"Her Entire Life was a Process of Cutting Away the Dense Cultural Thickets that Defined Women’s Sexual Roles"

Sat, 02/18/2012 - 10:26
Submitted by Betty Dodson
photo: Betty Dodson

I received this fabulous review of my memoir from a friend I’ve known since the seventies, Beck Peacock and his wife Carol and a lot of other folks had a Sex Conference in BC, Canada. My side-kick was Rae Larsen who heads up SISTER (Seattle Institute for Sex Education and Research.) As I read Beck’s review, I had a case of goose bumps:

“Betty Dodson’s My Romanic Love Wars" is a rare memoir, the most unflinching account of a person’s sexual history since My Life and Loves by Frank Harris, published ninety years ago. But this time it’s a woman writing and, oh, the difference.

Dodson and Harris both had a very active background in the arts. Harris was a famous writer and literary magazine editor in his generation; Dodson is a NYC sexual revolutionary in painting, photography, writing, education, and erotic performance.

Harris scandalized many in the literary world and his book was censored by right thinking bureaucrats for decades. Today’s crowd is harder to shock, but there is something in Dodson’s book, some very detailed experiences, that will push even the most the open-minded reader to his or her limit. Betty has very personally investigated every avenue of female sexual expression -- and she tells you all about it.

Dodson gives new definition and depth to the word “honest”. Her book is an unapologetic memoir of her continuing sexual evolution during her 80 plus years. She was born and raised in Kansas and has never lost her Midwest brashness, even as she infiltrated New York City’s incestuous art world. Increasingly she became the sexual rebel in her art and life, and she has remained the most outspoken and refreshing woman for the last several generations.

What do we do with this woman? Many will dismiss her as a compulsive sex addict, others will do what they’ve always done and simple ignore her. But neither attitude works. She dared to advertise the word “Masturbation” and then published a popular underground book advocating and demonstrating the art of self loving. As uncomfortable as it may be for some, Dodson personally plumbs the depths (and polishes the surfaces) of every human sexual expression imaginable. Betty has done it all. Repeatedly.”

(Disclosure: Betty and I have crossed paths often since the early 70s and I’ve been the beneficiary of her talents)

Like her art, her writing style can be beautifully frank and confronting. At times in her life she was a hard boiled chick attempting to economically make it in New York’s tough and puzzling art scene. But she’s also a born comedian and her stories are filled with ironic humor and great punch lines. Often in the book she is genuinely vulnerable and affectionate, especially in the role of a very loyal daughter to her amazing mother. Always however she is an extreme realist in her sexual encounters with women and men -- and with herself; Dodson is a woman of strong opinions, sometimes hardened ones.

But her sweet humor softens continuously. She never spares herself. She will take a position at one moment in her life and in the next chapter will admit that she was wrong and move on with renewed enthusiasm. Her entire life has been a process of cutting away the dense cultural thickets that defined women’s sexual roles. Each detailed sexual anecdote -- almost all describing a phase in her outrageously adventurous sexual journey -- tells of the confusion, the pain, but mostly the pure joy and dedication in her mission and her life.

Read the book and be prepared for a shock of recognition. You’ll discover yourself somewhere in the pages.

Beck Peacock

My Romantic Love Wars - ebook edition
My Romantici Love Wars - print edition

Liberating women one orgasm at a time

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