Sue Johanson, Canada’s most famous and beloved sex educator, has passed away. She was 93.
Johanson first rose to fame in Canada with her calling radio and television shows, both titled Sunday Night Sex Show. A US spinoff followed, called Having Sex With Sue Johanson.
New documentary explores the life and work of sex educator Sue Johanson
According to reports, Johanson died in a long-term care facility in Thornhill, Ont., surrounded by family.
Chances are if you grew up between the late 1980s and early 2000s, you’ll be familiar with Johanson.
Through her programs, she has taught many Canadians how to have safe sex and also how to enjoy it. No subject is too difficult or taboo for Johanson, and fans find her boundless style fresh and humorous.
Johanson will engage in conversations, sometimes shocking the network, about anal and gay sex, fetishism and sexual issues in the gay community, all both are often considered taboo topics when her shows are on the air.
Adding to her charm and propelling her to stardom is Johanson’s frank, no-frills approach to awkward sex talk paired with grandma looks and a sharp sense of humor. her sharpness. (She was “DGAF” before the acronym even became a thing.)
What started out as a small and sometimes controversial radio show, Johanson eventually became famous around the world. She has appeared on the late-night talk shows of Arsenio Hall, David Letterman and Conan O’Brien. She is a recurring guest on the beloved Canadian TV channel Degrassi television franchise. And she’s traveled the country, appearing as a guest speaker at countless college and university events.
Johanson made a name for herself in Canada and the United States talking about sex on radio and television, but she started by founding a birth control clinic at a Toronto high school in 1970.
In 1974, she began going to schools across Ontario to provide sex education, and the radio show aired in Toronto a decade later.
Last fall, Johanson was the subject of a feature-length documentary, titled Sex with SueSee how her decades-long career has helped shape the way we talk about sex and sexuality today.
The documentary is a collaboration between Johanson’s daughter, Jane, and Canadian director Lisa Rideout, which they made together after Jane began recording conversations with her mother on video in 2016 like a way to preserve some of her memories.
“I grew up with the Sunday Night Sex Show and Sue was my main source of education,” Rideout explained to Global News at the time, adding that she ended up emailing the outdated website by Sue, but didn’t think anyone would rewrite it. “But it happened that Jane was making a movie and she needed someone. So we like to think that the universe brought us together to make the movie.”
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Rideout said while working on the documentary, she was surprised to learn how much people still need sex educators, despite so much pornography online.
“I think nowadays people can Google whatever they want, they don’t necessarily need these voices. But I’ve learned that people still need someone to answer their questions and really assure them that they’re okay with their libido.”
Jane told Global News that her mother decided to give up her show in 2008 when she realized two things: her energy was starting to run out, and the growth of the Internet, including the dating world. online dating and pornography, is beginning to outstrip her knowledge and understanding of many sexual topics.
“I think she’s very happy to have stepped out of the limelight so she can finally rest from the whirlwind marathon she’s been in,” Jane said at the time.
Many of the documentary’s laugh-out-loud moments come from the reflection of the crew working with Johanson in Sunday Night Sex Show. They recounted how Johanson provided them with sex toys, urging them to try them out and report back on their findings.
She would spin those crew reviews into a Consumer Reports-style segment at the end of every TV show, dipping into her burning black tote bag to pull out her penis. Prostheses, vibrators and anal beads come in all shapes and sizes.
Jane said: “She just wanted to talk about sex and make people laugh. “She may have been famous, but she didn’t care. She loves meeting new people. That is so that. It’s pretty simple, really.”
— with a file from the Canadian Press
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