Betty Dodson- The Mother of Masturbation
December... the month of the magic holidays and the end of a crazy year. We are dedicating this month to women who made an impact in the world, empowered us and other women to follow our dreams and fight for them.
We start this edition with the amazing Betty Dodson. Sadly, she passed away this year, so in her honor, we dedicate this article to her and celebrate her achievements.
PhD sex educator, writer, producer and actress. Betty did it all during her long and fulfilling life of 91 years.
“If you go out to dinner with someone, you find out what they prefer in food. We ought to be able to have a conversation to find out what people prefer when it comes to sex.”
Betty Dodson was born in 1929 in Kansas, US and later on moved to Manhattan, New York to pursue a career in art. Only after her marriage ended in 1965, she began her “sexual self-discovery”. After that, everything was history.
As the sex-positive movement started to flourish in the late 60s, Dodson became an ambassador of it. She was always fascinated by the artistic side of sex and she wanted to paint models having intercourse. Due to the models being too shy and uncomfortable (remember, it was still the 60s) she took the problem into her own hands. Literally. She and her back then-lover took pictures while having sex, pictures that she later used as a source for her art painting. The paintings were displayed in an exhibition in New York and they were a massive success. Half of the paintings were sold in an instant.
“I consider the 70s to be the youth of old age. So all you women out there who are afraid of getting older, just keep your orgasms in place, eat a lot of vegetables, take exercise, and you'll be fine.”
Betty Dodson continued her studies and graduated with a PhD in sexology. All of the acquired knowledge and self-discoveries determined her to hold “Bodysex workshops” where she invented and applied the Betty Dodson method. This method helped over 7000 women learn about their bodies and achieve climax. In a study conducted amongst 500 women that were suffering from anorgasmia (the incapability to achieve orgasm), more than 90% of them achieved climax using this method. This method refers to a technique of masturbation that includes the use of a vibrator and breathing techniques. Thanks to this method, Betty Dodson promoted the use of dildos and vibrators worldwide, including the famous Hitachi Magic Wand. Curious about the history of dildos and vibratos? Check our previous article!
Through these workshops, Betty Dodson encouraged women to masturbate in order to regain their own sexual self-knowledge, which was oppressed by society. Learn more about the benefits of self-pleasure in our previous article.
“Masturbation is our first and natural form of sexual activity and if that's inhibited or damaged, then we suffer for the rest of our lives.”
In 2006, Dodson started collaborating with Carlin Ross and developed an online platform about sexual education and sexual pleasure. Not only were they giving biannual workshops but they started certifying women to run their own Bodysex workshops. Furthermore, they built the Betty A. Dodson Foundation, with its goal to create a global sex education curriculum based on the Betty Dodson method for mobile/social/web.
“The clitoris is the female sex organ, and the fact that we aren't told that when we were small children is devastating. We grow up with no information about the pleasure center of our body.”
In 2011 Betty received several awards from Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality and Society for Sex Therapy and Research. She is named one of the top 10 sexual revolutionaries by Cosmopolitan magazine and one of the top 100 most important people in sex by Playboy magazine.
Recently, Betty Dodson & Carlin Ross appeared as guests on Gwyneth Paltrow’s Netflix series “The goop Lab”. “The pleasure is Ours” episode shows the importance of accepting your body and allowing self-pleasure and even shows Betty Dodson in action as she assists and guides Carlin Ross through the journey of self-pleasure. We highly recommend watching it and learn more about this fascinating method and ultimately about your own body.
Besides art, workshops and television appearance, Betty Dodson was an amazing writer that put all her knowledge in these magnificent books. As the winter is here and more time is spent inside, choose one of these books (or all of them) for some literature time.
Betty Dodson books
Liberating Masturbation: A Meditation on Self Love (1974)
Sex for one: The Joy of Selfloving (1987)
Cunt: A Declaration of Independence (& Inga Muscio, 1998)
Orgasms for two: The Joy of Partnersex (2002)
My romantic Love Wars: A Sexual Memoir (2010)
Learn How to Orgasm (2011)
O Wow: Discovering Your Ultimate Orgasm (& Jenny Block, 2015)
Sex by Design: The Betty Dodson Story (2016)
The Ultimate Guide to Solo Sex (& Jenny Block, 2016)
Betty Dodson Bodysex Basics (2017)
“Masturbation is a meditation on self-love. So many of us are afflicted with self-loathing, bad body images, shame about our body functions, and confusion about sex and pleasure, I recommend an intense love affair with yourself”
We are deeply saddened by the loss of Betty Dodson and we are eternally grateful for what she did for women all over the world. She will always be an inspiration for us in our journey of sharing knowledge about sexual education.
Be smart. Be (c)LIT. Fly with us!🌺🐝