I just read an article about Betty Dodson in this week's Time Out New York. It isn't available online though unless you pay, so I recommend everybody check out the Salon article about Betty Dodson from four years ago.
"Harold and Maude," Ruth Gordon plays a wacky 79-year-old who teaches a depressed man of 20 or so, played by Bud Cort, to value life. In the process he falls in love with her.
Betty Dodson, 72, and Eric Wilkinson, 25, are not Harold and Maude, but their age difference invites comparisons. When they became an item three years ago, friends teased them about the movie -- which appeared several years before Wilkinson was born.
"I never even heard of it till I got involved with Betty," Wilkinson explains. "But there's no comparison. Harold and Maude were just friends. We're lovers. We've spent entire days in bed together."
I hope Wilkinson has gone back and re-watched Harold and Maude since then because he doesn't know what he's talking about - Harold and Maude are definitely lovers, that's what the post-fireworks morning in bed with Harold blowing bubbles scene is supposed to be about. Then he asks her to marry him. That doesn't sound like just friends to me.
Of course Betty Dodson is such a sex-minded person it doesn't seem odd that she's getting it on with a 20-something guy now.
I think an important aspect of her sexuality is that she's always identified as queer and that helped her to break out of the standard heterosexual couple mindset that the Patriarchy promotes. Plus she's always been dedicated to sex as a lifestyle, not just as a fun thing. She says in the TONY article:
(In the 1960s) I threw some of the best sex parties in New York! After an hour or two the guys would peter out, literally, and the women would gather with their vibrators and go another two hours.
I have nothing against women going another two hours with a vibrator. But frankly, even if I was open enough to masturbate with a vibrator in front of other people, I would be just damn bored by the end of hour one, at least. And I think I'm too much of a snob to go to an orgy. If I think somebody (a male somebody, I just can't break away from androphilia) is a bore or kind of stupid or a Republican (but I repeat myself) I just can't get it on with him. And I don't think they're that choosy at orgies since being comfortable getting naked in front of a bunch of people probably cuts down the potential orgiasts too much to construct any "No Republican" barriers.
So Betty Dodson is a sex-minded person and good for her - it's a hell of a great way to make a living. She has an instructional DVD out now on masturbation, and I think it's probably a good idea, but if there's one thing this non-orgiast knows about, it's going solo.
Her web site is bettydodson.com