S.A.A. Salutes: Betty Dodson

SAAgraphic04212014(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!

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S.A.A. Extra: Internet Piracy and Adult Entertainment

(4/18/14)  In case you missed it, ABC’s Nightline finally caught up to the “news” that internet piracy is adversely impacting the adult entertainment industry.  While this might best be filed in the “better late than never” bin, we’ll just pass it on as is and let you decide for yourself.

Watch the full story here.

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What Men Across America Want

(4/14/14)  It’s the classic conundrum:  What do men really want when it comes to sex?  Scientists, marketing gurus, comedians and just plain average folks alike have been trying to nail that down for years with some success, but mostly mixed results.  Let’s face it:  It’s a subject that’s easy to stereotype or misinterpret.  Even when there’s some measure of empirical data, its validity is usually suspect due to ego-friendly skewing (i.e., the potential that respondents may answer with what they wish was the case vice what’s actually happening out there).  Indeed, people are funny animals that way, but it’s still fun to try to crack the nut.

Anyway, the friendly folks at Insidehook, who are admittedly laser focused on all things testosterone-packed, surveyed about 10,000 men around the country this past January and just published their “State of Sexual Satisfaction” results for 2014.  Taking the results at face value, there are definitely some interesting trends according to the report.  Let’s venture a peek.

In looking at their overall sex lives on a scale of 1-10 (with 1 being “not satisfied” and 10 being “satisfied”), only 10% of men in a relationship offered up top ratings while 21% of single men claim to be supremely satisfied.  There’s a bit of irony in those figures, however, when comparing them to reported frequency stats as men in a relationship are more likely to have sex several times a week (47%) than single men (29%).  Is this a quality over quantity thing in action?  Or are singles just genuinely more satisfied with less?  It would definitely be interesting to pull at that thread a little.

Another intriguing tidbit has to do with the ubiquitous porn bin.  While a solid majority (82%) of men admit to watching it with varying degrees of habit, about half (49%) claim that it has no effect whatsoever on their lives while more than a quarter (28%) believe that watching porn helps them to be better at pleasing their lover.  This contrasts with 15% who believe it creates unrealistic expectations and 8% who employ porn outright as a “dating substitute.”  (Anyone else itching to tug at that thread some more?)

Regarding what men claim they’re most self-conscious about when naked, frankly the results do appear to be a bit suspect, but the majority (43%) apparently have issues with their stomachs while 39% state that they’re “too busy looking at her” to be self-conscious.  (Uh huh.  Okay.  Umm, good answer, guys!)  At the other end of the spectrum, it’s interesting to find that less than 10% voiced a concern about their penis, but it’s probably best not to tug more on that one.

As for what men are generally looking for as a “perfect mate,” the survey results lean to “attractive” and “smart” as top qualities (“successful” and “cooks” were in last place) while “rudeness” and “unattractiveness” were rated as absolute dealbreakers.  Additionally, only 1% of men responding claimed they’d have no interest in a partner who didn’t like their sports team.  Surely there’s some sort of nugget in that little detail.

The report goes on to cover most of the standard things one might expect to find in this sort of project, but what’s most interesting is that the source is openly by men, about men, for men.  As such, it’s reasonable to presume that the majority of their viewers would be men inclined to see how they stack up against other men.  We’ll go ahead and pass up the obvious euphemism there and, instead, just politely point out the positive:  It’s an opportunity for everyone to get an updated glimpse into what men want–or, at least, what they say they want–when it comes to sex.  Even if you take it with a warranted grain of salt, we’d love to hear what you think.

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S.A.A. Extra: Court Rules Web Hosts Not Liable for Content Providers

(4/11/14)  (From Forbes.com)  The 9th District Court of Appeals disallowed a lawsuit against internet site host, GoDaddy.com Thursday, in a case involving web-based “revenge porn.”  Reversing a lower court decision in the matter, the ruling specified that, “Allowing plaintiffs’ to assert any cause of action against GoDaddy for publishing content created by a third party, or for refusing to remove content created by a third party would be squarely inconsistent with section 230 of the federal Communications Decency Act.”

Read the full story here.

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