Thursday, June 4, 2009

Happy Birthday, Dr. Ruth!

Today is the 81st birthday of Dr. Ruth Westheimer, one of the preeminent sexperts of our grandparent's generation. Her life story is also rather interesting -- she was the only survivor of a German Jewish family killed in the Holocaust, was wounded in action during the war for Israeli independence, became a psyciatrist in the 1950s and finally a sexpert thanks to a late night radio show she began hosting in the 1970s.

Dr. Ruth doesn't get a lot of love from the sex-positive community these days. Although she is probably as responsible as anyone for promoting the idea that sex is healthy and spreading correct sexual information in her radio shows and books, I've always found her to be slightly biased against sex that doesn't happen in long-term monogamous relationships. Still, everyone's entitled to an opinion. While I might prefer Dan Savage or Susie Bright or Betty Dodson, it's inexcusable that this is the first time I've ever written about her here. I'll remedy that in the relatively near future by reviewing one or two of her books. For today I'll just say, Happy Birthday!


  1. So glad you posted this, as it's very true that she has done as much as any of the people you mentioned - and more importantly, she was one of the first!

    Also, I think that "sex-positivity" has nothing to do with HOW you have sex. It's simply the idea that exploring your sexuality is good for you. So a bias for or against any relationship type is irrelevant. The important thing is to promote the idea that exploring what you enjoy is OK. And she's certainly always done that.