Dr. Judy, the host of the popular New York-based radio
program Love Phones, stood on stage facing a large crowd of
students who were anxious to talk about sex. Wearing a black suit
with large bright orange shoes that seemed to blend perfectly
with her hair color, she raised the question:
"What is the four-letter word that stands for sex and ends in "k."
Immediately the crowd of students broke into laughter and replied with a four- letter word beginning with "f." While that word may have seemed to be the correct answer, to the surprise of the audience it was not.
"Talk," Dr. Judy bellowed. "Talk," she repeated again as the students began to laugh.
Dr. Judy was at Hopkins on Wednesday as part of the 1996 Milton S. Eisenhower Symposium "Defining Generation X." For almost two hours, she explored the mostly college-age audience's concerns about sex, which suited Dr. Judy's style and philosophy. She emphasized the importance of talking about sex even though the issue is often viewed as taboo or embarrassing and noted that the lack of dialogue about sex creates proliferations of eroticism. People resort to magazines, strip clubs and prostitution.
Dr. Judy has published bestselling books such as Generation Sex and How to Love a Nice Guy and has written countless magazine articles and newspaper columns on the subject of sex. Through her travels Dr. Judy has studied the cultures of sex. She has also taken a creative approach concerning sex.
"Sex should be creative," she said as smiles crawled about the faces of many students. Creativity in sex helps keep love alive in a relationship. Americans are not open about sex. We repress it. But where there is repression there is also a need for expression," she said.
Many have wondered how this native of Kentucky who grew up in a conservative household became a sex therapist.
"People used to think that sex therapists were strange people who swung from trees and did weird things. Some people used to think that I was a whore," Dr. Judy noted.
Judy Kuriansky graduated from Smith College and received her doctorate in clinical psychology at New York University, where she is also an adjunct professor of psychology. She has been elected a fellow of the American Psychological Association and cited as the "best media psychology can offer" by the division of Media Psychology. She has published extensively in journals such as the American Journal of Psychiatry, the American Journal of Aging and Human Development and the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy on a variety of topics including schizophrenia, depression, over-the-counter drug use and sexuality.
Many of the topics she explored, some enhanced visually, concerned AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases and anything related to love, relationships and sex. But when audience members had their chance to talk to Dr. Judy, they posed some intimate questions and expressed their own concerns about sex and their own sexuality. She read questions from numerous index cards and asked the audience to respond. Many students were vocal and honest about their feelings. Many of the questions ranged from masturbation, sexuality and self-worth to relationships and the meaning of sex.
"What do men want from sex? What do women want from sex?" she asked as she walked around like a talk show host, placing students on the spot by picking them at random to respond. Many of the responses included touch, time and trust--some of the most key elements of relationships. She also pointed out that men have the same fears, anxieties and questions as women. Therefore expressing sexuality is a mutual thing that both sexes need to explore in order to take part in a healthy developmental cycle.
Dr. Judy said that the same myths, questions and problems surrounding sex for Generation X existed for Baby Boomers. She said that in her day, sex was a more expressive thing, and she gave examples of orgies and sex as a practiced ritual. However, today there are so many diseases, fears and anxieties about sex. Throughout, she reiterated that communication is the most beneficial sexual activity in terms of understanding ourselves, our sexuality and the most natural part of life--sex.
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