To most, celebrities and models are the first to mind when thinking of Canadian sex icons. Few women however, have had as big of an influence on sex in Canada as Sue Johanson. A public figure with talents in both entertainment and education, Johanson brought sex into the households of many spreading wisdom and shattering taboos.
Born in Toronto in the 1930s, Johanson built a career on demystifying sexuality and bringing awareness to natural passions. She has many books under her belt and she hosted the iconic Sunday Night Sex Show. What makes Johanson unique is her mature and down to Earth attitude about spreading information to adults about their sexuality.
Johanson’s work is important in the way that she ties pleasure with education and healthcare. Some people fear or suppress sexuality, some are too indulgent in their pleasures and neglect their health, both physical and mental. Many others are in an awkward situation in which they are interested in sex, but are lacking confidence, awareness, and education, to appropriately and safely fulfill their desires. Johanson’s approach was that you can both enjoy sex and fulfill your natural pleasures, but also approach these social and biological functions with respect, dignity, and safety, all backed by science and wisdom.
On Johanson’s website she features many articles with a broad scope of topics including yeast infections, anal sex, low and high sex drives, herpes, fetishes, and anatomy. Johanson’s secret for a healthy and enjoyable sex life is communication between sexual partners. Sex is typically between two people; in this dynamic a problem with one is automatically a problem for both. Introducing new fetishes, having insecurities, and dealing with health issues, all involve partners communicating and respecting one another. It is through communication that problems can be resolved, interests can be addressed, and sexuality can be mutually safe and enjoyable.
Publishing work aside, Johanson was also unique in the way she would openly interact with the public and their questions. Her shows and presentations would often feature sections answering questions and resolving people’s misconceptions and hesitations. While pleasure and dismissing taboos were important features of her work, educating tens of thousands of people on safety is her true accomplishment. From hygiene to sexually transmitted diseases, Johanson’s message may have profoundly improved the lives of many she reached.
Sexuality is becoming more accepted; this was not always the case. Many, often youth entering adolescence, lacked a healthy and mature avenue to explore, question, and educate themselves about their own sexuality. It is thanks to sexual educators like Sue Johanson that millions of Canadians are more comfortable with their bodies, more mature about their natural desires, and more safe in their sexuality. For her impressive lifetime of work, in 2001 she received one of Canada’s highest honours, appointment to the Order of Canada.
Sue Johanson is a true Canadian sex icon.
Check out her website here for more information: http://www.talksexwithsue.com/
By Daniel Goveder (May 2017)