This article was part of the cover article for the Women's Issue of The Independent, July 17, 2003.

Journey to the G-Spot and Beyond: Becoming a Goddess at the Women's Sexuality Center


With my first step inside the Women’s Sexuality Center, something inside me breathed a deep breath. The possibility of pleasure and wisdom hung in the air, waiting to be snatched. Glittering statues of Shiva and Shakti (the godparents of the ancient art of Tantra) stood before me. Candles that smelled of musky amber lit the room. There were purple orchids, healing instruments, bookshelves filled with sexually empowering books. And there were objects I had always been told were shameful, naughty, dirty, bad things—presented as sacred in a temple-like room. And instead of my stomach twisting with nerves or my mind flooding with a memory of my grandmother telling me to wait until I was married—my heart opened. My soul finally knew the woman that I’d always wanted to be: beautiful, strong, free. And inside me, that woman stirred and woke up.

There was a time in my life when I could go weeks, even months, forgetting that I was a woman. I had my work, my life, my friends—but my body? When I looked in the mirror, I didn’t see a woman’s face. I saw my small nose, crooked teeth, and traces of acne. When answering the phone at work—“Hello, this is Johanna speaking”—I gave no thought to the rolling, womanly name that the caller heard. When I checked the box for male or female on my tax forms, I felt a slight tug on my subconscious, reminding me of my body.

Pamela Madison, founder of the Center, invited me to look at the toys in the boutique—aromatherapy tools, goddess books, crystal dildos, G-spot wands—and for the first time, I felt the wholeness of my womanhood as a gift, not a burden. I signed up for the six-week Sacred Sexuality class, and began my journey to becoming the woman I’ve always wanted to be.

Twelve of us sat in a circle, telling our stories one by one. I don’t remember what I said, but I remember every story I heard that first evening of class. These strangers were no longer strangers. They were sisters, partners, and teammates. There were women from all walks of life: married, divorced, single, dating, gay, coming out, young, old, with grown children, with toddlers, housewives, teachers, lawyers. However different we were, one thing united us. We wanted to feel good about ourselves. We were ready to make a change.

For six weeks, I witnessed revelations and periods of stagnation—breakdowns and breakthroughs. Every class began with an “opening circle” or “yoni check-in”—a time for each of us to talk about our week, in terms of our bodies. Marital troubles, new boyfriends, feeling sexy or not—whatever it was, we listened to each other.

There was a time in my life when I could go weeks, even months, forgetting that I was a woman. I had my work, my life, my friends—but my body? Our teacher, Pamela Madison, took us next through the curriculum—techniques and philosophies. We had pop quizzes on the six keys to increasing orgasmic energy. Techniques included everything from how to make your bedroom a sexy, sacred space to down and dirty how-to masturbation styles, to methods of breathing. We closed each evening with a few comments of gratitude, and left eagerly anticipating the next class.

The Women’s Sexuality Center, founded by Madison in 1993, carries this mission statement: “The Women’s Sexuality Center is devoted to the sexual empowerment and fulfillment of women through education, healing, and support.” Having studied Tantra for eight years and been licensed as an acupuncturist, Madison brought professional knowledge to her students, as


Pamela Madison (left) talks with the author at the Women's Sexuality Center about all things empowering.

well as her own epiphanies and tales of strife. Raised “fanatically” Mormon in Santa Barbara, she said, “My story is definitely of the wounded healer. That’s part of why I’m so comfortable in taking on any sexual issue that someone presents to me, because I have done a full recovery myself. I understand women’s sexual wounds.” She credits her liberation with the most ancient of all sex ed books, the Kama Sutra. “When I was trying to free myself sexually, I went to the Earthling bookstore and bought out the entire section on sexuality. But it wasn’t until I read a book on Tantra that I understood what my wounds were—that sexuality and spirituality were separated in how I was raised. It was the first time that I was introduced to the paradigm where sexuality and spirituality are integrated. And that thought changed my life.”

Now, she has enough of her own sayings about sexuality to fill a book: “Sex isn’t something you do, it is a way of being,” and “Sex is about connection, not orgasm.” The Women’s Sexuality Center provides six-week workshops not just for women, but also for men and couples, one-day workshops, the newly added libido enhancement program, tonic bar, lending library, boutique, and Madison’s one-on-one sexual healing therapy. Celebrating its 10-year anniversary this fall, the WSC is an established institution.

To sum up, Madison laughed and said, “I love to go to work every day. Look at the environment I’m working in! I love to be here, and I love the people who are drawn here also.”

As of press time, I will have graduated the Sacred Sexuality Class. The knowledge I have acquired about myself is only half the gift; the relationships I have formed with the 11 other women are unlike any other. We are all empowered, wild women; we are understanding and supportive.

One woman said at the end of class: “This class has led me, for the first time in my life, into an incredibly deep and powerful love affair with myself. And I have so much love energy, that it can’t help but spill out of me into all of my relationships and everything else in my world. Everyone around me sees my radiance and energy and is drawn to me. I light up the world with my presence. And the journey for all of us is just beginning!”

Now, when I look in the mirror, I smile; my face glows. My nose no longer appears small to me, but cute, pixie-ish. The words “yoni,” “amrita,” “lingam,” and “goddess spot” are part of my everyday vocabulary. I know how to have extended orgasms and G-spot orgasms. I have a pumped-up PC muscle; I’ve been called “vaginally Olympic” by my classmates.

As far as my life, yeah it’s been changed, in the best way. My favorite story of Madison’s is her 13-year-old son’s answer to that age-old question: What do you want to be when you grow up? When asked at school, he responded, “I want to be a teacher like my mom. Whenever we go to Lazy Acres, five or six people come up to her, hug her, and then tell me how much she’s changed their lives, and how happy they are.”

So, if you see me in Lazy Acres laughing with a beautiful brunette, you’ll know where the smiles on our faces are coming from.
The WSC is open Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. 30 W. Mission St., Ste 8. Call 729.2590.


TEL: 805.729.2590


Women's Sexuality Center
3905 State St. #209
Santa Barbara CA 93105




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