Friday, December 05, 2008

Sol Gordon, Rest in Peace

My colleague and friend Sol Gordon died this week in his eighties.

You may never have heard of him, but to my generation of sex educators, he was an early pioneer and an inspiration. At the top of his career, he was giving hundreds of speeches around the country each year.

He was bigger than life when he spoke. He had a big booming voice, and he used humor in a way that was theatrical. He originated the phrase "askable parent" and he initiated the work that group into Family Sexuality Education Week.

He had the best one liners of any one in sexuality education. I use his quotes regularly. Here's a sample: "there's something wrong with a culture that teaches sex is dirty, save it for someone you love."

"How much is too much [about masturbation]? Once is enough if you don't like it, otherwise there's no such thing unless it's interfering with school, work, family dinners, and so on."

"When your spouse says "I have a headache", instead of brooding, get him/her an aspirin."

"Mature love is invigorating. Immature love is exhausting"

and so on....

When I was a teenager, Sol's book YOU and his comic books reassured me. As a young professional, he inspired me. As the Executive Director of SIECUS, he often wrote me notes, some encouraging and complimentary, others with suggestions for what we could be doing better.

His was a life well lived...and his legacy will live on in all who read his books, who he trained, and who laughed with him.

Rest in peace, Sol.


Kay & Sarah said...

I am sorry to learn of Sol Gordon's death. I worked in Title X clinics and learned of him through that work. I heard him speak a couple of times and he was fantastic!! His work will live on.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this tribute. I'm going to miss Sol.

Rachael said...

Thank you so much for this tribute to Sol. He saved my life when I read his book "When living hurts". How it was bought for a library in country Australia I'll never know. I did not know he had died, but I was just speaking about him today to someone from upstate New York and wanted to send them an internet link. One google search later... Thank you.