Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Sexy Chicky-poo

I feel like an old fuddy-duddy for saying it, but that Sue Johanson chick on the Oxygen network (on a Canadian show called "Sunday Night Sex Talk") is scary. Not because she's some Dr. Ruth wannabe, but she's so woefully malinformed that I can no longer watch her program without fearing for her viewers.

First, my introduction to Ms. Johanson. One night I was hanging out with my friend Elizabeth in her apartment. Elizabeth has a shorter attention span than I do; indeed, her channel surfing skills broke all stereotypes about men hogging the remote control. I was full from dinner (and therefore tired), so I just let her surf around.

Eventually, she stopped on Ms. Johanson's show and kept it there for a pretty long time. (Clearly, she knew something I didn't know.) Ms. Johanson kept going on and on and on about statistics related to how bad it is to smoke while pregnant, reading statistic after statistic regarding tobacco and pregnancy. I had no idea why Elizabeth was so interested in this; I just half-listened while I spaced out from a bit of food coma (we had just had dinner).

My ears perked up when Ms. Johanson finished her rant on smoking, concluding with: "That's my plug... that's my butt plug for the night."

I sat up, looked over at Elizabeth, and, incredulous, mouthed, "Did she just say 'butt plug'?"

Indeed, she had. This was my introduction to Dr. Johanson. Yes, she's an old woman talking open and happily about sex with no shame about it. But Johanson is nowhere near as cute as Dr. Ruth. In an interview once, she played up her "old lady" status by commenting that she didn't want the world to think she was some "sexy chicky-poo". This made me laugh.

I caught her again a few months later, while staying with a friend in Richmond. It was at this point that I decided that she had no idea what she was talking about.

Example #1: Relatively innocuous, but still exhibiting a clear lack of imagination, which to my mind is essential for a "sex therapist," especially when it comes to questions of technique. A caller (I think it was a straight woman) asked about anal intercourse and requested some suggestions for other positions to make it easier or more enjoyable. Ms. Johanson whipped out a set of wooden stick figures (those things creep me out, by the way) and began to position them as a way of demonstrating how to achieve back-door action: the caller could bend forward over a couch, she explained (while demonstrating with the freaky stick-dolls) or the caller could get on all fours (again, positioning the figures accordingly). Then she stopped. And she actually said, "Well I think that's really about it... your options are fairly limited with that request...."

Man, this woman has never ever seen any gay porn in her life. Gay men in porn videos know how to fuck. And they do it in 10,001 different positions. In an overwhelming number of these instances, it does not involve anyone bending over a couch. The fact that she could only come up with two examples of how to accept rear entry, Ms. Johanson let down this particular caller who was seeking advice on how to enhance that aspect of her sex life.

Example #2: Downright dangerous. A caller -- I think it was a male -- called to discuss "rimming." Basically, his question boiled down to what dangers are inherent in the practice, and whether he should be careful when engaging in the act. Ms. Johanson's response: In a nutshell, HIV if there's blood-to-bodily fluid contact, and that's about it. Then she broke for a commercial.

"Hel-LO!" I protested. "Hepatitis! Which should the first thing that pops into the mind of a sex therapist when rimming is mentioned!"

Sure enough, Ms. Johanson supplemented her earlier response by mentioning hepatitis upon her return from commercial break. I'm wondering what producer came running up to the stage to correct of her this error.

I don't know if the show is live or not, but if the caller didn't switch the channel right after receiving his answer, he missed out on some valuable information. If the show's not live and the calls are tape-recorded, then that's just worse, because there's little chance that he heard the real answer after he hung up with her.

Anyway, all I'm saying is, if you're going to hold yourself out as an expert, you need to know your shit down cold.


Jon said...

The only good thing about Oxyge is that they show Ab Fab series 5. This woman sounds like she needs her license taken away, though, people should be vaccinated for hepatitis. Not just because of rimming, lol, but food poisoning, etc. I think a standard booster shot also keeps people safe from the majority of things one could get from rimming, salad tossing, what have you :P

IA said...

I bought her that butt plug.

p.p. said...

Dennis, I think you will have to show ol' Sue the fine art of a good rim job. I'm sure she'll appreciate it. ;)

Matthew said...

Rimming? Anal Sex? I just don't understand the allure.

But anyway....

You're right, Dennis, Ms. Johanson often doesn't seem to know what she's talking about. I've watched her on a few occasions, and just sit there, incredulous. I really think she's doing more for the attempted shock value, rather than the informative (i.e. using wooden figurines, clamping a bunch of stuff to a black man's nipples, using rubber devices to illustrate her points, etc.)

Oh, and Peter, that's just disgusting. ;-)

Dennis! said...

Jon: I'm glad I don't get Oxygen, frankly. All the Oprah reruns would make me ill. Well, that and Sue Johanson.

IA: Now we know who to blame!

Peter: Ew. Ew ew ew. That comment alone has made me want to toss my cookies. No, wait, is that another sexual term? I'm so behind the sexual jargon times. I just mean "hurl." Ew.

Matt: I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks she not only ain't all that, but she's actually affirmatively bad.

Ryan Dunn said...

I completely and utterly disagree. Taking Sue off the air would be a step back towards having all sexuality discussions happen, if any, in the closet.

Sue brings up topics like anal sex and rimming and discusses them because...people don't know enough about it. She might not know EVERYTHING about EVERY sexual subject and might forget a thing or two, but having her on TV is a blessing. I'm sure she's dispelled many myths in the minds of Canadians and Americans and created many more happy lovers.

I think it's just another example of how progressive other countries are in comparison to ours.

Dennis! said...

Ryan -- I disagree with you, but only because I think you misunderstand the point of my post. I don't think Sue should be taken off the air because I'm against the free flow of information about sex and all things sex-related. And I agree with you that it's a good thing to encourage frank sexual discussions and make sexuality something that we aren't so utterly ashamed or embarassed about.

But Sue in particular is dangerously malinformed. Okay, not being able to talk coherently anal sex positions isn't such a huge deal in the grand scheme of things. But not knowing, right off the bat, that rimming carries a risk of hepatitis transmission worries me.

Frank and open discussions about sex: Thumbs up!
Holding yourself out as an "expert", inducing people to rely on what you say, and then being dangerously wrong when you do speak: Not so good.

Love your blog, btw. :)

Ryan Dunn said...

Thanks for the clarification and the praise, Dennis!.

Personally, instead of sex ed classes we should just replay the Loveline radio show from the night before, but what do I know?

Sue knows her stuff, but I think she could use a gay cohost like you. ;-)

Dennis! said...

See, now "Lovelines" I can get behind (no innuendo intended). I like Dr. Drew, though Adam Carolla kinda annoys me. And it's been a long time since I've listened to it, but those times I did hear it, Dr. Drew seemed to actually know his stuff.

Though there was one time I was in a car, it was on, and some woman called in with a question about something or another (sex after miscarriage? I forget) and literally they never answered the question after some 10 minutes of stupid banter. Kathy Griffin was "guesting" on the show. I got dropped off and never heard an answer. My ride tells me they never really did address it.

melyssa said...

dennis! you crack me up. i think i actually saw a part of that anal sex episode. that lady is hysterical. when i'm channel surfing i watch it for entertainment. there really isn't much educational value there at all.

Dennis! said...

Woo hoo! For anyone who's paying attention (I presume that would be just me), this is my first post to break the double-digit comment barrier. Yay!

Ryan Dunn said...

You should just post a provocative picture of yourself. Nothing screams "Comments!" and gets the trolls out of the woodwork than a wee bit o' skin.