Shirley Zussman was a sex therapist who worked for more than 50 years under Masters and Johnson. She died in her home at the age of107.

Her son, Marc Zussman, confirmed her death on December 4 to the New York Times this weekend.

Zussman, a New York City native, earned her doctorate in Columbia University. Zussman trained at the Masters and Johnson Institute with her husband and was co-director at Long Island Jewish Hillside Medical Center’s Human Sexuality Center. 

She published two books; was president of the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists; wrote a sex column for Glamour magazine, and appeared on countless news and talk shows over the course of her illustrious career.

According to Dr. Ruth Westheimer who was an instructor in Zussman’s class and went on to have a successful career as a sexual therapist, Shirley “was a pioneer of sex therapy” and was an example for others, according the New York Times.

Sex therapist Shirley Zussman, who trained under the famed team Masters and Johnson and practiced for over 50 years, has died at the age of 107

Shirley Zussman was a sex therapist who worked for more than 50 years under Masters and Johnson.

Zussman was born in New York City in 1914, received her undergraduate degree in the '30s, and earned her doctorate from Columbia University in 1969

Zussman was born in New York City, NY, in 1914. She received her undergraduate degree from Columbia University in the 1930s. In 1969, she earned her doctorate at Columbia University.

Zussman was born Shirley Edith Dlugasch on July 23, 1914 on Manhattan’s Lower East Side to a doctor father and surgical nurse mother.

Her family was from Brooklyn. She attended Smith College in 1930, where she studied psychology. She would go on to get her degree from the New York School of Social Work at Columbia University.

She is already a pioneer in higher education and has chosen to major in psychology, a unique and innovative discipline.

According to Medium, she stated that ‘When I went to college, there was no time for women to be interested in careers’. ‘Their idea was to … have a good education, get married, and have children, and bring them up in the way they were brought up themselves.’

Zussman married Leon Zussman (a gynecologist/obstetrician). The pair had two children, Marc and a daughter, Carol Sun.

In 1966, she was working as a psychiatric social worker and psychotherapist when she and her husband were invited to a lecture by William H. Masters and Virginia E. Johnson, who became famous for treating sexual dysfunction and demystifying sex.

The researchers had just published a book, Human Sexual Response, which would eventually go on to be a huge success.

She and her husband, Leon Zussman, a gynecologist and obstetrician, were co-directors of the Human Sexuality Center at Long Island Jewish-Hillside Medical Center

Leon Zussman was her husband and co-director of Long Island Jewish Hospitalside Medical Center’s Human Sexuality Center.

Zussman was moved by the lecture and so was her husband. 

“They recognized that being sexual was not only glamorous and exciting, but also that you almost needed to learn how to be a good friend,” she said to Time in 2014.

‘And I thought, “We can accomplish that!” Why can’t we do that?”‘

Zussman earned a Doctorate of Education in 1969 from Teachers College at Columbia University. She wrote her dissertation about husbands being present in the delivery room when their children were born — something that was quite rare at the time. 

She and her husband then trained at the Masters and Johnson Institute.

In the ’70s, they became co-directors of the Human Sexuality Center at Long Island Jewish-Hillside Medical Center, where they treated married couples — including women who didn’t have orgasms and men who were Premature ejaculation or impotence 

Medium reported that Zussman claimed that women are ignorant of their own bodies and will see their vulvas, according to Zussman.

They trained together at the Masters and Johnson Institute under Dr. William Masters and Virginia Johnson (pictured)

They trained together at the Masters and Johnson Institute under Dr. William Masters and Virginia Johnson (pictured)

They would be able to enjoy sexual intimacy with her holistic perspective.

Time spoke out to say that you need to examine your priorities. It is up to you to determine what it is that makes you happy in your own life. To make you and your partner happy. You can create something that’s satisfying and that will satisfy a deep need in your partner.

Her comments included that sexual pleasure was only one of many things men and women desire for each other. They desire intimacy. They seek intimacy. They desire understanding. They desire comfort. They desire fun. They also want to be loved and cared for by someone other than just being in bed.

Her husband and she published “Being a wife” in 1979.The book “Getting Together” (A Guide to Sexual Enrichment in Couples) addresses both psychological and physical aspects of sex. 

Zussman also served two terms as the president of American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists; he edited a newsletter called Sex Over Forty’ and spent approximately 15 years writing a monthly column entitled ‘Sex and Health” for Glamour magazine. 

She was also often seen on television. Over the years, she was interviewed by Oprah Winfrey and Barbara Walters.

She and her husband published 'Getting Together: A Guide to Sexual Enrichment for Couples' in 1979

She was active late into her life, and in 2017, she published another book called 'What's Age Got to Do with It?: A Collection of Essays'

In 1979, she and her husband published “Getting Together: A Guide for Sexual Enrichment in Couples” (left). She also published in 2017 “What’s age got to do with it?”Right: ‘A Collection of Essays.

Late in her life she was active professionally. In 2017, she published another book entitled “What’s Age Got To Do With It?”The Collection of Essays.

Dr. Ruth Westheimer (pictured) described Zussman as 'a pioneer in sex therapy and an excellent role model'

Ruth Westheimer (pictured) described Zussman, a pioneer of sex therapy, as an ‘excellent role model’.

At 105 years old, she still saw patients. 

Her reflections on sex therapy over the past five decades led her to reflect upon how she had changed attitudes in 2014.

‘I don’t think that the stigma around sex therapy exists like it was in the early years,’ she said.

“People didn’t want to admit that they needed to visit a psychiatrist or social worker. It was embarrassing. People resist.[ed]It is the belief that someone should tell others how to have sexual sex.

Zussman, in addition to her two children is survived by two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. She lost her husband in 1980.

Dr. Ruth — who took a course taught by Zussman and her husband at their Long Island clinic while she was a program director at Planned Parenthood — said that learning from Zussman was her first experience studying sex.

They were both trailblazers. She was a therapist while her husband, a gynecologist, validated the work. That gave it legitimacy which sex therapists, like myself, needed. I wouldn’t be talking about orgasms if it wasn’t for Shirley,’ she told the New York Times.