Psychology Today

Come Inside My World....

I wrote about this a bit on my blog Shameless Woman over at Psychology Today.  The blog that I wrote there that still haunts my heart is called "Stripping in Public" and  here is a bit of it: "There I was standing in front of a group of people - perhaps 30 or more in a beautiful independent bookstore in Seattle, Washington. I could feel the quiet in the room, the soft breathing of the crowd as I read from one of the more provocative chapters in my memoir - Shameless: How I Ditched The Diet, Got Naked, Found True Pleasure and Somehow Got Home In Time To Cook Dinner...." I could feel the anticipation in the room as I read aloud about "The Dark Knight" looking deeply in my eyes and asking me if I could surrender to him. And it occurred to me that I was actually stripping in public. Have you ever done that? Allowed yourself to be excruciating vulnerable in public? So vulnerable that you felt like you were stripping off your clothes? That has been what it has been like for me on my book tour. Doing a reading from a memoir - especially one as provocative and intimate as Shameless has really challenged my own notions of shame! Could I read to a group of strangers, and share one of the most intimate experiences of my life?  It was one thing knowing that people all over the country were reading my memoir - it is quite a different experience reading your most personal thoughts aloud to a group.

As I read, I felt the color rise to my checks as I tried to connect with the group of spell bound listeners. I made myself look into the eyes of my audience. It was terrifying! Was there healing in this for me? Was there healing in allowing myself to be truly naked in public? I wasn't sure. The only thing I was sure of was that I was allowing myself to be completely vulnerable with this group. It was like falling backwards - and trusting that you would be caught. I finished the chapter - and was met with applause, laughter and the longest question and answer of the entire tour. It was fabulous. I almost didn't read that chapter - it was near the end of the book - and it felt too intimate to me. But I trusted that somehow it was the right chapter for the group that was assembled. So I stripped naked in public, and I didn't die. Instead I found myself embraced, loved, and something more. By sharing my soul with people - they shared theirs with mine. It was a risk worth taking."

Somehow - I keep doing this.  Last weekend at a Body Electric Workshop  for Women, we were asked to do a "Reveal" - where we stood in front of the group of women that we had spent the weekend with - and we had three minutes to share something very real and vulnerable about our lives.  Three minutes can be a long time. We all did it. After I did it - I couldn't stop crying. I felt too opened up - how could I say these things out loud? What allowed me to do that? Was it healing for me or educational for my audience? Was it a way of truly being seen? And if I allowed the world to see me in such a real way - what would change for me? Would I be comfortable with that? I wasn't sure - and I was a little shaken.

And then yesterday on Psychology Today I published a piece on Female Ejaculation. It was a very personal blog about a truly transformational experience for me. The comments on Facebook kept coming in - thanking me for sharing my story. The readership on that blog is growing minute by minute. I read the comment where Dr. Christiane Northrup (a woman who I consider a mentor and teacher) calls me a pioneer. Really?

I try to put some breath around that for myself. Is that what I am? Am I  a pioneer or a woman who needs an edit button?

I don't think that it is the subject matter that I am talking about that is so pioneering really.  What I think stuns people is that I am willing to use the first person. Make it about my experience - my orgasm, my ejaculation, my weight,  my sexiness, my self loathing, my sessions, my marriage without hiding behind a fictional character or perhaps a made up "client".

I don't know how to do this any other way.  I suppose that it is startling.  Frankly - it is often that for me too. I often jump off the cliff of my story telling - and then go back and say something like "Did I really tell the world that?" Yet - we are all still standing!

Yet,  it is in my ability to leap  and be a vulnerable  truth teller that allows other people the permission to really take inside what I am  sharing.  When I am real - you get permission to be real too.

I am not going to say that this is easy.  Allowing people to come inside your heart for a little while - and perhaps even inside your most intimate experiences can leave me breathless.  But it is the place that I write from and coach my clients from. I simply don't know any other way to communicate and teach.

So, I will continue to strip naked in public - whether it is at my workshops, my blogging or my books. There are times that I reach for the blanket of love of my community, my family, my friends, my readers, my social network fans, to cover me up and hold me. Sometimes, I need to be rocked too - and comforted. I am mindful of my body - and my own emotional limits. It can be exhausting stripping in public on a regular basis - but if you have never tried it - I dare you.

It can be a magical, transformational and healing experience.

When was the last time you "stripped naked" in public? Allowed yourself to be truly intimate with people? It can feel really scary - but the lessons of my life as a public sex and fertility educator has taught me that taking the risk to be intimate is the most rewarding experience of all. And in the end - I have no regrets at all.

Have you ever had an experience like this? Have you ever stripped in public? How do you feel when you read about my intimate disclosures? Do they support you? How?

Harnessing The Power of Pleasure: The Joy of One Way Touch and a Hamburger!

Sometimes I have to be reminded to practice what I preach - and that means - keeping the little voices at bay that whisper not so sweet nothings into my ear.  My self sabotaging voices usually have to do with my body - or my ability to create the future that I want.  Even I need to be reminded to do what I  tell others to do - and that is to stay in each moment - and make time to get inside my body and turn my brain off.  For me - the most effective way to get inside my body is through one way touch. Literally surrendering on the massage table and allowing my body to open to pleasure and sensation.  Feeling hands on my body reminds me that I am beautiful and full of pleasure.  The dance between the massage therapist and my body - hand on skin - draws all of my attention inside to the feelings of sensation and magically takes away my chronic "monkey brain" that is always worrying about the next thing that I have to do.

I was feeling pretty burned out - it's fabulous, fun, and exciting to launch "Shameless" into the world - and I have been on a marathon - until January 18th - the publication date - I am also still working full time in fertility (something that will always be a part of me) so that means that every waking hour is devoted to something! A dear friend and mentor spoke to me and said "Pamela - this is not the time to forget what changed your life! You need touch! Get thee to a massage table - and out of that bag of pretzels!" Oh - I did what everyone does - I whined about not having the time or the money - but reached out anyway to the people in my life that support me. And after a few starts and stops - the beautiful and incredible massage therapist  John Ellsworth created time for me to climb on his table.

It's about receiving - and knowing that the person who is giving is also receiving - and there is nothing to do but be in my own body - feel my own breath - and move into his hands.  The other day I wrote about this study on my Shameless Woman blog over at  Psychology Today that I heard on  The Today Show during their hour long special on sex. The study that was cited was all about how over 80% of all women and over 70% of all men want to be tied up.  This does not surprise me.  They want to be "forced" to receive - "forced" to surrender to pleasure because so many people feel that they always have to give back - always have to "do" in some way - and knowing how to simply receive pleasure is something that is so completely foreign to us - that we want the ropes to enforce the boundary on reminding us to simply receive.  Of course - ropes can feel sexy too! And having the rope on our skin may be it's own turn -on.  I am just talking about a deeper place of meaning in this blog that the ropes can represent for people.

As for me - I don't need ropes anymore to encourage me to receive touch.  I just need a gentle or not so gentle reminder from my friends that I too need to create the time just to receive - and for me the massage table is just the thing.  For 90 minutes I went away - and when I came back - John pointed me in the direction of a wonderful little bar to get a hamburger and a martini. A real treat for me.  I walked around the corner - how I got there I am really not sure as I was still a bit punch drunk from all that fabulous touch - and sat down at a table for one.

It was good to be alone. I am sure that I was a sight! With a brand new hair do created by  massage oil and John's hands - and my slightly glazed over eyes - I was thankful that they seated me! I order my martini as I watched plates of salad go by. No - I wasn't going to have salad. I ordered a hamburger with french fries. Something that I would never do - it's a big scandalous for a chubby girl to eat so freely - especially in public. But I did.  I sipped - I day dreamed and I ate that hamburger - bun and all - down to the last crumb.

I sang all the way home my own little mantra - thank you - thank you - thank you!!! Ah the healing power of pleasure - I really need to harness it a bit more often!