Dr. Ruth Westheimer, America’s favorite sex therapist, will be celebrating double on June 4. It’s her 86th birthday and the publication date of her latest book, Myths of Love: Echoes of Ancient Mythology in the Modern Romantic Imagination (Quill Driver Books, June). The book, which analyzes Greek and Roman myths and their relevance to 21st-century relationships, is, says Dr. Ruth, “a departure for me because it’s more learned and more academic, which makes me very happy. And it is academic without being boring.”
The idea for the book was conceived during a visit to New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art by Dr. Ruth and her coauthor Jerome E. Singerman, a longtime friend and classical scholar. They were, she remembers, standing in front of Lucas Cranach the Elder’s 16th-century work, The Judgment of Paris, which depicts Paris (he of the Trojan War) trying to decide which of three goddesses—Minerva, Venus, or Juno—is the fairest. The painting became the midwife of the book,” Dr. Ruth says.