Talking sex with Sue Johanson

Like most curious young Canadians, you may have been used to staying up late and switching on the Sunday Night Sex Show with Sue Johanson. Though we were prepubescent, and we certainly had nothing to call in about, many of us listened and learned more from this voracious grandmotherly woman than from our girlfriends or boyfriends.

Johanson was originally educated as a nurse and worked as a sex educator during the seventies and eighties in Ontario. Her matter-of-fact way of speaking generated a following that grew as she moved on to her own radio show and, later, television.

Now, she is famous for talking about the most outrageous aspects of sexuality in a frank and hilarious manner – easily filling amphitheaters across Canada on her campus tours.

The McGill Daily caught up with Johanson at the Ampersand conference on Saturday, March 28, where she delivered the keynote address to a crowd of 150 students.

The McGill Daily: Why are you giving a presentation at McGill?

Sue Johanson: What I’m talking about is sex and sexuality and my goal is to fill in the gaps – all the things they didn’t tell you about sex. And it’s not from a fear basis at all; it’s from a reassuring basis. In Canada, we have much better sex education than the United States, but it is by no means in-depth. The curriculum is great, but it depends on the decision of each principal in each school [as to] what parts of that curriculum will be incorporated into the program. Then, it’s up to the comfort level and skill of the individual teacher – so if they’re not comfortable talking about blowjobs, it’s difficult to get good information out there.

MD: What kind of things did the sex education system leave out?

SJ: Things like ‘’females do not have orgasms every time they have sex.’’ Guys need to know that because there’s so much pressure on [them]. As it stands now, they think if she doesn’t have an orgasm, then either he’s a lousy lover, or she’s frigid.

MD: If you were in charge of sex education across Canada, what would the system look like?

SJ: It would be in-depth and open – a lot more about homosexuality; a lot more about the controversial issues; a lot more about abortion; a lot more about pregnancy, labour, and delivery. There would be an in-depth course on relationships. Communication would be emphasized much more than it is. We still communicate the same way our parents did. We still fight the same way, and that’s pretty destructive. So, that would be my vision of what I’d like to see happen, but it’s not going to happen because it takes too long and it’s too labour intensive.

MD: Why is that?

SJ: Unfortunately, when teachers go into the faculty of education, they have a general BA and take one year to become a teacher. They get exactly one class on sexuality. That’s just not fair to teachers. That’s definitely not fair…. If I had it my way…there would be a team who would probably be nurses and they would be independent and not be employed by the board of education.

MD: How would the team of nurses work?

SJ: You would have one who is an expert on sexually transmitted diseases, especially HIV. One who is an expert on birth control, a [team dedicated to] homosexuality. You would have to do homosexuality covered by a team of a gay and lesbian so that we got both perspectives and the comfort level would be up because lesbians feel very left out. A lot of lesbians are very, very angry.

The team would go in for a period of time, about an hour a day, all year long. So [students would] have a broad spectrum of sex ed, from different people, and not from the same person, because [everyone has] biases and [they] need to be balanced by somebody else.

MD: If you had one message for the McGill community, what would it be?

SJ: Know what you’re doing. Think ahead. Plan ahead. Never let sex ‘‘just happen.’’ And always practice safer sex.

– compiled by Ethan Feldman


Q&A with Sue Johanson at the Ampersand conference

Is there a way to make a guy come more times in a row with less time to rest in between?

Actually, there is! It’s called “kegel exercises.” Go on your computer and go to and there’s a list of pubic exercises. We usually recommend them to the females, but if guys do them then they can last longer, they won’t ejaculate as quickly, they won’t completely lose their erection, and they can ejaculate once again. So, pull up kegel exercises and they can go one after another – and you may be sorry.

What’s the best kind of food for sex play?

Well, it’s not macaroni and cheese. There isn’t really an aphrodisiac, but it is known that females do find chocolate to be a bit of an aphrodisiac. There’s something about it being high sugar, high energy, and it has an effect on females. Oysters don’t do it, pineapple don’t do it, celery don’t do it.

I am a girl having trouble [reaching orgasm].

It’s not that she’s unable, it’s just that she’s never got there yet. She is able, as long as she is normal – in the way of the nerve endings working – then she is able to have an orgasm, absolutely. So, again, she’s got to masturbate and learn how to get there herself.

You need to relax. All girls can learn to orgasm, unless you’re quadrapelegic or paralyzed from the waist down and have no sensation. The interesting thing is that these males and females can be stimulated in other ways. I have a friend who is paraplegic and he can reach ogasm by his partner blowing in his ear and kissing his ear and the back of neck along with armpit and nipple stimulation. He doesn’t ejaculate, but he reaches orgasm psychologically.