Sue Johanson, Who Talked Sex With Aplomb, Dies at 92

A blunt, vulgar and well-loved Canadian sex educator and host of the long-running TV show Sunday Night Sex Show and its American version Talk Sex with Sue Johansson. Sue Johansson died in nursing care on June 28th. Facility in North Toronto. she was 92 years old.

Her death was confirmed by her daughter Jane Johansson.

Although she was modestly dressed in a blazer and wire-rimmed glasses, Ms. Johansson had the timing and intuition of a comedian who was able to soften the topical topic she was dealing with. (She, a condom evangelist, had a method for stretching a condom in a demonstration that reminded me of a clown making balloon animals.) And Ruth, a Holocaust survivor and former Israeli sniper turned sex therapist, Like Dr. Westheimer, Ms. Johansson, a registered nurse and mother of three who ran a birth control clinic in a public high school for nearly two decades, became a media star in her middle years.

“I wasn’t young,” Johansson said. 2022 documentary about her, Sex with Sue Directed by Lisa Rideout, Jane served as her mother’s interlocutor and creative consultant on the film. She said, “I wasn’t beautiful. I didn’t have a daring tata. I was a mother with a lot of information.”

Is it weird to put body glitter on my boyfriend’s testicles? Is it safe to have sex in a hot tub? Can ziplock bags replace condoms? Is it okay if I leave the condom in the car and freeze? Answer: No, no (chlorinated water is too harsh for the genitals, especially female ones). Absolutely not. And yes, once unpacked.

Every Sunday night, I was bombarded with questions about straight sex, gay sex, and masturbation, as well as delving into all sorts of fetishes, fantasies, and fears. At the show’s peak in the early 2000s, nearly 100,000 calls were answered and screened by operators, but only 10-12 were broadcast.

The sex toy manufacturer sent the product in a box. Ms. Johansson divided the young crew for a road test (she called them “Canada’s Informal Sex Toy Testing Facility”), demonstrated its capabilities at a desk, and used her “hot stuff” bag. I reached for a black tote bag. Decorated with flames to bring out the latest offerings. “Both the good and the bad and the ugly,” she liked to say. (Like the company that made the camera-tipped vibrator, manufacturers tended to gold-plate the lily. “This gives a whole new meaning to ‘I’m ready for a close-up.'”) said Johansson with an expressionless face.)

A Depression-era child, she was thrifty and cost-conscious, often presenting homemade alternatives. Why not make your phone vibrate, tuck it in your pants and call your friends non-stop?

“I remember her handjobing a cucumber,” Canadian comedian Russell Peters said in the documentary. “She never looked at a cucumber the same way,” she said.

Johansson began her broadcasting career in radio, with a hit rock station show that ran for over a decade. The “Sunday Night Sex Show” first aired on Canadian television in 1996. In 2002, the Oxygen network commissioned an American version, which aired shortly after the Canadian show. This made it possible for American callers to watch too. Johansson told Mireya Navarro of The New York Times in 2004 that American audiences were more shy and naive than Canadian audiences. They seemed to lack basic knowledge. Many of the young women who called were wondering if oral sex could conceive.

“MS. Johansson said that in Canada even frozen chicken can’t answer questions that make you blush when you’re on the subway or standing in line at the grocery store,” Navarro wrote. . “But in the much larger market, the United States, her growing fan base seems mostly shy, but mostly grateful.” I think it’s great,” she said. “People will look at me and say, ‘Hi, I love your show.'” And that’s it. “

However, she was hailed on the American talk show scene, appearing alongside Jay Leno, Ellen DeGeneres and David Letterman. Conan O’BrienShe scared him that night with the contents of a hot stuff bag containing a vibrating rubber duck, a dildo strapped to his chin, and a handmade manual vibrator made out of a tin can with bubble wrap attached. tube socks.

“You look like a perverted MacGyver,” said Mr. O’Brien, terrified.

“I view sex as a gift from God,” Johansson told Navarro. “We have a duty to learn and enjoy sex because we are the only ones who can really enjoy it.”

Susan Avis Bailey Powell was born on July 29, 1930 in Toronto. Her mother, Ethel (Bell) Powell, was a homemaker. Her father, Wilfred Bailey Powell, served in the Royal Canadian Air Force and held various jobs. She lost her mother when she was ten years old and was raised primarily by her aunt.

She met electrical inspector Eynor Carl Johansson on a blind date just before she entered nursing school at St. Boniface Hospital in Winnipeg. They married in her early 1950s and moved to Toronto to take over her aunt’s real estate business.

Johansson opened a 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 participate in sex without parental consent,” she told reporters in 1983. “Therefore, children should have access to contraceptives without parental consent.”

Throughout her career, high school and college were her primary concern. She was a tireless speaker, a regular at college freshman orientations each fall and hundreds of high school orientations each year. According to her husband, Jane Johansson, in contrast to her gregarious wife, she was a reserved and private person, but she handled her career and her fame with grace, calling herself a “champion.” I treated it like a He passed away in 2014.

Besides daughter Jane, Johansson has another daughter, Carol Howard. he has two grandchildren. and one great-grandchild. Her son Eric died in 2021.

Ms. Johansson has also written columns for magazines, including “Sex, Sex, and More Sex,” “Sex Is Perfectly Natural, But Naturally Not Perfect,” and “Talking About Sex: Answers to Questions Parents Can’t Ask.” He is also the author of three books. “

In 2000, she was awarded the Order of Canadathe nation’s highest honor for a pioneer in its field.

Johansson’s Canadian show aired in 2005 and the American version in 2008. At that time, the Internet had become the go-to source for sexual inquiries. As sex columnist Dan Savage notes in a documentary about Johansson, there was a Wikipedia page for every gadget and every sexual act, and Johansson said he felt out of date. At 77 she was ready, but she was sorry to call it quits.

“There’s going to be a huge hole in my heart,” she exclaims as she introduces the May 2008 finale. “I love doing this show,” she said.

She added, “It ends with a quick shot of the same condom that ended the first show on episode 174. Wrapping up Peter makes sex sweeter.

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