Dr. Ruth Doesn't Want You to Bone Everyone You See Post-Covid

Illustration for article titled Dr. Ruth Doesn't Want You to Bone Everyone You See Post-Covid
Image: Dia Dipasupil (Getty Images)

Legendary sex therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer wants to make one thing clear: Just because you haven’t fucked anyone in the last year doesn’t mean you should sleep around after you’ve been vaccinated.


In an interview with The Atlantic’s Emma Green, the 93-year-old dished about the benefits of being a social butterfly, post-pandemic sex, and how her hardships as a Holocaust orphan have prepared her for covid-19. But despite Dr. Ruth’s reputation as the only grandma you’d feel comfortable talking to about dildos, she certainly came across a little more old-school than one may have expected.

At one point, Green mentioned pandemic loneliness, and the despair many have felt as covid-19 abruptly ended our sense of normality. Dr. Ruth seemed to regard this as indulgent navel-gazing.

“I will say, if you feel despair, and if it’s serious, go and see a psychiatrist,” Ruth said. “Don’t sit there and suffer by yourself.”

It’s a good thing Dr. Ruth hasn’t dipped a toe into any covid-19 Twitter discourse with a take like that. She would also likely get yelled at for what followed:

Dr. Ruth: What I say is, a few more months, people are not going to talk about the epidemic anymore.

Green: You think?

Dr. Ruth: Yes.

Green: Really?

Dr. Ruth: Yes.

Green: You think we’re just going to move on and leave it behind?

Dr. Ruth: Absolutely. And that’s what I’ve subscribed to.

Green: Why do you think that’s better?

Dr. Ruth: Because I think that that’s what happens. And that’s from my experience as an orphan of the Holocaust. If I hadn’t had the inner strength to keep on and go on, I wouldn’t be Dr. Ruth. So I don’t want to dwell on it. I want to say, “Terrible time!” Luckily, look how wonderful: Last night I was at a restaurant. Every table was taken.

In other words, she’s fuckin’ over it. While Dr. Ruth’s experiences have certainly hardened her to chaos and strife, everyone is different. Moving on might be easy for the majority of people who have, at most, been mildly inconvenienced by the pandemic, that won’t be very easy for those who have lost loved ones during the pandemic.

But let’s focus on the thing Dr. Ruth is actually known for: Sex. Dr. Ruth.

“...I say to everybody: I hope that right now, after the epidemic, that you go out, and that you find a partner,” Dr. Ruth said. “I hope that right now people should be optimistic again. Definitely single people should say, ‘Okay, the time has come for me to find myself a partner.’”


Okay, so Dr. Ruth wants everyone on Tinder, Grindr, Match, Bumble, BlackPeopleMeet, FarmersOnly, whatever the hell you use to meet potential hookups or lovers.

Wait, scratch that, Dr. Ruth wants you to zip your pants back up, actually.

Green: You know, I saw this chewing-gum commercial recently that made me think of you. It showed all of these people waking up after the pandemic and emerging from their homes. Everyone starts making out—in the lawn and in the pond and in the park.

Dr. Ruth: I didn’t see that.

Green: Do you think it’s good for people to go out and start, you know, getting together?

Dr. Ruth: No; I tell you why. I do not want people to have indiscriminate sexual relations. I don’t want to see a rise in AIDS! I have spent so much time of my life worrying about unintended pregnancies and about sexually transmitted diseases. So my advice is: Yes, go out, try to find a partner. But don’t hop into bed just because you didn’t have sex for a year and a half.

That would be a big mistake. Put an exclamation mark next to mistake!

Damn, okay!

Can we get her take on the Taika Waititi-Rita Ora-Tessa Thompson throuple though?

Staff writer, mint chocolate hater.



I mean, I don’t think her advice about feeling despairing is bad! You deserve to talk to a professional and not suffer in silence! I know that not everyone can find a counselor in ten seconds but she’s not saying “sack up and pretend everything’s fine.”

Of course, her next statements about how people will forget seem to contradict that, but she’s talking about society as a whole, and...she’s not wrong. It’s nearly impossible, once a crisis is past or even seeming to be managed, to get people to focus on the implications of that crisis. It’s not like everybody got Men In Black mind wiped but the power of routine and the structures we surround ourselves with are very, very strong, and one of their functions is to numb us and normalize even the most extreme events so that literally everything doesn’t collapse into ruins and dust. I for one am not going to tell a Holocaust survivor how to deal—while I think going “everybody’s in a restaurant, yay, life is normal!” isn’t the best take, at all, I get how she’s organized her mental health around that strategy.

And while I’m all for consensual, enthusiastic boning, WEAR CONDOMS. She is absolutely correct that STDs didn’t take a break.