Two Lewd Tuesdays

What is going on with women's talk shows?

On Tuesday, October 2, Whoopi Goldberg told The View's audience that she would like to “do” the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, along with her husband, Paul Pelosi. On Tuesday, September 25, Oprah Winfrey featured a couple who have an open marriage, along with experts that encourage women to have “friends with benefits” and use pornography.

Whoopi's comments stemmed from an exchange earlier in the show in which she needled Barbara Walters about interviewing “her man,” Paul Newman.  The good-natured ribbing quickly descended into dialogue more befitting a locker room: 

Barbara Walters: Talk about older men, ooh!

Whoopi Goldberg:  Let me call him up.

            Walters: You would do him, as they say? 

Goldberg: In a minute!

Sherri Shephard:  Would you talk all night or would you in a minute?

Goldberg:  Uh-uh. There is nothing left to say.

Joy Behar: He's a strong, silent type. He's got that jaw.

Goldberg: I don't want Joanne [Woodward's wife] to think I wouldn't do her. I'd probably do her too. I want to balance it out.

Later, after Speaker Pelosi joined the women's discussion and Walters enthusiastically introduced Pelosi's husband, Walters turned the conversation back to Whoopi “doing” men. 

Walters: Whoopi once said she'd like to do Paul Newman. I think she'd like to do your husband.

Goldberg: As I said about Joanne, I would do her as well.  We should wait on that because you're still in office, I don't want to cause a problem.

This discussion was definitely inappropriate for a daytime, network television program.  Would you want your own parents or grandparents speaking like this?   Or any children who happen to be home sick to hear this accidentally?

Oprah delved into Sex and the City territory when she featured sex expert Dr. Pepper Schwartz and psychiatrist Dr. Gail Saltz on her September 25 show, “237 Reasons to Have Sex.” The show's official topic was our changing attitudes about sex, but in effect the show became an endorsement of promiscuity.

Schwartz advocated “friends with benefits.” She pointed out that this arrangement is not right for everyone and does not “substitute for a deep, loving relationship.” But the only problems Schwartz spoke about were feelings of “jealousy or forced love.” Nothing was stated about the risks of sexually transmitted diseases or the risk to a woman's heart.

Citing a report from the University of Chicago on how people continue to engage in sexual activity into their 60s and beyond, a 60-year-old single woman stated that she is having the best sex of her life. 

Of all the baby boomers out there, Oprah couldn't find a married 60-year-old woman to expound on the joys of marital sex?

And let's not forget pornography.  According to a sex survey from, of the 50 percent of women who say porn has affected their sex lives, 72 percent say the effect has been positive.  Only women who fall into that 72 percent were featured. 

But most shocking of all was the segment that featured Hollie and Gregg, a couple married for more than a decade who practice an open marriage.  Hollie started dating and having sex with a mutual friend after Gregg suggested the idea of an open marriage to her by asking “if she was curious about being with someone else.”  

Apparently not viewing this as what it is – adultery – Gregg said “she just has more love in her life.  It doesn't take anything away from what the two of us have.” 

We all know that sales of anything – books, cars – skyrocket when a product is featured on Oprah.  What are these “endorsements” of casual sex going to reap? 

And The View, in its attempt to be hip and edgy, comes across like a bunch of adolescents who don't know how to behave when company visits.

Colleen Raezler is a research assistant at the Culture and Media Institute, a division of the Media Research Center.