Betty Dodson Series #2 - BAD

I got in touch with Betty Dodson this past December, writing back and forth a few times.
She agreed to an interview, which happened about a month ago - and so here we are. That short email interview, plus some of my own small research into her life has spawned a short Betty Dodson Blog Series. Here is the second installment. 

I hope it was pretty clear from the 1st installment of this series that I have full on respect for Betty Dodson. If you read my blog, you know that I am particularly seeking out people to interview who I see as working towards the principles that Science Sex and the Ladies holds dear. I decided to do a series, and not just one blog post, about Dodson because I see her as a long time warrior in the fight to get women the kind cultural access to their orgasms that men take for granted.

Keeping all that in mind, in this post I want to switch it up a bit and focus on the nitty gritty, the odd, the uncomfortable, and the off-putting aspects of Ms. Betty Dodson. Let's just start with this...her initials are BAD, and for this post, I will refer to her as BAD - because they are awesome initials and because it just seems appropriate here.

Now let's get down to it. I'll just ask what you may be asking in your head right now. "Isn't she some kind of orgy-loving, hedonist, lesbian, hippie that I should disregard because she's so weird?" No...well, yes. What I mean is that all those words used to describe her are not so off-base, but you are a fool if you disregard her or her message because of it. Does BAD love an orgy? You bet your sweet ass she does. She has been to and thrown many. She has seen and experienced more sexual encounters, more orgasms, more oral sex, more masturbation, more handies, more kink, more good sex, more bad sex, more disappointing sex, more breakthrough moments, more gay, straight, and bi sex, and frankly just more real, very human, very vulnerable encounters than any of the acclaimed and accredited sexperts from tv, magazines, or websites could dream of.

I might mention that as much of that as she has experienced, she has heard even more of that stuff through friends, strangers, and the lovely people in her Bodysex classes. She has a lot to offer - in large part because of her considerable experiences. Plus, on a side note, I would like to point out that her orgies always encouraged masturbation, were always equip with tons of high-powered vibrators, lots of lube, and extra single men. Now, that's a feminist orgy, people.

Would I call her a hedonist? No, I wouldn't, because that's not a word I use often, but BAD would call herself one. Of the time when she began experimenting with threesomes and moresomes in her 30's, she said the following in her memoirs.

I wanted to bring all my friends along on the trip of the century. But not everyone wanted to join me on the Hedonist Express, cruising at 100 MPH into the future of sexual love and abundance. Originally, I thought a “hedonist” was a crazy person who was sexually driven and out of control. But now the word had taken on its true meaning. Philosophical hedonism saw pleasure as the ultimate good, and psychological hedonism proposed that pleasure actually motivated human actions. The only thing desirable, in and of itself, was a pleasant state of mind. The only undesirable thing was an unpleasant state of mind. The hedonist position didn’t just mean physical sex only. It also included the pursuit of knowledge as well as creative projects. They were also desirable since these activities also provided intellectual pleasure and satisfaction. Many distinguished philosophers such as Epicures, Locke, Hobbes, Hume, etc. held this view, so I was happy to know I was in good company— especially when old friends passed moral judgments on my new lifestyle. 

She tries things. She specifically works through her fears, inhibitions, and guilt...and she tries things. How can you be mad at that.

Is she a Lesbian? First off, I'm not sure why that's so bad, but it is a word that is often used as an attempt to marginalize a woman who is doing something feminist. So, for your information, BAD's been with all kinds of people, but really I should just let her and her current business partner Carlin tell you more about her status as a lesbian.

Now, is Betty Dodson a hippie? Sure. She been into yoga and natural food and commune living and even the ol' wacky weed. She's also been into spiritual goddessy shit that I'm personally not too keen on, but whatever. She's also kinda conservative mainstream in ways too. She's from the heartland, a non-drinker, and she'd fight ya if she had to.

Hippie is another word people use to marginalize. But, I'll tell ya what - we all have a little hippie in us somewhere - EVERYONE - even the square-est dude you know. None of us fit the mold of "supposed to," and I don't see anything wrong with that. Calling people hippies, or hedonists, or feminazis, or conservative nut-jobs or any other over arching label is an easy way to disregard everything about someone just because you feel uncomfortable about something that they say or do. It closes us off to learning from each other. I really want to drive home that point because I feel like that has happened too often to Betty Dodson. The biggest shame is that her truly important, progressive, revolutionary ideas about liberating masturbation and increasing female access to orgasm were discounted in the mainstream feminist community because, well, because she was too outside the norm. Betty was a hedonist, orgy-loving, heterosexual-bisexual-lesbian, that used the word cunt when talking about vulvas. She wasn't what mainstream America thought she was supposed to be, but she wasn't what mainstream feminism thought she should be either. Unfortunately, her hedonist voice never gained the support of powerful feminists or mainstream media during the height of the 2nd wave. If it had, and if more had just considered her absolutely spot-on ideas about masturbation and female orgasm, maybe women could have made the kinds of strides in sexuality that we made in things like workplace rights.

Anyway, what I'm saying is that BAD is probably into or has been into some things that you find ridiculous, or weird, or distasteful, but don't let that sway you from listening anyway. She is saying things about females and sex that need to be said, and she is one of very few people - none of whom are very famous - who's saying these things.

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