Updated: Jun 4
Dr. Ruth Westheimer is the world's most famous sex therapist - although she only began on that part of her career when she hit her 50s
She's also a Holocaust survivor, a trained sniper and a grandmother
Since emigrating to the United States in 1956, she has lived in the same apartment
Here at PSYN Inc. we’re wishing an epic ‘Happy Birthday!’ to the legend, the queen, the rulebreaker, the airwaves rocker, the incomparable: Dr. Ruth.
The renowned sex therapist, author and media personality turns 95 today - proving good sex truly is the fountain of youth.
In the 1980s, Dr. Ruth Westheimer burst onto the scene with her radio show, "Sexually Speaking," where she fearlessly tackled taboo topics and provided expert advice with warmth and humor. Her straight-talking approach, combined with her petite stature and distinct accent, made her instantly recognizable and adored by audiences.
Beyond her radio show, Dr. Ruth has authored numerous books. Go ahead and order a copy for your next beach read here.
The queen’s resume starts at Planned Parenthood. Back in the swinging 1960s, Ruth found herself in a rather eye-opening position at Planned Parenthood in Harlem, New York City. Initially taken aback by the unfiltered discussions about the birds and the bees, she quickly embraced the opportunity. By 1967, she rose to the prestigious role of project director, all while hustling towards her doctorate degree in family and sex counseling through evening classes at Columbia University. Talk about multitasking!
In the early 1970s, Dr. Ruth’s expertise landed her an associate professorship of sex counseling at Lehman College in the Bronx. But, oh boy, life threw her a curveball when she made the jump to Brooklyn College and found herself promptly handed a pink slip. Ouch! She felt the sting of rejection and the weight of despair, likening it to the time she got the boot from Germany. It left her feeling angry, helpless, and rejected—a tough pill to swallow.
But don't you worry, dear reader, because fate had a twist in store for our beloved sex guru. Picture this: She steps up to the podium and delivers an electrifying lecture to New York broadcasters, championing the urgent need for sex education programming. Her words hit home, particularly with Betty Elam, the fabulous community affairs manager of New York radio station WYNY-FM. Betty was so blown away by this 4’7” lady’s knowledge and charisma that she did something incredible—she offered Ruth a gig hosting a weekly show called "Sexually Speaking" for a cool 25 bucks per week. That's right, Ruth's voice was about to rock the airwaves!
Back in 2019, the founder of PSYN Inc. had lunch with Mitch Lebe, a New York City radio legend who was on the scene at WYNY-FM when Dr. Ruth first took her seat in front of a radio mic. He said preparing for her segments was like nothing else, as every interview question he came up with seemed painfully intimate and personal. But all that nervousness melted away once he got in front of Ruth. Flash forward years later, and Mitch was standing next to his old colleague at the Radio Hall of Fame for her induction. Talk about a solid work bestie.
During the course of her decade-long radio show extravaganza, Dr. Ruth's magnetic personality and unabashed approach won her a devout following. She became the go-to guru for women's rights champions and members of the LGBTQ community. Why? Because this feisty lady fearlessly dished out advice on everything—from unlocking the mysteries of the female orgasm and embracing self-love through masturbation to navigating the world of contraception and tackling the complexities of abortion. Dr. Ruth was the queen of sex education, and her captivating show left listeners craving more each and every Sunday. It was the perfect remedy for the late-night curiosity that kept us awake (and entertained!) past our bedtimes.
Now, at 95, our Sister Wendy of Sexuality has become more than just a cultural icon. She’s a grandmother, a trained sniper, a Holocaust survivor, and an all-around role model for how to live life to the fullest.
So raise a glass to our Grandma Freud – we’ll be sure to blow more than just candles today, in your honor.