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.
— CHRISTIANE NORTHRUP, M.D., AUTHOR OF WOMEN'S BODIES, WOMEN'S WISDOM
Pamela Madsen is an erotic genius who has created a six-day communal immersion process where women learn to integrate sexual arousal into all parts of their bodies and lives. Along with her extraordinary team; through group and solo practices and receiving the option of complimentary daily sensuous bodywork, participants unleash a remarkable state of sustained sexual arousal. And then are coached in ways to use that state. Back to The Body is the Master Class of my dreams. I wish I had a vulva.
— JOSEPH KRAMER PH.D., CO-CREATOR OF SEXOLOGICAL BODYWORK AND THE BODY ELECTRIC SCHOOL
Back to the Body attracts an incredible celebration of six to twelve beautiful women (size of the retreat varies on location) from across the United States and around the world, five time to eight times a year. This unique retreat is limited in size and our participant to staff ratio ensures a personalized experience. Our women have ranged in age from 25 to 75! They can tell you about their experiences way better than we can! Here are just some of our pictures, their reflections and letters
Letters to Back to the Body
I have been home from Back to the Body for one week and I am still marinating in its richness and depth, and missing my new friends, with whom so much sharing was exchanged.
Sometimes, what all of us need the most at Back to the Body is a hug and a giggle. I knew this retreat would be meaningful, but its impact went further and deeper than I imagined. I was most moved by the nurturing and love of the facilitators, the spiritual healing effects that occurred, and the bonding and support of the other women, all in the warm embrace of the gorgeous British Columbia setting.
There was much energy put into making us feel warm, comfortable, welcomed and supported. From the hugs and smiles, to making sure we were eating and drinking well, to sharing their skills and personal stories. Their open arms and hearts eased the healing bits to come forth from the participants. Their generosity, love, experience and positive intent was such an important foundation of the event; it supported all the ritual, pleasure and erotic elements and made them most meaningful.
At first glance, one might mainly see the possibilities for welcoming physical pleasure for the participants of this retreat. And while that certainly was offered and received, it is the ensuing healing that impacted me the most. What was deeply reinforced for me is the spiritual importance of speaking my desire, and offering myself the opportunity to receive pleasure in a most honoring way. It was self affirming in that I was stating that “I am worthy to receive this.” The result was a powerful healing-of-shame event in my life.
A mini one on one workshop on learning how to be an active receiver of touch. There were also very deep and beautiful rituals that required us to dig deep for courage. We all reached out to each other in those moments, and this courage and support were also a prevailing, profound and lovely aspect of this event. There was lots of laughter and tears, all very precious memories for me.
I am still processing, with full intention of integrating the blessings from this experience into the enrichment of every aspect of my life.
Thank You! I am so very grateful for this opportunity, as it has had a significant and positive impact on my life! I am also grateful for the openness of the other women, as your experiences were so inspiring to me. You are all brilliant and beautiful! If any of you, facilitators or participants, are ever in my area, please reach out as I would love to see you again.
I have not been capable of writing for weeks now. I think I am gradually surfacing.
The retreat was perfectly designed to let us explore what we needed to explore in an environment of safety and love. By love I mean the kind of love they talk about in alanon and the 12 step programs – you may not like us all but you will love us in a very special way. I have given this love frequently in my life and know its power. I had not consciously experienced it so powerfully for an extended period in a context where all “terrors” could arise.
For me every external aspect of care was addressed so that we felt the love and felt special and pampered and safe. The people that were brought in to provide extra services were just as respectful and caring and open and playful and game as the Back to the Body staff.
The booklet left by the Belly Fit instructor, Alice, which I read after the retreat, though not new information for me, helped me honor my experience.
The challenge , of course, is with yourself. With overcoming the old self destructive belief systems that created the situation in the first place. That is not always so easy because, I at least, can be very clever and numbing myself and telling myself stories that seem totally rational and be oblivious to what is really going on inside, to the battle and my judgment of myself.
I had a breakthrough and Sexological Bodyworker said he could see in my eyes that I was more connected to myself. He also said that it would be good if we could weave new patterns learned from the retreat into our lives….. That is an additional challenge and yet I know unless I do all will be essentially for naught.
One main thing I can do now because I cannot create a Beloved out of thin air, is to spend time as a priority loving myself, feeding my desires in ways I can. Like dress up sexily for myself as Pam suggested. Move and be with my body with the acceptance and gentleness I felt when Ron led our morning movement sessions. Spend time with my self pleasuring rather than rushing through it because I have so many more important things to do.
And here’s the thing getting back to doing even just that is harder than ever and yet I know it is what let me have the experience I did have.
I am so incredibly grateful to everyone for being so generous with your love and care. I am so very grateful to have met my very special sisters and to have shared evening gabfests and check-ins. We all held a space for each other as well. It was a very, very special time.
I am so incredibly grateful.
—Laurie, from Canada
Back to the Body was five days spent living the way I want to live the rest of my life: feeling loved, centered, sexy, and open to joy. Before I attended the retreat, I was living this way in my head. But now, I know deep in my body that I am exactly who I was meant to be. When I look in the mirror, I can look past the lumps and bumps and see power and grace and Divinity.
This retreat is about wholeness. About being held and nurtured and seen and valued as the complex, beautiful, sensual and perfectly imperfect being that each of us is. The transformation that happens here is not about changing who we are, but seeing, welcoming, acknowledging, accepting and loving who we have always been, and who we might dare to become.
For me, this was a profound, erotic, deeply spiritual experience, and the most fun I have ever had. The brave and beautiful women I shared this experience will forever be part of me. The openness and generosity of each woman to be present in each moment, to share herself with the group, made the experience rich beyond words.
The caring, expertise, thoughtfulness, and humour of the workshop leaders were extraordinary. They met me right where I was, honestly and openly, and gently but firmly challenged me to open and stretch and dare to be me.
Pamela Madsen is an author and blogger, a life, sexuality, intimacy and fertility coach. She has been called a pioneer, a visionary, a leader and a risk-taker. But forget all those words. Who she really is, is Love. Her heart is wide open- to herself, and to the world, and being around her was, for me, an invitation in each moment to join her in the pleasure of being wholly, delightfully alive, as me.
Ron Stewart is a wonderful example of how it is to be at home in your body. He’s so comfortable in his own skin I started to wonder what has kept me from being at ease in my own. I loved dancing with him, flirting with him, talking with him, and learning from him. I hope I get to dance on his table some day!
Lorna Hannah should teach sex ed in every school in the country. What a world it would be! Her poise and confidence, her quiet joy in her own sexuality was reassuring, and the matter-of-fact but very respectful way she speaks about our genitals and our sexuality was comforting and refreshing.
Lisa, thank you for your lovely meals, your beautiful calm and caring energy, and for holding such beautiful space for us – and for demonstrating when called upon at the last minute!
It’s been hard to find the words to describe this experience. I am sure it will continue to inform the rest of my life. Thank you for your honestly, your generosity, your authenticity, your love.
There was a calling
And when I moved
to the edge-there you were
Not to pull me
back to safety, but
to teach me
How to fly
—Tracy, from Canada
I am a ‘woman of a certain age’, divorced for many years and not in an intimate relationship for many years. I am blessed with a good job, good health, my own home and still I was not happy. Don’t get me wrong: I have peace of mind and contentedness, two things I wished for with all my heart during the rough years. I also am an abuse survivor and the child of a broken home, both of which led to talk therapy on and off for very many years.
So here I am, being that certain age, alone, reading my romance novels as quickly as one can pop candy, consuming an equal amount of reality programming on television, eating when I’m not even sure I’m hungry, enjoying my evening glasses of wine, but still having a yen for something. There has to be more, I thought.
I read the book, Shameless: How I Ditched the Diet, Got Naked, Found True Pleasure…and Somehow Got Home in Time To Cook Dinner. What an absolute delight and, wow!, did the author’s account of her experiences plant a seed in my brain. So much so that I ended up enrolled to attend the Summer 2013 Back to the Body Retreat.
Even though I had read Pamela Madsen’s book and knew about the sensual massage that would happen at the retreat, I still didn’t really have my brain wrapped around all that would be entailed in my actual participation, my reactions and the process itself. I wanted to be clear in my mind why I was going to the retreat and it came down to three reasons:
- To become more comfortable in my sexuality
- To change my aura or vibe by becoming more comfortable sexually; and,
- To realize my full sexual potential.
All of this is to say, I realize now in hindsight, I wasn’t enjoying my sexuality as much as I thought I could and wanted to learn a lot more…kind of self-actualizing sexually.
I didn’t really have any expectations per se beforehand: I was simply hopeful, but at a very macro level and in a nebulous way. On Day 1 of the retreat, within a matter of hours I was on a massage table receiving touch unlike any I had previously experienced.”
The blinders were ripped off, all the way from the recommended readings beforehand, to demonstrations, to experts in various related topics brought in to meet with us. And I was immersed in the retreat: no television or radio; no telephone calls; no email; no job; no family requests tugging at me. There was so much learning and sharing and sensation. Perhaps most importantly there were no judgments made and everyone – to a person – was giving, shared stories and experiences, listened, comforted, laughed and sometimes cried. I realized during the retreat that this was a watershed time in my life.
When the retreat ended I began to realize how intrinsically changed I was…down to a cellular level. I was literally seeing color and light differently, reacting to food differently, and feeling an entirely new perspective on all the pieces of my daily life. On top of all that, I have discovered five truly wonderful and dear sister goddesses. We have bonded in a manner that I’ve not experienced with other women before in my life. We are each in our own way working to maintain the sparkle gifted to us at Back to the Body. For me that work will be augmented by attending two more retreats in the next six months. And I bloody can’t wait!
—Anne, from Florida
Working with my Sexological Bodyworker was phenomenal. I felt like he really keyed into my needs. My experiences with him allowed me to see myself as a whole person- to own all of me, to soften my perception of the parts of me I didn’t like and make me feel like an agent in my own life. I feel more comfortable setting and enforcing boundaries. I no longer feel victimized by other people’s opinions and moods around me after working with you all. I have the right to feel my feelings and drop the stories that have imposed on me for so long and then, move forward in joy.
I really appreciated the advice and the demo: knowing what was on the table, what to expect, and being reminded to find the good in fellow participants made me much more comfortable to explore and connect.
I have a cohort of fairy godmothers now- peckish, laughing and whole-heartledly wonderful women who I can hear when I look in the mirror or when part of me knows not to enter the box someone is trying to entice or force me into.
—Sarah, from Maryland
Want to let the world know about your Back to the Body experience? Send us a letter below!
Please note that by sending your letter we reserve the right to publish it on our site!