LOS ANGELES — Hundreds surrounded the Sexual Health Expo’s speakers’ stage, sitting and standing in the aisles of the show floor, to hear the iconic Dr. Ruth Westheimer deliver the keynote speech on Saturday afternoon.
Sexpert Reid Mihalko introduced Westheimer with a personal memory. “When I was eight years old, I’d listen to the Dr. Ruth show late at night from my little bed in Boston where I learned things you could do with cucumbers that I did not know. It’s my pleasure to introduce someone who needs no introduction, Dr. Ruth.”
The crowd welcomed Westheimer with a resounding “The doctor is in!” and loud applause.
“I see Reid has already learned one lesson from the Jewish tradition — a lesson taught with humor is a lesson retained, so you are already in,” she joked, before delivering her signature style of sex education.
“The more you know about sex, the better you can protect yourself,” she said. “The more you know about sex, the more pleasure you can have. My advice is to keep learning because with being more sexually literate, the rewards are plenty.”
Westheimer encouraged attendees to take control of their sex education in order to resolve sexual difficulties. “Nowadays, we see less men with pre-mature ejaculation issues. It’s a learning process. Any man that ejaculates prematurely can read books or visit a sex therapist and with just a few lessons can learn to last longer. There are less women that can’t reach orgasms today thanks to the message from all of these sex educators.”
She also encouraged women to be more courageous in getting what they want in their sex life. “In the Victorian ages, women that wanted attention would throw her handkerchief, the man would pick it up or leave it on the floor. My message to all of you is that it is okay for women to initiate, to tell a guy what you want.”
Prefacing a lot of her statements with the disclaimer of being “old-fashioned and a square,” 88-year-old Westheimer told the crowd that she’s an advocate of monogamous relationships (“To me sex belongs within the confines of relationships”), and questioned the existence of the G-Spot (“We just don’t have enough data to know that there is such a thing. There are some women who have no sensitivity in the vagina in this certain spot.”)
Westheimer shared her thoughts on the negative effects of technology.
“Relationships are changing because of technology,” she said. “Instead of staring into each other’s eyes, people are staring at their smart phones. To me that’s not smart — that’s dumb. It’s important to connect your minds before you connect your bodies in a satisfying way, but all these electronic distractions are making that impossible.”
Technology also has made porn more accessible than ever, which could create unrealistic expectations for young men and women. Westheimer said, “Everyone over the age of 12 has watched it. It’s ironic that young men that watch movies starring men that fly through the sky but wouldn’t jump off the building are the same men that believe that what they see in porn films is even close to reality.”
With more than 80,000 followers on Twitter, the old-school octogenarian sexpert did acknowledge the sex-ed benefits of social media, telling the crowd that it has been successful in spreading information.
“I congratulate all of you for coming to a fair like this to learn about sex,” Westheimer said before going into the Q&A portion of her talk. With questions about threesomes, pegging, the Sybian and more, Westheimer made the audience laugh with her responses. “What’s that?” she’d say, summoning Mihalko for explanations.
“Anything that you consent to is fine with me,” Westheimer said.
Her final advice: “My No. 1 sex tip is for all of you to walk out of here knowing that sex is not between the knees, it is in the brain. Secondly I want everyone to know the importance of touch even if it doesn’t lead to sexual experience.”