Sue Johanson is the host of the Toronto radio program “Sunday Night Sex Show with Sue” and of the TV show, “Talking Sex with Sue.” She has now written Talk Sex: Sue tells it like it is.
Johanson, although trained as a nurse, admits that she was unable to talk with her own children about sexuality. “No daughter of mine is going to be that kind of girl!” she said on a CBC radio interview, March 7, 1989. But she felt comfortable advising her children’s friends. So, in 1970, she started a teen birth control clinic. Today she feels free to advise all our sons and daughters.
Talk Sex is not a whether to but a how-to book on teen sex. It also tells it like it isn’t, withholding or distorting vital information that would encourage young people to postpone sexual involvement.
“Kids want explicit answers to their questions on sexuality, almost a how-to approach. So I try to tell it like it is.” The publication data lists it as “sex instruction for youth.”
There is a page here and a paragraph there on chastity (never a whole chapter). But these short bits are bedded down not with just simple definitions but long, graphic descriptions of masturbation, vaginal intercourse oral/genital sex and anal sex. Vibrators and sex toys are approved of; sado-masochism and bondage should only be fantasized about. Pornography is OK if you know it’s not the real world; prostitution is fine if you’re 18 and don’t have a pimp.
The book uses a question and answer format and is suggested by either author or publisher. She should not be surprised then if kids ignore her age restriction when she so entices them. Talk sex is akin to a chastity. Johanson is keen to answer not only the definitional “What is…?” but also the sex manual “How do you…?”
The total effect is rather like a madam showing a young virgin through a brothel, room by room, lifting all the bedclothes yet reassuring the youth that she should remain chaste if that’s what she wants.
Johanson mentions twice that 15 is too young to have sex. Yet she is happy to escort the 11 to 15 year old crowd voyeuristically through her book.
The book was written to sexually arouse. After describing four positions for vaginal intercourse, Johanson concludes, “Got it? Close your eyes and imagine how it all fits. You’ll probably find that you become sexually aroused just thinking about it. That’s OK, normal, natural – have fun.”
Johanson defines oral sex in Latin, English and gutter terms. She rightly adds, “Don’t allow anyone to talk you into anything you are not comfortable with. If you don’t want it, don’t do it.” It is rather unnerving that she then proceeds to answer, “How do you give a girl a good — job?” Much of the book can be reduced to, “If you don’t want to, don’t. But if you do, here’s how.”
Sue Johanson’s Talk Sex does have some good information and advice, but the total effect is one of soap flakes floating on sewage. Who would want to wash with it?
Sue Careless lives in Toronto. She is a former high school teacher, a curriculum consultant and the founder of Parents for Responsible Education.
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