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late night tv was never so good
by erik lars myers (@TopFermented)

It's shameful. It is. But I'll admit it. Every night that I can, I watch Oxygen. Yeah. The Oprah network. Oh!

I can almost feel my manhood slipping away just saying that.

But it's not what you think. It's much, much worse.

Every night, on my television, it's Sunday night. It's The Sunday Night Sex Show. Sue Johanson, "Canada's foremost sexual educator and counsellor, [and] recipient of the distinguished Order of Canada" takes phone calls and answers questions from her callers. The show is Canadian, of course. Do you doubt it? No American production studio would never let this get off the ground without Rhonda Shear co-hosting with Carson Daly playing soft core B-movie clips in between callers.

I happened upon it one night surfing the channels one night after finding that the Daily Show was a rerun. The remote normally doesn't pause very long on Oxygen. It generally has about as much appeal to me as EWTN, but when you're playing that channel-surf game things catch your attention.

"...in just 3 days or yo...test drive a Chevy Sub...in Iraq, this evening we sa...Sagat and America's Funniest Ho...top of the 9th, Sox over the Marlins 26 to...blowjob like that, lick the head...no risk, money back guarantee!"

What? Blowjob like wha? Flip, flip, flip.

And boom. I was hooked. Reruns play every night of the week on Oxygen, and with 13 years of previous seasons to run through I imagine they'll be running for a quite a while. According to both the Oxygen network and Canada's W network websites, it's live on Sunday nights at midnight (eastern time), but according to the show's own website Sue is "at her summer cottage" and won't be recording new shows until the fall.

Fine. I've missed 13 years of this? Awesome. Reruns rock.

It's alternately the most interesting and hilarious television show I've ever watched. Don't get me wrong, it's not Loveline or anything. People don't call in to be humiliated and laughed at by the live studio audience. It's not a bunch of 13-year-old callers who haven't finished reading through Our Bodies, Ourselves. These are people. Real people -- well, okay, Canadians -- asking real questions. Why is it so funny? Because it's the equivalent of watching my grandmother handle dildos and give advice on how to give better oral sex. Why is it interesting? She looks like she should be horribly stodgy, but she's not; she's bright, she's with it, and she's extremely frank. It's bizarre, funny as hell, and absolutely fascinating.

As you might imagine, most of the people that call into the show are women, and while most of them are quite nervous about what they're asking, it's obviously a comfortable forum for them. The calls range from queries about vaginal over-lubrication to questions about the best way to tell a lover that anal sex it too painful. So no wonder it's on Oxygen. (the fact that it's mostly women callers, and hosted by a woman, not the anal sex bit). She does, however, get her share of male callers, many gay, but equally as many straight, who are looking for advice about the curvature of their penis, vasectomies, or even how to better please their lover.

No matter what the question, Johnason is incredible. Stashed behind her desk is a seemingly unending supply of sex toys, contraceptives, and poseable figurines with which to illustrate to her audience just exactly what position she, or her caller is talking about. Believe me, she knows her sex. Hell, from the sounds of it, she might know everybody else's sex.

It's not only answered calls, though. She gives sex toy reviews in which she takes something out of the "Pleasure Chest" and talks about it. From keychain vibrators to the Robosuck 2 to the matching leopard print mask/handcuff set of the Wild Sex Primal Bondage Kit. She gives book reviews -- no, not erotica, they're just books about sex. Some of the titles she's reviewed are, Understanding the G-Spot, Big, Big Love, and Brothers: Lust and Love. It's not about incest. Look it up. Finally, near the end of every episode, in a segment of her program called "FYI Sex" she highlights pertinent news items. For instance, in a recent rerun she spoke about the fact that circumcised males have a lower tolerance for pain, and a higher chance at contracting HIV in risky sexual situations as well as a suite of other benefits and detriments. It's stuff you just won't learn while watching the NBC Evening News. Tom Brokaw wouldn't be able to handle it.

As if this couldn't get any better, some thoughtful soul has come up with a drinking game to go along with it. Take a look at the game, because it'll give you an idea of what the show is like, but chances are you won't understand just how fun and funny this would be unless you've watched it.

So what are you waiting for? Get over it, and turn on Oxygen. You won't regret it.


Writer, beer drinker, brewer. Not necessarily in the order. For more, check Top Fermented and Mystery Brewing Company.

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matt morin
7.16.03 @ 11:47a

Erik, if you feel your manhood slipping away, don't use as much lotion next time.

jael mchenry
7.16.03 @ 12:15p

The drinking game sounds extremely appealing. I like "Whenever Sue refers to the caller or the caller's boyfriend/husband as 'Big Guy,' everybody drinks."

tracey kelley
7.16.03 @ 1:01p

That woman (as I've already explained to Erik) scares me. She is, like, the last person I'd want sexual advice from, you know?

One of us should take her place.

erik myers
7.16.03 @ 6:37p

I think she's hilarious. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that she's so damn unlikely.

michelle von euw
7.17.03 @ 3:54p

Exactly, Erik -- it's like the Dr. Ruth appeal.

Joe is fascinated with that woman -- but she freaks me out. Especially when she uses props. *shudder*

robert melos
7.17.03 @ 10:09p

If people just used common sense in their lives in general, and in their sex lives, ther would be little need for advice.

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