The New York Times – “I still will talk about orgasms,” Dr. Ruth Westheimer said during a conversation over the summer. “I still will talk about sexual dysfunction. But I have done that.”
She had recently turned 95, and after a long and spirited career as America’s most famous and least likely sex counselor, she was driven by a new challenge.
“So now I am going to say, let’s go and see how we can help people who don’t have a sexual problem,” she said. “I don’t want to be known only as a sex therapist. I want to be known as a therapist.”
For Dr. Westheimer, this has meant turning her attention to what she views as the biggest need right now — the epidemic of loneliness in the United States. Her new goal: to become the Loneliness Ambassador for New York State.
When she began her quest sometime last year, no such position existed. So she enlisted the help of a state senator and began petitioning Gov. Kathy Hochul to create the role.
Directly lobbying the governor for a job is generally not how Albany works. But Dr. Westheimer, not known for her patience, can be tenacious and is rather persuasive.
And so on Wednesday afternoon, following a query from The New York Times about the likelihood that such a position was even being considered for her administration, Governor Hochul called Dr. Westheimer and offered her the job.
“Dr. Ruth Westheimer has offered her services to help older adults and all New Yorkers cope with the loneliness epidemic,” the governor said in a statement sent after the meeting, “and I will be appointing her to serve as the nation’s first state-level honorary Ambassador to Loneliness.”
For Dr. Westheimer, it was welcome news.
“Hallelujah!” she said in a text sent directly after speaking with Governor Hochul …