’ve never looked at a cucumber the same way.”

Ms. Johansson began her broadcasting career in radio with a hugely popular show on a rock station that ran for over a decade. The “Sunday Night Sex Show” first aired in 1996 on Canadian television. In 2002, the Oxygen network launched an American version, which ran right after the Canadian show, to give American callers their chance. Ms. Johansson told Mireya Navarro of The New York Times in 2004 that American audiences were more shy and naïve than her Canadian audience; It seemed that they lack basic knowledge. Many young female callers wonder if they can get pregnant from oral sex.

“Ms. Johansson said she couldn’t ride the subway or stand in a grocery line in Canada until answering the kind of question that would make even a frozen chicken blush,” Ms. Navarro wrote. “But in the United States, which is a huge market, her growing fan base seems almost bashful but mostly grateful. ‘I think Americans are so humble and so respectful that to be recognized is wonderful. Is.’ ‘People would look at me and say, “Hi, I love your show.” And that’s where it ends.”

He was, however, featured on the American talk-show circuit with Jay Leno, Ellen DeGeneres, David Letterman and. Conan O’Brienwhom she was horrified by the contents of her hot-stuff bag one night: it contained a vibrating rubber duck, a dildo she strapped to her chin and a handmade, hand-operated vibrator she fitted with bubble wrap. Made from recycled tin cans. And a tube stocking.

“You’re like a perverted MacGyver,” said Mr. O’Brien, horrified.

Ms. Johansson told Ms. Navarro, “I consider sex a gift from God.” “We are the only ones who are truly capable of enjoying sex, so we have an obligation to learn about it and enjoy it.”

Susan Avis Bailey Powell was born on July 29, 1930 in Toronto. His mother, Ethel (Bell) Powell, was a homemaker. His father, Wilfred Bailey Powell, was in the Royal Canadian Air Force and had several jobs. Her mother died when Sue was 10, and she was raised mostly by her aunts.

She met Ejnor Carl Johansson, an electrical inspector, on a blind date just before entering nursing school at St. Boniface Hospital in Winnipeg; He married in the early 1950s and moved to Toronto to take over his aunt’s real estate business.

Ms. Johansson opened her birth control clinic in 1970 after a friend of her eldest daughter got pregnant in high school and had an abortion, which was mostly illegal in Canada at the time. “Children become involved in sex without the consent of their parents,” he told a reporter in 1983, “and therefore they should be able to obtain contraception without their consent.”

Throughout his career, high school and college students were his biggest concern. She was a tireless speaker, appearing regularly to college freshmen each fall and to hundreds of high schools each year. Her husband, Jan Johansson said, was a reserved, private man, a stark contrast to his outgoing wife, but she handled her career and fame with grace and “took it like a champ.” He died in 2014.

In addition to her daughter Jane, Ms. Johansson is survived by another daughter, Carol Howard; two grandchildren; and a great-grandson. His son Eric died in 2021.

Ms. Johansson also wrote a magazine column and was the author of three books: “Sex, Sex and More Sex,” “Sex Is Perfectly Natural But Not Naturally Right” and “Talk Sex: Answers to Those Questions”. Which you can’t ask your parents”.

in 2000, He was awarded the Order of CanadaThe country’s highest honor for pioneers in their field.

Ms. Johansson’s Canadian show closed in 2005 and the American version in 2008. The time has come: the Internet has become the medium of sexual inquiry. As sex columnist Dan Savage said in the documentary about Ms. Johansson, there was a Wikipedia page for every instrument and every sexual act, and Ms. Johansson felt unable to keep up with the times. At 77, she was ready but sad to call it quits.

“There will be a huge hole in my heart,” she said at the start of her final episode in May 2008, her voice breaking. “I love doing this show.”

She continued, “I’ll end with the same condom quickie we ended the first show 174 episodes ago: Sex will be sweeter if you wrap your peter.,

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