Society, which incorporates guilt and shame to anything other than "conventional," is feeling a shake in boundaries with the new eye-opening book "Shameless," a self-discovering memoir by Pamela Madsen. I was honored to attend a reading by Madsen, who toured to promote "Shameless" this past fall, and shamelessly opened up about her trip into sacred intimacy and reclaiming herself one November night in a bookstore in Northern Vermont. The book, which her blog inspired, dives past conventional intimacy to a land where not only is it okay to self-love, but where it's important to challenge society's views on relationships. "Shameless" questions why platonic intimacy cannot exist between loving yourself and others.
Madsen, the Founder and first Executive Director of The American Fertility Association, began her journey almost five years ago as, how she puts it, "an honest-to-goodness repressed, monogamous middle-aged, hyper-achieving, chubby woman with two kids... ," according to her website, and has grown into "an honest-to-goodness monogamous, middle-aged, accomplished chubby 'sex goddess' with two kids." A well-known blogger, who writes both on her own blog and for Psychology Today, Madsen gained quiet a following, both giving and gaining support through her blog, and started writing a book about her adventures. She now is not only an advocate for fertility but also coaches' individuals and couples sexually and has recent begin a project, based in the UK, as a host of a reality show called "The Taster."
"Shameless" not only promotes sexual satisfaction in the sense of being in tune with your sexual needs and your sexual partner -- it also promotes loving the body for what it is. Society, which up to this point has put in more barriers of simply being "okay" with your body -- to the point of writing books for young girls such as the very controversial children's book "Maggie Goes On A Diet," by Paul Kramer -- has painted a picture that anyone who is beyond the lower side of the spectrum of "ideal weight" is ultimately unhealthy. Through Madsen's eyes an adventure unfolds which is almost like slowly watching a lotus blossom bloom into a full and balanced, existence.
It's a journey which begins by breaking out of the mold by not cheating on spouses into uncharted territories of sensual massages, workshops on becoming comfortable with your body and natural sexual desire and learning how to love conventionally and being creative behind closed doors. Madsen describes everything from trying sensual massages by both gay and straight masseuses to find the right connection -- a daunting task for even those who simply searching for a regular massage -- to finding her own identity (Xena, Warrior Princess, in red ruby slippers), to the strong submissive who can let go of herself and trust her partners with some of her most intimate and sacred moments.
Madsen does not only tell a story of sacred intimacy, a term that is becoming more popular among sex-positive circles, but portrays and embodies a feminine role model that is not seen as much in today's society. The book, which after reading it gave me some helpful tips on how to love my body more, is a must-read for anyone who has either experienced their own sexual journey or feels that "something" must be out there beyond your already existing intimate relationships. It's a journey which gives proof that women are not alone who struggle with being heard and acceptance for who they are, and to find their own voices.