You Are Your Safest Sex Partner. Betty Dodson Wants to Help.

She was chatting before the spread of the novel coronavirus sent New Yorkers into self-isolation, in the combined office and bedroom where she and Ms. Dodson write and plan their projects.

A gilded, winged penis, one of Ms. Dodson’s oddly assorted awards, claimed pride of place on a high shelf of a bookcase otherwise lined with self-published videocassettes like “Viva la Vulva,” and germinal works including “Sex for One: The Joy of Self-Loving,” her groundbreaking 1987 primer on female masturbation.

Ms. Dodson made her entrance dressed in a slouchy bathrobe, its chest pocket monogrammed with the letters, B.A.D., “my initials, Betty Anne Dodson,” she said, eyes crinkling, before returning to her theme.

Sure, an orgasm can be noisy at times. “Usually, though, the sounds are a lot more guttural, deeper, more animalistic,” she said. “The legs tremble, the whole body trembles. I’ve never seen that in pornography.”

So why do so many women feel obliged to put on a show enhanced by a soundtrack of moans and shattering screams? “The guys don’t want to see real orgasms, they want the porn orgasm,” Ms. Dodson said caustically. “It’s an ego thing. They want to see the kind of effect they’re having on a woman.”

“A real orgasm,” she added, leaning forward for emphasis, “is something that no matter where it comes from, a woman takes for herself.”

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