a biography of the day--betty dodson (sex educator, author, artist)
August 24, 1929
Known for Sex-positive feminism
Betty Dodson (born August 24, 1929) is an American sex educator, author, and artist. Dodson held the first one-woman show of erotic art at the Wickersham Gallery in New York City in 1968. She left the art world to teach sex to women. She is widely known as a pioneer in women's, and to a somewhat lesser extent men's, sexual liberation, having sold more than 1 million copies of her first book, Sex for One. Much of her fame has come from her work not only advocating masturbation, but conducting workshops for more than 30 years in which groups of about 10 or more women (and at least once a group of men) would talk, explore their own bodies, and masturbate together. She hosted a Public-access television cable television program in New York City in the early 80's, and conducted her workshop a dozen or so nude women discussing and practicing masturbation on TV. Her website called "Betty Dodson's Genital Gallery" shows many films of masturbation and intercourse, with close-up views of genitals.
Dodson's books include Liberating Masturbation, a self-published book that became a feminist classic. Sex for One: The Joy of Self-Loving and Orgasms for Two: the Joy of Partnersex. She also produced four videos: Selfloving: Portrait of a Sexual Seminar, Celebrating Orgasm: Women's Private Selfloving Sessions, Viva la Vulva; Women's Sex Organs Revealed and The Orgasm Doctor": Two Private Hands-on Sex Coaching Sessions.
She is a founder of the pro-sex feminist movement, having left behind the more traditional feminist movement because she considered it banal, antisexual and over-politicized. Dodson considers too much is made of sexual labels and embraces them all by calling herself a heterosexual, bisexual lesbian. She looks forward to the day we can all be just "sexual." In recent years she has criticized Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues, which she believes has a negative and restrictive view of sexuality and an anti-male bias (Dodson, 2001).
Dodson has a degree from the Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality for her research work on sexuality.
Dodson maintains a private practice in New York City and has an active website. In an article on her website about hands-on sex therapy, she explains her choice against pursuing a degree in psychology and licensing as a therapist since it would have prevented her from continuing with the types of sex workshops and counseling for women that she had been doing for decades. While she doesn't presently offer her Bodysex Workshops, she is available for private individual and couples coaching.
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I've happily loaned her book out for sex ed purposes...it often comes back unread and in a paper bag. What can I say...I live in Pennsyltucky and peeps here are beyond backward. I recommend her...she's done wonderful work.
Thanks for this as I hardly ever hear her name mentioned!
to a smallish group at my artist friend's former studio space. The event happened to fall on Mother's Day, when I was out of town visiting my mom, but heard she was outstanding and sharp as ever!
Hoping she will pass through again, someday