Friday, October 15, 2010

A Sweet Bitch of the Week: The Grandmother of Orgasms

So I thought that it could be time for another Sweet Bitch of the Week post around here. A Sweet Bitch other than all of the awesome ladies who organised the abortion protest last week. The protest that I was actually able to attend because my boss read my hysterical-slash-impassioned blog on the subject and gave me a couple of hours off work. Come to think of it, my boss actually would have been a pretty good candidate for Sweet Bitch of the Week. It was a really, really great protest. There was chalk. And hoops. And way more than the reported "50 people" in attendance. Thanks for nothing TVNZ.


[Edited to add that for more photos and an excellent demo report you should head over to The Hand Mirror where Maia has written an excellent rally report, including photos and this video that Pro Life NZ took of the protest. Possibly for their spank bank?]

It was really awesome how many of you commented on that post. I was so heartened and encouraged by all of this feminist power in my city, a city that is usually powered by roti chenai and icy rain, that I was like the Energizer Bunny. If the Energizer Bunny ran on riot grrl and zines and protests and pro choice camaraderie.

But yes, I hear you loud and clear dear readers. Get on with it and get to the bit about the orgasms, you say. Your wish is my command, because we are gonna talk about sex therapist Betty Dodson, who has probably had more orgasms than you or I could shake a stick at. It is Betty who taught me about the real meaning of being sex positive and my nether regions will be eternally grateful, so I thought it might be time for me to spread the love and for you to spread your legs. I'm just going to nab this little introduction to Betty's work from an excellent interview with Dr. Lori Buckley; a podcast and transcript of which can be found here. Buckley says:

Betty is known for liberating masturbation, for hands-on women's workshops, showing women how to love their vulvas, enjoy masturbation, and how to become orgasmic. Betty is also known for her many books and films which include the books "Sex for One", "The Joy of Self-Loving", and "Orgasms for Two: The Joy of Partner Sex". Her films include "Viva La Vulva" and "Orgasmic Women: Thirteen Self-loving Divas".

<span class=

I love Betty. I can't remember whether I introduced her website to my girlfriend, or whether she introduced her website to me, but Betty is one of our mutual loves along with fried cheese and Christina Ricci. I want you to fall in love with Betty as well so I'm going to make a little list of eleven reasons why you should love her and why she is my Sweet Bitch of the Week. This is quite possibly the most mathematical that this blog is ever going to get, so lap it up numerical nerds! A word to the wise and to those who like to stay employed, these thinks are probably fairly unsafe for work.

1. I just actually love the way that Betty talks about sex. I love the way she talks about sex all over her website, which she runs with Carlin Ross, and all over her YouTube Channel, and all over her blog. I love that her work in sex education has extended to the free-for-all Internet, as well as running her own private practice in New York City, because it is this kind of positive, non-judgemental sex education that people need, not the pearl-clutching and the slut shaming and the pictures-of-pustules-and-diseases-without-any-discussion-of-pleasure-or-consent-or-thrush-or-UTIs. Just watch this video (link here). Then watch all of her other videos. Luxuriate in the way that Betty talks about sex.

2. She wrote this amazing response to the play, the Vagina Monologues, and opened up a whole new can of critical thinking. Why can't even the most pussy-centric play of our time use anatomical terms correctly? Why can't we ever talk about women and sex and women's bodies without talking about rape? Why does rape always have to be a women's issue?

3. She has the most amazing skin. Apparently her secret is "pussy power". She makes me want to orgasm into my eighties and save on my skincare routine.

4. Yes, her eighties. She is eighty one. EIGHTY! ONE! I love how she totally kills all of those stupid media representations of old person sex as one big cutesy, hilarious and/or repulsive joke.

5. She cares so much about pleasure. Because that is what consensual sex is, right? It's about doing what feels good. It's just bodies. I love how much she cares about teaching women to orgasm. I love that she runs masturbation workshops. I love that she kept running masturbation workshops after she had a hip replacement.

6. I love that her and Carlin's response to the hysterical anti-porn brigade (which my girlfriend blogged about; republished on Betty Dodson's website nonetheless) was to make a series of sex education videos. Brilliant. If you don't like something, make it better.

7. I love that she started a genital art gallery, as part of her work to normalise and celebrate different types of genitalia. I hate that it got taken down. I love that her vulva illustrations are on Scarleteen though, a sex education website for teenagers.

8. I love that there is some stuff she does that I don't completely love. I wish she wasn't quite so dismissive of the G-Spot, for example, but I get that she has an entire generation of women who expect to come from vaginal penetration alone to deal with. Also, Betty has been criticized for her support of Clitoraid, an organisation that fund re-constructive surgery for women who have experienced female genital mutilation. While I really hate Clitoraid's patronising "Adopt a Clitoris" campaign, I love Betty's response to her critics, and I love her and Carlin's tireless advocacy against FGM.

9. She identifies herself as a heterosexual, bisexual, lesbian.

10. She wrote an essay called Fucking Like a Feminist.

11. The eleventh and final reason to love Betty Dodson is simply just because this photograph of her exists. She looks like she has just popped out of training at the masturbation military. Amazing.

[If you guys are interested in this sex-positive feminism business, you should check out my girlfriend's blog that she has just started up. And tell her to post more stuff, because Stevie eats pro-sex feminism for breakfast.]


  1. I think you just became my favourite person ever. Well, you and Betty. I don't think I'm going to get anything else done tonight except reading your blog and her site. And drinking wine. And a masty or two.

    I really enjoy the way both of the Right to Life spokesMEN in the TVNZ article are MEN.

  2. Mahina-a-rangi BakerOctober 27, 2010 at 3:35 AM

    This just opened my eyes to a whole new field of awesomeness.
    Where has she been all my life?