This week, our Five Questions are with Shasta Townsend, the author of Happy, Sexy, Shameless.
1. Your new book is “Happy, Sexy, Shameless,” Which sounds like a great mantra to me! What was the genesis of this idea like? How did you know this was a message you wanted to give the world?
It all started from my own experience of course. I was struggling in my marriage, with my sense of self as a woman and with shame and trauma. I was this “successful” woman who had studied a ton of psychology, spirituality and self-awareness techniques but I still felt like crap at times. I battled with feeling “like a whore” because I liked sex and at the same time felt angry at being sexualized. I was also just plain out confused so I started doing a lot of self-reflection, then writing about it. I realized a lot of women had similar experiences, questions and worry so I interviewed them. Then I did a lot of research and realized that much of the story of female sexuality is just that – a story. It has been an unexpected journey. I am trusting it each day and feel grateful for the amazing response AND to offer any support in any small way to women (and men) who may be struggling with shame, trauma or confusion. The time to live happy, sexy, shameless is now and on YOUR terms.
2. Writing a book is its own amazing personal journey. For the writers among our readership, what’s one thing you learned during the process that you wish you had known at the beginning?
The writing process can be thrilling and terrifying. There were times my fears about what people would think about this topic and even myself rose up. I didn’t stop writing of course and am very transparent and clear in the book but I realize now I could have just let it all go. My family, who I feared would have the worst reaction to Happy, Sexy, Shameless were extremely supportive and in fact read and loved the book. It taught me to never judge your audience, to stand firm in your message and let it come to life through you with no expectations – good or bad.
3. I love the parallels in your work between your writing, which is geared towards helping women find personal freedom, and the charity focus you have with some of the proceeds. Tell us a little bit about the charities you are working with to help women and children in sexual slavery.
Human trafficking is one of the fastest growing crimes worldwide. I find this not only sickening but ludicrous in this day and age. I believe the more we heal our disconnection from the sexual current and elevate women as sacred beings, there will be no place for this in our world. We have a duty to consider our sisters around the world who face not only persecution but abuse and slavery as a real fear in their life and lend support in any small way. There are a lot of great things being done including amazing work and education in the organizations I chose to support so it is an issue that can be solved. But we need to talk about just what the heck is going on and examine WHY this even happens in the first place. I am grateful to play a small part in the conversation and any small healing.
4. A big part of your message is that women should let go of shame about their bodies. Do you feel like as a society (in North America) we are moving towards greater acceptance of different body types, or do we still have a long way to go?
The old world of judgment, manipulation and fear is dying but like any dying organism it is grasping and gasping. We have to notice that these loud cries at times are just that – loud cries – and not give them a lot of focus.
Yes, there is a lot of push back toward women and their bodies still. Just look at the shit Tess Munster is taking because she is a happy, gorgeous “Plus Sized” model who makes no apologies for her body and refuses to feed the diet industry. There are the outdated stereotypes and over-sexualized images of women in the world of Gaming, Hollywood and romance novels which project women as useful only because they are sex objects. As women, we still battle with the Virgin/Whore duality that leaves very little room for an authentic expression as well as shame and blame when you do express sexuality.
But I think we are smart, wise to the con, and willing to say NO MORE as women (and men), and books like Happy, Sexy, Shameless and so many more are about creating a new world order where we choose what is truly meaningful for ourselves as celebrate sexuality as a normal, Divinely given experience and decide to dress, speak and fuck on our own terms.
5. What’s the one thing you wish all women knew about their bodies and their sexuality?
You are good. You are whole. You are beautiful.
If someone has taken that away from you go and get it the fuck back! You are worthy and you are NOT alone. I got your back sister.
~ Shasta Townsend
Shasta loves to see women of all ages recognize, access, and utilize the greatness within them, and to be a small part of it. She is skilled at cracking the lockbox of limitation and revealing one’s inner gifts. She is a feisty champion of creating an unlimited life where ease, joy, and freedom reign, regardless of the circumstances. Shasta’s expertise in these matters does not come from a few letters behind her name, but from her own investigation, learning, and journey. Thanks to this, her offerings are not regurgitated from another’s textbook, but from her own personal evolution and inner guidance. Shasta shares her passion for living well as a Featured Columnist at Elephant Journal, The Good Men Project, Rebelle Society and Vivid Life. Shasta leads retreats, workshops and talks around the world. She lives in Canada with her husband, cat and creative impulse. Her debut book, Happy, Sexy, Shameless – What Our Mother’s Didn’t Know About the Birds and the Bees is an international best seller and is available through amazon.com and all amazon platforms world-wide. Connect with Shasta at www.shastatownsend.com, on Facebook or on Twitter @shastaherself.