As host of Sunday Night Sex Show in Canada and Talk Sex With Sue Johanson in the U.S., she took questions “about straight sex, gay sex, masturbation and all manner of fetishes, fantasies and fears,” the Times notes.
Before becoming famous for her sex advice, Johanson, who was a registered nurse, ran a birth control clinic in a public high school in Canada. She opened it in 1970 in response to the pregnancy of a teenage friend of her eldest daughter; the friend had an abortion, a procedure then was then “mostly illegal” in the nation, according to the Times.
“Kids get involved with sex without their parents’ consent, and therefore they should be able to get contraceptives without their consent,” Johanson said in a 1983 interview.
She had a radio show for several years, then moved into television in 1996, when Sunday Night Sex Show premiered in Canada. The U.S. version, Talk Sex With Sue Johanson, debuted on the Oxygen network in 2002. The Canadian show ran until 2005, the American one until 2008. By then, most sex questions could be answered through an internet search.
But while her shows lasted, Johanson gave witty and sage answers to all manner of questions, such as if frozen condoms could still be used (once they’re thawed, yes), and offered reviews of sex toys that had been tested by her staff. She also told her audience how to create their own low-cost vibrators and other sex aids from everyday materials.
She often appeared on TV talk shows; she was a guest of Ellen DeGeneres, David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, and Jay Leno. She was the subject of a documentary, Sex With Sue, directed by Lisa Rideout and released in 2022.
She authored three books, Sex, Sex and More Sex, Sex Is Perfectly Natural but Not Naturally Perfect, and Talk Sex: Answers to Questions You Can’t Ask Your Parents, as well as a magazine column. She was particularly interested in reaching young people and was an advocate for condom use, often saying, “Sex will be sweeter if you wrap your peter.”
Her work brought her the Order of Canada award, the nation’s top honor, in 2000.
Survivors include two daughters, two grandchildren, and a great-grandchild. Her husband, Ejnor Karl Johanson, and a son preceded her in death.
“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.”