Tina: You're a hard woman to get a hold of! What're you so busy with?
Dr. Ruth: (Laughs her Dr. Ruth laugh) Let me take two hours to answer that! The revised Sex for Dummies book is coming out, plus I just finished two books about grandparents -- one for adults, one for kids. Then there's my Web site, Dr. Ruth.com, and I also contribute to Foreigntv.com as a journalist. I still have my private [sex therapy] practice six hours a week, plus TV appearances, and I do quite a bit of lecturing on college campuses and to other groups. And I always make time to visit my three grandchildren once a week in New York.
T: I need a glass of wine just thinking about all that work! Speaking of which, I hear you're a fan of wine.
DRW: Yes, I like wine! But I don't drink it by myself. I'm a social drinker. I like wine with a nice meal and to relax. My husband loved Portuguese rose -- it came in a beautiful bottle, too. He always loved wine -- he was the one who would buy it.
T: Do you think wine can improve a person's sex life?
DRW: I always tell people that wine is part of a good lovemaking evening and a part of foreplay because it helps you to be in a good mood. But you shouldn't drink too much wine or it will backfire!
T: What're your favorite seduction wines?
DRW: I like Beaujolais Nouveau and gewurztraminer. Or a nice California white wine.
T: What about food?
DRW: I don't think there are any particularly sexy foods -- it's all in people's heads!
T: What's the most important ingredient for having good sex?'
DRW: Knowing each other.
T: I understand you had a great relationship with Manfred, your last husband. Aside from plenty of good wine and sex, what's the secret to a successful marriage?
DRW: The secret is having respect for the other person. You should also develop different hobbies and not demand that your partner share yours.
T: Is that what you tell young people in your college lectures?
DRW: Here's what I tell them: Don't rush into anything. Have a relationship before having sex, and make sure you're protected against unwanted pregnancy and STDs.
T: Having sex in the AIDS era can be pretty scary. Is there any way to just forget about it and have fun?
DRW: There is no such thing. That's why it's so important to know your partner first! You should both be checked out by a doctor before having sex. And never have sex when you've had too much wine, because then you won't care about using protection!
T: So what do you do when you're not lecturing at colleges and writing books?
DRW: I love to ski! I've been doing it my whole life. But now that I'm 71 years old I only ski the blue runs. I don't ski the black diamonds anymore. But you can't drink wine and then ski -- drink it after! Then it's very nice to sit in front of the fireplace in the lodge and have a glass of wine.
T: I'll bet people have some interesting questions for you at the lodge! By the way, what do you do when someone says they need advice for a "friend"? (For example, I know this wine
DRW: When this happens, I smile and I listen. Then I answer the question. It doesn't matter if the question is really for a friend, the important thing is giving the right information.
T: Thank you very much for your time.
Need some advice for your, uh, "friend"? Not to worry: Dr. Ruth's words of wisdom are available in just about any medium that floats your boat.
When it comes to sex, some say Dr. Ruth wrote the book. Actually, she wrote about a jillion. Here's a sampling of what's available:
Sex for Dummies (revised version to be published soon)
Dr. Ruth's Encyclopedia of Sex
Dr. Ruth's Guide for Married Lovers
Dr. Ruth's Guide to Erotic & Sensuous Pleasures
Dr. Ruth's Guide to Good Sex
First Love: A Young People's Guide to Sexual Information
Dr. Ruth's Guide to Safer Sex
The Art of Arousal
Dr. Ruth Talks to Kids: Where You Came From, How Your Body Changes, and What Sex Is All About
Making Love Series (Vol. I)
Dr. Ruth's Encyclopedia of Sex