For some reason we were all at the apartment that night. We’d turned the lights off but the sky outside was stained that peculiar late night Manhattan lavender and it provided enough illumination for us not to go bumping into things. Not that anybody was going anywhere. The TV was on, basic cable, but none of us were really paying attention. The Daily Show had just ended and Conan wouldn’t be on for some time yet so L. began to lazily flip through channels as we talked because none of us were particularly fond of either Leno or Letterman.
“What’s this?” she asked as the conversation lulled.
On the screen was a very old Grandma-type lady earnestly talking about something. It was on mute and nobody cared enough to ask for the sound to be switched on. She looked like the kind of lady who comes on TV to talk about the sad state of the young people today and give testimonials about how Christ is her Savior.
“Dude, is that… a dildo?” asked M.
It was. A giant one. Say hello to Sue Johanson.
The beauty of Talk Sex with Sue Johanson was that it had a little something for everyone. It was entertaining, informative, upfront and completely weird. People who caught an episode for the first time (especially men) were often left shellshocked – it’s one thing to know that people Sue’s age have a sexual life, but altogether a different matter when they check out and rate sex toys and go for a whirl in one of those Chinese swing chair thingies.
What Chinese swing chair thingy? Well, I’m sure there’s an official name for it, but it’s sort like a harness that you suspend off the ceiling and it “allows your partner to position your body” to paraphrase Sue, who allowed herself to be strapped into it (with her clothes on, you perverts!) to better demonstrate its virtues. The best part of that episode was the face of the guy who was selling the thing. Although I’m sure some would say it was the contraption itself.
But that was the point: even if you weren’t planning on having anal sex (which she recommended liberally for everyone as something that would spice up the old sex life as long as you took certain precautions as demonstrated by her) or trying out one of the smaller vibrators in the market (to better stimulate your partner’s prostate which would increase his pleasure, she said) you could still have a great time watching her show.
That first night, it took us a long time to get our collective jaws off the ground. But we agreed that the Sex Grandma, as we called her, was a must-watch. It was definitely a show for adults but she was informed, smart, funny, non-judgmental and without an ounce of coyness. There wasn’t a subject that was taboo or a medical condition she couldn’t talk about. And she wasn’t afraid to tell her callers to visit their doctor or local clinic either.
Couples, teens, and people of every sexuality would call in and be briskly handed some no-nonsense advice of the kind you wish your parents would give you but would probably never ask for in a million years. If you wanted to know what people across the United States and Canada were doing in their bedrooms, all you needed to do was watch her show.
But no longer.
After 32 years of television, six of them spent on Oxygen, the Sex Grandma’s packing up her Pleasure Chest. This Sunday she’ll host her last episode… which will focus on the year’s top ten sex toys.
TV is never going to be the same again.