Sex For One: The Joy of Selfloving
by Betty Dodson, Ph.D.
1996. Crown Trade Paperback, NY.
I'd been meaning to read this book for several years, on reputation alone. I had it in my head that this was a masturbation self-help manual, and it sort of is, but more than that it is the entertaining memoir of pioneering masturbation activist Betty Dodson. In telling the story of her work, she explains the reasoning and the DIY research behind her pro-masturbation manifesto, the history and results of the BodySex selflove workshops she first held in her apartment, and the basic philosophy, methods, and benefits of selflove through masturbation.
By the end, she's presented quite a collection of ideas, principles and techniques. I already thought of masturbation as delightful for its own sake, and helpful for most problems, but Dodson really goes beyond the call of duty in offering useful ways to masturbate: for art, for health, for new ideas, for confidence, for love, for relaxation, for meditation, for the improvement of society, for fun.
Although the book doesn't read like a manual, it is packed full of great tips and discoveries about toys, techniques, multiple orgasms, and body image. My favorite new idea was to use Lamaze breathing techniques to work through intense post-orgasm clitoral sensitivity in order to have more orgasms without a cool-down period.
Even in the sections that weren't new information for me, Dodson's clever, funny adventures kept me entertained. Furthermore, her non-stop support for diversity, the value of sexuality and self-knowledge, and the safety of fantasy are an affirming read any time. It is really hard not to fall completely in love with Betty Dodson! And she's online!
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