Lean in… To Orgasm by Pam Costa

Here at Sex With Emily, talking about sex is literally the job description. We’re constantly researching, writing, filming, and tweeting about everything under the sexual rainbow.
Not everyone is so lucky to be in such an open & nonjudgemental environment, or have friends that they can turn to. Once you find that group, though, it’s amazing how liberating and comfortable you can feel
Talking about sex is one of the best ways to have a better sex life, and the best ways to know that whatever your kinks are– you’re not a lone. Sex Coach Pam Costa shares how her sex sharing circles came to fruition in her Down to There blog…

Yup, that’s a table full of dildos. But I’m getting ahead of myself in this story. Let’s rewind back a couple years to when my friends and I never ever talked to each other about sex.

The 15-year lead in to this story begins a year or two after I met my husband. We had a pretty great relationship in most regards, but when it came to sex, it wasn’t as frequent or varied as he would have liked. Queue over a decade and a half of stalemate discussions about this and we finally both agreed to start seeing a sex and relationship coach to see if she could help us unstick what was stuck.

The thing about it was, seeing a coach was really great and more helpful than I ever expected… but something was missing. I felt a strong urge to talk to more than just our coach and my husband about everything I was experiencing. I needed to talk to other women. But I had never talked about my sex life with friends before and frankly didn’t even know how to begin that conversation. So I did what any good Silicon Valley citizen would do… I posted a story about my journey on Facebook to a private, carefully curated group of friends.

And the response was overwhelming. So many of my friends started commenting about how they too experienced similar challenges in their own relationships, or that they were experiencing the reverse with their husbands having less desire than they had. Then one day, someone suggested that a few of us get together in person to talk about it. I was stunned. Talk about this in front of each other? Like not just online from the safety of my own home, but IN PERSON?

Despite my terror, I decided to go for it. So as Sheryl Sandberg was busy creating “Lean In Circles” to encourage women to step outside their comfort zones at work, I began to create my own group to encourage women to step outside their comfort zones in the bedroom and in their relationships. As a friend so aptly joked, I was encouraging women to Lean In… To Orgasm. Because let’s face it ladies, it’s not the 1950s anymore and instead of gathering to check out the latest in domesticity via a Tupperware party, it’s time to band together and learn all those things that our health education teachers should have taught us about sex but didn’t.

Initially the group dynamic was focused on bonding. We sat in a circle, drank wine and shared the history of our love lives and our wishes and dreams. We agreed to share experiences instead of advice and found that when one of us struggled, another could inspire us with their successes. Over time, we started augmenting our gatherings with field trips to sex toy stores and burlesque classes. And more recently, we’ve started exploring the saucier side of things with classes on bondage and fellatio… because let’s face it, we were probably never going to learn about those in our junior high health education classes, but getting to practice new blow job moves like the “Shakira” on a bunch of dildos with your girlfriends is exactly the kind of sex education we all really want.

When I asked the women what they have gotten out of the group, here is what a few of them told me:

“I now feel more balanced and sexually tuned in. It has opened the door to classes, toys, books, conversations, and education to outlets it would have taken me years to explore and discover.”

 “Best thing that has come out of this for me is that we talk about what we want. It is almost like I have the vocabulary and the permission to do that now. Our relationship was always strong, but now it is getting stronger sexually as well.  It makes us a better couple.  We are nicer to each other, and we are more united as a couple.”

“I’m friends with my body again, my partner and I are finally having regular sex again, and I’m even starting to enjoy it again! Being able to talk to other women who have experienced similar problems in their sex lives and relationships (especially with the addition of kids) has really made a big difference.”

“I love that this is a group of awesome, strong, and interesting women who create a safe space to explore tough/taboo topics with respect, humor, and openness. I love that no topic is off-limits and all kinds of discussions about sex and intimacy are normalized and healthy.”

After two wonderful years with this group, I want every woman to experience what we have experienced together. So I’ve asked a handful of women to host their own groups. The plan is to meet monthly for 6 months from March to August. I’ll provide topics and content for each month, and we’ll build an online community together for everyone to share their stories and inspiration.

So if you are reading this and saying “Omg, that’s so me” or “Wow, I wish I could talk with someone honestly about what’s going on in my sex life”, email me at pam@downtothere.com and I’ll let you know if there is a group with space in your area. Or if this is intriguing but outside your current comfort zone (I totally get it!), take a baby step by checking out the books that interest you at http://www.downtothere.com/resources/. And finally, if you are reading this and are thinking “DAMN PAM, this is so out-of-this-world amazing, I want to host my own group” … then definitely email me right away as I’d love for you to host a group too!

Here’s to a future filled with more tables full of dildos in living rooms filled with friends. Because life with a bunch of colorful dildos and a bunch of sexy friends is pretty darn good.


To learn more about Pam’s journey, try out some of her sexual exercises or even sign up for one-on-one coaching, you can visit her website DownToThere.com


After a decade and a half at Apple and Facebook, Pam left her career in high tech to found Down To There to share her real-life stories of challenges and successes around sexuality in her marriage. She believes that speaking openly about sex can help individuals and couples find new ways to renew and deepen desire and intimacy in their own relationships. She also believes in the healing power of sharing and recently launched Down To There Circles, free, peer-led discussion groups, to help friends support and inspire each other around sex and relationships.
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