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Do you know Sue Johanson? If you don’t, you should. Sue is a Canadian woman who reminds you of your grandma, except that she is very open to talking about sex. She has a show – Talk Sex with Sue – that reruns late nights on cable (Oxygen TV).

Last night, Sue gave a 2-hour presentation at St. Cloud State University. Hubby and I attended. Sue is just as humorous and forthright about sex in person as she is on her television show. She spoke to a packed house, the majority of which were typical college-aged students. Hubby and I felt like the oldest people in the audience.

The premise of Sue’s talk was to discuss sex in a way that is not covered in typical sex ed classes, to talk about sex for enjoyment, rather than sex as something to be ashamed of. She stressed that while sex should be pleasurable, it should also be done safely in order to prevent unwanted pregnancy, disease, or injury.

Sue covered a lot of ground in her talk. She pointed out the many ways that adults shame children (particularly their own children & particularly their girls) about sex, even going so far as to never presenting diagrams of exterior female genitalia in sex ed classes. (Think about this for a moment. We got the diagram of the interior, but I don’t remember getting a diagram of the exterior. I don’t think this has changed any.) We don’t even have much in the way of language for exterior female genitalia. Instead, we refer to the area as “Down There.” Think about all the terms we have for male genitalia.

In addition to covering societal attitudes about sex, Sue talked about the normal functions of the various parts of the male and female genitalia and reproductive organs. She spent quite a lot of time on female sexuality, mostly because girls are taught that to be “nice,” they ought not to be sexual, so they don’t even get to know (by being taught or by personal experience) how their bodies naturally behave.

At one point in the evening, Sue suggested that if people had questions, they should visit her website. She said to ignore the beginning of her website because that was about her and why would we care about that? Regardless of her modesty, I’m tremendously curious about Sue and how she came to be such an open expert on sex. During her presentation, she mentioned (and demonstrated!) that she had had to teach young people who’d been forced into prostitution how to put a condom on a man using only their mouths. The johns of these prostitutes would insist that they perform unprotected oral sex on them. By learning how to put a condom on in this way, they could stay safe and the johns would remain unaware of what had happened until the act was done.

Both the presentation and Sue herself made for a fascinating evening.

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