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Ultimate guide to sex positions: The Dodson Method

By Maya Khamala

Let’s talk about sex positions.

Whether you’re starting out with a new partner or looking to spice things up with an old flame, this series of guides is for you. 

Next up, we have the game-changing Dodson Method.

The Dodson Method:

The wellness trends featured in Gwyneth Paltrow’s Netflix series The Goop Lab are, well, decidedly Gwyneth—in other words, people either love ‘em or hate ‘em. But while not all approaches to health and wellness are for everyone, that stand-out episode they did back in 2020 about cis women’s sexuality, “The Pleasure Is Ours,” had even the haters beaming with appreciation. It featured sex educators Carlin Ross, and the legendary Betty Dodson, who, incidentally, died later the same year, at the age of 91. Dodson’s sex ed work goes all the way back to the 1960s, when she developed her unique masturbation method and began holding her trademarked Bodysex classes to teach women how to orgasm.

Dodson and Ross’s work focuses on teaching cis women to combat sexual shame, embrace masturbation, and achieve orgasm. Studies estimate that 5-10% of women have never orgasmed, and even more have difficulty reaching orgasm. But Dodson and Ross insist that by following this method, AKA The Dodson Method, any woman can learn to orgasm.

The method itself involves oil-based lubricant, a weighted dildo for vaginal penetration, a Magic Wand vibrator for clitoral stimulation (blended orgasm, anyone?), deep breathing techniques, and a rocking movement Dodson calls the “Rock’n’Roll.” The Goop episode shows Ross demonstrating the method on herself, while being coached by Dodson—and it ends with her climax(!).

A note on terms:

When discussing penetration, we use the terms “thrusting partner” for the person with the penis (biological or synthetic), and “receiving partner” for the person accepting the act of penetration (vaginal or anal).

It is important to note that being a receiver is not a passive, subservient role. It is an active, enthusiastic role. There is power in choice, and by choosing to invite their partner inside them, the receiver is exercising that power.

Furthermore, the thrusting partner is not just a giver. Of course, they also receive pleasure during the act. But for the sake of clarity and consistency, we have selected these terms for the two sides of the dynamic.

How to do it:

While you can (and should!) 100% explore The Dodson Method with a (thrusting) partner, experimenting with it solo first, particularly if you have trouble orgasming, may be helpful, as we tend to be less inhibited when alone.

1. Lie on your back with your legs bent—on a bed, a floor, or anywhere you are comfortable and warm. Keep your feet on the ground, hip-distance a part. If you have a hand-held mirror, have it handy.

2. Particularly if you’re not yet well-acquainted with your pelvic floor muscles, consciously relax your vaginal muscles while taking several deep breaths. Then very slowly press your middle finger inside your vagina. Once inside, circle your finger, feeling the contours of your vaginal wall. Take another deep breath, relax all the surrounding muscles, and focus primarily on the muscle that stops the flow of urine: squeeze and release this muscle on your finger. This may feel soft or firm depending on the strength of your muscle. Take your finger away and with your mirror, watch your entire genital area move from your clitoris to your anus when you contract the muscle by lifting up and squeezing. Lift and release. You can practice squeezing and releasing your pelvic floor muscles with Kegel exercises

3. Then comes the more conscious breath work. Take a series of deep breaths exhaling with an audible sigh. Send loving thoughts to your body. Since getting oxygen into the blood stream is essential for clitoral engorgement, make sure you breathe—most women tend to hold their breath during sexual arousal.

4. Very slowly, curiously, deliciously, penetrate your vagina with a weighted barbell dildo (one that you leave in, so no hands are required). If you don’t have one, weighted Kegel balls may also serve you. If you are new to vaginal penetration, begin with your finger.

5. With the barbell in place, use an oil-based lubricant like organic almond or coconut oil and massage your vulva: your clitoris and labia. Release all expectations of what you "should" be feeling. Observe what is happening without judgment. Stimulate your clit with your fingers, sensing and discovering where you are the most sensitive. Stay with your hand for as long as it feels good. If you desire more clitoral sensation, add the Magic Wand, or your choice of vibrator, starting at the lower settings in order to draw pleasure out, and eventually working up if desired.

6.“Rock’n’Roll,” baby. This is where the muscle-awareness, the breath, and the stimulation all come together with a simple movement. While rocking your pelvis forward toward your belly button and squeezing your pelvic floor muscle, exhale through your mouth. And then, while releasing the muscle and rolling your pelvis back to ground zero, inhale through your nose. Forward, exhale and squeeze the pelvic muscle. Drop back down as you inhale and release the muscle. The movement is small and subtle. Rock/Squeeze…Relax/Release…Repeat. And keep stimulating your clitoris at the same time. Adjust your tempo, rhythm, technique (or toy!) as needed.

Reasons we love it:

- It’s empowering AF.

- It works! Dodson and Ross have helped roughly 10,000 women to orgasm, whether solo or with a partner. A 2008 study put the method to the test by enrolling 500 women with anorgasmia to use the technique. A full 465 out of the 500 could achieve orgasm using the method.

- It can be used during masturbation or partnered sex.

- If you use method in your masturbation practice, you'll train your body to orgasm during partner sex. 

- It’s educational: you’ll learn more about how your own body works.

- It teaches you to love and appreciate your body the way it is.

Other tips and tricks:

-It’s simpler than it seems, and with practice, becomes second nature. Think of it as a dance. Clitoral stimulation, hand-in-hand with vaginal penetration, swaying to the beat of a drum.

-Avoid tensing up and holding your body rigid. In Betty’s own words, “Move your pelvis like Elvis. Roll your hips. Before beginning, you might take a minute and dance to the music of your choice with rhythmic pelvic thrusting along with deep breathing and sounds of pleasure.” 

-Rest if you get tired.

-Let go of what you think an orgasm should feel like. Keep an open mind and pay attention to the feelings of pleasure that are taking place in your body. Be patient. Putting pressure on yourself to come is the exact opposite of experiencing pleasure. 

-Indulge in sexual fantasies, even if taboo or forbidden. There are no rules about what types of fantasies get you to that heightened place of arousal.

-Remember: sex is about having fun, letting go, and feeling real good.

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