(4/21/14) One of the wonderful bennies of Sex Across America as an ongoing project is having the opportunity to meet some truly great people who have dedicated themselves to positively impacting sex lives–and are succeeding brilliantly through straight talk and rational approaches. In a climate of perpetual hypocrisy and cultural mystification, that’s often a tall order, but some manage to break through anyway. Recently, we had the chance to meet one such pioneer who has been a bastion of irreverent style, delightful inspiration and unequivocal commitment for almost half a century: Dr. Betty Dodson. If you haven’t followed her work before, you’re really missing out on a genuine treasure.
Dr. Dodson first gained attention in the 1960s by holding the very first one-woman erotic art show at New York’s Wickersham Gallery. Later, dismayed by some of the more mainstream feminist strategies emerging at the time, she leveraged her artistic skills into educational pursuits that ultimately pioneered an era of sexual liberation for women. A dynamic speaker and best-selling author, her first book, Sex for One, sold over a million copies and set the stage for practical workshops for over 40 years.
Now closing in on her mid-80s, Dr. Betty still approaches the science of sexology with the soul of an artist and the energy of a super-athlete. She leads the field as a sex-positive feminist by applying her no-nonsense feistiness in a philosophy that emphasizes what works instead of what’s popular. It’s as simple as that in principle, but applying it on today’s uber-politicized landscape is rarely so straightforward. Even in that environment, she leaves no room for excuses and instead, with an iron will, makes it work. Such is the nature of unconventional stars.
She remains highly engaged today in sex education and activism through her private practice and various internet resources that are administered along with her partner, Carlin Ross. In addition to their exceptionally comprehensive website, Dodsonandross.com, they maintain a lively, informative and entertaining presence through their YouTube channel, which we highly recommend. Just make sure you leave yourself plenty of uninterrupted time to enjoy and we strongly suggest keeping any drinks a safe distance away from your keyboard.
Though creeping up on the eventual closing chapter of her brilliant career, Dr. Betty shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. If anything, she seems to be facing it with confident defiance and unbridled optimism, stating in a recent interview, “We need to face and embrace death like it’s the final orgasm! I’m going to design my death like I designed my life. Besides, I’m leaving all of my information and art images behind in the cloud. And I’m not going to exit for quite a while, either. I’m going for a hundred or more because I’m having so much fun!”
Indeed, Dr. Betty–here’s to much more fun for many years to come!