Double Standard for Women and Sex Talk?

This is a partial transcript of "The Big Story With John Gibson," February 24, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

JOHN GIBSON, HOST: "Desperate Housewives" aren't the only ones talking dirty on television. Did you hear Oprah Winfrey on her show Thursday?

Joining me now is sex therapist Dr. Laura Berman, author of "The Passion Prescription: Ten Weeks to Your Best Sex — Ever." She's director of the Berman Center, a menopause management center and sexual function clinic.

Now I can't actually say on this show what Oprah asked this sex addict she had on her show Thursday. But I must say I was drop-jawed when I heard it. And evidently Oprah is in touch with American women. What is it about women wanting to talk about the details of sex all of a sudden?

DR. LAURA BERMAN, SEX THERAPIST: Well, you know, you're absolutely right. Oprah is in many ways a barometer of what's happening in society and often on the front edge or cutting edge of where society is going. And she certainly has her finger on the pulse of what women want. And women want information about sex. They've heard all of the frilly soft talk about the intimacy and connection that is definitely what drives women, and that they definitely relate to. But they also don't want to be, you know, infantilized. They want frank talk. They want frank information and they want real stories.

GIBSON: They can listen to Howard Stern. He says the same thing and gets fined off the air. I can't believe she is not going to be fined with what she had on the show Thursday.

BERMAN: It's all about context. Oprah, I mean, I read the transcript and she did speak very frankly. But the difference is that this was in the context of a real issue that affects millions of Americans, millions of women, sexual addiction, and she was speaking very frankly about the behaviors that they had engaged in and the activities that they had experienced and the feelings that they had.

GIBSON: Are you saying it's OK for women to talk about it, but not OK for men?

BERMAN: It's OK for men to talk about it too, as long as it's in a professional context. She wasn't trying to titillate.

GIBSON: Doctor, you're telling me if I say it and I laugh I will be fined off the air, if Oprah says it and wrinkles her brow she won't?

BERMAN: No, if you said it in the context of a professional conversation that was about healing or about education and not simply for the purpose of titillation, then it's OK. And that's really what the FCC guidelines are about, which does make it complicated because it is sort of subjective, but it is all about context. It's why I can do the job that I'm doing. I talk about sex every day on television. In fact, I was just on "The View" Thursday night talking about — last week with Barbara Walters — talking about two-in-one K.Y. products. They are massage and lubricant.

GIBSON: Oh! Oh! Dr. Laura Berman, I'm out of time. Thanks a lot. We'll talk later.

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