With a hellish election season finally wrapped up here in the United States, I can’t help but think back to all of the disgustingly sexist things that have happened. It made me think for the billionth time that we need better sex education in this country. Particularly, we need better sex and gender education, and everyone regardless of gender needs to learn about feminism. Well, sadly, we all know that isn’t happening in our current education system, which is why I am so grateful for those people on YouTube who try to educate others. Today I specifically want to talk about Carlin Ross and Betty Dodson, two amazing feminists and sex educators whose goal is to help de-stigmatize women’s bodies, help women learn about their bodies, promote a healthy sex-positive attitude, and promote women’s rights.
Warning for explicit discussion of sex and general NSFW-ness after the jump.
Betty Dodson is perhaps one of my favorite feminists. She has a PhD in sexology and works as a sex coach. She is also an artist and an author who has published several feminist books that are still sadly on my wishlist as I am poor. She wrote Liberating Masturbation: A Meditation on Selflove in 1974, Sex for One in 1987, Orgasms for Two in 2002, and recently published her memoirs titled My Romantic Love Wars: A Sexual Memoir, which details her personal feminist sexual activism, and her experience with the sexual revolution and the women’s movement. Carlin Ross is a close friend of Dodson’s and works as an attorney and entrepreneur to help promote Dodson’s feminist-based sex education. Her writings on sex and sex education are in a variety of national publications like Marie Claire, Cosmo, and Esquire.
Together these two women started the website dodsonandross.com and created the Bodysex workshops. On their site, they explain the goal of both the website and the Bodysex workshops:
Betty Dodson PhD and Carlin Ross JD launched this site in 2007 to promote the “Betty Dodson” method of selflove and feminist-based sex education. All of our content is based on sex questions submitted here and answered by Betty from users all over the world.
Our biannual Bodysex workshops teach women how to overcome negative body image and pleasure anxiety. Most recently, we’ve begun certifying women to run their own Bodysex workshops (women from 8 countries and 9 states have enrolled/completed our program).
The Bodysex workshop in particular is fascinating. The workshop gives women the opportunity to come together as a group to be naked around each other, de-stigmatizing women’s bodies and nakedness in general, and teaches women how to pleasure themselves. Speaking from experience, I personally have struggled with my body image and pleasure anxiety. So much of society today asks women to focus on “pleasing their man” that many women don’t even think about their own sexual desires. I always worried that I didn’t orgasm fast enough and I even worried about what I looked like while having sex, as the media seems to perpetuate this idea that you must always look gorgeous while having sex. Certainly you should never look like your makeup is sweating off or—God forbid—have any body hair. Dodson and Ross are aware that many women have these and other issues and the Bodysex workshops seeks to help women overcome these problems and learn to enjoy themselves. Sadly, the workshops are pretty expensive, but have no fear; you can still learn a lot about these and many more issues from their website, YouTube videos, and podcast.
The podcasts have everything from how to use a vibrator to interviews with doulas and discussions on bondage and feminism. It’s generally an excellent source of information on sexual education and feminism. The website has articles written by a variety of authors who focus on issues involving sex and feminism, but the best aspect is probably the questions that Dodson gets asked about a variety of issues. The questions that get asked the most are the ones that lead to Ross and Dodson doing videos about said topic on YouTube. The videos are fun and off the cuff, with Ross and Dodson simply discussing whichever topic they feel needs to be discussed. This can be anything from sexual education to reproductive issues and women’s rights. They are highly informative and I’m not ashamed to admit that I learned a lot about my body that I didn’t know before from watching these videos.
These are two women that I greatly admire, and I highly recommend checking them out. Even if you think you are highly educated on the topics of sex and feminism, I would still recommend looking into the media created by Dodson and Ross as I can guarantee that you will likely learn at least one new thing that you didn’t know before. Check out their website and podcast here and their YouTube videos here! You can also follow them on Twitter here and here.