"When we find the courage to share our experiences and the compassion to let others tell their stories we force shame out of hiding and end the silence."

-Brene Brown

Melissa Maven

Shame Slayer • Empowerment Coach • Sexual Revolutionist

In my earlier "vanilla" life before I was connected to sexuality and healing work, I had been a freelance photojournalist in a long established, successful career. About 15 years ago, I was hiding out in depression which culminated with finding steady paid work and I resented making less money year after year. I was sleep walking through life, stuffing my feelings with pizza every night and I stopped looking at myself in the mirror. I was at my breaking point. At 35, I left my partner and our sexless relationship, moved from my comfortably numb east coast life to San Francisco, on a quest to uncover the mystery of who I really was and what I was hiding from. I had been sexually and emotionally vacant in my past relationships and I felt like the Bay Area might be able to help me bloom (San Francisco birthed the sexual revolution and so many artists and writers I admired were from there, so it was always a big dream to be part of it.) I took several courses on Radical Communication and being your authentic self at Landmark Education. I took off all my clothes, deeply eye gazed and danced with 78 naked strangers at HAI's Love, Intimacy and Sexuality workshops. I still felt lonely not having any close friends nearby, so I threw myself into the online dating pool to find love, but found myself just drowning and frustrated. 

 

It wasn't until I got into my early 40's (age 42 to be precise*)- I found my own private sexual revolution. I became more present, more embodied during sex and could clearly state my boundaries and honor my 'no'. Saying 'no' meant being an open "yes" to what I authentically wanted. Over the years, my family and friends have told me I look happier and even more youthful than I did in my 20's (I really do!) I also found my tribe of community professional healers and badass babes. I found love on so many levels and fell in love for the first time with my current partner of five years. It lead me down the path to discover how much we are starved for touch, intimacy and play. Shame and fear leads to lies, secrets and hides our authentic powerful selves. I wanted to be the catalyst to help others open their doors, let in the light and let themselves be seen for how powerful they really are.

Formal Education

 

Art Institute of Boston (now Lesley College) 

Studied painting, sculpture, photography 1987-1989

 

Massachusetts College of Art 

BFA in Painting and Photography, 1992

 

New England School of Photography

Photojournalism and Commercial certification, 1994

 

Urban Tantra Professional Training Program 

Certification through Barbara Carrellas, 2014

 

Institute for Advancement of Human Sexuality  

Certified Sexological Bodyworker course (CSB), 2015

 

Wheel of Consent for Professionals Workshop 

Through Betty Martin, 2016

 

*The number 42 is in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by by Douglas Adams, "The Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything". 

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