Dr. Ruth Westheimer is out promoting her latest book, “The Doctor Is In: Dr. Ruth on Love, Life, and Joie de Vivre, ” as she celebrates her 87th birthday.
Everyone loves Dr. Ruth, don’t they. The feisty, tiny, Holocaust refugee who served in the Israeli army during Israel’s war of independence made a name for herself by breaking taboos when it comes to talking about sex. Perhaps her size and accent — which make her so cute and lovable — helped to make its easier for the elderly woman to be accepted when she talked to audiences about sex.
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Or maybe it is because Dr. Ruth is fearless and does not mind being shocking. As she said in a recent radio interview, “I know it’s controversial, but for your program, I’m going to stand up and be counted and, like I do in the book, be very honest. I am very worried about college campuses saying that a woman and a man or two men or two women, but I talk right now about woman and man, can be in bed together, Diane, and at one time, naked, and at one time, he or she — most of the time they think she can say, I changed my mind. No such thing is possible.”
For some reason, though, there are some people who do not like Dr. Ruth. Religious fundamentalists, like ultra-orthodox Jews for example. The latter are embarrassed by her and, of course, never like seeing a strong women speak out about sex.
But Dr. Ruth has never been in favor of sexual promiscuity. As she told New York Magazine, “I’m old-fashioned, I’m a square, I want people to have a good relationship and good sex. And I’m worried about people going to bed drunk, or high, or something. And I do believe that we are going to see more unintended pregnancies because they are not preparing. And more sexually transmitted diseases.
“I think it’s because of that law. The Title IX, that gives money to universities. I wish I had been on that committee because I would have spoken up by saying that I don’t believe that people should be in bed naked without having a relationship and without having an understanding of what is going to happen.”
Her new book talks about sex in the Jewish tradition. “Jews are “known” for not having sex. That’s a myth put out there by Jewish comedians who have discovered that they can get an easy laugh by complaining that their wives always seems to get headaches when the subject of sex is brought up. But the Jewish religion is very specific about the importance of sex. Not only is it a religious duty for a husband and wife to engage in sexual relations, but he must make sure that she is pleased—that is to say, has an orgasm. I wrote a whole book on this subject, “Heavenly Sex: Sex in the Jewish Tradition” (with Jonathan Mark of Jewish Week), so I’m not going to repeat myself here.”