Sex education icon Sue Johanson is back! New documentary on her life and legacy – National

Chances are if you grew up from the late 1980s to early 2000s in Canada, you are familiar with Sue Johanson and her popular radio and television show, Sunday Night Sex Movies.

A world-renowned sex educator, Johanson has taught many Canadians how to have safe sex and how to enjoy it. And now she’s the subject of a feature-length documentary, titled Sex with Sueincluding a look at how her decades-long career has helped shape the way we talk about gender and sexuality today.

For years, Canadians – and then Americans – would tune their TV channels and radio dials to Sunday Night Sex Movieswhere Johanson would make calls from people across the continent.

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And nothing is off limits. Johanson would engage in conversations, which sometimes angered the network, about gay and anal sex, sexual and sexual issues in the gay community, all of which are taboo topic when her show aired.

Adding to her charm and making her a star is Johanson’s frank, no-frills approach to awkward sex talk paired with grandma looks and a sharp sense of humor. her razor. (She was “DGAF” before this acronym even became a thing.)

What started out as a small and sometimes controversial radio show eventually catapulted Johanson to international fame. She appeared on Arsenio Hall, David Letterman and Conan O’Brien’s late-night talk show. She is a recurring guest on Degrassi Franchising. And she’s traveled across the country, appearing as a guest speaker at countless college and university events.

“I think her first big appearance in the United States was at Arsenio Hall. And I remember gathering around the TV watching that,” Johanson’s daughter, Jane, told Global News.

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“And I will never forget that vibe – I was so worried about her that I realized I couldn’t see her being interviewed. It’s not that I don’t love her or am not proud of her or feel that she is doing such wonderful things. I am very nervous for her.”

The October 10 documentary, a collaboration between Jane and Canadian director Lisa Rideout, was brought together after Jane began recording conversations with her mother via video in 2016 as a way to preserve some of her memories.

Click to play video: 'New documentary explores the life and work of sex educator Sue Johanson'

New documentary explores the life and work of sex educator Sue Johanson

New documentary explores the life and work of sex educator Sue Johanson

Meanwhile, Rideout was thinking about Johanson and her impact on her own life.

“I grew up with Sunday Night Sex Movies and Sue are my primary source of education,” she explained, adding that she ended up emailing Sue’s outdated website, but didn’t think anyone would write back. “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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In the documentary, readers will see familiar faces like Russell Peters, George Stroumboulopoulos and sex columnist Dan Savage. Gender educators and advocates Shan Boodram, Lorraine Hewitt and Nina Hartley were also present to speak about Johanson’s legacy.

Johanson is 92 years old this year, has long retired and enjoys a calm and simple life. Decided to put her show to bed in 2008 when she realized two things: her energy was starting to run out, and the rise of the internet, including the world of online dating and pornography, began to outgrow her knowledge and understanding of many sexual topics.

Sue Johanson, now 92 years old, is living a calm and simple life and enjoying her retirement.

Sue Johanson, now 92 years old, is living a calm and simple life and enjoying her retirement.

Courtesy Network / W

“I think she’s very happy to have stepped out of the limelight so she can finally rest after the stormy marathon she’s been in,” said Jane.

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However, that doesn’t mean she doesn’t keep up with the world’s latest developments in sexual and reproductive rights.

Jane said her mother was disappointed and heartbroken when the US Supreme Court overturned Roe V. Wade in June.

“She cried when she heard that… It just made her so sad, but I think it was more of a relief because she thought, ‘That’s a battle I can’t fight now. I’m too old. ‘”

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And although her mother has yet to see the documentary, Jane thinks she’ll be delighted to see some of the sex educators featured in the film holding the torch and providing clear and concise gender information. for the next generation of Canadians.

Rideout said that while working on the documentary, she was surprised to learn how much people still need sex educators, despite the overwhelming amount of sexual content online.

“I thought that nowadays people can use Google whatever they want, they don’t necessarily need these voices. But I’ve learned that people still need people to answer their questions and really assure them that they’re okay with their libido. “

That exact sentiment has always been a big part of Johanson’s appeal. No question was too weird or no problem was too small, and Johanson approached each question with a classy head and a sense of humour.

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Many of the documentary’s laugh-out-loud moments came from the reflections of the crew working with Johanson on Sunday Night Sex Movies. They recounted how Johanson would offer them sex toys, urging them to try them out and report back on their findings.

She would rotate the crew reviews into a Consumer Reports-style segment at the end of every TV broadcast, dipping into her black tote bag covered in flames to offers dildos, vibrators and anal beads of 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. “

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‘Sex with Sue’ premieres Monday, October 10 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on W Network and STACKTV.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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