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The Shame Exorcists

Sex educator and boss-queen sex toy mogul broadcast relationship tools and sex-positivity every Tuesday on 'Shameless Sex' podcast

The Book of Love | The Shame Exorcists

The women behind the 'Shameless Sex' podcast say there's nothing to be ashamed of.

The only thing better than crashing Amy Baldwin and April Lampert's date night with a recorder last week was cracking open an adult beverage and listening back to it later. In person, the creators of the Santa Cruz-based Shameless Sex podcast, which has dropped every week since last June, are just as they are on air: unscripted, open-minded, intelligent, and freaking hilarious. Only hotter.

With 36 episodes and a five-star rating on iTunes under their belts, the podcasters' premise is "two best friends who make our own rules about who we are as sexual beings." And while the sex-positive movement may be familiar to the podcast's majority of California listeners, it is revolutionary in some other parts of the country. Downloads are popping up in the Southern and Midwestern states, as well as in Europe, Asia and Africa.

"We get emails from people every week saying that we're changing their lives just by talking openly about sex. They've never heard women do that before," says Lampert, 35. "I get emotionally charged and activated when I read them. I feel good. And if something feels this good, you want to continue doing it."

While they usually record at Lampert's house, the shameless duo has also kept up their weekly schedule from hotel rooms around the country, their car, Amsterdam's red-light district (episodes 22 and 23), and a steaming hot kitchen in the Caribbean (episode 5 on casual sex, which features their first guest, sex eductor Reid Mihalko, who gave a workshop titled "Blow Job Grad School" in Santa Cruz.)

But the podcast's appeal goes beyond the thrill of racy topics, sex tips, relationship tools and prominent guests like Christopher Ryan (episode 32), co-author of Sex At Dawn and self-proclaimed shame exorcist in various charged topics on his podcast Tangentially Speaking. Unlike more mainstream sex podcasts, like Guys We Fucked—also hosted by two empowered females, albeit comedians—Shameless Sex places its emphasis on no-bullshit education, with a hard rule of no shame.

"There's no hierarchy in shame," says Baldwin, 32, a sex educator, somatic sex and relationship coach and co-owner of the downtown sex shop Pure Pleasure, which she opened with her mother in 2008. "Something that one person thinks is really tiny, it can be really huge for someone else." Nobody's saying it's easy, but once people eradicate shame, by exposing it—to a trusted friend or partner, or, say, in an email to a podcast—a weight is lifted, she says. "And all of a sudden they can see themselves for who they really are, and finally be able to live and express that."

From desiring more than one lover (try episode 33 on non-monogamy with Celeste Hirschman of Somatica), to the location or frequency of masturbation and porn-watching, to sexless marriages, relationship anarchy, abusive relationships, STDs, cheating, being cheated on, fetishes, internet dates who turn into ghosts, abortion, going places in the bedroom one's never gone before—the list goes on—the underlying message to all of the questions that pile into the podcast's email account, says Baldwin, is "Am I normal?"

"People want permission to know that they're OK," says Lampert. "And it's like, yeah, you're OK. Don't worry about it." That said, obviously some urges are not OK—and are, in fact, illegal—and they're prepared to meet those not with shame, but with resources for getting help.

The podcasters' charismatic synergy—Baldwin is the grounded yin to Lampert's more frenetic yang—is a sisterly bond that began 10 years ago, when they met waitressing at a restaurant and found they shared the gene for talking openly about their sexuality.

The mission is to help and empower, which is why, if you're alone on Valentine's Day, or going through a breakup, Baldwin and Lampert recommend getting back to your tribal roots and surround yourself with your friends—community is the best medicine. Invest in yourself, celebrate you, and get off social media. "Give yourself at least one week and then maybe two. I did a couple of months, and it was liberating. I turned off my cable, and fully immersed myself in learning and bettering my brain," says Lampert, who along with Baldwin is constantly digesting books and other podcasts. The podcast medium is a treasure trove for anyone seeking to better themselves, and being single can be the most empowering time for self-actualization.

While Shameless Sex remains a passion project for now, it seems to be striking the right chord at the right time. "We're in this era of questioning what we've always been taught," says Baldwin. "People are starting to learn that there are these people lobbying with a whole bunch of money around politics and around our health, and we're starting to hear more about it in podcasts and on the news. So I do think we're at a turning point in women's rights. My hope is that in 30 years we'll look back at this time and see it as the new '60s."

More info at shamelesssex.com.