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: http://dodsonandross.com/.
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:
Betty Dodson has influenced my thinking and my sexual self-acceptance for decades. Her 1974 book, Liberating Masturbation: A Meditation on Self-Love, morphed into Sex for One: The Joy of Selfloving. At 69, Betty met a young man of 22 who arrived for a weekend and stayed ten years, inspiring Orgasms for Two: The Joy of Partnersex. Her most recent book is her memoir, Betty Dodson: My Sexual Revolution, available as a Kindle edition.
Betty, with sidekick and business partner Carlin Ross, runs a website where she answers sex questions from readers, posts articles and videos, and displays the famous Genital Art Gallery, which aims to show all of us that we’re just perfect the way we are, “a research project where both women and men can share as well as appreciate the vast diversity of our magnificent sex organs.”
I am deliriously happy that this icon of candid sexuality wrote the foreword to my new book, Naked at Our Age: Talking Out Loud about Senior Sex! In it, she talks about how her sexuality changed through the decades, and how, at 81, she’s still “out loud and sex-proud.”
I have to admit it — I got shivers when I read the latest email from Betty, where she addressed me as “Sister Warrior.” It doesn’t get much better than that!
(To be notified when Naked at Our Age: Talking Out Loud about Senior Sex is available, please email me and I’ll put you on the notification list. I will not spam you, sell or share your information, or in any way abuse your trust.)