"I'm not alone." That's how I felt when I first read Pamela Madsen's book, "Shameless: How I Ditched the Diet, Got Naked, Found True Pleasure...and Somehow Got Home in Time To Cook Dinner." Five months prior to purchasing Pamela's book, I had ended a five year relationship. Part of the breakup was due to that fact that I wanted MORE for myself and for our relationship and neither was going to happen with him! Therefore I needed to be without him. (I wrote about this back in April in a post called, "On Wanting More & The 4 Ways I Found It". ) Fast forward five months later and I'm on Amazon.com when I should be organizing some event for my then Wall Street corporate job. The pole dance studio I attended had mentioned Pamela's book in their newsletter and at that point I was so hungry for more of anything that would make me feel alive....that I bought her book and read it in two days. I found myself underlining phrases such as: "I've had sex on my side, on my knees, from the front and from behind. He was never shy about putting his mouth anywhere. What else was there?" "I just want to have a sensual experience in a way that isn't going to hurt anybody." "I was a woman in pieces, when I wanted to be a woman at peace." "What could be bad about finding yourself while experiencing pleasure? I hadn't known that was even an option." "I was pure sensation, erotic thoughtlessness." I had written in my own blog post things like: "Point is, I do myself an injustice by not being whole. I can be angry, sad and depressed while mounting a soapbox saying, 'Hey at least I fucking survived. At least, I’m not .... going literally insane. At least, I’m breathing.' BUT I don’t want to live my life “at the least” of these things. I want my life to be uplifting, full of purpose, I want to live with a passionate force. I want to thrive, prosper, develop, grow and evolve. I want to be at my highest. It just means, I want to do more than breathe. I want to actually LIVE. There is a difference. People in a coma are breathing. People in vegetated states, are by definition, alive. But me, I have to do more than that. I HAVE TO THRIVE." via The Least of These Things: Surviving vs Thriving "I shouldn’t reserve the best of me for someone else. The best of me is first, for me." via Loving Self : Italian Journals, Men & Me So, I'm reading....no, I've devouring Pamela's book and I know that I am NOT ALONE. "She gets IT!" I thought. Whatever it was. IT was the full exploration of sensuality and sexuality as a way of tapping into what it means to be fully human. In Pamela's memoir she shares a portion of her story about searching for pleasure without having to cheat on her husband and without having to lose 100 lbs. You learn about her various experiences from sensual massages to sexuality workshops to  her various encounters with Sacred Intimates and even how her blog ultimately led to her resigning from the fertility organization she founded. What you also learn.......is that if you are like Pamela or like me....then, you are not alone. After reading Pamela's book, I started pushing myself further in my pole dance classes. Rather than flirtatiously dancing in baby doll dresses in freestyle pole movement, I started exploring a "darker" part of my persona. I started tying myself up when I danced. I started wearing a collar, dancing with a riding crop as a dominatrix type of style revealed itself in my freestyle pole movement. Not only, that I stopped feeling weird and guilty about it. I started going to workshops and seminars on various sexuality topics including fetish & BDSM exploration. I even started dating a domme. I went to the New York Rubber Ball. I went to a suspension, flogging and latex party. I started talking about topics more boldly than I would never had done before. Over dinner at some fancy hotel restaurant, I discussed gas mask and breath play with friends....who coincidentally, were into those types of things too. I started reading more books on sacred sexuality and watching documentaries. I started collecting quotes. I just kept consuming and learning and asking questions and trying to experience more and more. I was on a search for the height of pleasure and creativity. I wanted to live my life fully!!! I wanted to find ways to be all of me and to enjoy it all.  This is something I still want everyday. This is what I loved about Pamela's book.  Her book is not about how she became a kinky nympho who divorced her husband, or cheated on her husband or made her husband be her bitch. I gather that her book is about her exploration of pleasure. Her own personal exploration of pleasure, desire and sexuality. An exploration that went on to enhance every area of her life including her marriage. And while the path she has chosen to explore is not one that her husband takes part in, its one in which he supports her. Pamela's book is one I reference often when friends and strangers ask for my sensual and sexual reading list. Its a must have. A stocking stuffer. A bible of one woman's pleasure journey. GET IT! You don't have to become kinky or pole dance with a riding crop or even find your own Sacred Intimate. But what I think we all need is a vocabulary and a safe space to explore desire and pleasure. If you're not sure where to start, if you need inspiration, if you want to finally find the words for the urges you've been feeling....Pamela's book is for you. After devouring Pamela's book years ago, I found her online. I wanted more of her. I wanted to know how her story panned out after the book. I wanted to read her blog post, go to her seminars and find even more pleasure. Anytime she wrote something, I devoured it. If she mentioned a new product or a new course, I needed to know more. In fact, she's the reason I went on a 10 day silent retreat back in 2012. It was something I always wanted to do but I never made any effort. However one day Pamela posted a status about a silent retreat on facebook and I asked for more information. Weeks later and I was in upstate New York eating vegan means 3 times a day and meditating with peacocks at the crack of dawn while never uttering a single word. (It sounds crazy and yet it was one of the best experiences of my life.) I say all of this because...as mentioned, you NEED to read the book. And if you've read it already, read it again. And perhaps, buy a copy for a friend! On top of that, Pamela has a new one day retreat and on top of that Bodybinds will be a part of it! Seducing Our Own Beauty: A One Day Retreat For Women The description says, "This unique play shop limited to ten women will combine the transformational and healing art of photography, telling our body stories, self adornment and being witnessed in our own unique beauty. Pamela Madsen, Internationally known sex educator specializing in the needs of women, author of "Shameless" and Co-Visionary of "Back To The Body: Sensual Retreats For Women" and Lori Berkowitz acclaimed Boudoir Photographer  have come together to create a sexy and sensual day for 10 women.   "I mean, once I saw how much better all parts of my life could be when I embraced my big, sensual, sexual side, there was no going back. I'd come too far toward being shameless, which is my code word for uncorking untapped desire, to withdraw into hiding."
February 27, 2020 — Jacqueline Lee