Episode 2: Liberating Masturbation with Betty Dodson, Ph.D.

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Dr. Lori Buckley interviews Betty Dodson, artist, author, Ph.D., and sexologist. Betty’s books include: Liberating Masturbation, Sex for One: the Joy of Selfloving and Orgasms for Two: the Joy of Partner Sex. Her most recent films are Viva La Vulva, and Orgasmic Women: 13 Selfloving Divas. In this episode Dr. Lori & Betty Dodson discuss Betty’s journey from artist to sexologist and the benefits of mutual masturbation. Betty then tells us her best sex tips to discover ways to increase your partner’s sexual pleasure and satisfaction. She also talks about sex and aging, and tells us why the best is yet to come.


Weekly Exercise


On the Minds of Men: Home Exercise
By Dr Lori

Kegel exercises were named after Dr. Arnold Kegel, the man who popularized their importance. Kegel exercises strengthen the pubococcygeus (PC) muscle, which is also known as the sexual or pelvic floor muscle.

The potential advantages of doing Kegel exercises are increased sexual pleasure and stronger and longer lasting erections.  They also help with incontinence, and are beneficial for both men and women.

First locate the PC muscles by contracting them while urinating to stop the flow of urine.  Kegel exercises will cause your penis to move slightly (more so when done with an erection). Once you can identify the muscle used to stop your flow of urine, you can do Kegel exercises anywhere.

I recommend you do your Kegel exercises at specific times DAILY.  Some examples include while brushing your teeth or when you’re stopped at a red light, or when your first wake up each morning.

The exercises:

Begin by tightly squeezing and fully releasing you PC muscle 10 times.  Do three sets with a 10-30 second break in-between. Try to do these two times a day for the first few weeks.

As you begin to strengthen your PC muscle, hold your squeeze for longer amounts of time…first 5 seconds, working your way up to 10 seconds then 30 seconds or longer.

Then do just one set, increasing your repetitions to 30, working towards doing 100 or even 200 repetitions per session or 20 minutes a day.


There are many variations of this exercise.  The most important thing to keep in mind is to begin slowly so you don’t strain or overwork your PC muscle, or you will feel sore.  

Try to isolate your PC muscle and relax your other muscles to get the most benefits.

Make sure to focus on fully relaxing (not just tightly squeezing) your muscles.

You should begin to notice results in 3-4 weeks.

Liberating Masturbation with Betty Dodson

Dr. Lori Buckley: Welcome to "On the Minds of Men", uncensored sex talk with me – your host, Dr. Lori Buckley.  Today on the show, we're talking about vulvas, women, and sex.  I am so excited today!  Our guest is Betty Dodson, Ph.D., talented artist, author, filmmaker, educator, pioneer, a mentor to so many women, and an authority on women's sexuality. 

Betty Dodson: When I was younger, in my twenties and thirties, I was so embarrassed!  I knew exactly what I wanted but I was ashamed.  What I wanted was, you know, direct clitoral stimulation with a nice, smooth, wet finger or a sweet, little, soft tongue.  And I couldn't say any of those things! 

Because I've never masturbated and I don't know my own body, I don’t know how to make myself have an orgasm.  I come to partner sex a blank! 

Dr. Lori Buckley:  Betty is known for liberating masturbation, for hands-on women's workshops, showing women how to love their vulvas, enjoy masturbation, and how to become orgasmic.  Betty is also known for her many books and films which include the books "Sex for One", "The Joy of Self-Loving", and "Orgasms for Two: The Joy of Partner Sex".  Her films include "Viva La Vulva" and "Orgasmic Women: Thirteen Self-loving Divas".  All these things can be found at bettydodson.com.  Now today, Betty is going to enlighten us all and tell us what women want.  Welcome Betty!

Betty Dodson: Wow!  That's one of the best introductions I've ever had! [laughter]

Dr. Lori Buckley: Thank you!  Well I am really, just truly and so sincerely excited and honored to have you here today!  There's so many things that I know that you know and that our listeners want to also know!  Certainly, they want to know more about you – what you do exactly and would like to learn how to give their partners more sexual pleasure. 

Now, I know that you originally came from Kansas.  You were working as a fashion artist.  How did you get from fashion to sex?

Betty Dodson: You don't want to know!  It would take us two days!

Dr. Lori Buckley: [laughter] We do!  We do!

Betty Dodson:  Well, it's the art thing.  When I came to New York I started studying art and I fell in love with drawing the nude.  The human body absolutely captured me.  Eventually, the human nude, my nudes had sex on the canvas.  When I started drawing sex was when I seguewayed into human sexuality.

Dr. Lori Buckley: So when you started drawing sex, what do you mean?

Betty Dodson: Well, I was drawing classical nudes and I had the standard mythological, religious themes and all that.  Then one day – well not one day, actually I had a new lover and I was having fabulous orgasmic partner sex – and I thought, "I'm going to have my nudes have sex!  I’m going to draw sex art!  Wow, what a great idea!"  Then of course you have to find a place to show it – this is back in the 50's, darling.  I was so far ahead.  But I did have an exhibition and it was very successful but sex is always a risk for anyone to embrace or take on.  It can be sensational.  But it sells everything! 

But my basic approach has always been supporting masturbation and I don't know if that's so popular. 

Dr. Lori Buckley: [laughter] Well!  Masturbation!  So from art to sex, it sort of makes sense that masturbation would follow with that!  What is it about masturbation?  How did you get into masturbation?  Or at least talking about it?

Betty Dodson: It started when I was around five [laughter] and it was like a lifelong activity.  I discovered as a feminist in the 70's that absolutely no one, NO ONE, talked about it, admitted it, that it was anything to do with having good sex with people.  It was incredible!  So I just thought well!  One of my feminist commandments was to liberate masturbation.  So I wrote a book.

Dr. Lori Buckley: Wow!  Talk about courageousness!

Betty Dodson: You know, Lori, I just didn't know better.

Dr. Lori Buckley: [laughter] So it was ignorance?

Betty Dodson: You know what I'm saying?  If somebody would have said "here's what's going to happen if you do this", I would have said "forget it!"  Forgetaboutit!

Dr. Lori Buckley: Well I am so glad nobody said that to you because your work has just paved the way for so many people.  And "Liberating Masturbation", I love it!  That was the name of your first book.  And it's exactly what you've done!

Betty Dodson: Well, I've been working towards it.

Dr. Lori Buckley: Well, it's never done.

Betty Dodson:  It's not liberated yet but it is much better.

Dr. Lori Buckley: Oh yeah!  Absolutely.  Much, much better.  You know I teach a college class on sexuality so they're about 18 to 24.  I spoke to them the other day and they came up to me after the class.  I told them I was going to be speaking to you and they were so excited.  One of the girls was holding your book, "Sex for One".  She said, "Oh! Make sure you tell Betty how much we love her and how much we appreciate what she's done!"  So even though you started this in the 60's and 70's, young girls are reading your books today and know who you are and they feel okay.  You've taken away some of that shame about how women and girls feel about their bodies, their vulvas, masturbation.  I mean that is so powerful!

Betty Dodson: It's pretty basic stuff, isn't it?

Dr. Lori Buckley: You know, it should be basic.  Why do you think so many people have a difficult time with that?  Talking about it.

Betty Dodson: This society is based on rules and principles and guidelines.  You know, "thou shalt not".  I guess basically what it is, if we have independent orgasms, we’ll end up having independent thoughts.  Thank god!

Dr. Lori Buckley: Yeah, that could be a scary thing, right? [laughter]  Do you think – I already sort of know the answer but I want to hear what you have to say about – how does that then affect our relationships and how we feel about ourselves and our sex life in general?

Betty Dodson: One of the big breakthroughs when I was struggling with having orgasms during partner sex back in the 60's was that I had finally had a lower that was willing to talk about sex.  He's my webmaster to this day; I won't part with him!  We're many, many years past being lovers but he'll always be a dear friend.  We actually decided that we would share masturbation because it would be a way to show each other how we handled our own sex organs.  It's amazing how difficult it is to push through sharing an activity that you spend a llifetime hiding!  It's a huge opening! 

Dr. Lori Buckley: So when you do that, sort of breaking through that, once you do that, what ends up changing for you?

Betty Dodson: There's nothing to be ashamed of.  You demonstrate you're sexual; you can do it by yourself; you've done it for years by yourself; you're happy giving yourself an orgasm and it makes it even more fun when you have a partner.  It deepens any kind of sexual communication.  Now, it's going to be difficult for couples to do this.  But just bringing the subject is a step!  For guys particularly, the thing is that, I had a lot of guys say to me, "well what do you like? what really turns you on? what can I do to make it better for you?"  When I younger in my twenties and thirties I was so embarrassed.  I knew exactly what I wanted but I was ashamed.  What I wanted was direct clitoral stimulation with a nice smooth wet finger or a sweet little soft tongue and I couldn't say any of those things.  I was supposed to have an orgasm from intercourse alone!  Fucking only simply doesn't work for many, many women.

Dr. Lori Buckley: Absolutely.  You are so correct and I see it all the time.  I see it all the time in my practice.  People come in and they say the same thing.  "Oh, it's just too embarrassing!"  We both know that one of the keys to having really wonderful sex is this vulnerability piece.  To be able to talk to your partner openly and masturbate in front of them like you're describing, that does take a certain amount of vulnerability.

Betty Dodson: Isn't that what sex is basically about?  Being vulnerable to this person that you're with.  Being open.  Making your available.

Dr. Lori Buckley: Ideally, yes, absolutely!  I think the masturbation piece of it where, the way you describing, to show your partner what you like and at the same time to – I love the word you used – to break through that and get to the other side which is so amazing and incredible!  To let people know that this something that you can do.  When I'm thinking about that and some suggestion that you might have – clearly you've already made a couple of them – are there any other suggestions that you have?  First, let's kind of break it down for men.

Betty Dodson: When it comes to talking about sex openly, we’re so tongue-tied.  Sometimes it helps if you read a book together and read it out loud; tale turns reading a chapter to each other at a time.  Hopefully get a book that uses regular sex terms, not academic but use all the words that relate to sex.  Say it out loud with each other!  I think that would help.

Dr. Lori Buckley: Do you mean an erotic book?

Betty Dodson: Any book that is dealing exclusively with sex.  It could even be a novel; it could be an erotic book; it could be my book "Sex for One".  I have drawings in there of people sharing masturbation.  It starts a dialogue.  "How do you feel about this?"  "Ew, that's gross!  I wouldn't want to do that!"  And then you say, "how come? have you ever done it before?"  "No, I would never do such a thing."  You see what I'm saying? 

Dr. Lori Buckley: Yeah!

Betty Dodson: You start a conversation.

Dr. Lori Buckley: I love that!  That is a great suggestion and that's good for men or women.

Betty Dodson: Both.

Dr. Lori Buckley: Any other suggestions?  Either for men or women or both?

Betty Dodson: I'm big on communication.  If you can talk to each other really personally, not in anger or shame or accusations or things like that.  If you're really pissed off at someone, chill out before you bring up the subject.  It's like doing business; you don't want to have someone who's screaming and yelling and furious and stomping around the office.  You want to cool off and sit down and remember your first position is that this is someone you care about!  Why do you want to be so angry?

Dr. Lori Buckley: Right.  So don't react.

Betty Dodson: You know what I figured out?  I figured out that I was always angry at myself. 

Dr. Lori Buckley: Oh, it was yourself?!

Betty Dodson: Yeah, I was really mad at myself.

Dr. Lori Buckley: What were you mad about?

Betty Dodson: Whatever.  I didn't speak up or I felt slighted or he didn't do blah blah blah or he didn't bring me flowers or he forgot it was my birthday.  You know what I mean?

Dr. Lori Buckley: I do know what you mean!  And when you think, that is such an important thing what you're saying!  Because there's so many women and men who say, "Well, if he or she loved me, they should know what I want; I shouldn't have to tell them – they should just know".  Right?

Betty Dodson: The mind-readers! [laughter]

Dr. Lori Buckley: Right, right!  I think what you also are bringing up is when you do have the courage and the strength and the confidence to ask for what you want and say what it is you want, that gives you more self-confidence.  It makes you feel even stronger.

Betty Dodson: Absolutely.

Dr. Lori Buckley:  Right?  So it really is this empowering circular thing I think that goes along with everything you're talking about, like masturbation.

Betty Dodson: Everything, everything!  My big problem is figuring out what it is I want.  Once I can figure it out, I can usually articulate it. 

Dr. Lori Buckley: Ah hah!

Betty Dodson: Instead of, "What do you want?"  "Oh, I don't know; maybe a little ..."  "Well I'm not sure.  I haven't tried that!"  It's an inability to make a commitment or a decision and maybe sometimes you feel like you don't know enough to even make a decision like that.

Dr. Lori Buckley: Right.  But then I guess you say that, right?

Betty Dodson:  You could at least say it and once again expose your vulnerability and your partner could jump in and you'd still have a conversation.

Dr. Lori Buckley: Absolutely.  I love that.  It's all about confidence and empowerment and relationship.  And isn't that what sex is?

Betty Dodson: I didn't hear that.

Dr. Lori Buckley: I said, isn't that what sex is? 

Betty Dodson: Well yeah.  It's fun but it won't be fun unless you're both enjoying it.  And in order for both the man and the woman or the two women or the two men to enjoy it, they need to get what they want.  And in order to get what they want, they have to let their partner know what that is. 

Dr. Lori Buckley: Absolutely.  I agree with you 100 percent!  I love that!  I was going to ask you, I have this quote.  I think you've answered it but I just want to clarify it because I think it's such a great quote.  You have said, at least I think you've said, "how we make love to ourselves is what we bring to partner sex".

Betty Dodson: I think it's self-explanatory.  In other words, if I've never masturbated and I don't know my own body and i don't know how to make myself have an orgasm, I come to partner sex a blank!  It's got to be up to whoever I'm with to chart the territory and figure it all out.  And by now we know that male sexuality and female sexuality, we have a lot of differences.  So how is a guy supposed to figure out how my sex organ works when I've never seen it, I've never touched it, I have no idea how it works myself?

Dr. Lori Buckley: Right.  Well, there you go.  That explains it.  [laughter]  Thank you for that.  Well right now we're going to have to take a short break.  I'm Dr. Lori and I'm with Betty Dodson.  You're listening to "On the Minds of Men" and we'll be right back.

We're back!  You're listening to "On the Minds of Men".  I'm your host Dr. Lori.  We're talking to Betty Dodson about women and sex.  Before the break we were talking about masturbation and how important communication is, just so much information Betty has.  This is great stuff!  I hope you're all taking notes! [laughter]

You know, Betty, I want to hear a little bit more – and I know our listeners do – about what you do in these women's workshops that you do.

Betty Dodson: I did them for 22 years on a regular basis and then I phased them out.  I actually wore out my hip joint.  And then I got hip replacement and I still do private sessions, which is like a workshop for one.  I am considering, I've done a few groups where I'm teaching women and a few men how to do sex coaching, the kind of hands-on work I'm doing which I enjoy.  I think that I may do maybe two or three more body/sex groups, the old format that I used to do back in the 70's and 80's and put it on film.

Dr. Lori Buckley: I think that would be fabulous.  You do have some of those on film now, correct?

Betty Dodson: Yeah, I have "Self-Loving" which is like a documentary of the workshop I did.

Dr. Lori Buckley: I have seen that and it's wonderful.  Is that available on your website as well?

Betty Dodson: Yeah, all of the DVDs and videos are all available on my website.  I also have a few of my favorite sex toys.

Dr. Lori Buckley: Oh! Great, like the barbell.

Betty Dodson: The barbell is there!

Dr. Lori Buckley: [laughter] And for those of you who don't know what we're talking about, the barbell is something that is used for Kegel exercises.  Not sure if we've actually talked about that before on this show.  But Kegel exercises are really important, right Betty?

Betty Dodson: Yeah, it's like you're sex muscle.

Dr. Lori Buckley: Right.  Your pubococcygeus, the pelvic floor area.  It's something that I recommend to everybody that comes into my office.  It the one thing I tell everybody.

Betty Dodson: Men should do this too because it helps them control their hard time so that they don't come too fast.

Dr. Lori Buckley: Right.

Betty Dodson:  And then when you get to be older, you won't pee in your pants.

Dr. Lori Buckley: Exactly! [laughter]

Betty Dodson: You'll have the control over your whole urinary system, the bladder and all that stuff.

Dr. Lori Buckley: Good for so many reasons!  Actually that leads me to a really good question that I have. 

By the way, later on this show I will talk more about Kegel exercises and I will have something on the website personallifemedia.com; I will give instructions on how to do Kegel exercises.  I will give you details and it'll be a great assignment for you to do that you could start right away and start improving your sex life.

So what we were talking about is aging.  We're going to have to wrap up here soon but I really would like to talk a little bit about sex and aging.  I'm wondering what you thin k about it.  How does getting older affect our sex life or does it?

Betty Dodson:  The culture absolutely just dumps on old people.  Women start – I don't know where men are at, if they have some of this to a degree – but women start worrying about getting old when they hit 40.  Then they kind of got pushed ahead and then it's 50, menopause.  But then by the time 60 rolls around, you think, "oh my god, this is really it!"  But I would like people to know that the decade of my 70s has been one of the best. 

Dr. Lori Buckley: Wow.

Betty Dodson: The reason for that is, a friend of mine said, "Oh, seventy! Seventy's great – it's the youth of old age!"  If you take care of your body and you eat correctly and you take a nice big dump every day and you exercise and you have orgasms and you love your life, aging is not such a big thing.  It’s not so scary.  But we hold the image that it's going to be grim and I'm going to ridden with disease and you do what all the pharmaceutical companies want you to do, like take all of their meds, then, yes, it can be terrifying.

Dr. Lori Buckley: Absolutely.  If you listeners get nothing else [laughter] from this but that – that is so inspiring!  We do look at getting older with such a negative vision and it's so sad.

Betty Dodson: It's terrible, terrible.  All the jokes about aging and we make fun of old people!  In many ways, depending on the condition of your health, that means physical and mental, that if you're in good health and in good shape and having a good time, age is just simply a number.

Dr. Lori Buckley: You are so right.  You absolutely have to take care of yourself.  There's no question about that.  But you're right, the mental part.  If we have this idea that oh, it's all over and it's all downhill from now –

Betty Dodson: Then we'll create that.

Dr. Lori Buckley: Exactly!  Your words are so important that we need to know that no, it can just get better.  Why?  We have so much more knowledge.  We don't really give a shit anymore, right, what people think about us. 

Betty Dodson: One of the best things that happened to me was when I turned 69, which is you know one of my favorite numbers anyway –

Dr. Lori Buckley: [laughter] I'm not surprised.

Betty Dodson: I met a man much younger than me and we're still together.  It was so unexpected to have a brand new lover there at that late stage of life.  I was prepared to remain a committed single.  After all, masturbation is my forte.  And wow, next thing I know I'm having great partner sex with this beautiful young man.

Dr. Lori Buckley: Unexpected but yet you were open to it.

Betty Dodson: Totally. 

Dr. Lori Buckley: Had you not been open to it, it would have never happened!

Betty Dodson: I have to say that I fought it a little bit.  You can have reservations and you can go, "well, I shouldn't do that" but think it through.  I decided that it's really about: do I deserve to have pleasure?  That's the key.  This is a very pleasure-negative culture; we're supposed to work and be dedicated and suffer.  I had to really make a choice; can I handle this much pleasure?  I thought, "Hell yes!"

Dr. Lori Buckley: And you're handling it well! [laughter] I know you are.  I'm so glad!  Just really, really glad!

OK, so we're almost out of time but I have one final question for you, Betty.  What is the one thing that men can do to give their partner more sexual pleasure?  I mean some specific trick.

Betty Dodson: [laughter] Try to find out want she does when she masturbates because basically how a woman masturbates is what she'll want to do during partner sex.  If she uses a vibrator when she masturbates, encourage her to bring it into your partner sex.  If she likes to have a certain fantasy or if she likes a certain kind of lighting, find out what she likes and then create the same thing in your partner sex. 

Now if you've got a girlfriend who won't talk then I really don't know what to tell you except move along and find someone who will talk to you about what they like.  Because trying to read someone’s mind, we've already determined, does not work.

Dr. Lori Buckley: It does not work.

Betty Dodson: The other approach would be to try a whole series of things.  It's not sexy.  You go diddle diddle diddle.  "Honey, did you like that?  How did that feel?"  "Oh, it was okay, but nah."  And then you try another stroke and then you try another pressure – you get what I'm saying?

Dr. Lori Buckley: I do!  Trial and error.

Betty Dodson: Each time, you try to get feedback.  Now this isn't going to be a hot, passionate session.  But it'll be a wealth of knowledge about who you're with.

Dr. Lori Buckley: And maybe it could be fun.  It could be like, let’s do some exploring.  Let's just have fun and play and see what we find out.

Betty Dodson: Yeah, turn it into a game.

Dr. Lori Buckley: Yeah! I love that!  I think that is a great bit of knowledge for everybody to take home with them.  I hope that everybody will embrace that and just listen to your words.  Because they are words of wisdom.  If anybody knows about women and vulvas and masturbation and pleasure and, most importantly, how to live – I mean really live – it's you, Betty.  You know I love you; I think you are just fabulous.  Thank you so much for joining us today.

Betty Dodson: Thank you, darling.  It's always fun to hang out with you.

Dr. Lori Buckley: Oh, I'm crazy about you.  You take care and thank you again!  And, listeners, I want you to join us next week "On the Minds on Men" when we talk to Paul Joannides, author of "The Guide to Getting It On".  We're doing to take a break right now and we will be back.  You're listening to "On the Minds on Men" and this is Dr. Lori.

Hi, this is Dr. Lori.  Well, your take-home exercise today is Kegel exercises.  As we spoke about before, Kegel exercises are the one thing that you can do right away, anytime, nobody knows and it is going to help you last longer.  It's going to give you stronger, more reliable erections.  It is just a wonderful exercise for men and women to do. 

Here's what you do.  You want to start out by isolating your pubococcygeus muscles or your pelvic floor muscles.  The best way to do that is while you're urinating.  In other words, you want to urinate and as you're urinating, you want to squeeze those muscles to stop the flow of urine.  Then you will know that you have isolate your PC muscles and you're doing the Kegel exercises properly.  Again, next time you urinate, you want to squeeze those muscles and stop the flow of urine.  That's the right muscles to be using.  Those are the target muscles when you do these exercises. 

Just like any exercise where you're working out a muscle, you want to go gently.  You don’t want to overdo it or you actually could strain yourself.  So start out easy.  You can do it in your car; you can do it when you're brushing your teeth; you can do it when you're standing in line.  I always recommend that you find a consistent time to do it; that way you know that you will be doing them everyday.  It's just really easy to forget unless you do that.  Brushing your teeth is a good one or at red lights but find something that works for you; whatever you think is the most convenient. 

What you're going to do is you're going to squeeze those muscles that we talked about and make sure you're concentrating on the front part of your muscles as opposed to your anus muscles which tend to get clenched as well.  You want to squeeze those muscles and hold it and then release it.  You also want to concentrate on the relaxation; not just the tightening but on the relaxation as well.  Why don't you start out with three sets of ten.  So you're going to squeeze it, hold it for a few seconds, and then release it.  So do three sets of those, ten each.  Then as you start to become stronger, those muscles strengthen, you can then add more sets; you could hold them for longer amounts of time; you can do more repetitions.  You're just going to work your way up.  You're just going to get stronger and stronger and stronger.  It actually doesn't take very long.  You might start to notice those muscles feeling stronger really in just a few weeks if you do them consistently. 

So don't forget to do your Kegels and start right now!  This is Dr. Lori.  You're listening to "On the Minds of Men" and see you next week.  Bye bye.