Sexual Outlaw

Betty Dodson's picture
Wed, 06/03/2009 - 14:12
Submitted by Betty Dodson

Excerpt from My Romantic Love Wars

The year was 1982. I was four years past menopause and at fifty-three, the hormone levels were still dropping. Marijuana had always been an aphrodisiac, but I no longer smoked pot to keep my short-term memory sharp while writing my Sexual Memoirs. Along with my yearly sexual adventure as an anonymous prostitute and running the Bodysex Groups, I continued to be interested in ways to be erotically entertained during the many years that lay ahead.

One evening over dinner, my friend Suzanne was talking about a new support group of SM lesbians that had just started up that year. She had only been to one meeting, but when she described the kinds of topics discussed, I was transfixed. Here was a group of outrageous lesbian feminists who were enjoying the most politically incorrect sex imaginable. When I asked if she could bring me to their next meeting, she said she'd be happy to introduce me to them.

The notion of politically correct sex came from the early seventies when feminists wanted the ideal of love between equals with both partners monogamous. For heterosexual women, PC sex put them in the age old bind of trying to change men by getting them to shape up, settle down, and be faithful- a project that has consistently failed for centuries. Most lesbians assumed sex between women would naturally be equal and faithful which of course wasn't true.During the seventies, I too longed for the ideal of love and sex between equals which I was never able to establish. When I had a primary relationship with myself that was as equal as I could get. Even then, there were times I broke up with myself for treating me so badly.

Over the next few days, the old negative response to the label "SM" kept circling my thoughts. Once again, I reminded myself that when I was called a pornographer, a masturbator, a lesbian, or a prostitute, my advice to myself was consistent: "Embrace the label to destroy its power over you." As I walked toward this last label, I was desperately trying to shake the feeling that there was something intrinsically wrong with SM. Pain was the opposite of pleasure!
The following week Suzanne called at the last minute saying she had to cancel, which gave me the perfect excuse not to go.

But I was drawn to the possibility that I might discover a new dimension of sex. This was the last sexstyle I had yet to check out. In spite of the bitter cold weather, I bundled up and started walking down Fifth Avenue toward Greenwich Village. Entering the small apartment, I looked around the room and didn't see one familiar face. My internal dialogue was a broken record: "These women are probably all lesbian separatists and the minute they find out I'm bisexual, they won't let me join." I'd been discriminated against so many times in the past that the chip on my shoulder weighed heavily.

In spite of my anticipated rejection, I visually fell into lust with every woman there. One couple caught my eye first. A woman with dark hair was wearing a policeman's cap holding a chain attached to a collar worn by her beautiful prisoner. Outrageously incorrect! Another woman wearing a nurse's uniform had me fantasizing elaborate group enema scenes. Several women were androgynous butch dykes, and one literally took my breath away because I was convinced she was a man at first sight. There were also several pretty lipstick lesbians. The variety of women in the room offered something to please every sexual taste.

As we went around the room, each woman introduced herself and stated whether she was dominant or submissive and said a few words about how she liked to play. The closer they got to me the faster the butterflies fluttered inside my stomach. When it was my turn I defensively announced, "I'm a bisexual lesbian who's into self-inflicted pleasure." Then I braced myself for the rejection. Instead, several women smiled. One asked how I inflicted my pleasure. When I said it was with an electric vibrator, the room broke up laughing. Several women said they too were bisexual. One lovely redhead said she was married to a man, but had a woman slave she loved.

After the meeting ended and we sat around talking, I discovered the woman in the nurse's uniform really was a nurse and the woman wearing the policeman's hat worked for the board of education. Some of the other women were writers, one was an advertising executive, and another an investment broker. All and all, it was a group of professional women with a variety of jobs who lived in the New York metropolitan area. A coalition of lesbian and bisexual feminists who loved kinky sex was one of my fondest dreams come true. Within no time, I was right at home.

After several meetings, I began to understand the concept that all forms of sex were an exchange of power whether it was conscious or unconscious. My focus had been exclusively on the exchange of pleasure in sex. I had never considered sex in terms of power. A basic principle of SM is that all sexual activities between one or more adults must be consensual which required a verbal negotiation followed by an agreement between the players. In my youth when I had sex with a man, I automatically assumed he was in control. All my years of romantic sex when we tried to read each other's minds was non-consensual sex with me as a bottom. By the time I was forty and into sport fucking, I learned to take control as a form of self-protection, but none of this was ever discussed or agreed upon. When I had sex with a woman, I relied on visual queues.

As a teacher, I simply asked her questions. The idea that sex was an exchange of power presented a new understanding of my role as a workshop leader. I'd often kidded around in the groups about being a "top sergeant," but I never thought of myself as a dominant. Instead, I was guiding the group through pleasure rituals. Once I stepped back and looked at the power dynamics, I was blown away with a new image of my work. Every month I got a dozen women I'd never met to agree to spend two afternoons with me in the nude, share details of their sex lives and show me and each other their pussies. On the second day, we'd masturbate in a circle, have orgasms with electric machines and end with group massage. Since I got paid, that made me one of the biggest professional Doms in town.

Until I joined my SM support group, I had been unable to see this power dynamic. No wonder society condemned this sexual sub-culture. It allowed us to avoid looking at how unaware we are of our sexual power and therefore we continue to abuse it. This ignorance sustains the illusion that men and women are created equal. Yet everywhere I look, I witnessed inequality. A corporate executive climbs into a limousine next to a trash can where a bag lady rummages for food. A belief in equal opportunity and that government is "by and for the people" was the same as believing in the myth of romantic love with its false promise of living happily ever after. As I looked at sex from this new perspective, it felt like I was waking from a deep sleep.

Gradually I began to understand the immense variety of activities these women enjoyed: bondage, spanking, verbal humiliation, butch/femme roles, cross-dressing, fetishes, recreational sex, piercing, tattoos, and public sex performances. Everyone assumed a role that represented her position of power as a dominant or submissive without any judgments that one was better than the other. Women who played both roles were "switchables." Except for tattoos, bondage and spanking, I'd done most of these activities. I told the group that bondage scenes had been part of my sexual fantasies for years, but I'd never actually experienced it. They said new members didn't have to be experienced players. The purpose of the group was to explore all the possibilities of fantasy role-playing with other like-minded women.
One night Doris, one of the founding mothers of the group gave me some porn she'd written about consensual humiliation.

Although I'd enjoyed reading it, I couldn't imagine how humiliation could ever turn me on. She suggested I think about something I'd done in sex that I didn't want to do, something that embarrassed me as well as excited me, something that made me feel as though I were out of control, dirty, or extremely guilty. Scanning memories, I couldn't get any recall on sexual humiliation. After all, I'd just spent the last fifteen years proving to myself, and anyone else who would listen, that sex was good clean fun.

As I continued to think about what Doris said, a peculiar uncomfortable feeling crept over me. Had becoming a feminist sex teacher taken the spice out of my sex life? Had I lifted sex out of the gutter and elevated it to transcendental heights of cosmic bliss? Had I lost touch with basic aspects of my own human nature? Maybe in the efforts to redeem masturbation, I'd brainwashed myself with spiritual hearts and flowers, and in the process, I'd forgotten my humble beginnings when sex was definitely dirty and hot.

My erotic pendulum had swung over into the white light and stayed there. During the mid-seventies when I was dedicating my orgasms to the goddess of sexual love and abundance with meditative sex rituals, I'd forgotten about my dark side- a subterranean place where my mind sniffed out dirty little perversions. My masturbation fantasies had bondage scenes where I was helpless and fucked by wild dogs or Boy Scout troops. Now that I was no longer smoking marijuana and communing with spirit guides, a little "smut" might do me some good. So I continued to ask: "What was the most humiliating, sexy thing I'd ever done?"

Finally, my mind darted back to the beginning of my love affair with Grant. Seven years of sexual starvation during marriage had me as horny as a nanny goat, and I'd fallen into romantic love again. Ignoring his moodiness, heavy depressions, and bursts of volatile anger, I was utterly dependent upon him for my best orgasms which kept me coming back in spite of his bad temper.

One Saturday night, Grant wanted to cancel our date saying he wasn't fit for company and preferred to be alone. Pushing my agenda, I said I'd come over and cheer him up. He declined and I insisted, confidant that my sexual allure would banish his black mood. A big part of my arousal was anticipating sex while I got dressed. After I put in my diaphragm and showered, I slipped into a black knit dress that clung to every inch of my firm body. Carefully, I applied mascara, eyeliner, and lipstick. The weather was still warm, so I put on high-heeled sandals without hose. "Sexy!" I thought, as I looked in the mirror.

When I arrived at Grant's apartment around four in the afternoon, he was still in his pajamas nursing a depression. He let me in, and then went back into the bedroom and flopped down on his bed lethargically. Even though I could see he was miserable, I slipped off my panties, with seduction in mind. Standing next to his bed, I began undulating my hips inches from his face while I slowly raised my skirt. He watched without showing any signs of interest. Heat from embarrassment flushed my cheeks, yet I moved closer, and began massaging my clit, trying to arouse my disinterested lover.

At the time, the idea that he was my master and I was his sexual slave was not in my conscious mind. I simply wanted to have sex. But in recalling that moment, I could see how my feelings of humiliation coupled with sexual arousal had produced an emotional state, a kind of desperation, and I couldn't stop. That's when I spotted an empty coke bottle on his end table and grabbed it. As I thrust my hips forward, I slowly pushed the bottle inside my vagina. No decent woman would have done what I was doing. I definitely felt "dirty," but fucking my self finally got his attention. He stood up, pulled me to the floor and pushed me over the edge of his low bed. Still in his pajamas, he knelt behind me, opened the fly and shoved his hard cock into my wet cunt. Exactly what I wanted! While fucking me, he hurled his sadistic lightning bolt. "The next time you want to look sexy, I suggest you wear hose to hide the dirt on the soles of your feet."

A moment of utter humiliation that totally shattered my feminine desirability- I was dirty, unattractive. Lust was now combined with degradation, and those two conflicting emotions made my orgasm so intense that I cried and trembled all over like an autumn leaf. After getting what I wanted, the lingering feeling of shame was so confusing that I simply buried the memory and the scene was forgotten. We'd been faithful to the traditional sex roles of dominant sadistic male and submissive masochistic female with not one ounce of awareness. I was simply "in love."

When I thought about the first summer with Tommy in my early twenties when we had a vicious argument and I'd questioned his manhood. He got so angry that he slapped me across the face. Afterward I cried while he kissed away my tears, telling me how sorry he was and how much he loved me. All of this drama was foreplay for the hot sex that followed. Very interesting! And what about the time when Dr. Juan pierced my ears that hurt like hell just so I wouldn't lose the gold hoops he'd brought me from Madrid? So I wasn't such an SM novice after all.
Interesting how as romantic lovers we never thought we were playing a role. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that our society was doing around-the-clock SM without any awareness. Lovers possessed one another, husbands dominated wives, some wives dominated husbands, mothers punished their children, the kids teased the dog, and the dog got to bite the postman. Everyone had someone to "love."

After several more meetings, I realized some women in the group felt that being in a role full-time bordered on an obsession. Others who were doing master and slave full-time felt the most passionate sex would always be based upon owning another person. Their style of SM was the ultimate metaphor for romantic love. If both lovers consciously agreed, being consumed by an erotic obsession was viewed as a sexual preference.

Although I'd burned out on romantic obsessions, I'd be the first to admit it had produced some of the hottest sex I'd ever known. Like it or not, my postmenopausal sex life had become warm and friendly- maybe even downright wholesome. The only obsessive passion in my life was the current creative project I had embraced- writing a sexual memoir. Little did I know then that the cruelest mistress of all had me totally enslaved! I feverishly wrote night after night for five years devoted to telling my sexual story that was rejected by every publisher who read it. There were so many rejections I lost count. I was told if I turned it into a novel, they could sell a million copies. How's that for utter humiliation?

PS. My manuscript went back into the closet until I shopped it in 2005. Once again, my sexlife was rejected. This time I realized that the publishing industry doesn't deserve me. I'm back to the one place that has never censored me- the Internet.

Excerpt from Betty Dodson: My Sexual Revolution

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re: P.S.

Mon, 06/01/2009 - 19:12
The Nerd (not verified)

Of course they don't deserve you, they only care about what's been proven to make money in the past. I'm glad you're here and I thoroughly enjoy reading about your experience.


old-man's picture
Mon, 06/01/2009 - 23:37

Dear Dr. Betty, I love your writing. Are you going to write about what happened during those meetings you went to? I'd like to know what these people do.

thank you betty.

Tue, 06/02/2009 - 00:41
af (not verified)

this was an incredible read. sometimes conflicting feelings can often be a barrier. i love the way you illuminated coming to terms with sexual power play. thank you betty! i'm sending you a virtual hug!

A story of true courage.

tom.penry's picture
Tue, 06/02/2009 - 09:29


I am impressed at your assesment of the risks of rejection and yet you have gone bravely forward. Many live in fear because they do not consider the possibilities of taking a step. Thank you for writing this piece.

I appreciate

Tue, 06/02/2009 - 18:41
_Sharon_ (not verified)

I appreciate this sense of perspective. Why not play with power? Have fun with it! Be respectful, treat one another with dignity, enjoy the 'power play'. Embrace your preferences. Learn from humiliation. Let every experience serve you and assist you in discovering your true ever-evolving nature!

After reading this article today I have been aware of the energy exchanges with everyone I've been in contact with. People on the street, people at work, my family. I've been observing conversation and body language between acquaintances and it is so obvious how there is always an exchange of power in every kind of relationship - even interacting with the cashier at the grocery store! I feel em_powered now because I get a charge out of my new clarity of perspective.

Go ahead and state your desires and expectations in a sex relationship. If they don't match up with your potential partner's then no big deal, move on. It doesn't mean you can't enjoy the aspects of the relationship that do work for you. Its not personal if your desires are different. Dignity, respect, go with the flow, easy does it, if something doesn't work for you say so. Speak and act your truth. Assumptions and not voicing our truth are what lead to 'hurt feelings' and 'power struggles'.

My partner wanted a quickie this afternoon and he expected it to be a hassle to meet my needs first, which was an inaccurate assumption on his part because I was up for a fun and fast romp. I am not difficult to please, I am easy! All I required from a lover today was that he appreciate my Goddess nature. He thought that meant a big ordeal of fawning over me and professing adoration, I just meant it as "When you look at me, feel me, taste me, etc... I hope you like it!" Trust me, I can tell if you are sincerely enjoying our 'energy exchange'.

Thank you for sharing this article Betty. You have helped me to discover my belief that clear communication and acceptance are key to enjoying the power play and discovery of sexual exploration. I appreciate you sharing your experience.

For what it's worth...

Tue, 06/02/2009 - 22:23
k!m (not verified)

I'd read (and reread) every page of your sexual memoir!

I sent this piece to a few friends of mine who are openly into BDSM and catch a lot of flack for it here in the conservative south (middle GA, to be exact). They loved it and took a lot of inspiration from it knowing they are not alone in their sexual journeys.

Thank you for being so open and honest, Dr. Betty!

(P.S. I told a friend of mine about your site, and referred to you as my sexual fairy godmother, except your magical wings are replaced with magical insight and good old-fashioned intellect. Now that's your nickname among our circle of ladyfriends! :~)


Tue, 06/02/2009 - 22:55
_Sharon_ (not verified)

Betty, that picture is fucking HOT!

re: I appreciate

Wed, 06/03/2009 - 14:38
_Sharon_ (not verified)

I just wanted to clarify that when I wrote:

Have fun with it! Be respectful, treat one another with dignity, enjoy the 'power play'. Embrace your preferences. Learn from humiliation. Let every experience serve you and assist you in discovering your true ever-evolving nature!


Go ahead and state your desires and expectations in a sex relationship. If they don't match up with your potential partner's then no big deal, move on. It doesn't mean you can't enjoy the aspects of the relationship that do work for you. Its not personal if your desires are different. Dignity, respect, go with the flow, easy does it, if something doesn't work for you say so. Speak and act your truth. was not my intention to sound like I was giving Betty Dobson advice! I was just so excited about sharing my perspective with anyone else who might read my comment. I wanted to share my excitement about 'power play'.