Like so many women, Rena Martine lived a life that can only be described as “a tolerable level of permanent unhappiness.” She had everything that she was told she should want. The house, the husband, the white picket fence, a steady job. All that was “missing” was the 2.5 children and dog. Turned out she was more of a cat person.
But Rena was not happy. She had everything she was supposed to want, but something about the life she actively participated in creating felt empty. It was as if she was chasing something that was not hers. Like she was a guest in her own life, and it made her feel broken.
And this made her feel something that is all too common for women, shame.
Like the little voice in your head saying, “How could you not want this? This is everything! What more could you possibly want?! Anything outside of this is wrong.”
And through a lot of internal work and acceptance of herself and a kick-ass therapist, Rena took a sledgehammer to her life to create one that she felt was hers. And yes, she did change her hairstyle (how else are you supposed to show everyone that you’ve gone through something transformative?).
Today, Rena’s life is exactly that- Rena’s life. She is now an intimacy expert, coach, writer, and educator. And through her Shameless program, she helps many women “liberate themselves from shame and discover deeper intimacy.”
But more on that later. When I first interviewed Rena, I wanted to know her background because I am nosy. I like to understand how a person gets started and why.
I wanted to know her ‘why.’
Who was Rena Martine?
While working as Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County, Rena became an advocate for many women who had survived domestic abuse and sexual assault.
While she was an advocate for other women, she didn’t know how to advocate for her own life. She felt suffocated in the life she created for herself and felt broken by it. This was until she came across the kick-ass therapist I told you about before. The therapist gave her the safe space she craved to process her trauma and gave her what I consider the best gift: permission. She taught Rena how to give herself permission to be who she wanted and gave her the courage to live the life she wanted. Not one she believed she should want.
This was the pivot in her self-discovery journey. When Rena finally permitted herself to be who she truly was and live accordingly, her whole life changed for the better, and she wanted that meaningful change for every woman.
Personal Journey to Intimacy and Self-Love
Rena’s journey to becoming an intimacy expert was not without its challenges. As a child, Rena, like many of us, received messages about who we should be and how we should look from the people we relied on the most, our parents.
In her case, it was her mother. Growing up with a former pantyhose model for a mother is like growing up with an almond mom- looks and weight are crucial and take a front seat in every conversation.
And that’s how Rena’s mother was- fixated on her daughter’s looks. Making comments about her weight and overall making Rena feel that the way she was, was not enough. That she needed to look a certain way to live a good life. This story became a core belief that Rena needed to dismantle.
During her self-discovery journey as an adult, Rena struggled to find her people. She felt isolated within her heteronormative friend group. However, her thirst for knowledge and understanding led her to binge the Savage Lovecast, opening her mind to new possibilities. Determined to find her people, Rena explored community meet-ups, which proved nerve-wracking but ultimately rewarding.
A turning point in Rena’s journey occurred when she joined a polyamory group led by a therapist. She thought she had found her people, but that euphoric feeling quickly wore off when she realized this was not her place. But she didn’t let that stop her. She continued seeking out people that would align with her, and eventually, the Universe delivered.
She found an aligned partner in crime who shared her interests in kink and BDSM. Through exploration and attending sex-positive meet-ups through Bloom and Eventbrite, Rena discovered her true desires and set out on a path to embrace her authentic self.
As time passed, Rena became more confident in her skills and wanted to share them with other women because she knew she was not the only one.
There were other women like her, suffering from trying to fit into boxes that were not made from them. To help other women rewrite their own narratives, as how her therapist helped her.
So she asked herself, “How can I help people in a shorter time?”
And with that question, Rena created her Shameless program.
A program made to help women get past the shame that surrounds their lives through a program that touches the mind, body, and soul. In her words, she teaches women how to be vulnerable. Let their guards down, open themselves up, and work through their traumas. By doing this, Rena teaches women how to be intimate with themselves and their future partners. And great intimacy leads to great sex.
Once you are able to say what you need, show up as who you are, and are no longer putting your life on pause, that is when you can truly live your best life.
Body Positivity & Intimacy
While collaborating with Rena on our guide to Embracing Body positivity and Self Love on Instagram, I learned more about Rena’s perspective on life.
Rena believes true intimacy lies in allowing oneself to be seen, letting down emotional guards, and expressing desires authentically. On the other hand, body positivity involves accepting and loving oneself unconditionally, freeing individuals from shame and judgment.
Regarding the Instagram carousel, I leaned more toward body neutrality, and Rena leaned more toward body positivity. She explained it to me like this: As an intimacy coach, she has worked with many women who have felt shame about their bodies which made them put their lives on pause. And you know the kind of pause she is talking about. The “I won’t do this until I look like this” or the “Once I reach this weight, then I will be happy” kind of pause.
Through her work, she saw how many women just accepted what we were given. She stated that we, as women, accept our jobs, we accept our lives, but we don’t love them. It’s a defeatist attitude ingrained in women, and Rena is not having any of it. Part of her program is to teach women that they don’t just need to accept things. They are allowed to love wholeheartedly and show up just as they are. But to do that, you need to do the work of dismantling the inner critics. Ask ourselves the hard questions of where these voices came from and who was the original source of the critique, we continually say to ourselves.
Only when we face ourselves in the mirror (which is homework that Rena will give you) can we experience ourselves authentically and lead to true intimacy.
Related Article: A Lesson on Body Confidence from Someone Who Has None
Relationships & Intimacy
As someone who has never experienced intimacy with another person, I asked Rena why it was essential in relationships to create this intimacy and how it can impact our overall well-being.
And what she said next reminded me of how much we neglect ourselves.
Rena responded by saying that intimacy helps us form relationships, and being able to do that is the best part about being human.
And she is right. To be human is to connect and express ourselves. As she puts it, our brains want to keep us safe, so it stops us from being vulnerable, but once we get past that, we can get to that part of experiencing all the benefits being human has to offer.
So for those who want to foster intimacy in their relationships, Rena suggests making technology your friend. Open your mind and go online and explore.
Have conversations about sex. Take the BDSM test separately and then come together to see where y’all can go from there.
Be open to exploring.
Sexual Trauma & Intimacy
As Rena mentioned before, she worked as a Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County for 14 years. She advocated for hundreds of women who’d survived domestic abuse and sexual assault.
And this sparked my attention because, unfortunately, we live in a world where almost everyone woman we come into contact with has a story about experiencing some form of sexual assault or sexual trauma. Women have been traumatized by sex, which has led to many unfulfilled sex lives and a sense of fear around the subject—an inability to feel safe in a vulnerable situation.
So I asked her how can someone overcome this and move forward to lead a fulfilling life.
She stated that the key was to restage the trauma, not to avoid the triggers because that was unsustainable, but to face it head-on.
Take baby steps by recreating the scene, and by doing this over a period of time, you are sending new data to the brain that it is no longer in danger.
“You can’t think your way out of it; you have to act.”
Rena’s Work and Mission
Rena Martine’s message to her audience is clear: everyone deserves to have great sex, and your people are out there waiting for you. Rena encourages individuals to shed their fears, embrace their desires, and reject societal shame.
By doing this, you can expand your possibilities and live life on your own terms.
What Rena Taught Me
When I first collaborated with Rena, I wasn’t entirely sure what she did. I had been following her page for a while and learned some things, but I didn’t really understand what she did.
What was so important about intimacy that she believed a whole course, hell, a whole career, was so important to make on it. How can intimacy change a person so much?
And it wasn’t until she pointed out that the best part of being human is connecting with others that it all clicked for me.
Intimacy is something we learn about in the context of sex growing up. But until you have sex, you don’t know the difference between the two.
Intimacy is something that not only changes sex, but it changes how you see yourself, which in turn is reflected in the world.
If I am afraid to look inward to see what I truly desire and accept that, how can I advocate for what I want inside of a relationship?
She taught me the importance of being intimate with myself and not just accepting what I get.
Or else I will be doomed to a “tolerable level of permanent unhappiness” that so many people fall into because we are not aware enough to do the inner work that can truly change our lives.
Through Rena’s Shameless program, individuals are sent homework to work through the subconscious messaging surrounding their bodies, and we are lucky enough to get a sneak peek at that homework.
So to help with learning how to love your body and dismantle the stories you tell yourself, try the following:
- Take an erotic photo of yourself. Seeing your body in a different light can help you redefine what sexy is on your terms.
Or try to
- Look at yourself in the mirror and identify one thing that you like about yourself that you see and write this down. Do this daily.
By making this a daily practice, we start to see our bodies as part of us. Not something separated from us but instead as a whole human being.
Related Article: Kharma Grimes: How One Yogi Found A Way Back to Herself
Now I couldn’t let Rena leave without asking some rapid-fire questions so we could get to know her even more intimately:
- Favorite Sex Position?
- Favorite place to have sex?
- In the bed
- Most adventurous place they’ve had sex?
- Storage unit
- Do you have a favorite sex toy?
- Esmerelda Eso Es Zena (Use Rena’s code SHAMELESS)
Where You Can Find Rena
Be sure to check out their Shameless Coaching sessions to completely change your life!
Don’t forget to like, comment, and share our Instagram collab: Embracing Body Positivity and Self Love!