C.W. Post College: Brookville, NY
Newsday, October 1993
The Sexologist: Sari Locker may be the MTV Generation's Dr. Ruth
A Sexpert Engages A New Generation
NOT ONLY is Sari Locker's sex class good entertainment, it's good for you. You learn things. Important things.
About safe sex and birth control. Love and lust and love at first sight. Food and sex. AIDS and herpes. Great sex, no sex.
And there's the way Locker uses a top-heavy Barbie doll prop to explode the fantasy of the perfect body ("Maybe she's to blame for women's insecurities," says the teacher, seriously), and the part when she rolls the red condom over the green banana in a detailed, 10-step, possibly life-saving, procedure:
"Leave a quarter-inch receptacle on the end," Locker notes matter-of-factly. "Squeeze out all the air. Don't use fingernails as you roll it down. After ejaculation, throw it away. Wash your hands."
Has she got your attention, class?
At the head of the class in the stuffy Humanities Hall lounge at the C.W. Post campus in Brookville - where more than 40 honors students were assembled last week to hear her lecture, called "Sex Is on Everybody's Mind" - Locker, who holds a master's degree in sex education from the University of Pennsylvania and hosts a weekly radio show, is becoming a one-woman repository and expository on human sexuality. She's even done the condom demo on "Geraldo."
Locker is only 23, and she blows away the image of sex educator as a frumpy tutor more interested in her own opinions and sexual politics than those of the pupils. "The political issues are campus sex, feminism, being gay, but we're not here to talk politics," she said at the start. "We're talking about how to do it, with whom, when and why."
Locker is pragmatic but not pontifical, sometimes romantic, ostensibly shock-proof (when it comes to discussions of sex, at least) and quite taken with herself. She's a younger version of Dr. Ruth and the other popular sex "doctors," and she's aimed herself directly at the audience that she says needs her the most: teens and 20-somethings.
"I come across as a peer figure, and a lot of people trust me enough to listen to me," Locker said after class. She was sitting cross-legged on a couch, dressed in a red suit, her high-heeled shoes tucked beneath her.
During the 90-minute one-time workshop at the Long Island University campus, she prodded her class - a mix of young men and women - to talk, or at least think, about sex as a real, tantalizing, sometimes intimidating, sometimes dangerous fact of life. She was explicit about safe sex: "Put condoms where you'll need them. In the soap dish in the shower. Or in the chandelier." And expressive, in response to a question from a woman about orgasms: "It's like being at the top of the mountain and sliding down; it's like that second just before you sneeze. If you haven't had one, you can and you will and you'll know." She suggested that mates stand naked next to each other in front of a mirror, and count off what they like about their own bodies, and what they don't - Locker's version of show and tell.
PHILOSOPHY professor Arthur Lothstein invited Locker to address his honors students after hearing her on radio and television. "She's not stuck up, she seems to have a good rapport with her audience," he said. Lothstein, the 40-ish hippie misfit of the class with his shoulder-length hair, looked uneasy during some of the lecture. "You can be too self-conscious, ending up watching yourself watching yourself," he said afterward. "But the important questions are about AIDS, diseases, pregnancies."
Without a publicist to sell her, Locker has sold herself, networking among her fellow professionals, heavy-hitting the talk-show rounds in the past year, from Joan to Sally to Maury to Montel, and hosting a weekly call-in show on WBAI. She admittedly uses the media to promote her messages. "I grew up with MTV," she said. "The culture pays more attention to what happened on Oprah than on the evening news."
Locker, who grew up in upstate New York, Florida and East Hampton, had planned to study the sexual habits of animals (which, in fact, she does). "Roger Caras was my role model," she said. But during a psychology of adolescence course at Cornell University, she chose people over primates.
Sexology, apparently, is her calling. "When I was eleven, I'd listen to Ruth Westheimer's talk shows on the radio," Locker said. "I used to listen to the question and then turn down the radio and see if I could figure out the answer. I was always right."
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