I’m in Betty Dodson’s apartment listening to her explain what is involved in Orgasm coaching. I have come to New York to defend my Bodysex certification thesis – which ended up not needing to be defended – and for Orgasm Coach training. Aside from running my own Bodysex workshops, I want to be able to provide one on one help for women who are unable to orgasm or who are struggling with their orgasms. Betty explains that the only way to learn to teach something is by doing, so she is about to coach me through my own orgasms. We share stories and laughter and for the first time with her I feel like a peer. This surprises me considering how much I look up to her. But in her stories I see and hear that she’s human, that she doesn’t always have the answers, she’s always learning and that sometimes she fucks up. I feel her vulnerability at times, as well as her pride, joy and fear. My stomach already aches from laughing at her never-ending dirty jokes – dirtier than anyone my age could get away with. Hearing the voice of my grandma mimic a guy masturbating is enough to put me in tears of laughter. At the age of 85 Betty speaks alternatively like a trucker, a mother, a guide, and a lover. She doesn’t hold back, or try to be perfect and never stops making me laugh.
In the space with her I know that I can be me. Exactly as I am – the good and the bad – and I’m not sure that there is a person in the world that I am more honest with. She has seen me naked, lovingly held me while I opened my vulva to the women in the workshops, held space for me while I cry and has heard my stories. Some I am proud of and some I’m not. Through it all she accepts my honest “I’s” and loves me as I am. In my sharing with her today she looks lovingly at me and says “You’re human Natasha.”
As part of my training Betty leads me through the genital show and tell. I have done this three times before and I don’t feel nervous at all. Close enough so that her arm is over my open leg, and we both can see the same image in the mirror in front of me, she begins by telling me how beautiful I am. These words never lose their power and I feel instant pride in my vulva. Guided through the exploration I discover parts that I hadn’t before and, surprised by this, I am reminded that how we see things is constantly changing. My eyes aren’t the same eyes as they were when I did this back in November and I am grateful for these new eyes to see.
With the genital show and tell complete she leads me to a massage table and asks me to lay down. The room we are in is like a womb and the smell instantly takes me back to all that I experienced before in this space with other women. I feel safe and held as Betty explains the process while constantly finding ways to place her hands on me. She checks my jaw to make sure I’m relaxed, touches my heart, my face, my stomach. She asks me to touch myself and watches with pride in my technique. In my thesis I explained how healing it was for me to learn to touch myself with my own hands and this was one thing that she said she hadn’t really considered. She explained that she grew up touching herself with her hands and almost took it for granted as normal – not realizing how difficult it can be for some. My story reminded her how much this touch needs to be encouraged as a way of connection with self – regardless of whether it ends in orgasm or not.
So with Betty’s constant encouragement and guidance she held space for me to bring myself to orgasm not once – but three times. She was ever so careful to support and encourage when she saw me arch – which cuts off my sexual energy- and yet always stepped back before I came. She stressed that it is important to “Never let your client give you credit for their orgasm. This defeats the purpose of what we are teaching.” So in tune with a woman’s body and how they respond to pleasure she knew exactly when to step in and when to just observe. She marvelled at the pre orgasmic jolts going through my body and explained that they are my sexual energy. I knew exactly what jolts she meant but hearing this explanation was fascinating to me.
On and on she watched me build and pull back, torturing myself with what she called “the best kind of torture.” As my sexual tension built Betty encouraged me to make noise. Normally I would do this already but something about being watched was holding me back. I followed her advice, moaned and instantly orgasmed. Anything that we hold back is holding a part, or all of our orgasm back and this is true for sound, breath and movement as well. As she led me towards my second orgasm she encouraged me to bring the sound out from my stomach or power centre as she called it. To do this she guided me with sounds of her own – very deep, guttural almost ape like sounds – and I instantly came again. I could not believe the difference and intensity in feeling I got from bringing this sound out of my stomach rather than my throat.
After my final orgasm Betty used the vibrator to carry my sexual energy from my vulva, through my belly, heart, throat, forehead and out the top of my head. She held it for a long time on my head and asked me to say my name. “Natasha” I replied. “Say I love you Natasha” she said. “I love you Natasha” I said. Then with tears in my eyes she carried my sexual energy back down through my chakras to my vulva again.
My favourite part of the day was at the end sitting with her and again sharing stories, going over details of the training, asking questions and drinking champagne. I think of all of the women she has helped through the years and I feel so proud to have her blessing to carry on this special work. I will show up naked and hold space for other women with humility and vulnerability, showing my weaknesses as well as my strengths not pretending that I have it all worked out or that I am perfect. I am learning too.
Thank you Betty for being my teacher.
All my love,