Bonding with Betty Dodson

11/8/2020: Betty Dodson died October 31, 2020, at age 91. I’m republishing this post from 7/12/11 to celebrate Betty’s life. Dear Betty,  thank you for living audaciously and authentically and for teaching us so much about our right to sexual pleasure!


“There’s that pushy broad who drove me crazy!” I heard from inside Betty Dodson‘s apartment as I rang the doorbell.

Although Betty and I had corresponded by email, and she had written the fabulous foreword to Naked at Our Age, we had never met in person. Now, on this trip to New York in 2011, I was about to have the opportunity and pleasure of spending a couple of hours with this icon of sexual empowerment.

But — “drove me crazy”? Was she referring to me? Her memory was that I pursued her relentlessly until she agreed to write the foreword to Naked, after she told me a thousand times she was too busy.

My memory was that she had told me once that she was too busy. I had said, “Just read the table of contents and one chapter of the manuscript, and then tell me whether you can make time.” She had done so and said, “I’ll do it.”

I laugh at my unreliable memory a lot these days, and so does Betty at almost 83, though she’s as sharp, smart, and witty as any three young people combined, so maybe her version is right. Regardless, she loves the book and believes in my mission.

We bonded immediately. Within two minutes of my arrival, Betty lifted her tunic and flashed her bare booty at me, saying, “I haven’t finished getting dressed yet.”

“Woo hoo! Do that again,” I said, grabbing my cell phone camera. She repeated the action several times so I could get a good photo.

“May I post this on my blog?” I asked, showing Betty the best shot.

“Absolutely not!” she replied. So Betty Dodson’s naked butt resides on my phone photo gallery exclusively — sorry, folks!*

Betty gave me a tour of her apartment and showed me some of her extraordinary artwork. She took a couple of phone calls while I was there, from TV shows and interviewers. She’ll be celebrating her 83rd birthday at a huge event in Norway, is working on video projects, and is in no way slowing down. See her projects on her website:

Betty introduced me to the lively and lovely Carlin Ross, her business partner, who was sitting behind one of the three microphones set up in Betty’s bedroom/office. Carlin informed me that we were recording a podcast together. Oh!

The three of us chatted for an hour about senior sex, sharing and laughing and having a fine time.

I left Betty’s apartment joyful and even more impressed with Betty Dodson than I had been two hours before. What a woman. She called me “sister warrior” in an email after she read Naked at Our Age. On this day, she called me “friend.”

* 11/8/2020 update: Now that Betty is no longer here to object, is it time for me to share her naked butt photo? Nope. I pride myself on being trustworthy. But I’ll show you one of her paintings:

Painting by Betty Dodson

Learn more about Betty Dodson in this New York Times article.
View Carlin Ross’s video describing Betty’s last days.


  1. Daniel W. O'Brien on December 25, 2020 at 12:47 pm

    Dear Joan,
    Thank you so much for your tribute to Betty. I have been a huge fan of Betty and Carlin. The one time I spoke to Betty was to get advice on helping my grandchild who was in the process of transitioning from female to mail. She was most helpful.

    When Betty was producing her first BodySex DVD, I contributed to bringing it into existence.

    I have just subscribed to your newsletter and look forward to benefiting from your wisdom.

  2. Carlos, 29 on December 21, 2014 at 1:25 am

    Goodness, Betty is very open isn't she?

    I recently read an article by Jenny Block about how she met Betty for a masturbation grouping while studying the female orgasm and Betty helped her masturbate. Several things struck me though the biggest things were "How would this fly with the genders reversed?" and "Are we still this closed about sex that an octogenerian has to teach about such things?"

    Being a bit prudish myself I guess there is still that necessity for such candid sexuality. Still the taboo is part of the fun so prudishness could serve it's purpose that we don't just get bored and immune to the adventure of it all. It takes all kinds I suppose.

    I don't think this comment fits completely with the post but I wrote it in part to say I appreciate people like Betty Dodson.

  3. Sabrina on July 21, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    Lucky you, I could only dream of meeting Betty Dodson. What an honor that would be. I am many years from being a senior, but I just have to say I love what you are doing with your site.

  4. SallySmiles on July 12, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    I'm looking forward to this podcast! Funnty thing is – I generally don't like podcasts…

    Joan – go girl, applause – again!

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