Women Having Independent Orgasms will Change the World

Wed, 12/18/2013 - 09:04
Submitted by Betty Dodson
Betty Dodson

In 1970 I read an article in Notes from the Second Year, a radical feminist periodical founded by Shulamith Firestone. The article was titled "The Myth of the Vaginal Orgasm" by Anne Koedt. From the title alone, I knew I had to speak to the woman who wrote it.

Asking around the feminist grapevine, I finally located the author and called to set up a meeting. Over the phone Anne was very suspicious asking me questions as to why I was so interested. I explained I was about to launch a new endeavor that was based upon Sexual Consciousness Raising workshops for Feminists. My idea was to share information among women only so we could learn how to enjoy orgasms alone and with a partner. Her article was the first written material on sex that made any sense since Kinsey. It was so rare to find a woman on my same wave length that I felt we had to meet. I got very little positive response from her other than she did agree on a time and day to get together.

With no idea that history was in the making, I can only recall a few details like every flat surface in her small apartment was covered with stacks of papers. I can’t remember what Anne looked like except she was delicate and appeared to be exhausted. She listened to me explain my approach to re-instating the clitoris to its primary role in creating a woman’s orgasm. Then she handed me several mimeographed copies of her article. That was it! The only thing that stuck in my mind was that she spoke briefly about receiving death threats since her article had been published. She said she’d just started a new love affair that was going very well and she was leaving New York and her feminist activism behind to live a more normal and happy life.

Soon after when The Hite Report was published, Shere and I met for dinner. She was convinced that most women were able to reach orgasm through the practice of masturbation. I disagreed. I’d known many women who had never explored their own sex organ and had no idea how to give themselves an orgasm. To them masturbation was as mysterious as any other form of sex. That’s why I was committed to teaching sexual skills and the most basic one was locating and stimulating our primary organ of sexual pleasure which was the clitoris, not the vagina. One comment Shere made had me rolling on the floor laughing. She said the Masters and Johnson definition of female orgasm was similar to a “Rube Goldberg invention”. Vaginal penetration by the penis pulled on the inner labia which in turn moved the clitoral hood up and down which stimulated the glans. The penis still reigned supreme! Sorry M & J, that's a crock of BS.

Meanwhile, I was teaching women how to harness 120 volts of electrical current surging through a massage machine with a 12 inch long handle and a tennis-ball sized hard rubber head that vibrated at 45rpm per second. The Panabrator came out first and it had a dial on the top of the handle that went from Lo to Hi. Later it was replaced by the Hitachi Magic Wand with a simple switch of Lo to Hi. To this day I recommended Lo and advise women to begin by putting some kind of fabric between her and the Wand and to keep the vibrator moving. This information is based on watching women hold the machine directly on the clitoris, staying in one place while some were bearing down with a vengeance determined to have an orgasm. Instead of coming, the clitoris went numb or they created pain in the place of pleasure. Still it was proof they could feel something.

At the end of the sixties, I was first introduced to an electric vibrator by my post marital lover Grant. His barber was massaging his scalp with an Oster vibrator that fit on the back of his hand with little metal coils. It looked like a miniature cement mixer. At the time I was sex starved and constantly wanting more sex especially after he started stimulating my clitoris while we were fucking. Although Grant could keep an erection for nearly an hour, he was in his mid-forties and not what I’d call “athletic” but rather “studious.” An English professor, he read at least 4 books a week which included every book ever written on human sexuality.

He later told me the vibrator probably saved his life because I was running him ragged with my constant desire for more sex. Now when I wanted to keep going after he was exhausted, he’d hand me the vibrator and hold me while I continued for as long as I desired. He would even doze off occasionally while I happily vibrated to my next orgasm and the next. It seemed to me that a vibrator was man’s best friend and Grant agreed.

In my group sex parties from 1966 through the early seventies, many times I’d observe women faking orgasms during intercourse in my sex party laboratory. Watching men coming while women were pretending was unacceptable to me. It helped motivate me to create workshops based on sharing the truth about our sexlives. Meanwhile I was learning how to communicate ways to harness the powerful vibes produced by these electric body massagers.

In 1974, long before we had sex toys and vibrators designed specifically for sex, I wrote, illustrated and published a small book titled Liberating Masturbation. This was my first big feminist success story: following an article on female masturbation that I wrote for Ms. Magazine. After several thousand women ordered the entire 17 page manefesto for $3 each, I had enough money to publish my own book. Overnight, I became an independent feminist publisher. For the next 25 years I ran Bodysex Workshops for women until I wore out my hip joints living and teaching sitting on the floor.

In 2000, my next big breakthrough in understanding women’s sexuality came after reading The Technology of Orgasm by Rachael Maines. A studious little book published by John Hopkins Studies in the History of Technology (1999). Gradually more pieces of the sexual puzzle were falling into place. Rachael’s book detailed the history of the electric vibrator, something I’d never known about. By then, the sex toy industry was making billions of dollars as electric vibrators became a fact of life.

At one point, Rachael stated that 60’s feminists brought back the electric vibrator. Not true! That’s when she got a detailed email from me to set the record straight. In no uncertain terms, I said I was the sole feminist who brought back the electric vibrator, not 60’s feminists. At that time, most feminist women did not want a machine to satisfy them sexually. They wanted romance, a warm live body they could have and to hold. They longed for Prince Charming (or a Princesses Charming) in order to “live happily ever after.” These women did not want to use some goddamn machine you had to plug into a wall socket!

My Bodysex Workshops flourished with the occasional PR to titillate readers. Very few people took my work seriously. For years, I was men’s favorite dirty joke. My own brother in Kansas referred to me as “Beat off Betty” which was fairly mild compared to other comments from critics, many of whom were other feminists. Maybe it was my pioneer heritage based on those women who fought alongside men as the covered wagons crossed the country to settle the Wild West. Like my mother and other women kin folk, I came from a long line of strong women. Mother told us stories about how her mother saved the baby pigs by shooting a mountain lion right between the eyes. Her older sister Mae went toe to toe with their father when in a drunken Irish rage he started hitting his daughters. She said Aunt Mae fought back like a man using her fists and she’d win. These stories always gave me a sense of pride.

The more snotty comments I received, the more determined I became that my sex information was accurate. It was based upon direct observation while listening to women talk about their struggles to become orgasmic. The same as any author, I wanted a best selling book and more PR. However I was protected by divine intervention— selling just enough books to survive and being ignored by mainstream media kept me just under the radar.

Flash forward: 2013.

“I am 25 yrs old and have had different sex partners. I can reach an orgasm during oral or by stimulation of my clit but I haven't been able to have an orgasm during sex. Is their something wrong with me? I've tried masturbation but I don't know what I’m suppose to be looking for or how it’s suppose to feel. Is this normal?”

I answer: “Unfortunately you are quite normal in that you know nothing about your body or your sexuality. Go onto the website and read about female sexuality from a woman's point of view. You are assuming "Sex" is only a penis inside a vagina. That's procreation sex. To enjoy orgasms your clitoris needs to have some form of direct or indirect stimulation such as masturbating manually, with a vibrator, receiving oral sex or stimulating your clitoris during intercourse. The following links will get you started.”

Each generation arrives lost and confused when it comes to understanding female sexual response. As a matter of fact, the most recent batch of teens is in worst shape than I was coming of age in the forties. Today they suffer from the Bush era of Abstinence Only Until Marriage. This was sex ed for Evangelical Christians who became a powerful voting block after fat boy Karl Rove organized them to get baby Bush elected. Then on top of no valuable sex information or education, our kids have unlimited access to hardcore porn that is primarily entertainment for men. Women are fuck dolls paid to please men by acting passionate with only the kind of sex that’s good for him. Female orgasms are mostly faked but at least the women are well paid.

When I was growing up in the forties, I got to see dogs, cats and horses breeding in Kansas. My own mother was shocked when she learned that I was teaching women how to have orgasms. She exclaimed, “Why Betty Anne, sex is as natural as eating and sleeping.” Well, it was for her growing up on a farm. She only had a minimum of formal schooling which I now see as a form of brain washing. She had plain old fashioned horse sense, as we called it back then.

At this point with our so-called democracy becoming a plutocracy, the Internet and the younger generation growing up with this new technology will become our saving grace. I’m content knowing all of my sex information and education is now in the cloud thanks to my business partner Carlin Ross. She is living the kind of sexlife I’ve been teaching. She’s free to design how she wants to enjoy her sex life both alone and with any partner or partners of her choosing.

Women having independent orgasms will indeed change the world. I can rest assured that our sex information will be a available for the next generation that comes along.

Liberating women one orgasm at a time

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Nice read. And thank you for

Thu, 12/19/2013 - 09:45
Elin A (not verified)

Nice read. And thank you for your work. I'm a bit bored today, so I think I'll have me a wank before dinner. 

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