But it’s missing pictures available in the Kindle version. And I wanted more about STDs.
I BOUGHT THIS BECAUSE OF THE NARRATOR:
Authors: one way to get people to read your books is to have a great narrator. The best ones have fans. I wanted to buy more books narrated by Barbara Rosenblat, and this was on her list. I might never have seen it or bought it otherwise. The narrator was great. I was believing that she was Betty.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Betty describes her sexual experiences - in graphic detail with explicit language. At about halfway through I stopped. It was getting to be too much for me. So I listened to another audiobook. But after that I returned and finished it.
It changed my way of thinking about people and sex. I’m not sure what that means. Amazon reviewer Anne said “this is one of the few books this year that made me rethink who I am and where I am going.” I will say the same.
Betty was married and then divorced around 1965 at age 35. For the rest of the 60's and 70's Betty had an extremely active sex life which included sex-orgy parties. I was surprised at how much all these supposedly heterosexual people were enjoying same sex partners during these parties. Betty liked sex with almost anyone - male or female, but later her preference was for females, but she still enjoyed sex with men. In the 70's she conducted workshops for women teaching them how to masturbate. She did one workshop for men which drained her so much that she didn’t do any more for men. She published some books, the first one was on masturbation.
Betty did many odd/shocking things. One of them: she went to a bath house in San Francisco. She was the only female. She had a sex session with four men at once and then another session with someone else. This is anonymous sex. No one is supposed to talk. But after her first group she and the four guys went outside and talked. She learned that one guy preferred women but it was too hard for him to find a willing woman, so he went to bath houses for sex with men. Another guy was married but liked the thrill of anonymous sex.
Another scene that shocked me was when Betty was visiting her mother in Kansas. She saw a guy watching her through the window. She had never seen this guy before. She goes outside and talks to him. He’s big. When she senses he might be thinking of forced sex, she says “not here.” She walks him to the back yard and then she initiates sex with him. Afterwards she tells him not to come around again. He said ok and did not come back.
Another odd scene was a guy directing Betty while she fisted him. It was his idea that she try this.
Betty was not into BDSM, but she talked to people about it and tried a little of it.
Betty talks about her experiences with MS magazine, National Organization for Women, and Women Against Pornography. She talks about society and religion limiting and influencing sex. She talks about women seeking a husband to provide financial security so they could raise children. She said “Women rape themselves with the romantic dream of a perfect love.” She says it does not exist.
I wish she would have talked more about STDs. She didn’t say much but here is what she said. On two different occasions, someone in Betty’s group reported having gonorrhea. Betty never caught it. The worst thing she ever got was herpes in the late 70s, which she said was a small price to pay for all the great sex she was having. If she had a cold sore on her mouth she wouldn’t kiss anyone until it was gone. Around 1983 HIV (AIDS) became the scare. So the group sex parties changed into guests masturbating and giving each other hand jobs. AIDS also forced more monogamous relationships. Betty does not mention the HPV virus which can cause cervical and throat cancer. I understand tests to detect HPV were not very good until recently. I wanted to know how many sexually active people she knew or heard about who developed HPV cancers and HIV.
PICTURES ARE MISSING FROM THE AUDIOBOOK.
The Kindle version has photographs of Betty and some of her drawings. I wish she included a pdf file of those pictures to download, for audiobook buyers.
Genre: memoirs, nonfiction sex
Like Jimmy Carter as a president or not, like his style of writing or not, this is something that those of us who profess to be Christians, or at least decent human beings should read or listen to. It is easy for people in the west to view women's rights as equal work for equal pay. Not to dismiss this, but in large parts of the world women's the rights women need are the right to equal food, shelter, and safety from pain at the hands of people who profess to act in the name of the God they worship. This is probably why the people who want to control the other half of their population do not want those being controlled to learn to read.
Misinterpreting (or even lying about) the words of holy books was probably practiced since the books were scrolls. So this book is not a diatribe against a religion, it is an indictment of people who hurt other people for their own benefit and justify it by saying but I am just following the holy world. Even though scholars reading the same holy word are saying "no your are not". Somehow none of this discussion is making its way to the poor people who are being raped and starved, etc.
We as Americans and as part of the western civilization are very careful to respect cultures different from our own. But in American states and cities, if a person treated an animal the way the human beings are being treated in the countries noted in Jimmy Carter's book, the offending person would be prosecuted. Even in the most conservative of states.
I don't pretend to have answers, but personally I can't just not look at this ugliness because I am not smart enough to fix it. But as a practical matter, Americans are really stubborn about fixing things once the whole nation decides there is a problem. So as a speck of the American population I am admitting this is a problem, with the knowledge that the western world will find a way to do redress it. Because the people who have convinced themselves that starving and torturing people not only gives them benefits and pleasure, it is a holy duty and are not going to change a thing.
Former President Carter's narration and writing style are so famous that it does not need discussion. But I think he does a good job with this one.