Get ready to start your engines! A brand new conversation is about to take hold at your local water cooler. What would you think about seeing a 'hands on sexual healer'? How would you react if your daughter, girlfriend or wife started to see one? And what am I talking about anyway?

This week, my "pioneering, fearless and funny memoir" SHAMELESS: How I Ditched The Diet, Got Naked, Found True Pleasure and Somehow Got Home In Time To Cook Dinner (Rodale: January 18, 2011) will begin to bring what was at best - only whispered between girlfriends all over the country - into an out loud, main stream conversation.

You see in my memoir - I talk with raw, straight from the heart honesty about my unexpected experiences. I bring you with me on every step of my very unanticipated journey into the sacred sexuality "underground". I had one wild, wonky, funny and ultimately transformational experience. And while I am being the brave little chicken being willing to stand up and tell my story - the truth is that there are a lot of hens already in this hen house!

Women all over the country are staking a claim on pleasure for health and healing -I think that it's all a part of the new feminism.

Despite decades of lip service given to "liberation" and the press-hot notoriety of sex kittens and their older sisters, the sex goddesses, real women are aggressively seeking outlets for pent-up sexual energy or fix-its for their low libidos.  In increasing numbers, women are finding answers in the hands of professional sexual healers. Though it remains a subterranean phenomenon, sexual healing is breaking through the frozen ground of taboo.

Dr. Christiane Northrup, physician, best-selling author and internationally renowned women's health expert commented, "Up until very recently, hands-on sexual healing has been cloaked in secrecy, shame, and misunderstanding. But a bold new group of courageous pioneers such as Pamela Madsen is leading the way toward a deeper, richer understanding of women's sexual pleasure as a force for health and healing that positively affects all areas of their lives. The new feminism includes embracing our erotic power, and hands on sexual healing in the right setting can be a very effective way to accomplish this."

I have been told that I am an "unlikely avatar of desire and pleasure, a Everywoman - a plump, middle-aged housewife, married with two kids, living a middle class life in the Bronx. But with her new book, she's opening the floodgates of a new national dialogue about integrated female sexuality and well being. She has emerged as the only client of sexual healers to speak publicly about the transformational and healing power of one-way touch and sensual pleasure."

Should I be shaking in my boots? Why did I write a book about this? Why am I sharing my experiences with the world? Am I nuts? Maybe...but I know what happened to me. Who I was - and who I became. And this is too big to keep under wraps. I simply feel too good!

So maybe my  "coming out" is a bit unprecedented! So maybe I am the first.  Perhaps. But what I am finding is that the more that I come out and talk to other women - I am finding an overwhelmingly large group of women who are hungry to learn how they can too own and harness their sexuality.

Frankly, even with my memoir  one day from publication - just the word of mouth about my story has brought an influx of mail from women who feel shut down and cut off from their own bodies and want to taste the freedom of pleasure again-or maybe for the first time. The letters are filled with women talking about how trapped they feel behind the barbed wire fence of shame, guilt, fear and resentment as they struggle to break free. They want to know how to find safe sexual healing with an experienced professional without ditching their lives.

The truth is - I got the courage to share my story because even before I went public I knew that I wasn't alone. I was meeting other women like just like myself at workshops and conferences. It made me wonder how widespread hands on sexual healing was becoming. Since there were no official studies, I reached out to sex therapists, women's health specialists and family therapists to find out if in fact, if their patients were approaching them with questions about "hands-on" sexual healing. These practitioners confirmed that not only were women coming to them - they wanted referrals.

Clearly, hands-on sexual healing is slowly seeping into the mainstream. After all, HBO has the hit series Hung. Ray, the protagonist, may call himself a gigolo, but he usually winds up providing a profound experience that most of his clients crave.

Once I got over my shame - and lived to tell about it - I discovered that desire is natural and pleasure is transformational. Allowing pleasure into your life isn't narcissistic, id-driven or the function of a personality disorder. It is, in fact, a path to wholeness. Pleasure helps mend many wounds from body image and depression to the infamous low libido. Sometimes all we need is an expert guide to lead us to the mine of gold we already have inside of us.

Shameless is about my journey on the path to figuring all of this out on my own without many guides - at least at the beginning! It will make you laugh, cry, and squirm. It might inspire you - or make you angry. The only promise I can make you about my book is that it will make you feel something big.

I have been on a fabulously funny, sexy,  wonky, and totally amazing journey through a world that so many people just whisper about. I came home transformed. In my world the 'hands on' sexual healers  are called Sacred Intimates, Sexological Bodyworkers, and Dakas. HBO may have ‘Happiness Consultants'. Whatever the name, paid sexual healing services are in increasing demand. Maybe if a doctor could write a prescription, it wouldn't be underground anymore. But based on my own informal research, I can tell you, it won't be sub rosa much longer.



About the Author

Pamela Madsen

Pamela Madsen is the author of Shameless and founder of The American Fertility Association.

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