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Issue 532 : December 8, 2005 - December 14, 2005

By James Gavin


Earlier this autumn, the supposedly enlightened ladies of
The View were shaken up by a visit from the mother of masturbation, Betty Dodson, Ph.D. Dodson, 76, began coaching women on how to achieve orgasm way back in the '60s, when the word was barely spoken. But on this show, where she mentioned things like "clitoral stimulation," it was clear that her fight against sexual repression is far from over. Barbara Walters scowled as condemningly as an old nun; Joy Behar looked like she'd swallowed a bad oyster; Star Jones stared cluelessly. Disapproval of Dodson rose with the introduction of her bookishly sexy lover, Eric Wilkinson, 29. Since meeting her in 1999, he's made the pansexual Dodson focus on the opposite sex—the result of which was her last book, Orgasms for Two. "She is quite the master!" Wilkinson announced on camera.

When you're hot, you're hot, and Dodson's expertise still grabs people of all persuasions. In 1974, she poured it into
Sex for One, her over-one-million-sold masturbation bible. This week she's launching her newest instructional DVD, Orgasmic Women: 13 Selfloving Divas, with a party at Babeland. As Wilkinson filled web orders in the couple's Manhattan living room, TONY sat with Dodson in her bedroom/office and talked sex.

Time Out New York: What does an orgasm mean to you?
Betty Dodson: It's my right. It's my reward. It's the essence of a joyful life. It's freedom! I have spent most of my life teaching women how they can have the pleasure without the pain, the guilt. Because you know what? Sexually fulfilled people are happy people.

TONY: Explain the genesis of your new DVD.
BD: Many women were coming to me with an image of orgasm based on porn. Too much noise, too much thrashing about. They didn't know you can have a quiet or sweet one, too. I wanted to show a range. I put out a call, but I thought, How many women will want to masturbate on camera? I'd forgotten I'd taught a lot of their mothers to give themselves orgasms. The phone started ringing, and all these women wanted to show me how they masturbated. It was a point of pride.

TONY: In the '60s, you were quite the bisexual hostess.
BD: I threw some of the best sex parties in New York! After an hour or two the guys would peter out, literally, and the women would gather with their vibrators and go another two hours. Those parties were my true Ph.D. in sexology. You're not gonna learn about sexual skills by crunching numbers.

TONY: Who would look at Dr. Joyce Brothers and think she'd ever touched a penis?
BD: Or touched herself! Or Dr. Ruth? Do you think she's down there whackin' her clit right now? And she's a friend of mine!

TONY: Do you believe in bisexuality?
BD: I believe in sexuality. Perhaps, if given the freedom, we would segue through all sexualities.

TONY: Why must they be exclusive?
BD: Beats the hell out of me. In the '70s, as a feminist, I was hounded by women who said, "You have to make up your mind." I said, "I have. I am a heterosexual bisexual lesbian. So shove it!"

TONY: What's your favorite way to masturbate?
BD: With a vibrator on my clit, and something inside my vagina. And lately, a butt plug. I have a mantra: "Clitoral stimulation with vaginal penetration."

TONY: What effect do you think the Bush administration has had on sexuality?
BD: Deadly. It's worse than when I grew up in the '40s. The schools are teaching abstinence. We worship marriage, monogamy. And look at the results! Other than a pocketful of happy, sexually expressed people, I'd say the world is struggling desperately for sexual pleasure.

TONY: Have gay men been important to you in your work?
BD: Absolutely. They've been my teachers, my inspiration. I would get them to come to my sex parties because they had more open energy, they were more experimental. Gay porn is the only porn I want to watch. You know they're all going to get to come.

TONY: How are your own orgasms these days?
BD: Wonderfully powerful. Now I'm happy with one big blowout a week with my phenomenal boy toy, Eric, and a couple of quickies with my vibrator. The Big O—I love it!

TONY: Do you think the women on The View ever have a Big O?
BD: Sure—every time they deposit their paychecks!

Orgasmic Women: 13 Self-Loving Divas will be released Thu 8 at Babeland.