Sunday 1 May 2011

Book Review: Shameless by Pamela Madsen

Last night, I forked over thirty-three dollars and forty-four cents for the hardcopy edition of "Shameless: How I Ditched The Diet, Got Naked, Found True Pleasure and Still Got Home In Time To Cook Dinner". - I note that the title is quite the mouthful so it's usually referred to as just Shameless. - Amazon describes the basics of the story as:

At 43 years old, Pamela Madsen was happily married to the man she fell in love with at 17. She was the mother of two sons and had a successful career as a nationally known advocate for fertility issues. But she felt a growing sexual restlessness and yearning that wouldn’t let up. And though Pamela loved her husband and didn’t want to have an affair, she knew deep down that she needed more, much more. In Shameless, she tells the story of how she found it—and not only kept her marriage intact but made it stronger than ever.

In this fearless memoir, Pamela tells the story of her search for sexual, personal, and spiritual wholeness. She explores, in riveting detail, what she experienced at the hands of sexual healers, men who brought her untold pleasure (and became her close friends in the process).

But this is not just another sex book: Shameless is also an account of how Pamela’s journey healed her issues with food and body image and most important, helped her weave the many roles that she played—daughter, friend, partner, mother—into one fully integrated person. It is a story about a woman falling in love with herself and a call to other women to do the same.

I forget where I ran across this book, but as I looked at written comments from various readers and read some interviews with the author and watched some YouTube videos of her, I became curious about what exactly she did. Sex is the last frontier. It remains probably the single most misunderstood aspect of the human condition and of human relationships. Whether the confusion over it has given rise to it being so taboo or whether it being so taboo has given rise to the misunderstanding is tough to answer, but whichever is correct, we still arrive back at something which has ruined countless relationships and decimated many a marriage.

Review – Shameless by Pamela Madsen by litekepr - Feb 8/2011
There is plenty of sexual and erotic content in this book. Whether its orgasms, spanking, or even raspberries – you’ll have to read it to find out about that. But – anyone who said this book is only about sex, and maybe types of sex that make your uncomfortable, missed the point of the book in my opinion.

The author is a woman who is like many of us – she has battled her weight her entire life, she has people around her who mention he weight in a negative way, she’s married to the man she fell in love with years earlier, she’s only had sex with him, she has a career that she is very proud of – but there’s something missing.

... there are some things she needs to get rid of... that baggage of uncertainty that we carry around about our weight, our appearance, those nagging doubts that challenge our self-confidence...

Ladies – and the men and women who love them – if you know and love a woman who has these negative thoughts and past hurts that need to heal, you should get this book for her.... I was in a similar place as the author – a couple of years ago – and while my love coaching training was the catalyst for my journey to self-discovery, it also gave me a much more positive outlook on life and made me feel whole for the first time.

A Conversation with Pamela Madsen Author of SHAMELESS
Q: For many people in long-term relationships, the very idea of changing one’s sexual practices or introducing extreme ideas may be viewed as a threat to the happiness and health of the relationship itself. What would you say is the best way to approach a spouse or significant other regarding such topics?

A. Candidly discussing desire, whether it’s new-found or previously undisclosed, isn’t about blowing up a happy and healthy long-term relationship. It is about creating new depths of intimacy and revealing oneself to one’s partner more fully. Make no mistake – it can be an edgy exercise. It’s just as scary to share your deepest needs as it is for your partner to hear them.

Honesty isn’t always comfortable but that’s how we develop true acceptance of ourselves and our significant others.
If you love this person enough to be vulnerable, then hopefully you believe that your love is reciprocal enough to see you through.
To be sure, many people won’t examine their own fantasies and desires. More often than not, we sit in such judgment of sexual desires in general and our own in particular, then we hide them away as if they were somehow shameful.
So this concept of us being unique sexual beings could be really big news for people. And that we can be two separate beings in ONE marriage is really startling.

BlogHer - Feb 7/2011
(Review) Sex After 50: For Pamela Madsen, It's Shameless by Susan Mernit
Shameless is the story of Madsen’s post-marriage, post-40s, sexual reawakening, a journey that started with some very awkward (and oily) massages and culminated in trips to Arizona and California to explore tantra, spanking and BDSM. With the awareness and support of her husband, here called Gavin, Madsen did what few women of her background ever do -- ask themselves ”What do I really want that will give me pleasure?” and then set out to find the answer -- and give herself permission to enjoy it.

Psychology Today - Mar 29/2011
Shameful: What if it’s eating not cheating? by Rachel Clark
This book is gonna make you squirm--perhaps with uncorked erotic intrigue or nose-flaring outrage. But this type of squirming leads to the tangled bed sheets that cling to you after a life-changing dream...or life-altering sex.
It might not be comfortable, but the provocative issues this memoir erects thrust to the heart of a culture that may have mistaken "eating" (normal, human and primal sexual needs) for "cheating" (our ideas about betrayal, monogamy, and affairs).

Uploaded by RodaleBooks on Jan 7, 2011
Shameless by Pamela Madsen
A funny, sexy, and wildly entertaining look at the rewards of fully realized desire in the life of one ordinary woman.

Uploaded by BeingShameless on Jan 30, 2011
Does Receiving Pleasure Make Me a "Bad Person?"
Some reviews of my book have accused me of being a "bad person" for taking the time to explore my own sexuality and relationship to pleasure - here is what I have to say about that!

Uploaded by BeingShameless on Feb 16, 2011
The Most Asked Question
Pamela answers the most asked question by people across the country.
[Pamela says the most frequent question people ask her is how her husband dealt with her, how he put up with her explorations, and how he felt about her writing the book.]

Uploaded by BeingShameless on Mar 7, 2011
Are you hiding your pleasure factory?
Once you discover the pleasure your body is capable of, you won't want to hide under mumus!

Huffington Post - Sep 22/2010
Who Trains the Men? by Pamela Madsen
Recently my husband and I returned from a "Sacred Loving" workshop. Yeah, I know, it sounds very new age. And perhaps it is, but my husband is not a very new age kind of guy. He has been trying to catch up with me on my journey through the world of sacred sexuality. It is a noble effort that has started and stopped throughout the last few years. It is like a ritual with us, I ask him to go on some kind of Tantra or couples sexuality workshop with me, and he changes the subject. This time, he said "yes".

My comment
This is actually quite an interesting if not amazing article about the author and her husband. I can't imagine how any couple would not want such a mutual experience. It's certainly got my vote.

Huffington Post - Oct 5/2010
How to Be a Mid Life Sex Goddess Without Tripping on Stilettos by Pamela Madsen
I only recently became a Sex Goddess. It's a new role for me in life -- and I began my transformation in my early forties. Oh -- and I am chubby -- and stand about 5 feet-three inches tall. What? You don't think I am Sex Goddess material? Well, guess again. And you can be one too. Because it really doesn't have a thing to with "natural beauty" or long legs -- Sex Goddesses are often awakened -- and they can come in some pretty surprising packages. So how do you get there, you might ask?

My comment
You should read the full article. As a man I can say unequivocally that the old expression is true: "It's not what you have, it's how you use it." In 1981, Shere Hite published her study The Hite Report on Male Sexuality in which the author pointed out that the most common idea expressed in her interviews with over five thousand men was that they thought women didn't like sex.

Final Word
I bought this book because I was curious just how far Pamela went. Spoiler Alert: In chapter nine Pamela gets a massage from Markus, who seems to be gay by the way.

He may have spent most of his professional time on men, but Markus knew exactly how and where to touch me. Between breaths, I noticed that my mind had stopped nattering and I was in a trance of rapture. It crowded out everything else. I had no idea something like this was possible without actually making love.

I climaxed.

Oh shit. I had an orgasm with someone other than my husband. It was unbearably exciting and unimaginably intense. I was shocked ... Who was this man? How could I have such a private moment with a stranger?

I've read a number of comments from both men and women which range from the positive to the negative. What's your take going to be? I return to a line from the review in Psychology Today (listed above):

It might not be comfortable, but the provocative issues this memoir erects thrust to the heart of a culture that may have mistaken "eating" (normal, human and primal sexual needs) for "cheating" (our ideas about betrayal, monogamy, and affairs).


official web site: Being Shameless
Pamela Madsen is a fearless advocate for women’s health and integrated sexuality. During her 25-year career, Pamela has leveraged her raw honesty and well-informed wit to help strip the stigma from infertility, female desire and pleasure, body image and weight . The willingness to use her personal struggles to have children, discover her innate sexuality and find self-esteem has made Pamela one of the most accessible and relatable figures in the vanguard of women’s wellness. Pamela’s trademark openness and humor blew the lid off one of the worst kept secrets in this country: the power of the erotic core buried inside every woman to transform her life.

YouTube channel: Being Shameless

Amazon: Shameless by Pamela Madsen

The Fertility Advocate
[Pamela Madsen has worked in the area fertility for the past 20 years. This is her main area of expertise]
Pamela Madsen, one of the nation's most outspoken and recognized fertility educators and patient advocates, is bringing her 20-plus years of experience into the service of East Coast Fertility. As East Coast Fertility’s new Director of Public Education, Ms. Madsen is reaching out to women-- and men—to integrate infertility prevention, protection and treatment into the general health care continuum.

Fertility Coaching: What does it take to navigate the world of pre-conception, trying to conceive, infertility, pregnancy and childbirth? A lot. What if you could have the nation’s best known fertility advocate on your side to help you get past the road blocks, make the hard decisions and find the best of everything? Whether you are looking at how to get your body into the best shape possible for conception, navigating the fertility clinic maze, or trying to figure out how to preserve your fertility – there is a lot to know. I have spent a lifetime dedicated to understanding the world of fertility – and I know the inside skinny on all of it.

Google videos: "Pamela Madsen"

The Washington Post - May 29/2012
What Couples Want to Know But Are Too Shy to Ask by Elizabeth Bernstein
Pamela and Kai Madsen, of Riverdale, N.Y., have been married 30 years.
They had trouble having children. Ms. Madsen underwent fertility treatments during which she gained weight and ended up feeling damaged and unsexy.
About 10 years ago, Ms. Madsen started to feel unhappy and unfulfilled. The couple rarely had sex—and when they did, it was "efficient," Ms. Madsen says. Her husband, 54, says, "We knew exactly what was going to happen every time we had sex."

Back to the Body: A Sensuous Retreat for Women
“Female sexual pleasure, rightly understood, is not just about sexuality or just about pleasure. It serves also, as a medium of female knowledge, and hopefulness; female creativity and courage; female focus and initiative; female bliss and transcendence; and as medium of a sensibility that feels very much like freedom. To understand the vagina properly is to realize that it is not only coexistence with the female brain, but is also, essentially, a part of the female soul.” – Naomi Wolf
Pamela Madsen
Ron Stewart: body worker, massage therapist
Will Fredericks: sex educator and intimacy coach


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