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Harvard EdCast: Dr. Ruth Talks Sex and Ed

Dr. Ruth Westheimer reflects on the importance of sex education, her long career as a "psychosexual therapist," and her philosophy of life revolving around turtles.

Dr. Ruth

What is the key to successful interpersonal relationships? The answer to that is clear, says famed therapist and sex educator Dr. Ruth Westheimer.

"Respect is not debatable," she says. And, that respect needs to extend into every aspect of a relationship, including sex, something that Westheimer does not take lightly. Everyone should strive to be sexually literate and be taught to constantly nourish their relationships, both sexually and otherwise, she says. Westheimer is concerned, however, about some young people's focus on casual sex.

"I do believe in the importance of relationships," she says. "I don’t believe in hooking up; I don’t believe in one-night stands.”

Sex education is vital from a young age, Westheimer says, especially with children beginning puberty earlier than ever before. "It is very important to have sex education in every school, in every synagogue, in every church,” she says, so that no children are surprised or scared by what is happening to their bodies.

In this edition of the Harvard EdCast, the Westheimer reflects on the importance of sex education, her long career as a "psychosexual therapist," and her philosophy of life revolving around turtles.

About the Harvard EdCast

The Harvard EdCast is a weekly series of podcasts, available on the Harvard University iTunes U page, that features a 15-20 minute conversation with thought leaders in the field of education from across the country and around the world. Hosted by Matt Weber and co-produced by Jill Anderson, the Harvard EdCast is a space for educational discourse and openness, focusing on the myriad issues and current events related to the field.