Vanessa Del Rio: 50 Years of Slightly Slutty Behavior

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Betty Dodson

Once I turned the first few pages, I couldn't stop. Vanessa Del Rio: 50 Years of Slightly Slutty Behavior is an amazing work of art that was produced by Taschen, the German publishing company that does the best art books in the world.

They spare nothing in terms of quality: the design, paper and printing are the best. Add a subject like Vanessa del Rio, a hot uninhibited Latina who is an authentically sexual woman, and you have a outstanding combination. Vanessa thoroughly enjoyed her career in the porn industry in the seventies when sex was free wheeling with no concern of dying from AIDS. We haven't seen anything like it since. In many ways her love of sex mirrors my own as a woman enjoying multiple partners and gaining the reputation of throwing the best groupsex parties in NYC during that same era. I never had a body for porn, but I ran nude workshops for women who wanted to learn about sex in my Bodysex groups. On the second day, we always ended with a group masturbation celebration- or as it was often referred to in the media- a "Girls Circle Jerk."

It's only been in the past several years that I've gotten to know Vanessa personally, but I'd known about her since the seventies. At the time, my sex buddy Grant was a porn lover and pussy aficionado who always raved about Vanessa. He made it a point to show me films that displayed her clitoris in all its glory. After I got over feeling a bit jealous, (okay, a lot jealous), I too admired her lusty sexuality. Here was a woman who really liked all aspects of sex! She was not faking or pretending- just grooving on cocks, balls, assholes, cunts, tits, et al.

I first met Vanessa back in the eighties at Annie Sprinkles apartment with a group of other women. I went over to her and said how much I enjoyed her films and commented on the size of her magnificent clitoris. She had no idea who I was, but she smiled graciously and thanked me. I'd been running my Bodysex groups for over ten years plus by then and I'd seen a lot of clits. In a way I was an expert on vulvas. Vanessa probably thought I was some bold dyke coming on to her, but the truth is I'm a lousy lesbian who is very shy whenever I'm introduced to a woman I admire.

While I have been a fan of Vanessa since the seventies, getting to know her better has been a joy. In the past five years, a small group of us who are involved in the sex scene get together several times a year for fun and to celebrate birthdays. Michele Capozzi, my favorite urban hobo (that everyone in NYC seems to know and love) named our little group the "Gangola." Besides him, there is Veronica Vera and her boyfriend Stu, Candida Royalle, Amy and her husband Ken, Barbara Corellas and Kate Bornstein, Vanessa and Vito. Recently I pulled in Carlin and her boyfriend Geof. Candice and I are the singles right now.

Vanessa's sense of humor cracks me up. She has such a sharp wit and is so ready to laugh. When she opens her over life-sized gorgeous bright red mouth with perfect white teeth and belts out a raucous belly laugh, the whole room can't help but join in. Her story about getting her miniature bulldog his testicle implants called "Neuticles" is a classic. She didn't want him to feel inferior when all the other dogs licked their balls. That's what I call a Dog Lover!

A big thank you goes to Dian Hansen who asked all the right questions and captured the essence of Vanessa's while writing it all down. Vanessa tells her story with class and without apology. What I like most is how she embraces being a slut- "That's slut with a capitol S"- she laughs as she takes pride in her uninhibited sexuality with no apologies offered. I was also touched with her concern about a young woman who wanted to be a whore and a porn star. Vanessa worries that today is so different than the seventies. That's been one of my big fears about releasing my memoir. Will young girls want to emulate my seventies sexual freedom and maybe get hurt along the way?

Anyone who goes into any aspect of the sex business today or tomorrow will be eyed suspiciously by a culture steeped in religious moral judgments. Even academics like Kinsey or Masters and Johnson were looked upon as somehow weird. I can tell you that once I specialized in drawing, writing, filming and teaching women about masturbation, I knew I'd never get to join the Country Club. Taking on the subject of masturbation and promoting it as the foundation for all of human sexual behavior hasn't given me any special awards yet, but I still intend to receive the Noble Peace Prize for ending the war between the sexes- when I'm ninety.

Until then, I agree with Vanessa when she says at the end of her book, "Any experience I had that may have been exploitative I always turned to enjoyment. I just embraced the raw underbelly of life and let her carry me where ever she would. She's given me quite a ride."

As far as I'm concerned, this is the coffee table book of the century!

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