body image

Here is My "Naked" Truth

There is a lot of attention being given to an article in HuffPo After 50  entitled  My "Naked" Truth by Robin Korth. In this blog, Robin bravely speaks about her experience being rejected by a lover for her aging body.  She rejects him right back.  But in the middle of sharing with us, she actually defends the physical attractiveness of her body by societal standards, by letting us know that she is thin and fit. A size 6.  Robin wants us to know that even though she is aging, she had gotten it "right":  So what's wrong with him? More importantly, what's up with us? Is the message that if we are aging and not a size 6 we are going to be in for some real trouble? Or what if we had some kind of body changing surgery through the years? Robin is still on a very deep level  (even in her outrage)  buying into the party line about what is sexy and what is not -  when it comes to the female form. Robin is not alone. Everyday I have to fight off those messages. So do countless other women. It is a shared pain.

We face pain around our bodies and our sexuality when we are aging, and we face it when we are young. I felt it the first time when I was a chubby five year old and my mother told me that handsome men didn't like chubby girls. Now I am being told they don't like aging girls either.

And it's by these not so subtle and subtle messages that women begin to distrust the power of their own erotic body and their own beauty. We tamp it down and we give our sexual power away. Most women never come near accessing the power that their bodies have erotically. We are trained and conditioned not to go there.

A part of that conditioning, comes from the messages that women have grown up with around the j"superficially erotic" by current standards of beauty. Women can't really win. We have been made to suffer and feel contemptible both when we meet those standards, and when we do not.

We have learned to suppress our sexuality and in doing so, we have suppressed our creative life force energy.  How many of us have been in the presence of really attractive looking women who fit the script and have felt no sexual energy coming from them at all? That's because they don't feel it either. These beauties have been successfully condition; and it's an epidemic.

Here is my "naked" truth:

When I release my erotic self from societies constrained container of how I am "suppose to be", my life flows with color and a kind of energy that heightens and sensitizes and strengthens all of my experiences.  When I am able to find this place within myself and release all of the myths around my erotic desirability - I am able to show up in the body that I am in - with incredible hotness that I feel first and then I share with my partner. Erotic life force energy (sexiness) flows from the inside out.

Try not to roll your eyes.

If "others" are stuck in what they I should look like; then they don't get to have me. I much prefer this idea of inviting "others" to meet me in my own unique expression of my sexuality and my physical beauty.  I'm a gift.  And it took me some time to really heal the wounds of society and really own that place inside myself. This place of erotic confidence did not come easily.

Most of us come from a similar perspective when it comes to sexuality and self image.

The experience of our bodies, our self image and our sexuality often gets lost in translation. Instead of saying that all sexuality and all bodies is about this or that - let's recognize that the even the word "sexuality" and "self image" has layers of meaning built into it.  We are an amalgamation of desire, life experience, bodies, gender, subconscious urges, shame, sensations, and behaviors. Parts of our sexuality spring up from us organically, and some parts are shaped by our culture, religion, and even our language.

"Sex Appeal" is not one thing or one way. Our sexuality is a holistic and whole body experience that is unique in it's expression from human to human. It would be a huge relief if we could all stop pretending that we have sexuality all figured out and that we have all the answers. Sexuality is not geometry; it's a living container.  And it is found in all of our bodies at every age, shape and size.

So if we don't have sexuality and body image "all figured out", how do support women who are an amalgamation of all of this grow, explore, feel safe, and heal their relationship Eros?

How do we present to ourselves naked?

I have come to believe that the women themselves have all of the information that they need deeply held inside of them,  they just need the space and the space holders to help them unlock it. We need to be able to heal the wounds and strip away the stories that keep being told to us even in the stories that are meant to heal us! Sometimes, that calls for women to be naked together. And I am not talking about women engaging in some kind of group sex orgy. Even spending time in a Korean Spa can be very healing for women. We need to see each others real bodies so we can open to the beauty of our own.

Recently, at one of the sexuality healing retreats that I co-facilitate, "Back to the Body: Sensuous Retreats" for Women",  one of the women wrote publicly about her experience watching me demo a live "Sexological Bodywork" session with two practitioners, Ron Stewart and Neal Wecker.

This is one of the bravest things that I do. It involves me getting naked, climbing on a massage table and receiving sensuous body work in front of our six women.  I am publicly in an erotic experience for the sole purpose of permissioning and teaching other women about what is possible in their own bodies.

We teach all kinds of skills through this demonstration, and it prepares the women for their own sessions.  This is what this woman wrote about watching the session and my fifty year old Rubenesque body. I get to confront every possible myth I have about my aging, changing, full body every time I do this. And trust me, it was pretty edgy for me reading the account through her eyes, just as it is for me to re-publish it.

From journal of Ali Shanti published on Facebook while she was at the retreat:

"This is the end of day 1. We have 4 more days here together. Each day, each woman has a private session with one of the men. On the last day, we each have a 4-hand session with both men.

But first, today, we got to watch Pamela get on the table with both men working on her.

I feel nervous to share the details with you. Let me just start by passing on one of the first things that Pamela shared with us about why she does this work ...

"Women rarely get to experience what it's like to be in the alchemy of their own pleasure."

Why is that? What keeps that from happening?

Pamela says that, for the most part, it's because the whole arousal part of our eroticism is skipped over to get to climax. We are trained to match our men, who are locked into an immature masculine pattern of orgasm. The 10-minute, quiet and quick, in and out, get em up and get em off reality of sex in our culture.

Neal says it's because women are conditioned to believe we have to choose between our pleasure and our heart and so we choose heart and turn off the pleasure.

Which one of these, if either, resonates with you?

When we have sex just to "get off", how can there be time or room for alchemy?

Today, there was time and room and space and welcoming of the pleasure that creates alchemy. It began with Pamela and her demo.

Pamela is a voluptuous woman. She has had two c-sections and bears the scars and the belly and the full breasts, wide hips, thighs and arms to match. She is what you would call Rubenesque.

And, she may just be the hottest woman I've ever seen naked.

How does she do it?

She says "I stay alive in my body all the time. I have body shame and I'm still hot." She takes fully 100% responsibility for her sexuality, and her experience.

As she was on the table today demo'ing the experience of being worked on by sexological bodyworkers, we saw the alchemy in action as she rose to her knees like the Priestess she is, fully aroused and visible, pulsing with sensation, courageously letting us see all of her. Beyond courageous, really.

At the end of her journey, during the height of her orgasm, came moments of deep prayer, calling in the support of the Universe for her loved ones, for us, for life itself.

Pleasure as a path to alchemy. Yes, thank you, more please.

Through the experience of watching Pamela, I received the transmission of courage for my own alchemical, orgasmic experience.

What I found most interesting is that my mind would swear up and down I am as self-expressed, courageous and sexually comfortable as Pamela. But my body told another story completely. I was scared. Contracted. Uncertain. Worried. Would I be able to relax and receive?

Yes. Yes. Yes. I could. I did. I allowed it all and as I broke through my own pleasure ceiling, at the height of my arousal, I could feel the alchemy happening. And today was just day one. More tomorrow ..."

So why share this? Because this woman was able to FEEL my hotness even if her eyes told her initially this story about my body that didn't fit the script about how "Hot and Sexy" should look.  In my own willingness to move past the script about my body - I can become the "hottest woman in the room".  I allow it.   Yes, my body has a story to tell. And it's my story.

It's time to take back our own "Naked" truth. As women we have come to distrust that power which rises from our deepest and non rational knowledge.   Yes! This is about the body! This is "Non-Rational Knowledge". We have to let go of the stories that we have been told and allow ourselves to connect back to our bodies.

We have been warned against this our entire lives by a world based on masculine power, perceptions and desires - which somehow women have taken into our bodies as our own reality.  We are taught to fear our depth, and women are shut down to examine the possibilities of it within themselves.

But our bodies at every age and presentation is filled with our erotic energy. This offers a well of replenishment and a proactive force to the women do not fear what it can hold for them.

Do not  succumb to the belief that your reflection of me, is who I am.

When women reveal themselves to themselves as hot, sexy, raw and wild it is a provocative and radical act filled with power.

Let's do it a lot

PS. That picture is of my real life 50 year old fat ass.  And I love it.

 

The Two Of You

My mentor recently told me that I lead a very examined life. She does too. She reminded that leading such a life is not everybody's cup of tea.  Mostly, because it's not always so easy - all of this self examination. But let me assure you, that there is a lot of pleasure and curiosity and love in there too! And in my self examinations, I think I find nuggets that may resonate with you. Here is a big one! Currently, I am working with my third chakra. You can find it in the area of your solar plexus. Energetically, it's the place of bridges. The connector place for me and perhaps you in your body. It's where we hold our sense of self.

Going deep inside my bridge, I am able to see that there is one part of Pamela that knows she is beautiful, sexy, loving and desirable. I worked really hard to reclaim that part of myself.  Countless hours on the tables of Sexological Body Workers, taking workshops, looking in the mirror (you name it, I probably did it on my road to reclaiming myself).

And there is this other part of Pamela that is younger and has been breed in our society, reinforced by media, and negative messages. That Pamela fears rejection and believes on some level that I am not enough on any level.

Both of these women are me, and they are both real.  Do you ever feel that?

Sometimes the Ice between those two places is really thin and can crack. I think that I am not alone in this place of wanting to bridge and weave these two parts of myself together in a deeper and stronger way.  I want stronger ice!

I think it's the path of so many of the women that I work with. We have been shamed in our sense of self, and we are or have reclaimed this place where we know that we are loved and accepted by our own selves and by the world.

It can be a fragile system. We can in one minute totally know we are sexy and then then we can become triggered by who knows what and the system can collapse.

I am paying attention to my third chakra and I invite you to do the same. This internal place of the bridge. It's where we need to sit in a women's circle and knit together these aspects of ourselves. .

We are all the entire package.

Relentless

Recently one of my clients called me "Relentless" as I held on to her ankles (virtually through Skype) as she struggled to make a big decision about moving forward in her journey.  She was scared of making the leap from thinking to doing. I’m experienced in that  and I was hanging in there to support her in her leap into open and integrated sexuality without life-threatening injuries. I wanted her courage so badly for her because I got exactly where she was in her life and I knew what was possible. I wanted that so badly for her that I was willing to be "Relentless".

I know how painful the body-less life can be because I spent so many years as a head. I was a beautiful head, but I was just a head.

The truth is there’s a better than even chance we’re more alike than not.

Dark hungers and darker fantasies? Got ‘em. Feeling weird even admitting them? Been there. Worried about feeling like a freak? Well, I survived those moments, too, and I’m here to tell you there’s nothing freakish about it.

The ultimate goal is to  free all of that up, and reconnect the body with your brain.

I not only teaching women to recognize arousal, help them look at it without shame and take progressive steps to begin the work of self-acceptance and embodiment.  I lead women on an exploration of their own true natures and helps them use sensual pleasure to heal the typical array of issues that afflict most of us. I mean everything from body dysmorphia, eating disorders, erratic sexual desire and general crankiness.

I connect them with resources and opportunities to take it even further.

I encourage women to tune into their bodies and sensations with "sex games" that they can play on their own in private or with a partner.  I show women through my own adventures, that it’s a fun trip worth taking.  

I get it. What I preach and teach defies easy categorization. I blend my education, personal experiences and share real life vignettes that can take women out of the world of sex how to books to a brand new relationship with their bodies and the world.

My purpose in the world is to leave breadcrumbs for women to follow on their own road to sexual wholeness. What I teach, embody, and cheer lead is unique to me.

I’ve spent thousands of dollars on unconventional sex ed--from countless sacred sexuality workshops to private sessions with sexual healers. My underground education ignited such liberating changes in the rest of my life, that I couldn't keep all of this a secret. My job is now to responsibly show other women what is possible when they let go and look at their sexuality in a brand new light.  

When women take a bite out of my offerings whether it is one on one coaching, or a Back to The Body Retreat, a VIP Day, Private Retreat or even just reading my book Shameless; I am offering women the insight and skills to love themselves just as they are. I want to help women shed the fear of their own desire and to be open to pleasure, things we’re not conditioned to do.

It's not about quid pro quos, no have-tos, no 365 positions to memorize to please your partner and get off. What I believe in is  the antithesis of the orgasm Olympics book. This is a one-of-a-kind work devoted to the concept of sensual pleasure as a transformational, healing tool.  

I know that denying desire comes at a cost to everyone –our partners, our families, even our career peers. I also know that losing the shackles of sexual shame, unabashedly grabbing erotic pleasure with both hands and integrating the sexual self can make any woman happier in the body she’s in.  No raw foods, fiber drinks, exercise programs or cleanses. And who in their right mind doesn’t want to be a happier woman?  Or be around one? Just ask my husband.

My desire is to safely shepherd women into the wilds of desire and throw open the door on the vast universe of diverse pleasures.  With empathy and a wink that can only come from someone who’s walked in their Birkenstocks (and traded them in for thigh-high leather boots), I’ll show each woman who comes across my path how to befriend her body, unearth her erotic self and welcome her in. It’s possible to have true pleasure in all spheres of their lives.

People seem to be starving for my particular brand of good-natured, open sexual plain speaking. Right now, it’s hard to find information that goes past the superficial without plunging right into scary. Women excited by the idea of sensual spanking, for instance, may find a beginner’s piece or two. But further investigation often takes them on a hair-pin turn directly to a dungeon and a flogging post. Too much, too fast and too alarming for a novice.  By contrast, I offer them ways to express their desires one safe step at a time. I gleefully and sensibly fill the yawning information gap.

I’m willing to take controversial stands. I propose that extended pleasure and the Organic Orgasm are more intriguing than female ejaculation and the g spot. I suggest that we’re so performance driven that we’re all suffering, needlessly, from orgasm anxiety. 

Here's what true. We all have our season of sexual discontent. We all have those seasons and they’re unpredictable. It’s a bit like climate change. For some the wintry itch erupts between boyfriends. For others there’s chill that hits in the middle of a pre-nup negotiation. Some get triggered during a marriage, after the kids have grown, post- divorce, the onset of peri-menopause and beyond.  

Basically, women struggle with this all the time. Why? The answer is complex but it boils down to the fact that our sexuality has been severed from the rest of who we are. That vital life force has been sanitized, shrink-wrapped and buried like pirate’s booty. Instead of the bracing zest of feminine erotic desire, we watch the Photo Shopped blemish-free girls get to play. They’re the entitled ones. They don’t look anything like most of us do when we catch our own reflections. The message? We, the ordinary mortals, aren’t deserving of pleasure. Not unless we lose weight, get that job or finish that project. Pleasure is constantly receding on the horizon of our own self-loathing. Self-denial is epidemic.

I am relentless about breaking this down. And I will hand Sleeping Beauty her first Red Bull.  And I don't mind if you call me "Relentless".

 

My Little Round Belly

Recently, I spent a "VIP Day" with a client. We got naked together trying on lingerie because that was a part of what she wanted to do with me! Shop and play with lingerie. The best conversation of the day went like this: Client: "Wow. I feel so much better about my body now." Pamela: "What shifted for you?" Client: "Well, you have a little round belly. Just like me. And if YOU can have that and be this sexy, and this vibrant and desirable - then it's really okay for me to have that too!" Women healing body shame together. Priceless.

That interaction is what inspired me to create the Korean Spa Day and expand it to Seattle and the NYC area - because it's not just the fabulous intimate sexuality and intimacy coaching that is so valuable. It's not just the fun and the laughter and the pleasure of a body scrub massage, hot pools, steam and delicious food. It's being naked together that is so healing.

I hope if you live near Seattle or NJ that you will join me and my little round belly. To learn more about my Girls Day Out at the Korean Spa in Seattle or NJ - please go here!

Loving you from here,

Pamela

The Place Where Sexy Flows

Lately, the gift of vulnerability and body image has been on my mind. I have just returned from coaching the newest class of Somatic Sex Educators to reach for certification.  I was there to  support their learning, but as it is with all things - I learned a great deal from them. In fact, I would go so far as to say that the experience cracked my heart wide open.  It was one of the most vulnerable experiences of my life, and it opened up a brand new place of creation for me. There is a physical and  spiritual liberation and power that happens through vulnerability. I was reminded of that this morning from one of the members of my Shameless Community in her blog. It was a great reminder. What I have discovered, is that I am not truly living and not in my power  if I don't open to the power of my own vulnerability. If you have never heard Brene Brown talk on "The Power of Vulnerability",  do it today! And if you have heard her, please listen again. It's that good and that's important. It is truly our work.

It's the place from where  sexy flows.

And my sexy has never been more in the flow. What is that about? Lately, what has been put in my face is what people are saying about me. How my physical appearance has been changing. The shape of my body. The softness of my demeanor. How my secret weapon is my big generous heart. My openness. And it has been a lot of that...holding all of how people are seeing me. And some of it, I don't love either. Folks wanting me to be smaller. Take up less air time. Jealous feelings. But they are all sacred mirrors. Right? It is beautiful and overwhelming. What was I before? Am I really so different or are they just seeing me in a new way? What about me has changed to allow others to see who I am, or am I really any of it at all?  It makes me feel vulnerable. And then it occurred to me that I always feel vulnerable, and if I am not feeling vulnerable about something - I tend to go find something to feel vulnerable about! The lack of vulnerability, the lack of a low undercurrent of anxiety in my life is usually an indicator that I am not living to my fullest.

And that apparently is a great big key for living an incredible full and connected life. Being willing to be vulnerable. And I truly believe that this starts with our relationship with our body and our sexuality. Being willing to go deep and be vulnerable with ourselves in ways that you may never have imagined is possible. That has been my secret to living life as a turned on woman. And I want to share it with you. I want to invite you into being vulnerable and letting the sexy flow in your own life and it is never too early or too late to move your feet in the direction of your heart and begin to open more to  vulnerability.  That is my secret weapon.  According to researcher, Brene Brown, " Vulnerability is the birthplace of joy, creativity, and love and whole heartedness".  When you can be brave enough to lean into this place  I truly believe that you will open to an entirely new level of  creativity and sexiness in your life.  I have gotten in my heart of hearts, that it is my openness to this that makes me truly beautiful - not my ass, or my tits. Vulnerable is what makes you beautiful. The hard part is recognizing where your fear is. And once you do, putting your feet in that direction. It's not always comfortable, but the results are incredible.

Sometimes it is just about being willing to learn into your fear, and not know if what you are doing is going to work out.  It's about not always knowing the script.  So here comes my invitation to you! Are you ready to go where the sexy flows inside of you?  Are you willing to be open to being vulnerable and have a completely new and extraordinary experience?   I hope so! It will forever change your life. It will bring you up close, and lovingly in the place of vulnerability and transformation.

"Back to The Body: A Sensuous Retreat For Women"

Back to the Body is a unique offering created for women to come together and immerse themselves in the pleasure of their own sensuality in a safe structured environment. More than a circle, this is a retreat that has been created to allow you to connect to your own Inner Goddess in the loving presence of women on a similar journey.

Come be held in Her arms, experience the full sensual possibilities that are present in your glorious body.  Ride the waves of pleasure deep into the mysteries of the feminine.  Dance in your own desire and play in the full expression of your sexuality. This retreat is limited to six women, and will be facilitated by renowned sex, love and intimacy coaches Pamela Madsen (www.bengshameless.com),  and Ron Stewart (http://www.skycladyoga.com) as well as another Sexological Body Worker on our team.

Is it time to reclaim, go deeper or celebrate your body? Join us.

A Taste of What You Can Expect:

  • Daily Hands on Taoist Sensuous Body Work Provided By Will Fredericks and Ron Stewart, Certified Sexological Bodyworkers
  • Additional sessions of one on one touch on various areas of your body such as pelvic floor release, scar tissue remediation,  or breast massage
  • Spa services including mani/pedi and facials
  • Organic Cooking and  Tantric Dining Experiences
  • Ritual Sensual Bathing Experience
  • Hands on workshops and daily practice with yoga, movement, meditation and dance
  • Opportunities to be silly, laugh and play
  • Group discussions on body image, orgasm, sexuality, speaking desire, understanding boundaries and how to open to more pleasure in our daily lives.
  • Surprise Events!
  • Fun Goody Bag (and I do mean FUN)

All participants will receive one additional coaching session with Pamela after the retreat completes.

This retreat is being held on a property known as Deer Leap. This place is a true sanctuary which will allow you to completely release yourself from daily obligations so that you may fully engage with your own present self, and nourish your body, mind and spirit. To fully immerse yourself in your Back to The Body  journey, consider this space a getaway in our beautifully furnished suite.

The living area is a 800 square-foot studio apartment which boasts vaulted ceilings, a wood burning stove, eclectic furnishings, private deck, and laundry services. This cozy yet spacious suite sleeps  6 people. We are going to have a fabulous sexy pajama party under it's cozy and restful roof.

The well-equipped kitchen and rustic dining table will show case our amazing organic and communal meal which will sometimes feel like intimate dinners and at other times feel like sumptuous feasts!

The suite has Internet access and TV with DVD player, sound system with iPod connection. The studio/spa is connected to our suite and we have two full bathrooms. The retreat also offers infrared sauna, and a large soaking tub where we will have our bath ritual.

The property is called Deer Leap which celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2014. A beautiful and majestic reminder of life in simpler times. The suite is located on a seven acre private landscape of trees, mountains and a hike up the hill will be rewarded with views of the ocean.

Originally built as a summer house for a shipping family, Deer Leap has passed through many ages and incarnations and now rests peacefully once more as a gracious home for a thriving family. Our hope is that your time at Deer Leep will welcome in the processes of healing and transformation that will take place through practices of sensuous massage, body scrubs, infrared sauna, dance, yoga, intimate conversations, and a spirit of play.

The Back to The Body Retreat is the event that will take place as you leave the city and arrive in this quiet part of the world surrounded by natural beauty.

Important Details:

Dates: July 3rd through July 7th. Cost: $4,000 inclusive of lodgings, food, pick up and drop off at airports and ferries, all services and special events

If you would like to set up a time to chat about coming, please send me an email at Pamela@beingshameless.com. xoxo Pamela

Letting You See Me Naked

I have written a lot about my feeling around stripping in public - which is something that I think that I do - often on a daily basis  - not only through my memoir - but also through my blogs.  I am in the habit of writing as though nobody is looking - and that is a pretty naked feeling.  I just finished watching "Naked on the Inside" on HBO. It is a documentary that profiles six different people on the issue of body image. If you get a chance to see it - check it out. It inspired me, touched me and stirred me. I have spent a great deal of time feeling naked on the inside. I love that language. "Naked on the Inside". It really speaks to our core vulnerabilities. When we work at opening that up - When we allow our own selves to really look at our own most naked places - and then decide that it is really okay to let others hold that part of us - or even just to see that part of us - tremendous healing can happen. It's about making the choice not to be invisible anymore - to yourself or to others.

I keep getting closer and closer to those places in myself. And, some of my friends and my sexuality coaching clients - are beginning to open themselves too. It is like watching flowers open. Each petal opens in it's own time, and then one day you are staring at the carpels and the stamen...the most secret part of a flower. And like flowers, opening one petal at a time...when they are fully open - it can be stunning to behold.

I keep looking deeper and deeper into myself. I am amazed by how many petals that I have. When I allow myself to admire myself - to truly feel good about all the parts of me - sometimes, I need to put aside all of your eyes.

Sometimes, we "become" the reflection of other's perceptions of us. And sometimes, those perceptions are simply their own projections, assumptions and prejudices. It is hard to put aside the eyes of others to truly look inside ourselves and see our own nakedness in our own reality.

It is really hard. None of us are the glossy pictures in magazines. Not even the people who are photographed. And I don't simply mean their physical beauty - I also mean the inner "stories" that the pictures encourage us to layer on the images.

And then there is the paradox. Sometimes, I want you eyes on my nakedness. I want your projections, assumptions, prejudices and approval. Because in those, there is a learning and a healing too.

I have gotten to love walking around naked in public - at places like Harbin Spa in Northern California - where there are out door hot tubs and nudity is allowed.

I have spent so much of my life hiding my nakedness. Now I want all of me to be seen. I am very self aware of my nakedness. It is not self conscious - it is self aware. I like to feel my body as I move about. My strong legs and ass. The curve of my waist - the softness of my belly. I think that being naked in public (where it is allowed and acceptable) has been one of the most healing things that I have done for myself.

My middle years have been one big self reveal. In my book, Shameless I have let you see and hold my soul, and I have let you see me naked in your imaginations.

I have allowed myself to open my petals....and simply be the flower that I am. I have let who ever has wanted to look - by opening my book - view deep inside of me....even down to my carpels and stamen. I have let you all "see" what I "see". Sometimes, we actually see different things. Sometimes, my readers have even pointed out parts of me that I didn't know were there. There are times, that I do not like what you reflect back to me - and there are times when you have provided a much more loving mirror than I would ever have held up for myself.

Perhaps the best part, is that my writing - my willingness to show you my nakedness - has allowed you to look at parts of yourself that perhaps you didn't know were there either. Some of my readers are becoming great friends because I have shared my journey - and it has become a great big exercise in "I will show you mine, and now you have shown me yours" - or perhaps the game of "You have that too?"

Naked on the inside....and allowing others to see. Perhaps that has been the journey all along.

The Divine Temple of Sensuous Bliss: The Massage Table

Yesterday I went to a breakfast sponsored by Zestra which is a woman's arousal gel that I have written about before. They had all of these sexperts at the breakfast there to talk to us writers, bloggers and reporters about female arousal, sexuality, desire and orgasm. I love that - so I went. During a presentation - one of the sexperts quoted a survey that stated when women were given the choice between sex and a massage - they picked the massage! The study results got the desired response - everyone laughed and groaned. But not me. First of all - I hated the question - I mean why do we have to pick between two incredibly pleasurable activities - and then have the answer be used as a  commentary? But I knew why the study was done - and I knew the answer before it was given that  women would pick the massage over sex - and that the  sexperts were using that answer to show the sorry state of female sexuality. But really - no disrespect intended here - neither the survey makers or the sexperts really got it.  But I did. I don't mean to be bratty here - but I simply didn't draw the same conclusions.

I understood why the women picked massage as their first choice - and it had nothing to do at all with the sorry state of female sexuality.  The answer was all about  being sex positive - not sex negative! We just have to be willing to open up our  minds a little bit about what constitutes a sensuous and satisfying embodied activity! What was missing from the understanding of the survey makers - and perhaps even from the sexperts who used this study as an example of women not wanting sex -  was that massage - even traditional massage - is a very sensuous and pleasurable activity that allows us to feel touch for a very extended amount of time without doing anything back!  The most traditional of massage experiences allows women to go  deeply into their bodies  - and receive  sensuous pleasure - that is all about them!

Most women don't get the opportunity to do this. To simply - get naked,  lie on a table and allow someone to touch them in a non erotic - yet sensuous safe way that gives pleasure for an extended amount of time. It is positively delicious - and for many women - this experience is  not as available as traditional sex.  So of course they picked massage over sex in the ill conceived  survey.  Women are not stupid!

It was a funny coincidence - but yesterday I also received an incredible massage  and I was again reminded of the spectacular  healing and delicious pleasure  that can happen on the massage table.  Yes - pleasure - pure and simple. Healing pleasure. And in my mind - in my experience - pleasure is not only healing - it is  transformational.

It had been a long time since I had climbed aboard a massage table and simply - magnificently - divinely - received one way healing touch. Oh - I have made lots of reasons why I haven't gone. There is the money - the time - and the fact that every once in a while - even I - the great SHAMELESS wonder has moments of body shame. So I deny myself what I know to be one of the most healing, restorative, regenerative , and pleasurable activities that I can think of - and that is receiving a massage.

But John Ellsworth, an old friend and one of the most talented massage therapists I know - offered me a massage as an early birthday present. I almost didn't go - after all - I am a very busy lady! I have so much to do! There are families to build in my fertility work, blogs to write and a book to promote! There are dinners to cook - and an apartment to clean! I could go all day and not finish all of the things that I need to do. But I stopped - and I went after work - and it was such an important reminder that receiving massage is one of the most important things that I can make time for to keep myself ticking.

I know that there can be  a lot of discomfort in recognizing and having a massage - something that we pay for - as something other than a therapeutic activity that we engage in because we have a bad back - or a pulled shoulder - or as a way for us to keep our muscles in shape as athletes.  Not many people are willing to say that they embrace massage as a way to give themselves pleasure. We are a pleasure denied society - that talks about pleasure a lot - and then puts a lot of taboos around it.  And anything that has nudity, touch and possibly money involved in it  - we have to put lots and lots of boundaries around - so that other  people will know that we are engaging in the activity for "medical purposes".

We don't want anyone to think - that possibly we are doing this for pleasure's sake only!

So let me help out on this one.  Pleasure is important. Pleasure can change your life. Sensuous pleasure is healing and feels great! Traditional non-erotic  massage is an incredible tool for getting reconnected with the power of pleasure that we can all have in our own bodies - and yes  - if it helps you justify the experience - it is healing!  And we don't have to do anything to receive this but show up and climb on the table.

I left John's studio feeling transformed after 90 minutes of pure pleasure that didn't involve sex  - but was just as delicious.

Thank you John for the reminder - and the women in the study were no dummies!