Last night Sharon and I went to see Sue Johanson speak at the University of Alberta. She was brought to Edmonton by the Students’ Union as part of their Revolutionary Speakers’ Series. We decided to eat at SUB before the event, to ensure we had plenty of time. It’s a good thing we did, because the line was probably 100 people deep over an hour before it was set to start! I guess we shouldn’t have been that surprised – I’m sure everyone has seen her show at least once!
Sue spent most of the two hours lecturing. Unlike most of the lectures I attended during my time at the U of A however, I wasn’t bored to tears. Quite the opposite in fact – Sue is really funny! She manages to bring all the humor from her show onto the stage. And it wasn’t so much a lecture as a story. Sue essentially told us the story of how we grew up without learning about sex. She’s fond of saying, “there’s so much to learn!”
- She wasn’t afraid to act out the things she was talking about – very entertaining!
- As expected she was very honest about everything. I particularly liked that she admitted that talking to her own kids about sex was incredibly difficult!
- Sue said that most girls are told “nice girls don’t do that” when they are little, and that’s the main reason they don’t learn about sex and their own bodies as well as boys do. She repeated that quote many times as much of what she talked about related more to females than to males.
- Another expression Sue repeated over and over was “but nobody told you that” or “we never told you that”. Really good for dramatic effect! She’s kind of like a motivational speaker in that regard.
- Sue’s favorite sex toy is “the bullet” – she shared a bunch of them and listed the pros and cons of each.
- She talked about fantasizing and said she likes Richard Gere and firemen!
- By popular request, she demonstrated how to use a condom at the end of the event.
She didn’t talk much about homosexuality, only making reference to it once or twice. Though she did save time before the question period to express her concerns about anal sex (not specific to homosexuality of course). She called it “high risk” behavior and encouraged everyone to get properly informed before making a decision. That was the only topic that she got a little preachy about.
Sharon remarked that the talk wasn’t quite what she was expecting. Instead of a lecture, she anticipated something more like Sue’s show on TV (more question and answer). That would indeed have been entertaining, and it would have been good to have more time for questions. Still, I thought Sue did a great job of making everyone laugh while learning.
I thoroughly enjoyed the talk and I’m glad I went. If I could do yesterday over again however, I think I would have stayed home to watch the election results. It was pretty cool when someone yelled out “Obama won!” and the entire Horowitz Theatre erupted into applause and cheers, but I still feel like I missed something (though I was constantly refreshing the NYTimes on my iPod).
At least I’ll never forget where I was – listening to Sue Johanson talk about sex toys!
UPDATE: There’s an article on the event in the latest issue of The Gateway.