An Antidote to a Mean World

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I don’t know how you feel about this week’s US election results. But I know without a doubt that regardless of what corner of the globe you reside in, the US presidential election will affect you one way or another.

For me personally, there is tremendous grief.

I have dedicated my life toward working for certain freedoms I consider essential for our world community. Things like adult sexual freedoms, sex worker rights, women’s reproductive freedoms, LGBTQ human rights and the rights of sexual abuse survivors have a special place in my activist heart.

And while I have not been as much on the front lines for the causes of racial equality, environmental protections and animal welfare, they are nevertheless issues that are dear to me in deeply personal ways.

The political shift that will result from this week’s election cycle does not bode well for any of these movements. And yet I know that all of us who care about these issues must continue to advocate for them. Now more than ever, we cannot allow our deep disappointment to lead to resignation. Instead we must tap into our righteous anger so that is bolsters our resolve.

Anger can be a beautiful emotion if we know how to use it as motivation to take action. Anger can also be terribly destructive if we simply act it out. We don’t need more polarization or hate. We need more love. But our love must be a verb that results in measurable and meaningful action.

For my part I will be working harder than ever to bring you concrete, positive actions designed to uplift and improve your life, your loves, your passions and your purpose.

That will take many forms including my soon-to-be-launched online group coaching programs. You will learn about my Exquisite Partnership Formula ™ and what I refer to as an Antidote to a Mean World ™.

And at every step of the way, I will be asking you for feedback about what you need and want most so that I can show up for you as fully as possible.

We are, after all, in this together. And now more than ever, we need to remember that and act on it with compassion and clarity.


The Yogini with a Past


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In 2010, the media branded her “Europe’s most perverted Dominatrix.” But Ira van Damm’s pro domme sessions don’t sound that extreme to me. And I would not call her or her work “perverted.” But that sort of salaciousness makes for attention getting headlines.

Ira van Damm worked under the professional name of Mistress Lucrezia in the United Kingdom for several years but one day her whole world came crashing down. One of her clients died during a session.

Death during sex is not a crime. Certainly when my aunt’s husband expired on top of her during sex, no one accused her of murder. But when BDSM is involved, authorities and public opinion can’t resist jumping to conclusions.

As is often the case, the arrest made headlines and the media rushed to judgment. But what actually happened has been a bit of a mystery, until now. The whole story will be revealed in a brand new documentary scheduled for release later this year.

Ex-Dominatrix, a True Story is a film by Darren Cavanagh, who has also worked on films like Kill Bill and The Hunger Games.

And while this aspect of Ira van Damm’s story holds great interest for me, it may not be for the reasons you might suspect. I am deeply interested in how her client’s death adversely impacted her health, and led to her moving to India, healing herself and beginning a new life as a yogini and yoga teacher.

Transformation is something many of us seek. We want to be better, be more, and feel expanded into our full potential. Yet life’s setbacks can sometimes make it difficult for us to continue to believe in ourselves and take the steps that will produce positive change.

This new film promises to inspire us toward that positive change. While Ex-Dominatrix will provide us with an intimate look into Ira’s former life as a dominatrix and her new role as a yoga teacher, the larger message is really about overcoming setbacks and finding the courage to reinvent yourself.

As Ira says in the film, “What I hope people will get from this documentary, is that it gives them the courage in their lives to move on when they hit a set back. Because a set back is sometimes necessary to open your eyes and see that you have other abilities. Because sometimes we get stuck into what we are used to and we forget that it’s something that doesn’t make us happy. If we are unhappy we keep dreaming about changing it and complaining about our life but we don’t do anything about it. And sometimes you need to bang your head against a rock to wake you up to see that it’s time for something else. You have to find the strength inside you to do something with your life. I can advise everybody, it’s much better than killing yourself”…she giggles.

I was afforded a rare opportunity to interview Ira van Damm via email exchange with the film’s producer, Darren Cavanagh.

How has Ira been received as a yogi? Have any of her students objected to her past as a dominatrix?

I don’t think she has had problems with her students but when it doesn’t have to be shared she doesn’t share it. The first years before we were filming in Goa she didn’t tell anyone about her past life. There was no need for her as a yoga teacher to share her past with her students as it wasn’t yoga related.  When she did tell some students it did shock some of them but they didn’t think less of her as a teacher. I think she keeps it silent to get appreciated for what she is doing now without the influence or opinion people might have from knowing what she had did in the past.

Does Ira have regrets about her past profession? Or does she perhaps feel shameless about it? Maybe even see it as a strength?

She doesn’t regret anything as regretting things is a waste of time. It certainly made her into the person she is now, strong and independent. But she doesn’t talk about it much as most people still don’t understand what BDSM is about. Ira says “I never regarded myself as a sex worker but rather as a spiritual, mind blowing therapist.”

Are there any skill sets from her past profession, which Ira currently uses in her new profession?  In other words, does she view her life as a natural progression where what came before helps to inform and shape what comes after?

She has always tried to open up the minds of all the people she worked with and she does the same now but on a different level. Her profession as a dominatrix made her into a very patient person and she gained lots of understanding of the mind and body which come in very handy in her new profession. From her past profession she also got very fit and flexible which made it easier to become a yogini.

Would Ira call her transformation from pro domme to yogini a “spiritual awakening?” What role does spirituality play in her profession as a yogini?  What role did spirituality play in her role as a dominatrix?

Ira has always been a very spiritual person, but her heart is the thing that has opened up more. She has immense love for the world and all the people in it, not just the small group of friends and family that surround her. I think in her current state of mind it will be almost impossible for her to turn back to the profession that she did before. Some of her most loyal clients have given up BDSM when she stopped and are also looking for other spiritual awakenings now. She said, “It’s always been my goal to open up the body and mind of my clients and to use levels of pain to reach a state of nirvana. It gave me a mental state of pleasure to lift people out of their comfort zone and bring them to an unknown high. It’s just a lot less dangerous and less painful the way I do it now, (smiles) but the intentions are still the same. I may have been a hard core dominatrix, but I was never a violent or abusive one”.

In fact, by definition consensual BDSM is not abusive for the very reason that it is explicitly defined by consent. Some forms of BDSM may appear violent to an outside observer, who may not realize fully that the activities have been mutually agreed upon, and are mutually desired, by all the participants. What may appear to an outside viewer as perpetration or abuse is actually a form of play.  This same standard of mutual consent defines many other activities that could appear to an outside observer as violent, such as football, martial arts, or boxing. Mutual consent creates a container for all play, most especially the more “violent” forms of play, whether recreational or professional.

What I find most evocative about this film is the telling of Ira’s story in a holistic way which neither denies nor apologizes for her past profession while embracing and celebrating her new professional and spiritual path.  I hope that others will feel inspired to see their own lives without the filters of shame. We are better able to learn from our past when we ditch the shame. And it does wonders for our ability to live fully and joyfully.

Watch the movie trailer and movie clips here!


This Book is Getting Rave Reviews from Quite the Cast of Characters!


For anyone who thinks sex could solve the world’s problems and lead us to more peaceful coexistence, The Bonobo Way is a godsend! I am so impressed with its message of love that I blurbed the book.  Here is what I think of Dr. Susan Block’s brand new book:

I want to thank Dr. Susan Block for writing this book. The Bonobo Way makes so many points that I have been speaking to for years as well as many which are new to me. And I am elated that Dr. Suzy, as she is affectionately known,  has taken this step, not only on behalf of bonobos and not only on behalf of sexual self-determination, but also as a bold departure from the scientific and cultural taboos which tell us we humans cannot learn culture from animals. We can and we should learn from any species which does it better than we do! Dr. Suzy succeeds in dispensing scientific information and crucial insights into both animal and human culture with a sense of humor which is as surprising as it is endearing.  If you never heard of a bonobo, you want to read this book. And if you don’t care about bonobos, you need to read this book. Let Dr. Suzy show you how sex can pave the road to peace and make humans smarter in the process.

If  you want to pick up your personal copy of The Bonobo Way, just follow this link!

What Might Life Feel Like if We Were Free of Sexual Shame?



I am sure we all have different answers to that question. In part it depends upon whom we are attracted to and of course what type of sex we enjoy. I just put together this short video which captures what I think a world free of shame could be like and how it might feel. I would love to know if my vision resonates with you.  Maybe you have some great ideas for a more inclusive vision? I welcome all your thoughts, feelings and creative ideas!  Please post below!

Click here to watch the short video about Breaking Free of sexual shame!

Five Ways to Take Your Sex Life to the Next Level


Does your sex life fulfill ALL of your fantasies? Are you enjoying the best sex of your life? Or is there something more you dream of and wish for?

No matter how awesome the sex you are currently having, there is the possibility for more. But more what?

As a sexologist and sex educator, a lot of people want me to help them improve their sex lives. Many of those people imagine that I will tell them about a new pill, potion or position. It seems everyone wants a quick fix – something which will magically transform boredom and routine into a thrilling joy ride of coital bliss. And sometimes those pills, potions and positions can accomplish just that – for the short term.

But eventually, even new thrills can become empty and boring.  And predictably, the search usually resumes for something new and exciting to fulfill our fantasies of what sex should be like.

Does this mean we are doomed to a life of uninspired sexual routine or, conversely, the endless pursuit of one momentary sexual high after another?

No. It all depends upon the erotic path you choose.

If you are willing to invest as much time and effort in your sex life as you do in your favorite sport or hobby, sex can be catapulted into a high art form which has the potential to exceed your wildest dreams.

But be forewarned that the price of admission into this rarified sexual reality can be more than some are willing to pay.

Do I have your attention?  Then by all means, read on . . .

Sex, like much of the rest of life, is shaped by our intentions as well as our technique. If your approach toward sex is oriented to simply having fun, then your sexual experiences will tend to be more superficial than heart centered.

But if you combine your sexuality with your spirituality, you can open erotic doors which transcend the mundane and literally launch you into a world defined by other dimensions.

Although an erotic journey of this nature can involve a variety of teachings and practices, I have outlined five of the most basic elements designed to take your sex to the next level:

1. Perfect Your Touch

You can touch something or you can touch your own desire. When you allow your hands and your finger tips to find their pleasure, your touch will naturally create pleasure in the person you are touching. Shift your focus from how you are touching and how you imagine your lover feels and allow the pure joy of touching to excite your senses.

The energy in your body radiates past the confines of your skin. Learn to sense this energy by holding the palms of your hands about a half inch to an inch apart and gently push at the space in between your hands. Notice how it feels when your hands come close to each other and how it feels as they move away. Can you feel the energy generated by the palms of your hands?  This is what you want to touch your lover with. You want to learn to direct that energy so that your touch extends past your fingertips.

2. Master Your Breath

Everyone breathes deeper and more frequently when they are sexually aroused. But unfortunately, many of us have learned to hold our breath when we orgasm. For some, holding the breath seemed like a wise way to avoid making noise and getting “caught” masturbating or having sex when we were younger. It can take some practice to unlearn this habit. But it is important that you allow yourself to breathe while you orgasm if you want to take your sexual pleasure to the next level. If you learn to breathe during your arousal and through your orgasms, you may be surprised how receptive your body is to continued arousal and multiple orgasms.

Conscious breathing exercises including some yoga practices and meditation techniques are an excellent way to master the art of breathing yourself to an ecstatic state of being. When you know how to raise your sexual excitement with your breath, your ability to experience pleasure is enlarged. Plus another benefit is an increased ability to connect with another person intimately. The breath unleashes emotions and when we breathe deeply, we feel our emotions more intensely. Allowing these emotions to surface during sex creates a more intense sexual and emotional sharing.

3. Expand Your Consciousness

Not only do meditation and yoga provide conscious breathing techniques which can enhance the enjoyment of sex, meditation and yoga can also expand your ability to sustain your awareness and focus. The ability to stay present with yourself, your lover and your pleasure is a crucial feature of heightened states of sexual arousal. Sex which is deprived of these deeper abilities is not nearly as satisfying as sex which occurs in a state of expanded awareness.

It may seem counterintuitive, but more awareness and more pleasure can be very confronting and even frightening  until you become familiar with the emotional terrain. A torrent of buried emotions can surface creating confusion and fear. That is why step four, which follows, is so important!

4. Delve Deeper

The best sex is connected to our hearts and therefore our emotions. As you become more aware and emotionally connected to yourself and your lover, you will no doubt become more attuned to irritations, frustrations and fears as well. This is the part which can be frightening to many people. This is where many will turn away from this immensely satisfying erotic journey in preference of something “safer” and necessarily more superficial. But there is nothing to fear. The truth is that you were carrying these emotions inside of yourself before you became aware of them. Now that you sense your true feelings, you simply need to learn healthy ways to deal with them.

There are many resources you can draw from to learn to navigate newly discovered emotions. The tools which can help you express yourself honestly and compassionately with another human being include non-violent communication techniques and active listening skills. These are best learned with the help of a trained professional such as a therapist or relationship coach. Investing in your communication and intimacy is one of the most powerful ways to take your sex life to the next level.

5. Create Sacred Space

Taking sex to the next level requires the space for that sex to occur. A special place and setting can be achieved in a variety of ways which appeal to the five senses. Experiment with incense, sensual music, candlelight and perhaps an altar. But don’t stop there. Create sacred space for your erotic journey by allowing ample time.

Most people allow about 30 minutes for sex including foreplay. The average length of intercourse is just 3 to 7 minutes. How sad. Sex shouldn’t be a race or a fast food drive-through. Sex needs time to develop into the mind-blowing experience we all crave. Begin by setting aside a minimum of one hour for lovemaking. As you increase your capacities for intimacy and pleasure, you may find your sexual encounters lasting for hours!

Rest assured, I have personal experience with all five of these steps. And I know it is common to have some resistance to change, even when that change can usher in the fulfillment of our hopes and dreams.

I thought I had seen it all, done it all and, I might add, very, very well. But fortunately there is no limit to the heights which can be attained on an erotic path married to a spiritual journey. When I found the courage to diverge from genitally focused sex and allow my pleasure to merge with my heart, my spirit learned to soar in ways I never dreamt possible.

The Doorway to the Divine referred to by the ancients opened for me and I will never be the same. What words can describe what I have experienced on this new sexual road? There is no language for this new sexuality and that’s no doubt best because if I could describe it, it would be limited by the words I would use. Instead, my breath expands into this new dimension and takes my soul on an ever expanding journey into the unknown.

Where pleasure meets the deepest longings of my heart is where I find my identity merging with my Beloved’s, and a third entity I can only refer to as God. An ache which has been my constant companion since my earliest memories, finds satiation for once. But that is a small part of what is happening.

My sense of self is shifting. I no longer feel defined by the limits of this body. And I know what it means to inhabit a place which is ecstatic and timeless. I want to report where I have been and what I have felt but words feel silly in the face of so much splendor.

Making love has been transformed into a prayer as my Beloved merges with me in the most delicious way imaginable. My fingers trace his body and his orgasm enters my soul with the beauty of a thousand shooting stars speeding through space.

There is only love and love is all that is.    

Sober Escort?


The first sober escort I ever met was Maria. She was a spunky, sexy brunette who attended my home group. She worked a good program and still had a hard time staying sober for more than a few months at a time. Maria felt prostitution was an impediment to her sobriety and it was her wish to quit the business someday soon. I eventually lost track of her so I have no idea if she ever did quit prostitution nor do I know if she was able to sustain any long-term sobriety.

But I certainly recall the resistance I felt inside myself when some members of twelve step recovery assumed that certain professions or sexual orientations are inconsistent with a life of sobriety.


Read the rest on The Fix

Veronica Monet: In Her Own Words

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Nearly three decades ago, I entered a life of sobriety, which catapulted me onto a path of spiritual growth and service. There have been many steps along this journey. First I hosted a local cable TV show on which I interviewed hundreds of guests about a variety of topics which called to me over the course of five years. Eventually I found my own voice as an activist for women’s empowerment and sexual rights.


I became a popular spokesperson for these causes. At first I was on discussion panels and then in front of classrooms. But before long, I was sought after for major newspaper, magazine, radio and television interviews. I spoke from personal experience about my own healing journey as an incest/rape survivor and a recovered alcoholic/addict. I was angry and outspoken, but the media loved me. And over time, I learned to  deliver a more sophisticated message which even incorporated a sense of humor.


Giving keynote presentations in University and college settings, I discovered not only that I had an activist message to convey, but also that I carried in my heart a great love for my audiences. This changed everything and I became less angry and more empathic. People often came up after my talks with tears in their eyes requesting a hug and expressing confusion as to what was happening to them. I knew I was touching them in deeply personal places. And I knew that the larger topic, the one we were not speaking about directly, was something central to the human condition.


Eventually it became apparent to me that my audiences were deeply moved by the fact that I created a safe place for them to explore their shame without feeling judged. Shame had been a feature of my early life growing up in a religious cult, and as an adult I was committed to moving past that crippling emotion and realizing my full potential as a joyful being. I invited my audiences to share in that with me and many of them found this to be a powerful gift.


As part of my refusal to allow shame to dictate the course of my life, I had entered into a very controversial profession after graduating from college and after getting sober. My path would shock many while simultaneously empowering me to deepen my healing and spiritual development in ways I might never have anticipated.


I didn’t enter into becoming a high-end escort lightly. As a college graduate who spent seven years working in corporate settings, and as someone who had been clean and sober for a number of years, I questioned whether this was in integrity with my spiritual path. Rather than refer to conventional thinking on the matter, I turned to my innermost knowing and quite frankly prayed my ass off.


As well, a great deal of research and training went into my decision and because of this deliberate planning I enjoyed a very successful fourteen years in the profession. As part of my unique interpretation of what it meant to me to be an escort, I incorporated my spiritual journey into my professional pursuits, learning ways to heal and love my clients. This involved helping them to release repressed emotions and express their truth in a shame free setting.


I cared for my clients and I found great fulfillment in my work as a high-end escort. So why did I leave the profession in 2004, at a time when I was regularly making $15,000 a date?


For three reasons.


First, I was tired of dealing with law enforcement. The last few years of an otherwise glamorous career as an escort were marred by an arrest for prostitution. This was followed quickly by an audit by the IRS which I passed with flying colors since I had always paid my taxes. As a prominent voice for the sex worker rights movement, I could look forward to continued harassment by law enforcement.


Second, I decided to stop escorting because I had grown bored of working with my clothes off. I enjoyed helping my clients feel and explore their emotions. It had created a lot of healing for me and my clients to be sure. But it had outlived its usefulness and I was ready to touch my clients’ hearts without touching their genitals.


Finally, I never intended for escorting to be a lifelong pursuit. Contrary to popular stereotype, there are many sexy and successful women over 50 working as high end escorts. But that wasn’t and isn’t my calling. From an early age, I entertained fantasies of writing professionally, and had somehow come to know that I was meant to be a published author by the age of 45. And so I quit my very lucrative escorting job at age 44, and moved into a little mountain cabin to write a book. I had no book deal. I just felt in my bones that it was meant to be.


True to my intuitions, I did get a publishing contract and I authored my first book at age 45.In 2005 my first book, Sex Secrets of Escorts, was published by a major East Coast publishing house (Alpha Books, division of Penguin Books). Rather than write a tell-all to titillate my readers, I wrote a sex manual with plenty of commentary about healthy boundaries, communication and reversing gender roles in the bedroom.


But while the book deal came easily to me, the transition from high-end escort to couples’ coach was at first more challenging. The stigmas attached to my former profession are great. I could have changed my name in order to reinvent myself, but I wanted to unashamedly share the special insights and wisdoms which have come to me through this uncommon path.


I am fortunate to now have a thriving clientele who seek my coaching acumen for the emotional, spiritual and sexual issues which complicate their lives.


As a sex and relationship coach, I reveal challenging things about myself and thereby model a lack of shame.  This opens the way for my clients to be candid and share things with me that they often have never said aloud nor told another living person. My clients feel safe to share their past and their truth., because they are assured that I will be accepting and non-judgmental. I also maintain a sense of humor about things that many people take far too seriously. This frees my clients to laugh about things they might have spent years feeling ashamed of.


I also have a gift for understanding both the male and female perspective. That is probably due to the fact that as a woman I am quite comfortable with masculine as well as feminine energies. But whatever the reasons, my clients are often surprised how well I understand their experience regardless of their gender. For me, bridging the so-called gender gap comes second nature. And that makes it possible for me to facilitate very powerful role plays for heterosexual couples.


Both men and women have suffered greatly because of popular myths which teach us that we cannot understand the “opposite sex.” Instead of studying our partners as if they are aliens from another planet, it is imperative that we learn how to build bridges which can span the current gender divide.


Rigid beliefs about how males and females are supposed to feel and behave breed shame in all of us. This shame not only burdens us with feelings of low self-worth. Shame also bends our personalities into unnatural and reactive perversions of our true selves, so that we are no longer able to access the full measure of our creativity and optimism. Weighed down by shame, we are more likely to exhibit cynicism and anti-social behaviors. In this way, shame creates a social fabric which is emotionally shut down and violent.


Whether we experience shame about our gender, our race, our sexual orientation, our sexual behavior and/or fantasies, our socio-economic status, our educational level, our monetary success or lack thereof, the results are the same.  Shame lowers our self-esteem and infects our relationships with secrecy and distrust.


Sexual shame is perhaps the most entrenched and the most often defended. But all forms of shame create a society which is fear based instead of sourced in joy. Because I am passionate about creating a world where each of us is afforded the opportunity to fully express our unique gifts, I am passionate about eliminating shame.


I invite you to explore The Shame Free Zone. Here, you will find tools and resources to free yourself from the tyranny of shame and move toward a fuller expression of your truth and your gifts. Please explore the many free resources including an online community forum where you can connect with others. And feel free to contact me directly (, especially if you wish to take advantage of my skill sets and insights over the phone or in person.






Slut Shaming and Whore Bashing



The threat of slut shaming and whore bashing hangs over the head of every woman alive, shaping her interactions with others into a reaction instead of a true response, perverting authentic sexual desire into a defensive stance against being seen as a “slut,” or a “whore.”

As a sex-positive feminist I ache to merge the concepts of the Whore and the Madonna so women everywhere can heal from this dangerous and preposterous split. As whole beings, women have the right to claim their intellectual power and their bold expression of sexuality without apology, without feeling somehow torn between these equally important aspects of themselves. I am out to prove that women can simultaneously be intelligent, sexy, dignified and powerful without adopting patriarchal dogma or sacrificing our connection to our nurturing and intuitive side.

Such a cultural shift would mean that the next time a woman runs for president, we would spend more time analyzing her political platform than her fashion sense. It would mean that Hilary Clinton could express herself as a mildly sexual being without being mercilessly condemned in the press for wearing a blouse with a low neckline.

Moving past our collective fear of the “whore” would free untold psychic, emotional and creative energies in at least half the world’s population. Imagine all those women fully empowered to further much needed solutions to the world’s problems. Yet, it is only sexually empowered individuals who possess all their power.

Being sexually empowered does not mean taking up pole dancing or wearing lipstick, although if that adds a sense of empowerment to your life, go for it. It does mean redirecting much needed energy away from defending one’s sexual purity or honor. It does mean celebrating the sexual fire in one’s soul without fear of being perceived as being “too” sexy, or flirtatious or alluring or “loose.”

Some seemingly disparate things are actually part of one oppressive whole.  Those things include persecuting prostitutes, blaming rape victims, curtailing reproductive freedom, labeling women sluts and whores, sorting the “good” girls from the “bad” girls, arresting midwives and burning witches. In my view, these are each aspects of the patriarchy’s relentless efforts to eliminate the feminine. 

These perpetrations also extend to men in the form of bullying, gay bashing, circumcision and the raping of men’s spirits so that many men cannot feel anything but sexual desire and anger.  On both counts, it is the feminine aspect as well as pleasure and joy which are being mercilessly mutilated.

In about two weeks I will be launching a brand new version of my website, The Shame Free Zone, where among other resources you will discover tools for healing shame and an online community forum where you can connect with others who want to heal shame. Please stay tuned!