How Sue Johanson, Canada’s ‘grandma with a pottymouth,’ became the country’s leading sexpert


What does an previous woman like Sue Johanson learn about intercourse toys?

“The reply? Plenty,” she tells the viewers of Sunday Night Sex Show, a vibrant unfold of grownup merchandise on the desk earlier than her.

The scene will probably be a acquainted one to generations of Canadians who tuned in to listen to the famend intercourse professional maintain forth about the birds, bees and past on Sunday nights. But this time, it seems in the new documentary, Sex With Sue, which seems to be again at the now 92-year-old Toronto-born nurse’s profession and affect on intercourse schooling.

“I used to be older, I used to be by no means seen as a intercourse kitten, I had the reward of the gab,” Johanson explains in Sex With Sue, which premieres Monday on the W Network. 

The documentary options interviews with the beloved Canadian character carried out between 2016 and 2018, in addition to a legion of her admirers in media, comedy and the grownup leisure trade.

Since signing of from her TV reveals in 2008, Johanson has handed the baton — she’s at all times beloved a good phallic object — to a new era of savvy intercourse educators, who’re utilizing podcasts and TikTok to ship the items.

CBC News spoke with the creators of Sex With Sue and a new era of intercourse educators strolling the path that Johanson blazed for them. 

Johanson seems in an episode of Talk Sex with Sue Johanson, an American spinoff of her Canadian call-in present, Sunday Night Sex Show. (W Network)

A grandma with a pottymouth

The venture started when Johanson’s daughter, Jane, determined to seize her mom’s recollections with a collection of residence interviews. When she realized that she needed to professionalize their chats, she employed a director and a documentary crew.

“She was capable of simply educate in a method that had humour that might be a bit surprising,” stated the youthful Johanson, “so that folks would then go, ‘Oh, what? Did she simply say that phrase? Did she simply do that with her palms? Did she simply put that on a dildo with her mouth!?’ “

Johanson, a sprightly girl with a head of steely gray curls and glasses perched on her nostril, was a curious determine on Canadian TV: a “grandma with a pottymouth,” as her daughter describes in an interview with CBC News. 

On the stay call-in program Sunday Night Sex Show that began as a radio present and transitioned to tv, Johanson answered urgent questions from a curious viewers, examined intercourse toys from her “pleasure chest” and spoke frankly about intercourse with no filter to viewers from Vancouver Island to Cape Breton.

The present aired for practically a decade, and an American spinoff, referred to as Talk Sex With Sue Johanson, catapulted her from a quirky Canadian phenomenon to worldwide fame.

WATCH | Sue Johanson talks intercourse toys with Conan O’Brien: 

She became a frequent visitor on late night time U.S. speak reveals, sharing her “reward of the gab” with the likes of Jay Leno, Conan O’Brien and David Letterman.

“I grew up with the Sunday Night Sex Show, and Sue was my solely significant type of schooling,” Lisa Rideout, the Canadian director of Sex With Sue, advised CBC News. 

“You know, I used to be taught in class: ‘Don’t do it til you are married.’ So I watched Sue with my girlfriends beneath the covers at sleepovers.”

‘Her age helped her overtly speak about this’

A champion for a well-informed, intercourse optimistic public, Johanson coated matters and demographics often ignored by mainstream sexual schooling in the Nineteen Nineties and aughts.

While coaching to be a nurse in Winnipeg, Johanson was taught by nuns who did not discuss intercourse. That repression knowledgeable her method in her later years, emboldening her to be open, sincere and nonjudgmental.

From left, Sex with Sue producer Jane Johanson and director Lisa Rideout. Rideout says that when she was rising up, Sue Johanson’s TV present was her solely significant type of intercourse schooling. (W Network)

She opened a contraception clinic at her daughter’s highschool in the Nineteen Seventies and ran it for nearly 20 years. Jane Johanson recollects that her pals felt extra snug asking her mom their sex-related questions than she did.

“Sue approached all the pieces as if it was simply regular,” Nadine Thornhill, a Toronto intercourse educator, advised CBC News. “Like, she stated all of the phrases she stated, all of the taboo intercourse phrases. She talks about penises and clitorises and orgasms.

“But she was simply very matter of truth about it, and I do not assume I had ever heard anyone speak about intercourse in that method.”

She stated all of the … taboo intercourse phrases. She talks about penises and clitorises and orgasms. But she was simply very matter of truth about it.– Nadine Thornhill, Toronto intercourse educator

Like Rideout, Thornhill grew up listening to Johanson, hiding beneath the covers with her clock radio. She says Johanson was the first particular person she encountered who normalized speaking about our bodies and intercourse in a informal method that many now do.

Johanson was in her 70s and 80s when Sunday Night Sex Show aired, and in response to Rideout, that was a key a part of her attraction and skill to disarm her listeners.

“Her age helped her simply overtly speak about this and have nobody actually recoil or need to throw her off the air,” stated the director. 

Social media sexperts comply with in Johanson’s footsteps

Sex With Sue additionally highlights Johanson’s successors — a new era of intercourse educators utilizing TikTok and Instagram to talk to teenagers and younger adults frankly about intercourse.

“I feel the method we perceive intercourse, sexuality and the language round it has modified a lot since Sue was on the air. So it was actually essential for me to point out who’re the new fits, who’s doing the work, who’s pushing the boundaries and being progressive,” stated Rideout.

Sex educators from throughout the world — like Chantel Oten, Ericka Hart, Daniella Noël and Felicia Gisondi and Michelle Pound — are constructing on-line platforms to show younger individuals about intercourse.

Canadian TV reveals like CBC’s About Sex and The Big Sex Talk with Shan Boodram are reinventing the topic for a new era.

But navigating sex-ed on algorithmic social media platforms might be troublesome, says Tess Vanderhaeghe, a sexual well being educator based mostly in Vancouver. 

On TikTok, Vanderhaeghe posts informative movies about intercourse and sexual well being — like methods to placed on a condom, methods to stimulate the clitoris or the place to put a menstrual pad.

As proven in the Sex With Sue documentary, intercourse educator Nadine Thornhill screens episodes of Sunday Night Sex Show to highschool college students, who reply with bemused admiration. (W Network)

“There remains to be a lot of censorship round sexuality schooling, even on these platforms,” she stated, including that different movies containing misinformation about intercourse are pushed into individuals’s feeds “as a rule.” 

Thornhill agrees. “On the Internet, you do not essentially have individuals form of vetting and curating info for us in the identical method” that Johanson did on her reveals.

As proven in Sex With Sue, Thornhill screens episodes of Sunday Night Sex Show to highschool college students, who reply with bemused admiration.

“Going public like that is simpler than they assume,” Johanson says in the documentary. “I’m not embarrassed, I’m not uptight. I’m not frightened of it.” 

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


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here