Dr. Ruth Westheimer, the iconic sex therapist of the ‘80s and ‘90s, wants to make sure millennials’ sexual relationships are just as successful as their parents’.
Westheimer’s 1980 radio show “Sexually Speaking” and 1995 “Sex for Dummies” advised American teenagers in the ‘80s and ‘90s on everything from losing their virginity to practicing safe sex.
The 90-year-old Westheimer wants to impart this same wisdom to today’s youngsters with a new edition of her best-selling book that will come out later this year.
“I will talk about loneliness, I will talk about the issue of the art of conversation, the issue of sexually transmitted diseases, all of those issues,” Westheimer told Variety during its annual interview studio at the Sundance Film Festival.
Studies by sex, relationship and health experts have revealed that American teenagers and young adults are on average having less sex than previous generations did, as reported by The Atlantic.
The new book is just one of many ways in which Westheimer is continuing her influence on popular culture.
A Hulu documentary that premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival provided a rare glimpse at Westheimer’s life before she became a renowned sex and relationship guru.
Director Ryan White’s “Ask Dr. Ruth” follows Westheimer as she recounts everything from her childhood as a German-Jewish Holocaust survivor and orphan to her sexual awakening during her first marriage.
Along with Westheimer’s own testimony, White told Vanity Fair that he was able to recreate her parents’ voices from the letters they send to her after she was sent to an orphanage in Switzerland to protect her from the Third Reich. Westheimer’s parents were killed in the Holocaust.
“I always wanted her childhood to be a big part of the film, but I didn’t want to use B-roll of train stations and footage from the Holocaust to tell these harrowing tales,” White said.
“I was obsessed with [her] eyes, and making sure the animated version of [her] eyes looked just like the real ones, since I wanted all the animation to be seen through [them].”
The documentary premiered at Sundance on Jan. 25.
Although Westheimer told Vanity Fair that she had typically refused offers to document her life and rise to fame, she said she accepted White’s offer because she saw it as another opportunity to educate young people.
“I wanted to be able to teach young people that the older generation had horrible things happen to them, and that the Nazis kept track of each single person, with their birth date and their death date,” Westheimer said. “One important part of what has happened here [with this documentary] is now, symbolically, I have a grave for my whole family.”