“It’s dress-up, it’s try-on, it’s ‘let’s see,’ it’s what else, who else am I?”
Karen Yates interviews somatic sex educator captain snowdon on developing a mindful erotic practice that centers on pleasure and embodiment. Plus, a joyful poem for Karen’s Sermon on the Pubic Mound®.
Wild & Sublime Podcast Transcript
#S2E3 | Masturbation and Mindful Erotic Practice
[Wild & Sublime theme music]
captain snowdon: I think about mindful erotic practice as the bowl, sitting there before we put the ingredients in. So in the privacy of our own practice, we can bring in whatever. You know, if there's a skirt we want to try on, a name we want to try on, if there's, you know, a kink... It's like a container for bringing things that we're curious about, or things that cultures might shame us for, and developing a relationship ourselves with those things.
Karen Yates: Welcome to Wild & Sublime, a sexy spin on infotainment®, no matter your preferences, orientation or relationship style, based on the popular live Chicago show. Each week, I'll chat about sex and relationships with citizens from the world of sex positivity. You'll hear meaningful conversation, dialogues that go deeper, and information that can help you become more free in your sexual expression. I'm sex educator Karen Yates. Today, we go beyond masturbation with mindful erotic practice, in an in-depth interview with somatic sex educator captain snowdon. Keep listening.
Hello, and happy holidays to everyone listening. I hope you have found some comfort and joy this season. I'm here with Sigrún, my new dog, and she has a spiffy new collar that has kind of a candy-cane flair to it. And by the way, you might not know that today is actually a very important holiday. It is my birthday. Really, truly, it is my birthday today, December 24. A lot of people ask, "Is it weird to have your birthday on a holiday?" Or near a holiday, depending on how you look at it. And you know what? I actually have come, over the course of my life, to really love it. You know, people aren't usually working today, or maybe only working part time, so it feels very relaxed out. So I always like to get outside and walk around, or drive around, whatever, whatever my day is up to, and experience the magic that tends to be in the air. And you might be asking yourself, wow, I would love to get Karen a gift... Do you see this one coming? [laughing] May I suggest you consider joining The Afterglow, our Wild & Sublime monthly membership program, starting at only $5 a month. Shameless pitch, shameless pitch on my birthday! We are doing our monthly Q&A panel on the 28th, with sex-positive therapist Matthew Amador, Minneapolis somatic and consent educator Diane Long, and kinkster and coach Peter, aka MksThingsHappin. You have about two days to get your questions in, but we'll do it all again in January with a new panel. So, if you would like to sign up, go to the Afterglow link in our show notes. You can learn about other benefits too, and how you can make a one-time birthday contribution as well. A good chunk of our income here at Wild & Sublime comes from listeners just like you and helps us cover the expenses of doing the podcast. So consider joining monthly, or giving once to help us out in this holiday season. No amount is too small. Thank you.
And speaking of gift-giving, I thought the topic today of mindful erotic practice was a great one when considering the idea of gifts. Solo erotic practice can be a real gift to the self. You might not look at it that way. But when you consider that by doing a practice such as the one we will be talking about in a moment, you are deepening the relationship with yourself, giving time and pleasure to self, that can be a real gift. And with the holidays being super weird this year for a lot of people, myself included, you might want to listen closely to the following interview. Captain snowdon teaches sexological body work and somatic sex education at the Institute for the Study of Somatic Sex Education, which is where I first met them. They are also a death doula, writer, and imperfectionist, and one of my favorite people in the field of sexuality. And I want to correct something I said in the interview before we begin. The Chicago area is located on the ancestral lands not only of the Potawatomi, but the indigenous tribes of the Ojibwe, Odawa, and seven other nations.
Welcome, captain, it's great to have you here.
captain snowdon: So good to be here and to be with you.
Karen Yates: Yeah. Likewise. Where are you hailing from today?
captain snowdon: Thanks for asking. Today I am on the territory of the Lekwungen-speaking people, the Songhees and [Squamut] nations aka colonially known as Victoria, British Columbia, on Vancouver Island. So I'm on an island that is the size of — it takes eight hours to drive from one end to the other. And right at the tip of the island, it's the most southern point on the West Coast that's not in the United States.
Karen Yates: Okay! And I am currently sitting — or floating, since I'm in a condo — above the land of the Potawatomi, also known as Chicago. Thank you for being here.
captain snowdon: My pleasure.
Karen Yates: So, I wanted to start with a quote from the illustrious Joseph Kramer, who not only is a sex educator, but the father of sexological bodywork. He says, "One third of the men and women who see psychotherapists just need to learn to masturbate better." What do you think he was getting at there?
captain snowdon: Yeah, it makes me wonder what the trans people are doing. Maybe the trans people are getting it right. What he's getting at there, in my mind — and in my body, in the experience of my body — is that we can tell our stories about what's going on in our life, and be with the narratives of our life over and over again, and things might not change. But if we can connect our bodies, and pleasure, and healing, I think it gives us, like, rocket boosters to deshaming ourselves, finding multiple ways into the authentic-ness of who we are. And yeah, it can just kind of get us away sometimes from this thing that whiteness has brought, that everything needs to be met with work. "I'm going to work through this issue! I'm gonna work on my problems! I'm going to go to a work-shop!" And so, bringing pleasure into the equation is like, oh, what if I met it all with pleasure? Doesn't have to necessarily be erotic pleasure, but some kind of pleasure, and see what what happens from there, and see if we can create more pathways in our brains that involve pleasure, more than maybe trauma?
Karen Yates: Yeah, yeah. You just said a lot.
captain snowdon: [laughs]
Karen Yates: I kind of want to slow it down, take little bits. But where I'll go with it is... We're here today to talk about mindful erotic practice, which I think in a certain regard, Kramer was driving at, rather than what we think of as masturbation right now. I think Kramer was getting at a deeper sense of, as you just described, a deeper sense of body connection. I might be wrong about that. But I sense that from the quote — or that's how I take the quote, I should say. How does, in the work that you do around mindful erotic practice, both as a teacher and a facilitator — ultimately, how does it differ from what we think of as masturbation?
captain snowdon: Hmm. I think most of the time, it differs... I think for most of us, masturbation is something that focuses exclusively on our genitals. Sometimes, unless we've developed sort of a broader practice of self-care around it, it's quite quick. We have our go-to, awesome, fabulous habits, that we've found a way to find pleasure in this world, in this like sex-negative world, which is amazing. And yeah, mindful erotic practices — you know, if I think about like, yoga or stretching, you know, one can do a few stretches in the morning, and that can be fabulous as a way of practicing being in your body in that way. And then one can attend a longer yoga class, and put more placement of attention on it. So I think about that with orgasmic yoga — what used to be called orgasmic yoga, which we now call mindful erotic practice, because neither needs to be orgasmic, or yoga. So, about the time that one takes to do it. It's about setting an intention at the beginning. It's about bringing in things that we know that are already pleasurable to us, like maybe starting with dance, maybe having music. So it's really about container and intention, which isn't always there with our fabulous masturbation habits.
Karen Yates: I appreciate that you're lauding masturbation, because I think, you know, once you kind of get into this zone of expanded mindful erotic practice, the "quickies" of masturbation are like, "Oh, geez, I just want to get off. But is that okay?" You know, but everything is okay. I mean, as I'm hearing you, it's like, hey, however, we are touching our bodies.... Yay.
captain snowdon: We've found ways to find pleasure in some of these cultures that are just like, "Don't touch yourself! Transcend the body!" Yeah, so I totally want to celebrate that.
Karen Yates: So for people who really have only known say, very genitally-focused masturbation throughout their life, or don't normally masturbate for any number of reasons, kind of walk us through, with more details about, how does one really prepare for mindful erotic practice? What would be helpful for people to understand that this isn't, maybe, outcome-based?
captain snowdon: Mm, totally. So the first thing is like, there's no right way to do mindful erotic practice. Like, your right way is the right way, or your right ways. So, like any other practice, you know, we show up with all the different things, on a day that are showing up in our lives. So it might be your crying practice, or your laughing practice, or you might have a bill that you've been having trouble paying, because you resent the government or something, and that might be part of your practice. But I'll come back to that. So, yeah, so if you're thinking, "I want to try this mindful erotic practice thing," probably the most important thing is to have some private space, which is not always something that can happen, especially in this COVID reality. And you know, outside of COVID reality, say like sharing space, living with roommates, having kids — it's like all the things, right? So being able to carve out some self time, where you're not going to get disturbed, or the people that we're caretaking for aren't going to need us in that amount of time. So, carving out some time, and then like, gathering things that you already know are pleasurable to you. Whether it's scents, music, sex toys that you love, sometimes dressing up in clothes that make you feel sexy. So yeah, gathering some things around you, some props, you know, I'm thinking theater here, right?
Karen Yates: Yes, yes.
captain snowdon: So container, sound... like, food. So starting like, centering, especially when we're starting to practice like centering in the practice something that you already know brings you pleasure. And then, sort of asking the question, what else? I eat the strawberry, it tastes so good. What else? Maybe I can touch my face with the strawberry. Maybe I smell the strawberry. So, time, container, props. Bringing in, always bringing in some breath to start, or some kind of, if you have a particular meditation, that's helpful for you, that's enlivening. And then sort of like, seeing what happens. So bringing your curiosity or your, you know, that peace of life that we can think of sometimes that's like, everything's an experiment, let's just see what happens! Yeah. And then sort of having an experience in that, whether it's going to your go-to masturbation awesome habits, or trying some new things, or just following the impulses of your body. And then, you know, we recommend some time, like, five or 10 minutes of just sort of savoring the experience. A lot of people like to journal after, and close up the space.
Karen Yates: Talk a little bit about the savoring. We'll go back and talk about the practice in a moment. Let's talk about the savoring. Because you know, for me, that is one of the more critical aspects of this practice.
captain snowdon: Yeah, thanks for asking that. So yeah, savoring is something that we do in most somatic sex education modalities that we teach, from erotic massage to mindful erotic practice. And it's that, you know, I think that we were doing it before we knew a lot about the neurobiology of it all, but it's that time after you have an experience — good, bad, wonderful, otherwise, super complicated — that you're just lying relatively still, and noticing what's happening in your body. Noticing the thoughts that come up. Noticing the magic. And sometimes people have all kinds of creative ideas. Sometimes it's a time where people cry. Sometimes there's hilarious laughter. And also, it's a time where people also report some kinds of psychedelic experiences in that time, especially after having a long, erotic experience.
Karen Yates: Yeah, for me personally, it's this kind of almost miraculous settling in of the nervous system, or almost a rewiring. To give my self, my body, space to integrate. It's an integrative moment. And for me, it's always been very profound, simply because I like to talk about it on the show a lot, that I overwork. This is something that's changing nicely as time goes on. But the ability to give space just to do nothing, and allow the body to reorganize itself after taking in an exploration, is hugely beneficial.
captain snowdon: I love that. Yeah. Because we don't — I mean, there's so much not of that, like you said, doing one thing, and then the next thing and then the next thing.
Karen Yates: Yeah, you brought it up very eloquently in the beginning. The work, the workshops, and the work, always the work. And then to record it. You know, I went back, and I looked at some of my journals from when I was in school, and we were doing 30-day—
captain snowdon: Oh, yeah!
Karen Yates: 30-day erotic mindful practices every day. And I thought, God — you know, and this is something I'd like to talk about. I remember after the first day, I was like, ‘Oh, yeah, this is awesome. This is awesome. And by day three, I'm like, this sucks. I hate this. I hate every effing minute of this stupid erotic mindful practice.’ What do you think the resistance is about? Because I think if you're engaged in sort of a committed pleasure practice, or sensation practice, there's a wall. I mean, I don't think I'm alone in this. I think a wall gets hit. And what is that? What is going on for people, do you think?
captain snowdon: I mean, I think that there's the sort of practice wall, that if we don't already have things that we practice on a regular basis in our life, we hit the wall of our nervous systems not having that experience already, of getting used to a practice on a regular basis. And then there's huge walls of shame that come out for people. And it doesn't really need to be — when I'm teaching somatic sex education, just like you said, usually, there's a little bit of resistance that comes up with starting the practice. People are like, uh uh uh, I just, I don't like somebody telling me to masturbat!, Right? And then there's some letting go and freedom that happens around that, when we remind people that it's like, there's no right way to do it. Because the perfectionism can also come in there. And then there's other walls of like, spending that much time on ourselves, you know, devoting that much time to self and to pleasure. And then there's all the walls of like, body shame, and like, not having a lot of practice of being in our bodies for that long. And so, you know, it's riotous to, to be on both sides of it, and feel that, like, "You are making me masturbate!" And it's like, oh, okay, let's get you back in your own authority around sexuality. Not doing it is as important as doing it. And so we just like to sit in that a little bit. And for me, the gloriousness of mindful erotic practice is just that I can bring whatever is going on. So with myself and with students, if they're like, "I don't want to do it, I'm not going to do it today, I want to have a tantrum," I'm like, bring the tantrum to the center of the practice! That's what the practice is about today. And have a huge tantrum or whatever — you know, scream, lie on the floor. Or you know, "I can't do this because I've just broken up." So bring the breakup, whatever it is, to the center of the practice, and then see where it goes from there and whether you can meet it with some pleasure.
Karen Yates: Yeah, so let's talk about that. And let's talk about — you were talking about the bill that you can't pay, so bring the bill to the practice. I mean, I'm really getting this sense of you know, we soften ourselves, and we allow this — because I have to think that to some people who may be listening to this, it's like what? Wait, tantrum, pleasure...? Help me out here. Because I think there's this aspect of mindful erotic practice that's really impulse based. And a lot of us get so prescribed about pleasure and the way it looks, and "I only get off this way." And even in bed with partners, this idea of working from an impulse base, a body impulse, is quite foreign. I think mindful erotic practice can help people bring impulse, you know, maybe if they're in a sexual relationship, they can bring what they've learned from a mindful erotic practice into, say, partnered or group sexual practices. Can you give some tips to people who are really looking to work — there you go, "work" — to open up to becoming more aware of impulse within the mindful erotic practice? You know, you've started out with, say, kind of priming the pump by — no pun intended — but around bringing in, maybe toys, or music, or incense, or neato things, or belts, or whatever you want to work with. How can people just sort of be okay with being with themselves?
captain snowdon: Gorgeous question. I think it's important to remember that for many of us, this is a transferable skill. So we're not generally doing something that we've never done before in our lives. Like, many of us who had a chance to have some play in our childhoods have the experience of following our impulses. Most childhood games are around following their impulses. It's like Simon says, do this, like we just make up the duty to do this thing. So the skill is in there somewhere, you know, and if we're involved in kink community, or some Tantra communities, we probably have a bit more experience of this too. And theater, you know, improv, all that stuff. For me, it takes some breath to get into a place where I can follow the impulses of my body. And they're ridiculous. You know, I've spent a mindful erotic practice like, making a fist and opening up my hand and making a fist and opening up my hand, and just being curious about what is that movement that I'm doing? And then seeing what comes from there. There's a way that following, you know, the impulses of our body can bring in this child-like curiosity into the practice, and we just need some practice usually doing that and reawakening those pieces. And some practice being ridiculous.
Karen Yates: Yeah, I like that. I'm thinking about — and we can talk about group work in a moment. But you know, when I was at school, we did group mindful erotic practice, which to some people might think, "Whaaat?" But you know what, it's so different than you would anticipate. But, you know, I remember one participant donning all of these masks and hats and luxuriating in the pleasure of costuming themselves. And it was glorious to see them taking so much pleasure. I'm also thinking about sensate focus therapy, we talked about that on episode three, where, you know, it's simply exploring modalities of touch with oneself, and temperature and intensity of touch. And really, for people who maybe need more an analytical approach to get themselves in, maybe that is a way also of experimenting, of like, how today is going to be about how can I touch myself differently?
captain snowdon: Yeah.
Karen Yates: We'll return in a moment with the second half of the interview with captain snowdon. But first a special favor. I'd love it if you wrote a review or gave us a rating in your podcast app. That request is usually tucked at the end of the show, but I thought I'd ask you here. And if you'd like, be sure to follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter @wildandsublime. We're on the web with a juicy site at wildandsublime.com, where you can read articles and get resources. Now we'll get back to the interview with captain snowdon to talk about porn, erotic community, and Convive, captain's online mindful erotic practice.
I think so many people rely on porn as a way to kind of show them the way in terms of pleasure, or use it as a way to ignite themselves. Where does porn fit into mindful erotic practice? And can it fit into mindful erotic practice?
captain snowdon: Yay, porn! Awesome. Yeah. And I just want to say there's a lot of feminist porn made by women, porn made by genderqueer folks, porn made by lots of marginalized folks out there to explore. So if people are just hearing porn, and they're like, oh, that bad thing that I was brought up to — a bad thing that I actually like, there's lots of ways to explore porn that are — we can contribute to the economic justice in our communities, and we can see a diversity of bodies, and have some pretty good sense that people are getting paid and treated in the ways that they should. But yeah, porn and mindful erotic practice is a yes. So for me, sometimes I'll have my computer nearby. And if I'm desirous of some visual stimulation, or some sound stimulation, and the glorious noises that people can make when they're experiencing pleasure, I'll have it nearby. If porn is a center of your masturbation practice, bring it in, it's all welcome. Like, if dance is your way into the body, or stretching is your way into the body, like bring it to the center of the practice, and then see, what else? Sometimes I take the screen and look at it for a while and then just turn it away, so I can still hear it, and then take some breaths into my body. Adding some movement and making my own sounds definitely can be supportive around that. So yeah, I think of porn and mindful erotic practice as like bringing the sex toys, or bringing the chocolate, or bringing the animal onesie, or whatever it is that's our thing.
Karen Yates: One thing I want to talk about is, because masturbation as we think of it is so genitally focused, and all of us have different ways of approaching or bits, I guess an aspect of mindful erotic practice is, how do we touch our bits differently? I don't think to challenge oneself is a part of mindful erotic practice, always, but it's giving ourselves license to touch ourselves differently. You describe yourself as a radical fairy faggot witch, or queerwitch. I love that it's one word — queerwitch. So how can mindful erotic practice support people looking to go beyond gender binaries and gender norms?
captain snowdon: Sometimes I think about mindful erotic practice as, you know, the bowl sitting there before we put the ingredients in to make the cookies or whatever. So in the privacy of our own practice, we can bring in whatever. You know, if there's a skirt we want to try on, if there's a name we want to try on calling ourselves, that isn't the name we've been going by; if there's a kink that we're super interested in, we can find a way to meet that kink in our relationship with ourselves first. So I think it's like a container for bringing things that we're curious about or things that we're cultures might shame us for, and developing a relationship ourselves with those things. Finding ways to explore aspects of our genders that haven't been comfortable in the outside world. If we don't have what society calls a cock, we can try one on. We can learn a bit about what it feels like to walk around with one, we can fuck things with one. Yeah, we can do, again — you know things get pretty serious when we're adults, right? But it's dress up, it's try on, it's let's see, it's what else who else am I? Just taking it sort of, you know, out of the human also is you know, what kind of tree can I be? What kind of animal is in here, other than human animal, in my pleasure?
Karen Yates: Yeah, I love that you're saying all this. I was listening to someone yesterday, talking about their energy cock, and how they, you know, played with it, and how they shape-shifted. And that that was very much a part of their eroticism, is this idea of shape shifting and moving into different forms, you know, taking on different guises as they explore themselves, by themselves or with other people. I'm not exactly sure where they were going with it, but the level of imagination was so vivifying for me. I'm like, Yeah, right. When I hear another person talking like that, it gives me permission to try different things. Because as I'm listening to you, the other thing I'm getting very excited about is the fact that in some regards, I think, for a lot of us, our sexual expression is a reaction to culture, right? And we don't even — it's so quick. It's laid in so quickly, in childhood, that we don't even know that it's a reaction. We think we have agency, but we don't. I mean, we're a purely reactive state. We see things, we see media, we hear beliefs, from maybe family of origin or culture, and it just sinks in, and we're always in this place of reactivity. And that can be part of masturbation — oh, this is what we should be doing. I am a cis man, ergo I should be playing with my dick. You know, I am a cis woman, I should be penetrating myself with something. And what I really love about what you just said is, I just felt I heard agency, primacy, placing oneself in the center of one's pleasure or sensation practice. And that felt really powerful. Really powerful. Yeah. So thank you for that.
captain snowdon: I think the agency part, absolutely. And giving ourselves permission to try things. I think one of the things that's great about having erotic community in our lives, is that when we see each other, people doing things, it gives us more permission, or we hear other people doing things like listening to this podcast, it gives us, it can give us more permission to try things out. But there's something about the self-permissioning that happens with mindful erotic practice, and being in solidarity with ourselves around our sexual expression and our erotic life, regardless of what other relationships, sexual relationships, intimate relationships, kink relationships, are happening in our lives. So that we can have, you know, a through line in our sexuality for our lives, that isn't, like you said, necessarily in reaction. Because all we're given, really, unless we find our way to some alternate sexual communities, is partner connection: sexuality is something you do with somebody else. And so, taking sexuality out of partner connection for a little bit to play with, into what can be like, roleplay or playing with erotic trance, and higher states of arousal, or things that are more meditative, we can give ourselves the gift of a relationship to sex, and sexuality and touch and intimacy. All kinds of different songs throughout our life — like ballads, and heartbreak songs, country songs, mad songs, all the songs — goes through our lives. And then the other things that we're involved in, we can show up to those resourced as a person who knows, or has some experience of, what our body likes and how our body likes to be touched, and some of the things that we're into, at least at that point in our lives.
Karen Yates: Yeah, it's like the deeper we get to know ourselves, the more comfortable we become. It's a deep acceptance state. I think that's what mindful erotic practice can give a person, is a deep acceptance of oneself, so that when we meet a partner, say, we can just say without shame, this is who I am. I practice this. This is part of my erotic life. Let me share this with you. And we don't get off balance if that person's like, Wow, that's so different. We can say yeah, isn't it? Isn't it cool?
captain snowdon: Yeah, wanna try it with me?
Karen Yates: Yeah! Want to play with me? You want to do a mindful erotic practice together? Which leads me to erotic community. You mentioned erotic community, and it is definitely "alt." Erotic community is not something that most people have in their life. And lately I've been seeing — I want you to talk a little bit about Convive. But prior to that, within the communities that I float through, I am seeing a lot of Zoom group eroticism happening, as a way to kind of share eroticism. And you know, I've done mindful erotic practice in a group. And it is such a different experience being with people who are engaged, you know, looking inward, but doing it in a group, which is nothing like an orgy. This is very much solo practice, people being intent on — it's like a type of meditation. But it's more powerful. Because like, there's everyone doing it together. I don't know. Can you talk a little bit about erotic community and what it's brought you? Or more to the point, doing this type of work in group?
captain snowdon: I'll say that erotic community, like any other community in my life, has brought me like, all the things. You know, joy, heartache, all the stuff. I'm a pretty communal person. I like to do most things with other people, and then spend vast amounts of time alone. It sounds a bit like a contradiction.
Karen Yates: Actually I totally understand what you're saying.
captain snowdon: Yeah, there was a point in my sexological bodywork training, when I took it in 2008, I think it was, I think we had one-hour time of, I think was like more guided erotic practice, together in the same room, that was kind of like embodied masturbation. And then over time, some other fabulous folks brought in this idea of orgasmic yoga, which is now mindful erotic practice. And it just — of all the things that I'd learned in sex school, it just clicked for me, because it was communal. And there was... I feel like the cells of my body remember the times when — mostly pre-colonial times, when collective joy was prioritized as a part of community. And that wasn't necessarily erotic. But so, my cells wake up. And parts of my brain wake up, and parts of my heart wake up, and parts of my genitals wake up in communal erotic space. And particularly in communal erotic space when I'm not like, physically engaging with someone else, where everybody else is doing their erotic thing. I'll talk about Convive. So for the last three, I think it's coming up on three years, but it might be two, because you know, time is an accordion, and not a real thing, that humans made up... Usually two or three, sometimes seven days a week, early in COVID, hosting online communal erotic practice. And container is such that people show up, I do a little thing to get us, an activity to get us into our pelvises, and to set our intentions for the practice, and then people if they want to talk about what their intentions for their practices are, then we go off screen and off sound, I press play on the playlist, which is about 40 minutes long, with about five minutes for savoring in there. And then people go off and do their practices in their own space. But we're together. You know, if I can lean into the like, mycelial network or the web of us doing this erotic practice together, everybody in their own space, and then at the end, we come back and if people want, they talk about how their practice went. And then we get on with our days. So that's probably a lot like other classes and things that people show up for an hour in their lives. But this is like centering our bodies, our body wisdom, our impulse, and just making space. Like, it doesn't have to be mindful erotic practice. There's all kinds of practices that folks do that center what's actually going on for us right in the moment. And this one just meets those things with pleasure.
Karen Yates: Oh, my gosh, you've just said so much in the past five minutes. So let me talk at you now. I don't know... First, for those of you who don't know, captain does immaculate Spotify playlists for Convive. I love your playlists that you have done.
captain snowdon: They're public. So anybody can check them out.
Karen Yates: What are they under on Spotify?
captain snowdon: C-A-P-T-S-N-O-W-D-O-N.
Karen Yates: Just one word, captain snowdon, or is it two words?
captain snowdon: Just one word, and just CAPT.
Karen Yates: Okay, cool. You heard that there folks. Go check it out for your own mindful erotic practice. They're calibrated. They're calibrated lists, calibrated with crescendos and denouments. You said first, talking about Convive, yes, knowing that there are other people out there doing it at the same time, all around the world is a great thing. And off camera makes everything really safe. And to have a bit of framing at the beginning and a bit of check-in afterwards is great. Now, can anyone partake in this, or is this really only for people who are in the training program?
captain snowdon: Kind of my vetting piece is, is anyone who's been through some kind of a course with me. So having a bit of a relationship. So it can be from like, a one-day thing to a long course that we've been in together. Or people who have been trained in sort of related modalities — like really, just get in touch and say, "Hey, I come into sexuality through this door," and we'll have a conversation. And I'm going to be launching a tiny course online in the new year, called "Fired Up and Grounded," which is a way of beginning with mindful erotic practice. My co-teacher Caffyn says it's like safety rails. So it's like safety rails into the practice.
Karen Yates: Oh, great. I want to talk a little bit about the pre-colonial remark you made, because I was watching the TED Talk with Onika Henry a few days ago, talking about Carnival. And it awakened something in me too, which is, I think there is, in all of our tissue, the knowledge that in pre-colonial times, there was celebration and joy that was body-centric. And the powers that be could not oppress that, that sheer delight in living, and that we came together, and in some regards, we still come together, but we really came together in pre-colonial times to celebrate, and awaken the eternal fountain inside. And it's connective, and, you know, points to the cycles of life and renewal. And where am I going with this? I'm kind of drifting... Getting back to the mindful erotic practice, this can be a solo way of tapping into that place. And then in terms of group work, you know, that is, again, getting to what you were talking about, that the group work does speak to this place, pre-shame, right? And can be hugely, I don't know, I keep coming back to the word joy. Joyousness. And I think as we connect to our pleasure, and the sense of the body and the sensations of the body, we're connecting to everything at a deeper level. So thank you for bringing that up. I think it's powerful. It's so powerful.
captain snowdon: I want to just say that I think, and I'm being taught, and I'm learning and I'm grateful, to all the Indigenous and Black and people of color who are teaching me to be more careful with my "we." So yeah, I just want to be mindful of when I'm talking about culture that I'm saying "cultures," and being really suspicious and curious about who the "we" is that I think I'm talking about.
Karen Yates: Mmm. I appreciate that. Thank you for saying that. Captain, I want to thank you so much for being here with me today. It's been a great pleasure. Thank you.
captain snowdon: Thank you.
Karen Yates: To find out more about captain snowdon and Convive, go to our show notes.
Wild & Sublime is also sponsored in part by our Sublime Supporter, Chicago-based Full Color Life Therapy, therapy for all of you, at fullcolorlifetherapy.com. If you would like to be a Sublime Supporter, showcasing you and your business and supporting us at the same time, contact us at info at wildandsublime dot com. And now it's time for my Sermon on the Pubic Mound®. Captain introduced me to the following poem, which I just love, by poet James Broughton, and I asked them to read it for us.
captain snowdon: This poem is called "Ode to Gaiety," by the late James Broughton: filmmaker, extraordinary radical faerie, sex revolutionary, and awesome human — or, human human. How about that.
Begone glum and grim
Off with the drab drear and grumble
come undone and come out laughing
time to wrap killjoys in wet blankets
and feed them to the sourpusses
Come frisky pals
Come forth wily wags
Loosen your screws and get off your rocker
Untie the strait lacer
Tie up the smarty pants
Tickle the crosspatch with josh and guffaw
Share quips and pranks with every victim
of grouch pomposity or blah
Woe to the bozo who says No to
tee hee ho ho and ha ha
Boo to the cleancut klutz who
wipes the smile off his face
freedom is a chastity belt
life is a wooden kimono
Come cheerful chums
Cut up and carry on
Crack your pots and split your sides
Boggle the bellyacher
Convulse the worrywart
Pratfall the prissy poos and the fuddy duds
Take drollery to heart or end up a deadhead
at the guillotine of the mindless
Be wise and go merry round
whatever you cherish
what you love to enjoy what you live to exert
And when the high spirits
call your number up
count on merriment all the way to the countdown
Long live hilarity euphoria and flumadiddle
Long live gaiety
for all the laity
Karen Yates: Next week: Demisexual? Asexual? What's up with that? Plus, questions and answers from our panel. Thank you for listening. If you know someone who might be interested in this episode, send it to them. And please, if you like what you heard, give us a nice review on your podcast app. I'd like to thank Wild & Sublime associate producer Julia Williams and design guru Jean-François Gervais. Theme Music by David Ben-Porat. Our media sponsor is Rebellious Magazine, feminist media at rebelliousmagazine.com. Follow us on social media @wildandsublime and sign up for newsletters at wildandsublime.com.
- INTERVIEW: captain snowdon (4:37)
- SERMON ON THE PUBIC MOUND (44:45)
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- Somatic sex educator and sexological bodyworker captain snowdon
- captain snowdon’s CONVIVE
- Institute for the Study of Somatic Sex Education
- captain’s Spotify playlists
- Poet James Broughton
- Books mentioned on the pod
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