Betty Dodson

Betty Dodson (born August 24, 1929) is an American sex educator. An artist by training, she exhibited erotic art in New York, before pioneering the pro-sex feminist movement. Dodson’s workshops and manuals encourage women to masturbate, often in groups. Although bisexual herself, she repudiates the labels that define sexuality.

Betty Dodson
Born (1929-08-24) August 24, 1929
Known forSex-positive feminism

Early career

Originally from Kansas, Dodson went to New York City to train as an artist in 1950, and has lived on Manhattan's Madison Avenue since 1962.[1] In 1959, Dodson married Frederick Stern, an advertising director, with the marriage ending in divorce in 1965.[1] Dodson's quest for "sexual self-discovery" began after her divorce.[1] 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 liberation, and to a somewhat lesser extent in men's sexual liberation, having sold more than one 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. Her website, "Betty Dodson's Genital Gallery," showed many films of masturbation and intercourse, with close-up views of genitals.[2]

She left behind the 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."[3] 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.[4]

Dodson earned an unaccredited degree from the Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality for her research work on sexuality.[5]

Women's masturbation education

Dodson became active in the sex-positive movement in the late 1960s.[6] Dodson used the Hitachi Magic Wand, a powerful main-powered vibrator, in demonstrations and instructional classes to instruct women regarding self-pleasure techniques.[7][8] She recommended women put a small towel over their sex organs in order to dull the sensation of the vibrator and prolong the pleasurable experience.[9] Her technique became known as the Betty Dodson Method.[10] Her sessions were known as Bodysex workshops and featured 15 naked women in supine position, each using a Magic Wand simultaneously to aid in masturbation.[11] She provided a Magic Wand to each woman for these two-hour masturbation sessions.[12] Dodson taught thousands of women to achieve orgasm using this technique.[11]

Later career

Dodson published a memoir, Sex by Design, in 2010.[1]

In 2014, she expressed that she considers herself a fourth-wave feminist, stating that the previous waves of feminist were banal and anti-sexual, which is why she has chosen to look at a new stance of feminism, fourth wave feminism. In 2014, Dodson worked with women to discover their sexual desires through masturbation. Dodson says her work has gained a fresh lease of life with a new audience of young, successful women who have never had an orgasm. This includes fourth-wave feminists – those rejecting the anti-pleasure stance they believe third-wave feminists stand for.[13]

Dodson maintains a private practice in New York City and has an active website.[14] 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.[15] She is available for group and solo Bodysex workshops and private individual and couples coaching.[16]

Publication and other works

Dodson's books include Liberating Masturbation, 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.

In 2006, Carlin Ross, a former corporate lawyer, met Betty Dodson for an interview and became her business partner.[1] They created an online sexuality portal[17] for women under the brand Dodson and Ross. Together, they launched an online video series Basic Sex Skills: The New Porn.[18]

Media appearances

Dodson appeared in a Season 4 episode of Penn & Teller's Bullshit! that dealt with abstinence.[19] She was also on The View, and has appeared in numerous sex documentaries.


  • Liberating Masturbation (1974)
  • Sex for One: The Joy of Selfloving (1987)
  • Orgasms for Two: the Joy of Partnersex (2002)
  • Sex by Design (2010)
  • Learn How to Orgasm (edited by Carlin Ross, 2011)
  • Learn to Orgasm in 4 Acts (2013)
By others


  1. Theobold, Stephanie (May 5, 2014). "Masturbation: the secret to a long life?". The Guardian. Retrieved March 7, 2015.
  2. "On the reasons why Betty Dodson's Genital Gallery disappeared (Retrieved November 9, 2017)". Archived from the original on June 30, 2018. Retrieved November 9, 2017.
  3. Dodson, Betty (June 26, 2005). "We Are All Quite Queer (blog)". Betty Dodson with Carlin Ross. Archived from the original on June 15, 2018. Retrieved November 17, 2006.
  4. Dodson, Betty (March 15, 2001). "Betty's Response to the Vagina Monologues (blog)". Betty Dodson with Carlin Ross. Retrieved September 9, 2013.
  5. "Betty Dodson author biography". Random House. Retrieved April 8, 2012.
  6. Love, Barbara J. (2006), "Dodson, Betty Ann", in Love, Barbara J. (ed.), Feminists who changed America, 1963–1975, Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois Press, pp. 120–121, ISBN 9780252031892.
  7. Trout, Christopher (August 27, 2014). "The 46-year-old sex toy Hitachi won't talk about". Engadget. Archived from the original on August 27, 2014. Retrieved August 30, 2014.
  8. Westheimer, Ruth K. (2007), "Savouring solo play and fantasy", in Westheimer, Ruth K. (ed.), Sex for dummies, Hoboken, New Jersey: Wiley, pp. 204–206, ISBN 9780470045237
  9. Kemp, K.M. (June 2003). "25 ways to have your best orgasm ever!". Marie Claire. Hearst Communications. 10 (6): 233 via InfoTrac.
  10. Struck, Pia; Ventegodt, Søren (2008). "Clinical holistic medicine: teaching orgasm for females with chronic anorgasmia using the Betty Dodson Method". The Scientific World Journal. 8: 883–895. doi:10.1100/tsw.2008.116. PMC 5848654. PMID 18836654.
  11. Winks, Cathy; Semans, Anne (1997), "Profiles in pleasure: Betty Dodson | Vibrators and partners", in Winks, Cathy; Semans, Anne (eds.), The new good vibrations guide to sex, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: Cleis Press, pp. 102 & 154, ISBN 9781573440691.
  12. Dodson, Betty (1996), "Making love alone", in Dodson, Betty (ed.), Sex for one: the joy of selfloving, New York: Crown Trade Paperbacks, p. 154, ISBN 9780517886076.
  13. Smith, Lydia (May 7, 2014). "Betty Dodson and fourth-wave feminism: masturbation is key to longer life". International Business Times. Retrieved May 12, 2014.
  14. Dodson, Betty. "Home page". Betty Dodson with Carlin Ross. Retrieved December 12, 2013.
  15. Dodson, Betty. "Ask Dr. Betty – Sex Coaching". Betty Dodson with Carlin Ross. Archived from the original on April 7, 2007. Retrieved December 12, 2013.
  16. Dodson, Betty. "Bodysex for one and for groups". Betty Dodson with Carlin Ross. Archived from the original on April 5, 2015. Retrieved August 30, 2013.
  17. Dodson, Betty. "Home page". Betty Dodson with Carlin Ross. Retrieved December 4, 2013.
  18. Dodson, Betty; Ross, Carlin. "About us". Betty Dodson with Carlin Ross.
  19. Jillette, Penn (co-host); Teller (co-host); Dodson, Betty (guest) (June 5, 2006). "Abstinence". Penn & Teller: Bullshit!. Season 4. Episode 10. Showtime. CBS.
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