The high point had to be Dr. Joycelyn Elders — former Surgeon General of the United States under Clinton, 1993-1994. She was born in 1933, making her a vibrant 78 now.
I met her shortly before my “Senior Sex Out Loud” speech. Dr. Elders exited the elevator and sat down across from me, where I was making last minute changes to my notes for my talk that was about to happen. I introduced myself to her and told her about my upcoming speech.
“That sounds very interesting,” she said. “I think I’ll follow you to the room.” I don’t usually get stage fright — I love interacting with audiences! — but I admit my hands shook and my toes tingled at the thought of Dr. Elders — a role model for talking out loud about sex with a “bring it on!” approach to controversy! — would be in my audience. (Read about my speech here.)
Dr. Elders, if you remember, was fired for advocating that schools teach children about masturbation in answer to a reporter’s question.
Later that afternoon, Dr. Elders was part of the closing plenary. I wish you could have been there! Some of her memorable quotes:
- “80% of men masturbate. 70% of women masturbate. And the rest lie.”
- “95% of Americans didn’t wait until marriage. We need to teach them to be responsible, rather than telling them, ‘Don’t have sex.’”
- “The best contraceptive in the world is a good education.”
- “The vows of abstinence break far more easily than latex condoms!”
- [about sex-positive activism:] “When you’re dancing with a bear, you can’t get tired and sit down.”
- “We’re sexual beings from the day we’re born until the day we die.”
- “If you think babies aren’t sexual beings, you’ve never changed a baby boy’s diaper.”
- “When I am 95 I will still be a sexual person.”
Although her speech at Momentum was not recorded, this video of a speech she gave in 2006 is similar and will show you her intelligence and sassy style.