Sex Education: Sue Johanson

This article was last updated on June 18, 2022

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For those of you would are unfamiliar with the name, Ms. Johanson is a veritable institution in Canada and the United States in the area of sex education. Her informed, fact based approach to discussing the "final frontier" has garnered her accolades from many corners. She received Canada’s highest honour in 2001, the Order of Canada
Sue Johanson, born 1930, is a registered nurse, Canadian writer, speaker and sex educator. Her first real foray into media was a 14 year stint on the radio station Q107 in Toronto between 1984 and 1998. The Sunday Night Sex Show was dedicated to advice on sex and from 1985 onwards, a parallel show existed on the community access channel of Rogers cable. It became a national show on the Women’s Television Network and was picked up by Oprah Winfrey’s Oxygen Network in 2002. [sigh] Unfortunately, Sue retired from weekly broadcasting in 2008. Fortunately, her materials live on via the Internet and she does continue to lecture.

Sue is now 80 years old. As you can imagine, this is something of the age of a grandmother however, Sue has had a grandmotherly air about her for years and therein lies her popularity. She is frank; she is informative and she can be funny. However all this coming out of the mouth of somebody you think of as being a grandmother lends a certain air of authenticity and authority to the information. Talking about sex can make anybody nervous but hearing it from somebody’s grandmother makes it less embarrassing.

What does she have to say?

In consulting the web site and its index of topics, you can see that Sue has left few stones unturned. For anybody who has questions about any "intimate" topic, I would recommend perusing the index in search of an answer but would also recommend reading over any of the topics as a refresher course in what you think you may already know. I would say this for not just first timers like teenagers but also for adults.

Teens, Courtship and Sex
Sue’s advice is very practical and probably would be a great help for any parent who is faced with that dreaded moment of having to have "the talk". Her column on this topic is straight forward and a little humorous. 

It is important that [you] have decided ahead of time whether [you] are ready for sex or not. Sex is an adult behaviour, and unless you are adult enough to be comfortable with your own body, unless you know about sex, Birth Control and all sexually transmitted diseases, unless you are in a long-term committed relationship and can talk about sex, unless you and your partner are mature enough to use a good method of birth control and agree to use condoms for SAFER SEX, you are not ready for sex. That should take you to about age 35.

The Unmentionable
Sue covers the gambit with a set of index topics covering but not limited to: 

  • male masturbation
    Most teenage males will masturbate about once a day, some much more than others. There is no "normal" – it varies with surrounding stimulation, stress of exams, boredom, amount of sex with a partner, and individual sex drive and desire plus the opportunity. Guys worry, "How much is too much?" Don’t worry. You will not hurt yourself, you are not a pervert. Your body will dictate and eventually your brain will be willing but the body weak.
  • female masturbation
    the big secret is to accept the fact that this is an o.k. thing to do. In fact, it is therapeutic, especially if she has never reached orgasm. Most females have their first orgasm all by themselves. Once she has learned what works for her, then she can share that information with her partner who can incorporate the moves into their sex play. Guys tell us what they like, why can’t we tell them what works for us?
  • oral sex on men
  • oral sex on women
    The key to performing good oral sex on a female is to talk to your partner, check it out with her, what feels good, what she likes and does not enjoy, listen to her breathing patterns and body responses.
  • the basics such as the anatomy of reproductive organs
Plus she talks about spicing up your sex life and even covers seniors and sex

For further information, Sue provides an extensive list of books which offer further information on various topics.

Sue and her toys
Sue has gotten involved with several companies that manufacture sex toys. While this may seem odd, Sue had a segment on her shows where she would bring out the "Hot Stuff Bag" and pull out a sex toy to review. I remember watching a number of episodes where she would discuss the pros and cons of vibrators, Ben Wa balls and stimulators for men all with an informative approach as if she was rating a movie.

Passion Parties Inc. which markets sex toys through home parties like Avon cosmetics has Sue as an advisor.

Retired but…
Sue has already published three books: Talk SexSex is Perfectly Natural but not Naturally Perfect and Sex, Sex and More Sex. She continues to write a weekly column for the Toronto Star newspaper and she lectures.

I see Ms. Johanson received the 2010 Citizenship Award from The Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies, located at University College, University of Toronto this past September 22, 2010.

Order of Canada
Recipients of this honour are sometimes the targets of controversy. Right wing activists have gone after Dr. Henry Morgentaler, a doctor who is for legal abortions. They have gone after Jean Chretien for his support of same sex marriages. Dr. Elizabeth Bragshaw, an advocate of the birth control pill was denied the honour for years. And yes, Sue has been the centre of criticism for her work in the area of sex education. I note that the above protests are all focused on things relating to sex; I see a theme from these right wingers.

Final Word
Sue is great. I enjoyed watching her TV show when it was on and I must add that it was one of a kind. Considering the dearth of information about sex, Sue was a breath of fresh air. Her legacy will live on. Go to Google Videos and search for her name. There are a number of videos to be found and enjoyed.

In Toronto, we can still benefit from the televised sex education Sue pioneered. CP24 currently airs a show called Sex Matters (Wikipedia) with live broadcasts Thursday and Friday at 10:30pm and rebroadcasts Saturday and Sunday at 10:30pm. Star! also airs the program Saturday and Sunday at 11:30pm. (official web site of Sex Matters)

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Wikipedia: Sue Johanson

Wikipedia: Sunday Night Sex Show

Talk Sex with Sue Johanson

Oxygen Network: Talk Sex with Sue Johanson
There are "webisodes" but they are only available in the United States. [sigh] Nevertheless, there is plenty of stuff to found on YouTube.

Various videos
Go to Google Videos and search for her name. There are a number of videos to be found.

Sue is a guest on Conan O’Brian – Mar 19/2006
Sue brings her Hot Stuff Bag and shows off some devices. Conan notes that she is a big proponent of sex toys. This is quite an amusing segment.

Sue puts a condom on with her mouth and yes, she explains why.

Sue’s oral sex tips – June 2003

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