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Sue Johanson, Who Talked Sex With Aplomb, Dies at 92

Sue Johanson, Who Talked Sex With Aplomb, Dies at 92

Sue Johanson, Who Talked Sex With Aplomb, Dies at 92


Ms. Johanson opened her birth control clinic in 1970, after a friend of her eldest daughter became pregnant in high school and had an abortion, which was mostly illegal in Canada at the time. “Kids get involved with sex without their parents’ consent,” she told a reporter in 1983, “and therefore they should be able to get contraceptives without their consent.”

Throughout her career, high school and college students were her biggest concern. She was an indefatigable speaker, a regular at college freshman orientations each fall and at hundreds of high schools each year. Her husband, Jane Johanson said, was a reserved, private man, the opposite of his gregarious wife, but he handled her career and fame with grace and “took it like a champ.” He died in 2014.

In addition to her daughter Jane, Ms. Johanson is survived by another daughter, Carol Howard; two grandchildren; and one great-grandchild. Her son, Eric, died in 2021.

Ms. Johanson also wrote a magazine column and was the author of three books: “Sex, Sex and More Sex,” “Sex Is Perfectly Natural but Not Naturally Perfect” and “Talk Sex: Answers to Questions You Can’t Ask Your Parents.”

In 2000, she was awarded the Order of Canada, the country’s highest honor for pioneers in their field.

Ms. Johanson’s Canadian show went off the air in 2005, and the American version in 2008. It was time: The internet had become the go-to source for sex inquiries. As Dan Savage, the sex columnist, put it in the documentary about Ms. Johanson, there was a Wikipedia page for every piece of equipment and every sex act, and Ms. Johanson felt she was unable to keep up with the times. At 77, she was ready but sad to call it quits.

“There will be a great big hole in my heart,” she said as she introduced her final episode in May 2008, her voice breaking. “I love doing this show.”

She added, “I’ll close with the same condom quickie that we ended the first show with 174 episodes ago: Sex will be sweeter, if you wrap your peter.



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