Sound Advice

The Doctor Is in, Baby

The Doctor Is in, Baby
Credit: "Whispered Instruction," Suzuki Harunobu, ca. 1766

Explicit content: Please note that many of these links and videos are not safe for work, minors, and those with delicate moral constitutions.

My dad is an OB/GYN, and when I was growing up, this meant all my friends thought I must therefore have some secret insider knowledge about human coitus. While it’s true I knew the birds and the bees by age two, I didn’t lose my training wheels any sooner than anyone else I knew—which seems to me makes a pretty damned good argument for early, comprehensive sex ed.

But I digress. The simple fact is, I hate being asked questions I can’t answer. It’s maybe the thing I hate most in the world, besides spiders and dental pain. So, like every would-be know-it-all, I had to educate myself. My dad’s medical journals only got me so far, and I wasn’t brave and/or stupid enough to try to download porn onto the family computer at 14.4 kilobytes per minute.

Dr. Ruth

True fact: Dr. Ruth was trained as a sniper in the Israeli army and was wounded in the 1948 Israeli war for independence. Whatever your politics may be, you have to agree that she packs as much badassery into her four feet, seven inches as a Navy Seal.

Despite that badassery—or perhaps because of it—Dr. Ruth is basically the Dear Abby of sex advice, in that the problems she addresses are common ones: premature ejaculation, low libido, teen sex.

And thank your stars for that. As long as shows like I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant exist, so, then, does the need for Dr. Ruth.

Dan Savage

It Gets Better co-founder Dan Savage’s sex advice column has been a staple of alternative weeklies for two decades, and the subject matter is accordingly exotic. Savage specializes in quirky questions of minute specificity. If Dr. Ruth is the world’s leading expert in Sex 101, Savage Love is an upper-class colloquium of kink.

Behind the titillating content, there’s something decidedly old-fashioned and romantic at the heart of Savage’s advice: Be responsible, be safe, communicate, respect the humanity of whoever you’re with, and respect yourself. This guy should run for Congress.

Oh, and santorum. Santorum, santorum, santorum.

Sue Johansen

I discovered Sue Johansen’s Talk Sex show by accident when I couldn’t fall asleep one Sunday night. I was mesmerized by this unflappable Canadian grandmother reviewing cock rings and discussing transvestites with the kind of pleasant, unembarrassed efficiency you usually find in the old ladies who fit bras at Nordstrom.

Alas, I got rid of cable before I got to see the sixth season, when Sue introduced the Position of the Week and Dr. Keith.


TMN Editor Liz Entman (they/them) has lived in St. Louis, New York, and Nashville. She sweats the small stuff, like hyphens and commas, and has a day job, but won’t bore you with the details. More by Liz Entman

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