WASHINGTON — The pioneer of media sex therapists, Dr Ruth Westheimer, has teamed up with the city of Washington to promote a 28-day romance stimulus plan for the US capital.
“The word stimulus is a dream. It has something arousing,” Westheimer, who is better known under as Dr Ruth, said at a press conference to announce the partnership.
Dr Ruth will serve as honorary US Secretary of Love and Relations during the month of February — the month of Valentine’s Day — with the brief to “jump-start the District’s love economy.”
Around 16 million tourists, including 1.5 million from abroad, visit Washington every year — but few head to the US capital for a romantic get-away.
In fact, Washington ranked second to last out of 30 US cities that visitors think of as romantic destinations, according to an annual poll to find America’s favorite cities.
Throughout February, Washington will put a new, lovey-dovey spin on its monuments, museums and restaurants.
Couples are being offered 20 percent off the entrance fee at Madame Tussaud’s museum in the US capital, and a two-for-the-price-of-one offer during the week of Valentine’s Day — February 14 — at the news-orientated Newseum.
Born Karola Ruth Siegel in Germany in 1928, Dr. Ruth was sent to a children’s home in Switzerland at the age of 10 to escape the Holocaust.
At 17, she went to Israel, and later moved to Paris where she studied at the Sorbonne and taught kindergarten.
She emigrated to the United States in 1956 and obtained a masters degree in sociology from the New School of Social Research in New York, a doctorate of education from Columbia University, and later studied human sexuality at Cornell University.
In 1980, she started a 15-minute radio program in New York called Sexually Speaking. A year later, the show had grown to an hour-long live show.
Dr Ruth has now appeared on television, has her own website, and even an iPhone app that says sex-related words in the doctor’s distinctive European accent.
Her message to Washington locals and visitors in February was to get out and do something in the city.
“Do something for Valentine’s Day, go to the museum, take the risk to talk to someone. At least you know one thing: this person is not a couch potato,” she said.