Sue Johanson, the Canadian sex expert who hosted radio and TV advice shows in her home country and the U.S., died Thursday, a rep for Johanson confirmed to CBC. She was 93.

Starting in 1984, Johanson started fielding questions about sexuality on a Toronto radio call-in program called Sunday Night Sex Show; the show moved to TV in 1996 and ran until 2005. From 2002 to 2008, she hosted a U.S. TV program called Talk Sex With Sue Johanson on Oxygen. The show would regularly receive 80,000 to 100,000 calls a night, according to a 2004 New York Times article, from befuddled and frustrated men and women wanting to know if condoms froze and if women should achieve orgasm every time they had sex. She would answer between 12 and 20 on air. “Hey, I got to be honest with you: Most guys won’t last 15 minutes,” she told one caller. “Sorry!”

Johanson handled each question with respect and, occasionally, humor that was never judgmental. Like Dr. Ruth, her relatability and status as an openminded elder made her a hit on the talk-show circuit, where she was a guest of both David Letterman and Conan O’Brien. Saturday Night Live once even spoofed her.

The sexpert’s path to fame was unusual, though. Johanson was working as a registered nurse when a friend of one of her two daughters confided in Johanson that she thought she was pregnant. The nurse helped her and eventually opened a birth control clinic in her daughter’s high school in 1970. She ran it for the next 18 years. She pursued graduate courses in human sexuality and counseling but never earned another degree. During this time, she launched the radio show, hosted a public-access cable show, and eventually, the country’s W network brought The Sunday Night Sex Show to a national audience. She also gave lectures on sexuality three or more times a week in the mid-2000s at schools and colleges, according to the Times.

“It didn’t matter who you were, what your sexual preference was, how you identified, what you might be dealing with in terms of the time of AIDS — like, she embraced everybody and who they were,” her daughter Jane Johanson told the CBC. “And that just … made me so proud.”


Johanson was given the Order of Canada in 2001. The Times describes it as the country’s highest lifetime achievement award.

”I regard sex as a gift from God,” she told the Times in 2004. ”We’re the only ones that really are able to enjoy sex, so we have an obligation to learn about it and enjoy it.”