Madeline Palmer is a pioneer in fertility advocacy whose raw honesty, indefatigable will and wit, lifted “infertility” from a whispered curse to a pop culture cause célèbre. With a mix of intelligence, humour and startling bluntness, she leveraged her own struggles with and triumph over reproductive challenges into a national organization that successfully supported the family-building rights of all people.
Madeline is at it again—this time in the name of genuine sexual liberation for women. Armed with more than four years of explicit experience and study, she is lifting the veil from the nature of women’s desire, pleasure and happiness and emerging as a leading voice for erotic human rights. She is rallying women to live the full and integrated lives that are possible only when they embrace their sexuality. And she walks her talk, having worked with sexual healers and surrogates in the sacred intimacy underground. She’s taken countless workshops and become a certified sexologist/somatic sex educator. Just as she did with infertility, Madeline is bringing new focus on sexual behaviors and predilections, speaking and writing from the heart without judgment or hypocrisy.
“My goal is to help emancipate women from the ‘woulda’s’ and ‘shoulda’s’ that have kept us in denial and darkness for thousands of years. I know it’s possible for women to heal their sexual identities and embrace their bodies and desires in a safe, sane and consensual way—even within the bounds of marriage,” says Madeline.
Still a force in the fertility field, Madeline is the Director of Patient Education at East Coast Fertility. Her daily blog, www.thefertilityadvocate.com is a breakfast essential for reporters, writers and policymakers who have followed Madeline’s 20-year ascendance.
Among her many accomplishments: Madeline is Founder and served as the first Executive Director of the American Fertility Association (AFA); her work and leadership have been honored by advocacy organizations including RESOLVE NYC and the New York City Chapter of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays; she has given testimony at hearings for the National Institutes of Health, FDA, the President’s Council on Bioethics and the Centers for Disease Control; and she has spearheaded the launch of World Fertility Awareness Month (WFAM), an international infertility public awareness movement that grew to more than 36 organizations from Africa, Europe, Latin America and Asia.
Madeline has participated in more than 1,500 interviews with print, online, and broadcast media including appearances on Oprah, Dateline NBC, Today, and 60 Minutes. She currently lives in the Riverdale section of New York City with her husband of 28 years, Kai, and their two sons, Tyler, 21, and Spencer, 17.
SHAMELESS is her first book and will be published by Rodale Books in January 2011.
Behind the Book
Maybe it’s a congenital disorder. Maybe it’s something I learned as an itty-bitty baby. But when I find something wonderful or liberating or even mildly helpful, I can’t keep my mouth shut. Even my mother, the original unfiltered talker, marvels at my compulsion to spill the beans whenever I’m on a mission.
Over the past four years, I took a pretty zany voyage from an honest-to-goodness repressed, monogamous, middle-aged, hyper-achieving, chubby woman with two kids to an honest-to-goodness monogamous, middle-aged, accomplished chubby “sex goddess” with two kids.
Once I owned up to my deepest, untapped desires, I discovered a wellspring of happiness and self-confidence inside me that extended to every part of my life. Whoa! I thought. This is incredible! Everyone should know they have the power to experience life in all its richness right now, just as they are. No diets, no plastic surgery, no nothing. Just intact, healthy sexuality.
If I can stop warring with my weight and workaholism, I think most people can. I know that when I stopped denying my hearty and normal sexual appetites, I started losing my uncontrollable urges to overeat, overwork and over-compensate. For the first time, I could relax in my own skin.
Admitting your desires takes a tanker-load of courage, and a rip-stop web of support. That’s what I’m here to provide. That’s my mission. That’s why I wrote SHAMELESS.
Even if it’s a bit outside the box for a respected advocate in the infertility field, I believe it is essential to speak up about healthy sexuality.
With few nonprofessional people willing to speak openly about the power of sensuality, the average sexually curious person is stuck with dry textbooks or fictional characters that they can enjoy but can’t emulate. I ain’t no Cougar Town Courtney Cox. Most men I know aren’t starring in Hung. But it doesn’t mean we can’t feel as sexy. And when we feel that sexy, that good about ourselves, when we feel we deserve pleasure, and lots of it, that’s when so many things that seemed impossible can become our new reality. As Dr. Christiane Northrup so succinctly put it, “Pleasure is a life-changer.”
Who better to write a tell-all about allowing pleasure to change your life than a woman who lived it and can’t keep a secret? Yeah, I know. I’m shameless.