I was barely into Westheimer’s introduction when she stopped me. She informed me that the way I said the word “sex” in “sex therapist” left a lot to be desired. “Now, say the word ‘sex’ with more emotion,” Westheimer instructed. “Say that word ‘sex’ as if you really mean it. With some warmth. With some excitement. With some arrrrrrrousal! Start again.” That funny moment was captured by a documentary film crew that was trailing Westheimer and is featured in the finished product for Hulu called “Ask Dr. Ruth.” Among the things you learn about the mother of two and grandmother of four is that she was a sniper in the Haganah in 1948.
Before the novel coronavirus upended our lives, Westheimer and I were supposed to sit in front of a live audience at New York University last week. Instead, I got Westheimer on the phone to catch up and have her answer some serious and thoughtful questions that I solicited via social media. Our conversation is meant for adults and listener discretion is advised. Some queries were general. Two asked if Westheimer had ever changed her mind or viewpoint on past advice. And some questions were rather direct, from whether it is nonsense that “size doesn’t matter” to sexual position advice from someone dealing with rheumatoid arthritis.
Westheimer had advice for what couples should not do in front of children now that we all must stay at home. She had advice for what men and women should do to ease sexual frustration in the time of social distancing. You should know that she is not a fan of polyamorous relationships. “That’s not my cup of tea,” Westheimer said. She believes that there is no such thing as “normal.” “We just do not know what is normal,” Westheimer explained. “Every person deserves respect.”
One subject Westheimer came back to again and again was the mythical G-spot. She never believed that the reputed sexual pleasure area for women really existed, and according to a new report in Cosmopolitan magazine, it does not exist.
“For years I have said, ‘No such thing,’ unless I get scientifically validated data that there is such a thing,” Westheimer crowed in vindication at the start of the latest episode of “Cape Up.” “So, women, stop worrying about it. And all of the men who listen to you know ... that it has nothing to do with being a good lover, because there is no scientifically validated data that there is such a thing.”
In a glorious non-sequitur at the 22-minute mark while talking about what is “normal,” Westheimer said, “I have to go back to that G-spot because it makes me smile.” Later, when championing two-person relationships over threesomes, she declared, “I’m old-fashioned and a square. And look, with the G-spot study, I was right.”
A Facebook friend wanted to know with whom Westheimer would like to be quarantined. She chose Sigmund Freud for a very specific reason.
“I would teach him that he was sexually illiterate. He said nonsense. He said that any woman who needs clitoral stimulation in order to have an orgasm is an immature woman. He did us women a tremendous disservice,” Westheimer said. “So if I need to be with somebody, I want Sigmund Freud here, to give him a good lecture. I will sit him down. I will say, ‘You are brilliant. You are a scientist. I have liked many of what you said, but you also taught some nonsense.’ He taught nonsense about the clitoris.”