Sex for One Book Summary - Sex for One Book explained in key points
Listen to the Intro

Sex for One summary

Betty Dodson

The Joy of Selfloving

4.2 (169 ratings)
24 mins
Table of Contents

    Sex for One
    Summary of 7 key ideas

    Audio & text in the Blinkist app
    Key idea 1 of 7

    Masturbation can liberate us from sexual repression.

    Before Betty Dodson became a sex educator, she, like many women, believed that her sexual pleasure should come from her partner’s penis. Cultural sex-negativity had conditioned her to deny the pleasure she got from masturbation. She believed her sexuality didn’t truly exist until she had sex for the first time with a partner, at age twenty.

    For the rest of her twenties, in the 1950s, Dodson’s ideas about sex were drawn from Freudian psychology and marriage manuals. The available resources on sex at the time taught her that masturbating too much was infantile behavior; mature sex meant having vaginal orgasms within a meaningful relationship. So when she fell in love and got married at age twenty-nine, she couldn’t understand why her sex life wasn’t fulfilling. She’d hoped that orgasmic sex would be part of her married life. When it wasn’t, she blamed herself.

    The key message here is: Masturbation can liberate us from sexual repression.

    Dodson later realized that, although she said she’d married for love, she’d really exchanged sex for economic security. She’d hoped to please her husband, but she worried he wouldn’t love her if she were honest with him about her sexual desires. The couple’s sex life worsened, and Dodson began to believe she had no value at all – since providing sex was her unspoken end of the bargain. The lack of communication and shame intensified her sexual repression. Ultimately, they divorced.

    It was then that Dodson began the erotic journey that would change her life. In her first post-marital relationship, with a divorced man named Blake, she started having rampant, experimental, exploratory sex. Together they spoke honestly about sex and masturbation, discovering that communication and sharing are at the core of true intimacy – which both of their marriages lacked. 

    Dodson had further breakthroughs: she realized that when we limit our idea of what constitutes romantic sex, we limit our sexual satisfaction. She also realized that society programs us to feel ashamed about touching ourselves. She resolved never to give in to sexual guilt again, and began masturbating more – not less – with Blake. They even masturbated together to learn more about one another’s sexual responses. 

    Dodson began to regard the first time she masturbated, rather than the first time she had intercourse, as the first time she had sex. If masturbation is as monumental an experience as penetrative sex, then it must be taken seriously as a profound form of self-love, rather than disregarded as a mere substitute for “something better.” When we know what feels good for us, we build confidence, and we let go of our inhibitions with partners. 

    Want to see all full key ideas from Sex for One?

    Key ideas in Sex for One

    More knowledge in less time
    Read or listen
    Read or listen
    Get the key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in minutes, not hours.
    Find your next read
    Find your next read
    Get book lists curated by experts and personalized recommendations.
    Shortcasts New
    We’ve teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from podcasts.

    What is Sex for One about?

    Sex for One (1987) is a part-memoir, part-guidebook by Betty Dodson, a pioneering pro-sex feminist and masturbation advocate. Dodson recounts her own erotic journey and offers a step-by-step approach to embracing self-love.

    Who should read Sex for One?

    • Anyone who masturbates
    • People interested in sexual politics and feminist history
    • Anyone who wants to learn how to embrace pleasure and sex positivity

    About the Author

    Betty Dodson, PhD, was an American sex educator, artist, and author of several books on sexuality. She received the public service award from the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality, and the Masters and Johnson award presented by the Society for Sex Therapy and Research. She was regarded as a leading sex expert and named one of the top ten sexual revolutionaries by Cosmopolitan magazine.

    Categories with Sex for One

    Books like Sex for One

    People ❤️ Blinkist
    Sven O.

    It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. Added to that the apps ability to suggest kindred interests opens up a foundation of knowledge.

    Thi Viet Quynh N.

    Great app. Good selection of book summaries you can read or listen to while commuting. Instead of scrolling through your social media news feed, this is a much better way to spend your spare time in my opinion.

    Jonathan A.

    Life changing. The concept of being able to grasp a book's main point in such a short time truly opens multiple opportunities to grow every area of your life at a faster rate.

    Renee D.

    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

    People also liked

    Start growing with Blinkist now
    28 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    Of Blinkist members create a better reading habit*
    *Based on survey data from Blinkist customers
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 7,000+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial