Picture this: you?re doing homework with the TV on in the background, and all of a sudden you hear, ?Are your genitals sniffy pure?? You?re sitting there pondering what the hell you just heard. You turn to the television set, and there?s an old lady sitting behind a counter, talking. You think, ?That old lady did not just say that.? Oh, but she did.
What you just witnessed was Sue Johanson, Canada?s leading sexual educator, doing her Sunday Night Sex Show on Oxygen. If you bothered to pay attention to more, you got past the feeling of intense confusion and moved on to thinking that the whole scene playing in front of your eyes was utterly hilarious. And then you would get addicted to the show.
But Johanson?s show isn?t meant to be a farce. Fun, yes, but Johanson is seriously concerned about educating people about sex. Her show is meant to be a straightforward, informative, and educational sex talk show. She reviews sex-related products (toys, porn, books, and more), talks about sex and raising awareness about safe sex practices, and answers sex-related questions from callers. To celebrate their 75th anniversary, Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania invited Johanson to speak a bit about the importance of good sexual education in schools. Friday night, I was lucky enough to get to see her do a little bit of everything at Carnegie Music Hall.
Johanson waltzed onstage with a little jump in her step. ?I feel like I should do some sort of strip,? she said, as she grabbed her breasts. Then, stroking the microphone slowly from top to bottom, ?They never give me this kind of microphone...? Yeah, this was definitely going to be an entertaining night. Johanson talked for a bit about what brought her to where she was today, which included five pregnancies, three kids at ten months apart each, and training at a Catholic nursing facility, where they taught her that she should cut holes in condoms, ?to give sperm a fighting chance at life.?
?I soon realized kids were having more sex than I was. And I was pissed.? But she also realized that few knew how to have safe sex, or even really knew the logistics of sex and the reproductive system. Johanson pointed out that girls especially have a lack of knowledge about their sexuality until their late teens, because there?s so little focus on it in school. Johanson said, ?We don?t have a language for our genitals. We have ?down there.? Guys have pages of words for their genitals. Girls have ?down there.???
And that, she said, is why Planned Parenthood was so important to her. Not only has it worked hard to spread awareness of smart sexual practices to men and women all over the country, it has made Johanson what she is today. Johanson said, ?You have Planned Parenthood to thank for Sue Johanson coming to terms with her sexuality.? Planned Parenthood taught her things she needed to know about sex and continues to push for better sexual education programs in schools throughout the country. ?This [lack of good sex ed in America] scares me. We are going backwards. We are not going forwards.?