Known for her late night sex show Sexually Speaking, frank yet respectful psychosexual therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer visited Hunter College at the Brookdale Campus late Tuesday, October 23 to speak to a large enraptured crowd.
Many came to hear her speak and to ask questions — so many that audience members sat clustered on the cafeteria floor and even stood for the entire hour long duration of the talk. “It was so packed that some kids had to sit on the floor in the front. It reminded me of kindergarten, except sexually explicit,” said Gabriela Geselowitz, a Macaulay senior.
“It was the best attend[ed] Director’s Dessert. The room was packed and the goodies from Magnolia ran out rather quickly.” said Cynthia Perez Beltethon, a Macaulay junior.
Dr. Ruth began the event speaking briefly about her life story. Born in 1928 in Germany, she lived her early childhood in Switzerland to escape the Holocaust, to which both her parents were lost. After joining the Haganah and getting injured by a bomb blast, she studied at the Sorbonne in Paris, and later in the U.S, where she obtained her Master’s in Sociology.
Students, while starstruck, still felt comfortable asking her questions during and after the event. Some questions Dr. Ruth fielded from the crowd ranged from whether or not women should shave their pubic hair (only if they are comfortable with it, not because their partner asks them to), what she thought about pornography (sexually explicit content is only pornography if it is extremely violent or includes children, otherwise, it can be a useful tool for couples or singles), to whether asexual people truly exist (no, just people who have not had sex yet or for a while).
Beltethon noticed how Dr. Ruth “spoke about how there was more casual sex, which she disagreed with my stating that she believes that there should be sex within a relationship.”
Whenever advice was sought, questions were normally phrased as “‘I have a friend who…’ so that nobody felt uncomfortable. There were a lot of laughs,” said Christina Morales.
After the talk, Beltethon spoke to Dr. Ruth briefly. “I simply said that I wanted to go in her line of work and she responded with advice to get a PhD in clinical psychology first and then to specialize and ended with a good luck…this event just confirmed everything I am to expect if I become a therapist with a specialization in sexual issues.”
Geselowitz also approached Dr. Ruth after her talk. “It was so exciting that we got to hear Dr. Ruth speak; she’s probably the only sex therapist I’d be able to tell my parents I met. I went up to meet her afterwards, and within 30 seconds we discovered an acquaintance in common — that’s Jewish geography,” Geselowitz noted.
“Dr. Ruth pretty much laid down the law. She explained why she does what she does, how it happened, and how we’ve evolved as a society since we started. She was both witty and adorable, like a Jewish grandmother, which she is! Answering questions might have been the best part — Hunter kids ask smart questions, and she’s fearless,” said Geselowitz.
Other students agreed. “Here’s this 4 foot 7 woman, roughly the age of like, grandparents, talking candidly about ejaculation and orgasms and stuff,” Morales said.
Overall, this night of candid conversation was much welcomed — and perhaps much needed — for Hunter students of all ages.