It was indeed Betty Dodson, the author of Sex for One, who gave women permission to possess, love and experience the clitoris. Betty sometimes goes by the name Clitty Ann and does a little puppet routine with her pussy. Imagine this with her friendly Midwestern accent. She has been teaching about sex for quite a while, and she does it every day. You might almost think she was…sent here.
I believe that it will be some time before we collectively understand Betty’s contribution to society. Think of her as a sexual Fred Rogers, helping adults not be so frightened of the subject, and never making it political. Though she is not on public television (apropos of her subject, she is from the self-publishing tradition), many, many people have benefited from her work, and they know it.
Thanks to her, and I am speaking a literal historic truth, the tide of opinion has started to turn toward the legitimacy, beauty and erotic value of female masturbation. By extension, a bit of the fairy dust [i typed ‘dues’] rubs off on the guys, who have learned a lot from Betty about women and who have taken this message as encouragement to get to know themselves. In the spirit of progress, let’s keep that positive vibe going.
Masturbation is the sexual common ground we all share; Betty wrote about this first. It reaches clear across the whole L G B T Q spectrum, and age, and culture, and gender, and how we do relationships. Betty was a pioneer at defying sexual categorization. She may well be the world’s first out masturbator, a gesture of her independence and love of a good time. She was one of the first out bisexuals, too. She feared no person’s judgment and created all her own definitions, breaking every sexual norm at a time when there were strict rules and when feminists didn’t talk about sex.
Her ideas focus on how masturbation is the sexual aspect of a relationship we have with ourselves. I know some deep people who never considered masturbation to be a relational expression; of how we feel, or want to feel. Sex of any kind is a homing device. Used consciously, it can guide us closer to ourselves, and reveal hidden or subtle feelings that we can explore, resolve or enjoy.
Betty had an idea about getting groups of women together to raise consciousness, eat food and masturbate communally. And she did it. I have no clue how this sounds to the innocent reader of today; it could seem a bit scifi. Most of it happened in Manhattan, indeed, on Madison Avenue. Right down the street from MAD magazine. That tells you something about New York City, the place the Wichita baby adopted as home.
She got there because she’s a hot artist; as in, her work would set an art museum on fire. She prefers organic stuff to draw with, such as pencil or charcoal and she works fairly large. Making art is, in reality, what she does, whatever she does. My theory is that art set her free and she kept going. She also had an amazing mother and a decent, talented and loving dad.
She reached many people and one of them was me. I first called her up in 1995 because I wanted to refer a client to her. A long conversation has ensued. In a recent blog post, Betty took credit for influencing me to come out of the closet and take up this message. I’ve thought about it for a few weeks and I think she’s right. Over the years, she has fueled and encouraged my work as a sexual revolutionary and eronaut. I have the incredible privilege — indeed, an honor on a cosmic scale — of picking up the phone and dialing one of the few phone numbers I have memorized.
We have a good laugh, do a bit of bitching, and some topic comes up wherein I dive into her decades of experience and perspective. What she’s learned, she’s gained from taking up such an extraordinary yet how down to Earth role in society.
It’s sad that in Betty’s lifetime she’s seen sex, in total, go from something we proudly claimed to something that makes even a good few educated people really, really nervous. We have long needed a pathway to getting over ourselves and moving toward emotional and sexual healing in our relationships, and Betty has helped us create one. The sexual crisis of our times has become so serious that few people even have a clue where to begin to solve it. This crisis is connected to self-hatred and good old ordinary repression; as well as the current extraordinary hypersexualization of everything from deodorant to Pepsi. The problem is we are being alienated from ourselves and it would seem that the only appropriate answer to that is to get to know ourselves. Who would have thought that this would become such a radical gesture. Or maybe it always was.
Thank you Betty. I get it, and I get you.
Here is an article I wrote last August on the occasion of Betty beginning her 80th year. It gives a detailed analysis of her chart, which is a chart I teach any time I get the chance to put it up on the screen or hand it to astrology students.
Here is a sample. All readers may access this at the link immediately above.
Betty’s natal chart reveals her as the ultimate Virgo, one born under the sign of the Goddess. Her life combines the well-known service and healing properties of this sign with the rarely mentioned guts, boldness and intensity that often come along with it as well. It’s also a chart that demonstrates the beauty of Chiron and the first four asteroids, giving us a real sense of how they work — something most astrology students would really appreciate seeing. Her chart demonstrates Goddess power and what kind of influence it can have in getting us past the oppressive ideas of the past.
8 thoughts on “Happy 80th Birthday Betty Dodson”
Book of Blue is about me understanding my own responses to what I have perceived as female and feminine power, and a journey of integrating the feminine within myself. Apart from the original galleries posted in 2007, the photos are accompanied by memoirs, essays and fiction stories. Among the photos are many self-portraits, one of which is published on pw.
Most of these are on the theme of compersion. I look at this two ways, one being my choice to witness the full sexual experience and potential of women; and my process of self-embrace on all facets of my erotic psyche and my emotional nature that infuses it.
Gender balance to me is internal focus: that is, exploring and integrating the masculine and feminine polarities within myself. I have done this so far with a lot of help from women, and my photos of my friends, lovers and professional models honor that. Seen another way, it’s all an elaborate, rather fun way of saying to me, let go of fear, just be yourself.
Blue is available with a letter of introduction, sent to blue -at- bookofblue.com.
Like what I have learned in my psychology courses, you must meet the client(s) where he/she/they are at…We must see that #upyonder is at that point, just breaking around the corner, and still processing some stuff that was maybe uncomfortable. Yes, this is an astrology site and yet astrology embodies everything life is. As above, so below, as in world, so in self….
Ah, I love Betty Dodson. I can imagine being somewhere she was, and planting a big sexy, yet strong kiss on her.
I thank her and her diligent and determined efforts (Oh Virgo and Taurus I know that!) for opening up eyes and hands to embrace and feel what life and our bodies have to offer.
Here’s to love of ourselves, becoming our own biggest fans and our best lovers…
I get bored when I am not working and don’t have a pressing deadline therefore I like to masturbate!
Haha, Yippee yeeee hawwww!!! 😉
I am all in favor of celebrating sexuality, although I find that too often it is a one-sided event. Just as a vagina can be beautiful, so can a penis. And yet, too often, male genitalia seems to be unnaturally skimmed over in lieu of its feminine counterpart. In my mind, a healthy male sexuality must also be celebrated. I haven’t viewed the entire Book of Blue, but what I’ve seen on this site seems to echo the mainstream’s hyperfocus on the feminine. It would be lovely if Planet Waves offered a forum where readers could break away from this imbalance. I have no doubt that Eric has some great close-ups of what must be a glorious organ.
Strong reactions merit scrutiny in ourselves (as in others). There is often something to learn there, without you having to give up your view. Or to walk off. It would be a shame to lose you. However you are entitled to set your own boundaries and to challenge others. And good for you for doing so.
A testimony of faith is that you were not deleted. Thanks for speaking up as you are not alone. We live in a new world even as the old world is dying, so much of what we are exposed to will not sit well or be interesting or make sense. This is happening to all of us, one way or another. I beseech you to accept the differences that others espouse and look beyond it for what is applicable to you, what interests you and grow more tolerant, as we all must do. You are part of this thing called PlanetWaves; your thoughts and opinions and feelings are valued, and in many ways respected, though you might not see it that way all the time. Try to remember (I know you already know it) that we are all in different stages of growth and put your values in a special, safe place where you can retrun to them, but ride the open plains and climb the rocky mountains of this new world while we still can, and you will find what you came looking for. Corny but true, we are all one.
Gee-hah! giddyap. . . . . . . . . . . .
This photograph reminds me of my grandmothers flower garden…..simply lovely….and god I miss her
upyonder, there is an implicit risk with genitalia shots that you have responded to. We are quite literally surrounded by a flood of pornographic images and it is very difficult to disentangle our psyches from this barrage.
However, I would encourage you to note that such explicit and direct shots are rare – making up only a tiny proportion of the total photgraphic material published and this is also a Dodson tribute (you know, lots of women know the physiology and possibilities of their sexual power that they did not in decades past – this power strengthens women immeasurably against the tyrannies of male sexual dominance).
I think your vehemence will be duly noted and I would hope that you nonetheless consider sticking around.
Truly leaders with integrity sometimes have to take risks and break other people’s rules to allow new perspectives to roll in. It is only a photo when all said and done.
Hello and good bye.
I came here for astrology. I am not a prude. I wonder if the owner of this site ever thought of owning up to voyeurism and narcissism. Being the shining knight that rescues young women…what kind of satisfaction he gets out of it, that might be worth a good look, and i do not expect that to be made public.
What you do is just another way of making a woman into an object. We had that bible, way back when, (‘our bodies, our selves’ or some such), made by and for women. For the more edgy, one can visit Annie Sprinkle for example, she had humor and I have not heard her pontificating. You know, we did our own books, then, and now.
Ciao, and I fully expect that this will be deleted.