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Sex for One: The Joy of Selfloving

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For more than 20 years, Betty Dodson has been dedicated to taking the shame out of masturbation, showing it to be a healthy form of sexual expression. With warmth and intelligence, and informative line drawings, Dodson explains how anyone can learn to fully enjoy the pleasures of self-love, pointing out that masturbation is still the safest sex.


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For more than 20 years, Betty Dodson has been dedicated to taking the shame out of masturbation, showing it to be a healthy form of sexual expression. With warmth and intelligence, and informative line drawings, Dodson explains how anyone can learn to fully enjoy the pleasures of self-love, pointing out that masturbation is still the safest sex.

30 review for Sex for One: The Joy of Selfloving

  1. 4 out of 5

    Christine Piccillo

    A friend handed this to me as she was packing her apartment. She read it for a sexuality class in college, and said it was a good read. I'll admit, Betty Dodson approaches the topic with the idea of liberating masturbation and allowing people to realize that self love is healthy and nothing to be ashamed of. She talks with a sense of openness and humor, and it was an enjoyable read. Although I will never understand how people are comfortable having sex talk groups in the nude, I appreciate the s A friend handed this to me as she was packing her apartment. She read it for a sexuality class in college, and said it was a good read. I'll admit, Betty Dodson approaches the topic with the idea of liberating masturbation and allowing people to realize that self love is healthy and nothing to be ashamed of. She talks with a sense of openness and humor, and it was an enjoyable read. Although I will never understand how people are comfortable having sex talk groups in the nude, I appreciate the spirit in which she discusses the matter. She even took part in one of the studies at Rutgers where the charted the vitals of people during climax - and was amused to find out that they had to stop her because her vitals simulated a near heart attack. Dodson is a woman comfortable with herself where so many people are more afraid of what people will think or say about their innermost fantasies and sex practices, and if nothing else, this is a book that will reaffirm that there is no "normal", and as long as you can be comfortable in your own skin - anything goes.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Patricia Elzie-Tuttle (theinfophile)

    This book is really dated, and I can see how outstanding it must have been when it was originally published. I don't find it really helpful for people who are already sex-positive; however, for people who don't yet appreciate their bodies, I feel it's excellent. I suggested it to a friend who was almost 30 and had never masturbated and she said it really helped her learn to love and know herself. This book is really dated, and I can see how outstanding it must have been when it was originally published. I don't find it really helpful for people who are already sex-positive; however, for people who don't yet appreciate their bodies, I feel it's excellent. I suggested it to a friend who was almost 30 and had never masturbated and she said it really helped her learn to love and know herself.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Manny

    I know I flicked through this once in a bookshop, but I can't remember a damn thing about it. Anyway, great title. I know I flicked through this once in a bookshop, but I can't remember a damn thing about it. Anyway, great title.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    I was eager to read something by Dodson, she is such a big name in the sex education movement. This book was kind of a disappointment, though. It must have been great when it was originally published, and I am happy to read about the many people who have benefited from her workshops. However, to me this books feels often painfully dated. Some of my main problems were: + Talking about female genital mutilation and male circumcision as if they're the same horrible act. These two are not anywhere cl I was eager to read something by Dodson, she is such a big name in the sex education movement. This book was kind of a disappointment, though. It must have been great when it was originally published, and I am happy to read about the many people who have benefited from her workshops. However, to me this books feels often painfully dated. Some of my main problems were: + Talking about female genital mutilation and male circumcision as if they're the same horrible act. These two are not anywhere close to each other in severity! + Don't blow air into the vagina, please! This is dangerous, why is it being demonstrated? + The author is convinced that bisexuality is the natural human state, and at several times she hints that heterosexuality and homosexuality are the result of socialization to suppress one of the two sides of your sexuality. This is not going to help gay rights activism one bit. + The author speaks of role reversal. She recommends that women put on a leather jacket to get in touch with their male assertive side. I can't even. + Almost every chapter has a piece about how pornography is going to save women's sexual lives. Once pornography goes mainstream, women will be able to see that every vulva is different! There are so many body types! Self-acceptance and self-love will rule the earth! This feels painfully naive once you live in a time where pornography is everywhere, and when this pornography mostly promotes only one type of woman (who is highly unnatural), and when it often depicts violence towards women and has little regard for the female orgasm. + "He feels that anal penetration balances his yin/yang energies by putting him in touch with the divine female principle of opening and receiving." *groan* How many more feminine/masculine trait stereotypes can I bear? + Don't put food into the vagina! They can contain bacteria and pesticides, not to start about yeast infections or parts of food that break off and get left behind. The book recommends trying out all types of vegetables to learn what size you prefer before you spend any money on a dildo you won't like. Honestly, saving some money shouldn't come with risks for your vaginal health. + About women after menopause: "I'm convinced it's important to continue doing some kind of penetration to slough off dead cells, aerate the vaginal barrel, stimulate natural lubrication, moisturize the vagina with oils, increase hormone levels with regular orgasms, and keep the PC muscle toned." No scientific grounds for these are given, and I can't find evidence for any of these claims. How can sexual stereotypes and taboos be broken if penetration is promoted as necessary. It just puts unnecessary pressure on women, especially postmenopausal women. If you are concerned about your pelvic floor muscles, just pick up Kegel exercises. Don't worry about the other claims. + Extra list of things not to do with your vagina even though it is mentioned somewhere in the book, either by the author or in the letters at the end: douching, putting on perfume, using soap.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Joanna

    I'm not at all embarrassed in letting you know that I read this book. It was totally wild and eye opening. I'm not at all embarrassed in letting you know that I read this book. It was totally wild and eye opening.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    This is not so much a book of "how to" as a book of "why not?". It is an important if, for no other reason, than it encourages us to develop a loving relationship with ourselves. Masturbation should be more than "getting off". It should also be a discovery of our own beautiful, amazing bodies. There are enough messages out there that encourage self loathing. This message of self acceptance is a breath of fresh air. This is not so much a book of "how to" as a book of "why not?". It is an important if, for no other reason, than it encourages us to develop a loving relationship with ourselves. Masturbation should be more than "getting off". It should also be a discovery of our own beautiful, amazing bodies. There are enough messages out there that encourage self loathing. This message of self acceptance is a breath of fresh air.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Teresa

    I thought this book was going to be simply a how-to-guide, but it's far from it. It's not until the end that Betty Dodson gives any sort of direction on how to give yourself pleasure and even then, it's not your typical masturbation book. The book is about feminism throughout the years and about how people need to love their bodies in order to experience sexual satisfaction. I read this book this summer during a darker period in my life and it brought me a lot of comfort and rejuvenated me. I wo I thought this book was going to be simply a how-to-guide, but it's far from it. It's not until the end that Betty Dodson gives any sort of direction on how to give yourself pleasure and even then, it's not your typical masturbation book. The book is about feminism throughout the years and about how people need to love their bodies in order to experience sexual satisfaction. I read this book this summer during a darker period in my life and it brought me a lot of comfort and rejuvenated me. I would recommend this book to any guava lover! My only critique is that occasionally throughout the book, she makes comments that I fear would alienate the transgendered community and despite being an open bisexual, she seems to still come from a hetero-normative viewpoint at times. However, I feel like she makes up for this in so many ways.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Akilah

    This really should be mandatory in women's studies classes. I wish I had read it sooner. Although, I should point out that it's not just for women. Men should read it too. This really should be mandatory in women's studies classes. I wish I had read it sooner. Although, I should point out that it's not just for women. Men should read it too.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jamie

    The book I wish I had when I was young, for SO many reasons.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Miller Sherling

    Bad prose, impressive illustrations, really really great ideas. This woman has helped more people to be happy than pretty much any other single person I can think of. Coolest, to me, is her idea that seeing masturbation as a sorry substitute for a partner or partners, or as an activity exclusively for the lonely, is almost as damaging as seeing it as causing blindness. It remains a dirty little secret, and women _and_ men are preventing from figuring out their best forms of sexual happiness and Bad prose, impressive illustrations, really really great ideas. This woman has helped more people to be happy than pretty much any other single person I can think of. Coolest, to me, is her idea that seeing masturbation as a sorry substitute for a partner or partners, or as an activity exclusively for the lonely, is almost as damaging as seeing it as causing blindness. It remains a dirty little secret, and women _and_ men are preventing from figuring out their best forms of sexual happiness and self-expression because they're taught to fear or disapprove of their own bodies. Good stuff.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Cristina

    I feel that Dodson's book is a great read for beginner and expert alike. Its more than just a manual, it gives one insight on her own voyage to a "cunt positive" lifestyle and provides a bit of history too. The pictures are also fabulous, providing one with exquisite examples and ideas. After reading the book and trying out some of her advice I must say that I feel 50x more comfortable with myself. LOVE the book! I feel that Dodson's book is a great read for beginner and expert alike. Its more than just a manual, it gives one insight on her own voyage to a "cunt positive" lifestyle and provides a bit of history too. The pictures are also fabulous, providing one with exquisite examples and ideas. After reading the book and trying out some of her advice I must say that I feel 50x more comfortable with myself. LOVE the book!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    I think I'm on my 3rd copy of this - I keep lending it out, and every once in a while it doesn't come back. A great book. I highly recommend it for anyone trying to overcome issues regarding sexuality and feelings of their own self-worth (or lack thereof). Betty can be a bit political and "out there" in her writing, but it's a good book and solidly sex-positive. I think I'm on my 3rd copy of this - I keep lending it out, and every once in a while it doesn't come back. A great book. I highly recommend it for anyone trying to overcome issues regarding sexuality and feelings of their own self-worth (or lack thereof). Betty can be a bit political and "out there" in her writing, but it's a good book and solidly sex-positive.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Metagnat

    This book was not particularly what I expected. It's not really a sex manual. It does contain some tips and ideas, but the bulk of the book is a sort of history of Dodson's own sexual liberation and the story of her work to liberate others. It's interesting and funny and I could see how it might be internally liberating for the person who is insufficiently liberated when they begin. This book was not particularly what I expected. It's not really a sex manual. It does contain some tips and ideas, but the bulk of the book is a sort of history of Dodson's own sexual liberation and the story of her work to liberate others. It's interesting and funny and I could see how it might be internally liberating for the person who is insufficiently liberated when they begin.

  14. 5 out of 5

    The Cute Little Brown-haired girl

    My gay friend, Matthew gave this book to me. He was a book slut and only bought books on sex. I think I read three chapters of it. It is by far, very "open minded", and gives you things to ponder about your own sexuality and beliefs about "self love". My gay friend, Matthew gave this book to me. He was a book slut and only bought books on sex. I think I read three chapters of it. It is by far, very "open minded", and gives you things to ponder about your own sexuality and beliefs about "self love".

  15. 5 out of 5

    Arianna

    I found the book to be empowering, interesting, relatable, and easy to follow and read. I would definitely recommend it. I found it easy to compare and contrast the similarities of today's society and society at the time she wrote the book. The book is geared more towards women, however does not exclude men and is helpful to all genders and sexualities. With those being said, much of the supporting content is outdated. I was also annoyed that the author was often repetitive of her concepts. I fel I found the book to be empowering, interesting, relatable, and easy to follow and read. I would definitely recommend it. I found it easy to compare and contrast the similarities of today's society and society at the time she wrote the book. The book is geared more towards women, however does not exclude men and is helpful to all genders and sexualities. With those being said, much of the supporting content is outdated. I was also annoyed that the author was often repetitive of her concepts. I felt like the book was more about her personal history of self-discovery versus what someone else can do to discover their own positive sexuality. I also felt like the book had undertones of the author trying to sell herself and her work, and at times that made it feel like the author and the book were not genuine and authentic. Overall I enjoyed the book and found that it is still applicable to today's society and felt that its philosophies are still pertinent to those seeking help in finding their own sexual satisfaction and selves.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Chezzie

    This is an important book because not enough positive books are written about masturbation. It covers 101 type stuff. Self-love and getting over negative feelings about sexual pleasure, techniques, pictures of cunts (but for all the talk about the uniqueness where are the dick pics??). But I'm really not for what she has to say about sexual fantasies -- that whatever one wants to imagine is okay. Incest, animals, rape. The first two are gross and wrong but fantasizing about rape (whether you're t This is an important book because not enough positive books are written about masturbation. It covers 101 type stuff. Self-love and getting over negative feelings about sexual pleasure, techniques, pictures of cunts (but for all the talk about the uniqueness where are the dick pics??). But I'm really not for what she has to say about sexual fantasies -- that whatever one wants to imagine is okay. Incest, animals, rape. The first two are gross and wrong but fantasizing about rape (whether you're the rapist or the victim -- or both as Dodson claims) is just no. Rape is not sex and blurring that line is all-around harmful by building the idea of rape being okay and acting on it or by leading to confusion about consent (victim blaming or harm to oneself). I'm also very not into porn. It's just so dehumanizing, how can anyone conscious of that get off to it? UHG. Even feminist porn outside the industry, featuring consenting adults rubs me the wrong way. (Hahahah...)

  17. 5 out of 5

    sheena d.

    People who have tiny little ice boxes down there should read this. It might help you defrost. And if you don't need to loosen up, maybe you can at least enjoy the drawings of genitals, and the funny faces you'll make when you consider how uncomfortable our society STILL is when it comes to discussing masturbation and basic human anatomy. I read two chapters before bed every night and was rewarded with incredible dreams. Betty Dodson is the auntie who would let you get wasted at her house and total People who have tiny little ice boxes down there should read this. It might help you defrost. And if you don't need to loosen up, maybe you can at least enjoy the drawings of genitals, and the funny faces you'll make when you consider how uncomfortable our society STILL is when it comes to discussing masturbation and basic human anatomy. I read two chapters before bed every night and was rewarded with incredible dreams. Betty Dodson is the auntie who would let you get wasted at her house and totally not tell your parents. Inspiring woman who really does want the best for you.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Courtney

    Not at all what I expected, and I actually felt pretty disappointed in Dodson's staunch refusal to see sex as a valuable source of romantic intimacy. I felt like she really idolized the goal of getting off any way that felt good, and i think that ignores a basic human need for connection and sex as a primary vehicle for potentially forging that connection. But yeah, sure, we should all masturbate more. Maybe this speaks to this book being rather outdated, but I think in 2017 there are plenty of Not at all what I expected, and I actually felt pretty disappointed in Dodson's staunch refusal to see sex as a valuable source of romantic intimacy. I felt like she really idolized the goal of getting off any way that felt good, and i think that ignores a basic human need for connection and sex as a primary vehicle for potentially forging that connection. But yeah, sure, we should all masturbate more. Maybe this speaks to this book being rather outdated, but I think in 2017 there are plenty of lonely single people masturbating to porn so that point felt more sad than empowering to me.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Lynn

    Gave a copy to my ex-wife as a divorce gift because I was a horse's backside back then. Gave a copy to my ex-wife as a divorce gift because I was a horse's backside back then.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jordan

    First book about sex I ever read... That wasn't about how babies are made. First book about sex I ever read... That wasn't about how babies are made.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ranee

    In spite of the generational aging of some of the examples, the essence and intention of Dodson's mission to liberate masturbation (and by extension sexual pleasure as a whole) is clear and strong. Many of my beliefs and attitudes towards sex, masturbation, sexuality and my body as a woman were both reaffirmed and enlightened as I read through Dodson's experiences and journey. This book also showed me that despite the strides we may have made over the last five decades, as a society we are still In spite of the generational aging of some of the examples, the essence and intention of Dodson's mission to liberate masturbation (and by extension sexual pleasure as a whole) is clear and strong. Many of my beliefs and attitudes towards sex, masturbation, sexuality and my body as a woman were both reaffirmed and enlightened as I read through Dodson's experiences and journey. This book also showed me that despite the strides we may have made over the last five decades, as a society we are still a long way away from a completely liberated acceptance and perspective on everything to do with sex.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Zzeke

    This book taught me how to make myself cum. I was 20, when I bought it, had been sexually active for 2 years, and had never previously been able to give myself an orgasm. (Bet you can guess which genitals I possess.) It is far from a perfect book- for example it is way out of date in its comprehension of gender and of biology- but for the previously stated reason, I am giving it the highest possible rating. As well as an indomitable crusader for masturbation and sex-positivity, Dodson is a maste This book taught me how to make myself cum. I was 20, when I bought it, had been sexually active for 2 years, and had never previously been able to give myself an orgasm. (Bet you can guess which genitals I possess.) It is far from a perfect book- for example it is way out of date in its comprehension of gender and of biology- but for the previously stated reason, I am giving it the highest possible rating. As well as an indomitable crusader for masturbation and sex-positivity, Dodson is a masterful artist; her vulva illustrations are off the hook, gorgeous, and superbly compliment the text.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Yumi Siu-Lee

    Deeply unsexy

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jacia

    This has such a positive and liberating view on sex. The only thing that annoyed me was her lack of concern for the actresses sold into porn, as she claimed the only bad porn was boring porn, but otherwise this author is a self-loving delight. Her experiences in her field were deeply interesting, and I enjoyed the topic immensely. The way she discusses sex and masturbation was so unapologetic, it makes everything feel good and natural. In fact, I’m almost too embarrassed to post my review, but s This has such a positive and liberating view on sex. The only thing that annoyed me was her lack of concern for the actresses sold into porn, as she claimed the only bad porn was boring porn, but otherwise this author is a self-loving delight. Her experiences in her field were deeply interesting, and I enjoyed the topic immensely. The way she discusses sex and masturbation was so unapologetic, it makes everything feel good and natural. In fact, I’m almost too embarrassed to post my review, but since she’d want me to I will. Anyone should take a gander at this book at some point. Cheers. Edit: Here’s a more thorough review with my notes in front of me, since I had no power and a bit of time on my hand to re-read. Dr Dodson romanticizes masturbation while trying to dispel the myths around it. This is what I find particularly great about this book. Things that ticked me off include Dr Dodson’s use of pornography and sensual explicit videos interchangeably. I can agree that censorship is not the answer to violence against women, however, many women that are in pornography deeply wish they weren’t. Sex trafficking, drug abuse, and blackmail are all involved in the creation of the most popular pornography sites and I believe it’s dangerous to shrug and say it can be hot if it’s consensual but we can’t do anything if it’s not. Another things that really got to me, and actually made this book lose a star for me, is a focus on men being as harmed by sexual repression as women. In my experience, and as a long time academic feminist, women are much more harmed by things such as FGM (her comparison of circumcision is deeply disgusting to me. I agree that male circumcision is an issue, but women are being mutilated to the point of not even being able to have sex). Men not lasting over a few minutes is not comparable to women feeling disgusting in our bodies imo, or just call me a feminist I guess. In Dr Dodson’s experience, monogamy is also to blame for sexual disfunction, which seems like a weird claim. I can agree that people (particularly women) shouldn’t feel like they can only have one forever partner, but I disagree that it is important to maintain affairs separate from your partner. My favorite chapter (even if a lot of things she was claiming about FGM were wrong imo) was the Genital Imagery chapter. What a lovely thing, for women to see vulvas and understand that there are other women who look like us and there is no “normal” for genitals. Probably my favorite workshop of Dr Dodson’s is when she would travel the country showing off “feminist split beavers”. Overall, fun, and I do recommend it to people who maybe aren’t the same branch of feminist as I, but it’s definitely helpful in general to those a bit more repressed than myself.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Robert

    Yea, I got this book in a crate from my grandmothers house after she passed. A diverse collection across the board. She was a book worm and interested in anything and everything. Interesting at times. She's definitely all about this stuff. And you know what, I buy into a lot of the liberating the idea and all that. And there's worth in it, to me it's something that she's over passionate about, but I could bet for a lot of repressed people or had issues growing up or anything, they need someone mo Yea, I got this book in a crate from my grandmothers house after she passed. A diverse collection across the board. She was a book worm and interested in anything and everything. Interesting at times. She's definitely all about this stuff. And you know what, I buy into a lot of the liberating the idea and all that. And there's worth in it, to me it's something that she's over passionate about, but I could bet for a lot of repressed people or had issues growing up or anything, they need someone more like her to say things that I think are more commonplace. I do like a lot of her ideas and all that. Some neat things. It's a quick read.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Bill

    A very brave, groundbreaking woman who has helped people accept, indeed love, their own bodies and to seek their sexual fulfillment without relying exclusively (and unrealistically) on their partner. She also has an online presence (reviewing sex toys etc) and comes across as so witty, insightful and balanced.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Chrissy

    This book is amazing. This has been exactly how I've been feeling for years. SO many women do not explore their bodies enough. Sex along with masturbation can enhance your experience. very good read. This book is amazing. This has been exactly how I've been feeling for years. SO many women do not explore their bodies enough. Sex along with masturbation can enhance your experience. very good read.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Barb Ward

    This book was a great read for me or anybody who is ready to sexually free themselves and get to intimately know their own body. The author is extremely candid and has many great ideas for getting in touch with what pleasures you. It's very intimate. This book was a great read for me or anybody who is ready to sexually free themselves and get to intimately know their own body. The author is extremely candid and has many great ideas for getting in touch with what pleasures you. It's very intimate.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Pamela Dailey

    one of my all time favs

  30. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    I thought this book was ok. It was more about the movement in the 50's to have everyone know that masturbation was ok then the actual act. Betty Dodson is a cool lady -- a definite role model! I thought this book was ok. It was more about the movement in the 50's to have everyone know that masturbation was ok then the actual act. Betty Dodson is a cool lady -- a definite role model!

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