How Sue Johanson, Canada’s ‘grandma with a pottymouth,’ turned the country’s foremost sexpert


What does an previous woman like Sue Johanson know about sex toys?

“The response? Plenty,” she tells the audience of Sunday Night time Intercourse Present, a vibrant spread of grownup solutions on the desk before her.

The scene will be a common 1 to generations of Canadians who tuned in to hear the renowned intercourse qualified hold forth about the birds, bees and over and above on Sunday nights. But this time, it appears in the new documentary, Intercourse With Sue, which looks back again at the now 92-year-old Toronto-born nurse’s job and affect on sexual intercourse instruction.

“I was older, I was never noticed as a intercourse kitten, I experienced the gift of the gab,” Johanson clarifies in Intercourse With Sue, which premieres Monday on the W Network. 

The documentary options interviews with the beloved Canadian personality conducted involving 2016 and 2018, as nicely as a legion of her admirers in media, comedy and the grownup entertainment market.

Since signing of from her Tv set reveals in 2008, Johanson has handed the baton — she’s always loved a excellent phallic item — to a new technology of savvy sexual intercourse educators, who are employing podcasts and TikTok to provide the items.

CBC News spoke with the creators of Sex With Sue and a new generation of sexual intercourse educators going for walks the path that Johanson blazed for them. 

Johanson appears in an episode of Chat Intercourse with Sue Johanson, an American spinoff of her Canadian phone-in show, Sunday Evening Sexual intercourse Display. (W Network)

A grandma with a pottymouth

The venture commenced when Johanson’s daughter, Jane, resolved to seize her mother’s memories with a sequence of home interviews. When she realized that she needed to professionalize their chats, she employed a director and a documentary crew.

“She was capable to just teach in a way that had humour that would be a bit surprising,” said the younger Johanson, “so that men and women would then go, ‘Oh, what? Did she just say that phrase? Did she just do this with her hands? Did she just place that on a dildo with her mouth!?’ “

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

On the live get in touch with-in method Sunday Night time Sex Show that began as a radio clearly show and transitioned to television, Johanson answered pressing inquiries from a curious viewers, tested sexual intercourse toys from her “pleasure upper body” and spoke frankly about sex with no filter to viewers from Vancouver Island to Cape Breton.

The show aired for approximately a ten years, and an American spinoff, called Talk Sex With Sue Johanson, catapulted her from a quirky Canadian phenomenon to international fame.

Watch | Sue Johanson talks intercourse toys with Conan O’Brien: https://www.youtube.com/check out?v=k_HmywMAoVo

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

“I grew up with the Sunday Evening Sex Exhibit, and Sue was my only meaningful variety of education,” Lisa Rideout, the Canadian director of Intercourse With Sue, told CBC News. 

“You know, I was taught in faculty: ‘Don’t do it til you might be married.’ So I watched Sue with my girlfriends beneath the handles at sleepovers.”

‘Her age aided her openly talk about this’

A champion for a nicely-knowledgeable, intercourse beneficial community, Johanson lined topics and demographics ordinarily dismissed by mainstream sexual education in the 1990s and aughts.

Whilst education to be a nurse in Winnipeg, Johanson was taught by nuns who did not talk about sexual intercourse. That repression knowledgeable her approach in her later on a long time, emboldening her to be open up, sincere and nonjudgmental.

From remaining, Sexual intercourse with Sue producer Jane Johanson and director Lisa Rideout. Rideout says that when she was rising up, Sue Johanson’s Television set demonstrate was her only meaningful sort of sexual intercourse instruction. (W Community)

She opened a birth command clinic at her daughter’s superior faculty in the 1970s and ran it for just about two a long time. Jane Johanson remembers that her friends felt more relaxed asking her mother their sex-relevant issues than she did.

“Sue approached anything as however it was just usual,” Nadine Thornhill, a Toronto intercourse educator, explained to CBC Information. “Like, she explained all of the phrases she said, all of the taboo sexual intercourse words and phrases. She talks about penises and clitorises and orgasms.

“But she was just really make any difference of actuality about it, and I never imagine I had at any time listened to any individual chat about sex in that way.”

She explained all of the … taboo sex words. She talks about penises and clitorises and orgasms. But she was just pretty subject of reality about it.– Nadine Thornhill, Toronto intercourse educator

Like Rideout, Thornhill grew up listening to Johanson, hiding below the handles with her clock radio. She claims Johanson was the initially man or woman she encountered who normalized conversing about bodies and sex in a casual way that several now do.

Johanson was in her 70s and 80s when Sunday Night Sexual intercourse Exhibit aired, and according to Rideout, that was a key element of her attractiveness and ability to disarm her listeners.

“Her age assisted her just overtly chat about this and have no one particular genuinely recoil or want to throw her off the air,” said the director. 

Social media sexperts observe in Johanson’s footsteps

Sexual intercourse With Sue also highlights Johanson’s successors — a new era of intercourse educators using TikTok and Instagram to converse to teens and young older people frankly about sex.

“I feel the way we comprehend intercourse, sexuality and the language all-around it has modified a good deal given that Sue was on the air. So it was genuinely significant for me to clearly show who are the new suits, who’s carrying out the operate, who’s pushing the boundaries and remaining progressive,” said Rideout.

Intercourse educators from all above the environment — like Chantel Oten, Ericka Hart, Daniella Noël and Felicia Gisondi and Michelle Pound — are developing on the internet platforms to train youthful people about sex.

Canadian Television shows like CBC’s About Intercourse and The Big Intercourse Speak with Shan Boodram are reinventing the matter for a new technology.

But navigating intercourse-ed on algorithmic social media platforms can be difficult, states Tess Vanderhaeghe, a sexual wellbeing educator based mostly in Vancouver. 

On TikTok, Vanderhaeghe posts instructive films about sexual intercourse and sexual wellness — like how to put on a condom, how to promote the clitoris or the place to spot a menstrual pad.

As proven in the Intercourse With Sue documentary, sex educator Nadine Thornhill screens episodes of Sunday Night Sex Clearly show to high college students, who react with bemused admiration. (W Network)

“There is nevertheless a whole lot of censorship all around sexuality schooling, even on these platforms,” she said, including that other movies containing misinformation about intercourse are pushed into people’s feeds “a lot more normally than not.” 

Thornhill agrees. “On the World-wide-web, you will not essentially have individuals variety of vetting and curating information for us in the similar way” that Johanson did on her reveals.

As proven in Sexual intercourse With Sue, Thornhill screens episodes of Sunday Evening Sex Clearly show to superior university pupils, who answer with bemused admiration.

“Heading general public like this is simpler than they think,” Johanson states in the documentary. “I am not humiliated, I’m not uptight. I’m not worried of it.” 

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



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