What do male-identified people hold in their bodies that keeps them from greater pleasure?
Karen interviews JoJo Bear, a somatic sex and intimacy guide, about what he’s learned from years of working with men.
Wild & Sublime Podcast Transcript
#S3E11 | Men, Trauma and Sex with JoJo Bear
[Wild & Sublime theme music]
JoJo Bear: Fuck the 'being a real man.' Fuck the, you know, 'Take it like a man, don't cry." All of that stuff has done nothing for you, except categorize you. And so, why not be in your body?
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. I chat about sex and relationships with citizens from the world of sex positivity. You'll hear meaningful conversations, dialogues that go deeper, and information that can help you become more free in your sexual expression. I'm sex educator and intimacy coach Karen Yates. This week, we discuss how trauma and cultural norms impact the male body and sexuality, and ways you can undo the harm. Keep listening.
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Hey, folks. I'm so glad to be here today. You might hear a little something in my voice — that is the remnants of COVID. Just coming out of it and doing well. I had a mild case, thankfully, so I'm really glad for that. And I hope you are staying healthy too. Before I get to my guest, I want to ask: Were you at our April show in Chicago? Wow, it was pretty off the chain. I'm sorry to say that me getting tied up on stage as part of the rope demo will unfortunately not translate to audio. But it was a loose and lovely and hot show, as you will hear, probably in June. I think that's when we will be releasing it, so stay tuned there.
I am so happy to be able to share with you today's interview. We have not done an episode yet devoted entirely to male-identified folks, and I am glad it is happening. I saw our guest a few months back on a webinar for somatic sex ed professionals, talking about prostate massage, and I thought, I gotta get him on the show. Somatic sex and intimacy guide JoJo Bear helps male-identified people to get out of their heads and into their bodies. On today's conversation, we talk about a lot: the cultural scripts that men have in their heads that impact sexuality, how to undo trauma, porn and how to reframe it, and a lot more. Enjoy.
JoJo Bear, welcome.
JoJo Bear: Hi, how are ya?
Karen Yates: I am well. JoJo, I'm going to do a land acknowledgement. I am on the land of the Potawatomi, Ojibwe and Odawa nations, also known colonially as Chicago. Where are you?
JoJo Bear: I am on the land of the Ohlone people, which is the East Bay, California, which is in the San Francisco Bay Area, really close to Berkeley.
Karen Yates: Awesome. How did you come to the work of being a somatic sex and intimacy guide? I saw that you began as a hypnotherapist? Is that correct?
JoJo Bear: Yeah. I started out, I was living in Los Angeles, and I was fascinated with hypnotherapy. I was actually fascinated with past-life regression and NLP, and I became a Clinical Hypnotherapist. And when I put my shingle out to see clients, thinking I was going to help people quit smoking, lose weight, you know, pass the bar, all that stuff — I started having people come about sex.
So I started having all genders, too. Like, just saying, I'm having issues around erections, I'm having issues around porn. Just all this stuff that people were coming to me, and I remember asking a mentor at the time, I said, I think I might be going in a different direction.
And he said, just go with it. You know, it might be your gift. And quickly, I kind of morphed my hypnosis practice into more of, it was kind of a hybrid coaching hypnosis, and I started doing a lot of workshops. But if I wanted to rewind all the way: when I was a kid in my neighborhood, I would get all the other boys to come over to my house, and we would get naked and dance around. And it was very innocent, we were all the same age, if anybody's thinking about anything, we were all the same age. And I was always the ringleader. Like, I was always the one that said, let's dance. Let's disrobe. And, like many men that I've worked with, I had that one moment of shame. My mother came down the stairs and just really went, "No, no, no, no, no. That's not to be done." And I just kind of clammed up. And so, fast forward now: just this weekend, I was teaching a group of 20-something men and guiding them through undressing rituals and dancing. So my path was led way back when.
Karen Yates: Yeah, I'm intrigued with this idea of the freedom, you know, maybe you weren't even identifying it as sexual freedom back in the day when you're dancing around naked with your friends. But it is a type of free expression with the body. Right? The nudity, free expression, I think it's really intriguing that you found your way back. You suddenly got these clients almost immediately that their issues were around sex. Why do you think, in that moment, you were attracting people?
JoJo Bear: Oh, well, I think there could have been a couple of things. I mean, you know, I think there's chemistry that people kind of connect with. And so like, for me, when I look at practitioners, I get drawn to them for some reason. And then I discover, wait a second, this is so profound. And then there's practitioners that I get drawn to, and then I realize, oh, wait, we're not a fit. But I think a lot of my life was about — it was very relational, and sexual, and connecting in that way, with a lot of people. So I feel like I did a lot of research [laughs] and experimentation, and just being in who I was erotically, even though I didn't know half of the time I was doing it. It was just, there was a lot of opportunity for me to discover.
Karen Yates: You found yourself doing sexolological body work and somatic sex education with people like Joseph Kramer and Caffyn Jesse, who's been on the show. And I'm truncating everything, but that's led you to this moment.
JoJo Bear: Yeah. I mean, here's the thing: I speak to a lot of folks that want to get into this kind of work. And it's very fascinating. It's very alluring. And it's beautiful. But one of the things that I usually mention to everybody is that there has to be a lot of personal work done before going into this business, right? And so — and I could see a lot of folks coming in, and not having their personal work done, and creating more harm. Because I practice a lot of the Wheel of Consent, and I'm a facilitator for the school, school of consent. And there's just a lot of ways that I try as best as I can not to create more harm. And it has to come with me, right.
And so I went through this real exploratory time in my life, where I started having pains in my body, like, especially my rectum. And I was like, really noticing that sex was starting to get uncomfortable, and things were starting to kind of shift. So then I started doing lots of therapy. You know, I started doing a little bit of Tantra, which I don't really — it's not my platform that I teach. But I went to a lot of events, and I connected with people that were practitioners that actually helped me. And I started to kind of shift. And it all happened so very quickly. And then I went to the sexological body work program when it was in San Francisco, there was an Institute in San Francisco, which actually doesn't exist at the moment. And, you know, it just opened up my world to a way of working with people. And subsequently, it also was kind of healing a lot of stuff for me. So it was kind of a double winner type of situation. And then from there, I was like, not even certified, and I was already like, seeing clients and hustling around, and just taking more courses, you know, and it was just like, I knew that, okay, this is what I want to do full time. And as that continued, I started to realize a lot of my work was a lot more embodied. And it's a lot to weigh and the sexological bodywork, and somatic sex education. There's a lot of one-way touch. Once I did the Wheel of Consent, I was like, oh, wait a second. You know, some of my clients really need to practice taking, right? I need to practice being in that space of serving with consent, and giving with consent. And so I started, my work started morphing. And lately, the word 'coach' has been really, like, uncomfortable for me. And I really kind of settled into a guide, because I'm just guiding. And like a really good guide is just going to show you the road and you get to like, walk it, you know, and maybe I'll shine a light at the end of the road if you need to come back. So that's where I'm at now.
Karen Yates: It seems to me in this area, we're talking about of somatic sex education, sexological bodywork, it takes a while for folks to find, you know, where's my particular genius? Or where am I best suited? Then there's sort of a floating around for a bit. And then also the terminology, because this is not like, say, being an MD, or something that's been prescribed for for a very, very long time, and has a very definite track. I mean, this is still an area of inquiry that is very fluid. And I think it probably will stay that way. So it's really interesting to hear how you came to it. And I agree, you know, a lot of folks come to this work who are wounded in some way. I say that, you know, around this, especially the poison is the antidote. The people come, and they're also, you know, on a very deep level looking to heal themselves. But it requires that there is a lot of inner work that you do. I just think that's part of it. So that you can be completely still. Like, for me, it's about an inner stillness that starts developing when you're working with people. I don't know how you see your inner state as you're working with people. But...
JoJo Bear: Yeah, you know, I think one of the biggest things that I've learned, because — and I'm going to be honest with you — like, what has changed for me is that I have to really understand that I'm just gathering information. And it's all about the client. It's their session, it's their opportunity. So if a client wants to sit in front of you, and just be heard — we try to claim this is not a therapy session, if we're not a licensed therapist, but I feel like, you know, I get referrals from therapists, and I've actually seen therapists and they said, I wish I could be doing this more. I wish I could be doing what you're doing. And to dispel the glamour part of it —because a lot of people, when I say I work around sex and intimacy, they have this wild, imaginative mind. And I'm like, most of the time, I am sitting in a room with someone. Most of the time, we're fully dressed. Right? And most of the time, I'm just saying, what are you aware of right now? What are you noticing? Like, so there is a lot of using the word 'somatic' is becoming very popular, and it's big, and it can be very roomy. And for me, somatic means just the soma, the body. It means tracking and being in awareness of what's actually happening in my body. And for me, I believe that my body is super smart. My head? It's going to tell me things. My head is going to tell me I'm a piece of shit, I'm too fat, my cock doesn't get hard. You name it, you can put it in the head category. But my body's gonna say stuff like, there is some kind of trauma, or fear, or numbness, or tingly, or arousal that is happening. And if I can just be with that, if I could just be with that, and not have to do so much. And just be in that experience. Sometimes a person, especially when they're dealing with that bullshit that we grow up with — religion, trauma, parents that don't want to talk about sex, friends and family that teach us the wrong ways, you know, society, internet, magazines, everything that we're inundated with, sometimes when you get person in the room, it's like, all of that is like, in the forefront. And so it's just about, let's just let that kind of sit on a shelf, and just see what's happening in your body. That's really that's really the pulp of the session.
Karen Yates: Yes. So you work mostly with male-identified people — gay bisexual, trans, heterosexual men over the age of 40. Mostly. Now, I was intrigued by this. Why over 40?
JoJo Bear: Have you met men over 40? [laughs] That said, I have had the opportunity to work with younger folk. I have the opportunity to work with cisgender women. And then I've worked with heterosexual couples, cisgender woman, cisgender man. So like, I've had the opportunity to work with a lot of bodies. But primarily, my main focus is working with male-identified people.
Karen Yates: One of the upcoming workshops you're doing with the Body Electric School, where you're a teacher, is called Power, Surrender and Intimacy. And one part of the workshop is about reclaiming and examining masculine icons. And I thought this might be an interesting place to start, not necessarily somatically, but to talk about how the psyche latches on to icons, and how they become the script, maybe.
JoJo Bear: I have been so educated by nonbinary folk, and by trans people that I am, like, hyper aware of when gay men are so obsessed with that masculine, ubermasculine kind of archetype. It almost becomes a detriment. I've worked with men that have so much anal shame. And they think, you know, like, I really want to bottom. But this whole idea of being submissive — I've even heard people say, I feel like the woman. I think, Oh, my God, that's — like, I name it. Like, you know, that's actually really, really harmful to say that, you know? And that's just not cool. And I was talking about it with a friend, he's always had this opportunity to top. Like, that was his thing. And he could always get it up. He was like, the party favor for a lot of guys that wanted to receive anal sex. And he was talking about the power that came with that, right? And alluring, and how it became — and I was like, well, that sounds like top privilege. Like you have this privilege, right? And then it also ubersexualizes you. So it puts you in a category where you're, like, you're categorized, right? So ultimately, at the end of the day, that's what you are. And that's where people are seeing. And that's how people are going to relate to you. So I think this whole idea of attaching top/bottom to a masculine/feminine thing has to go. And as much as I love Tantra, it's always talked about in Tantra. So we're going to, you know — we love you, Tantra practitioners, but it reaffirms that kind of like, "the masculine and the feminine." And if you really do research on anatomy, and you really do research on how babies are formed, you'll be very surprised.
Karen Yates: Yes. You're actually reminding me, I should do an episode on that. On the formation of genitals. Yeah, this idea that we're really, for quite some time in the development in the uterus, we are the same sex. Wow, you just said a lot — about top privilege, and the limitations of being a top. And you know, how I see it is, the more you categorize yourself, you're compartmentalizing yourself, which means you're compartmentalizing your pleasure. And it becomes that the pleasure is really focused then the genitals or the cock. You know, that's where the pleasure gets focused. And if you don't have your cock, and it's not functioning the way you want it to, then it becomes, like, a major life crisis. Yeah. Let's talk about the compartmentalization of pleasure. I'm sure you see it a lot in your practice.
JoJo Bear: Oh, yeah. So going back to saying the majority of the clientele that I work with, which is men over 40, mostly gay-identified, but it's like, most men over 40, male identify people, I can tell you the first thing that almost I would say 90% is, I'm going to hear about the cock, right? I have an issue with my cock. Something's not working. Or, that's all I can think about. You know, so there's like, all this stuff, regarding trauma, shame, all of it. And then the next would be the belly. Like, there's so much around the belly and around the stomach. Yeah, there's like this whole thing, and I can talk a little bit about that. And then there's age, you know, there's this, "I am not how I used to be," and that becomes so, so... It's like a preoccupation for a lot of people that I work with. And it's also in that category. I'm not where I was, I can't do the things I used to do, right? And so it's really categorizing, saying that like, only specific people can feel pleasure. And so one of the things is — and that's why I really value stuff like doing Wheel of Consent games. Like you're doing the three-minute game. It's really simple. And if you haven't done the three minute game, please look it up.
Karen Yates: We'll have links to that in the show notes.
JoJo Bear: Or find a practitioner. Karen and I can teach you! Yes. It's getting people to access in their body, this kind of instantaneous information, or sensations and pleasure, like in such a real-time moment, right. And the art of it is just practice. And so that's one of the things that I usually try to invite everybody that I work with — it's like, really, it's just about practice. This is not work, right? We can talk about work shit, you know, some other day, because there's a lot of shit attached to work. But when you're practicing, it creates a space of like, okay, anything can happen. I'm available for anything. And ultimately, it's just about being with the pleasure, right? In real time, not comparing it to like, when I was 12, when I came the first time, right? Not comparing it to the sex I was having in my 20s. Right. It's what's happening currently.
Karen Yates: As in right now. As in, this moment.
JoJo Bear: Yeah, yeah. And it's tough because with my, like, heterosexual folk, like, a lot of the cisgender men that are heterosexual, when I work with them, the biggest thing is, my erection is not working, how am I going to please my wife, or the girl I'm dating? And I hear all the stories, like, you know, it's my duty, right? Or she's not gonna love me. Or this is what real men are supposed to be doing. And I will go further, and I will just say, stay out of the story. Like, that's a big one. But second of all, it's like, why is there an attachment? Why is there this attachment to my gender? Or who I am sexually? What is a real man? That's the big question. And so, that's why it's really important to do some of the work, you know, not only just doing somatic work, but finding a practitioner, you know, or a therapist, that, first of all, that you can be honest with. A therapist that looks like you, and that maybe has a lot of values that's similar to you. I say this because also, like, with bodies of culture and people of color — I'm half Italian and half Puerto Rican, so I'm POC as well. And so, with people of color, I usually say, work with someone that will nod with you when you say something. Or work with someone that has what you want. Are they listening? Are they not giving me unsolicited advice? Are they really here? Are they present?
Karen Yates: I'll return to my conversation with JoJo Bear in a moment. Do you love our sassy cat logo? Did you know you can sport it on a t-shirt, coffee mug, and more. Head over to wildandsublime.com to check out the goodies. As an intimacy coach. I work with couples in Chicago, helping them learn how to verbalize erotic desires in the moment, and master skills of sensual cooperation. If you and your partner are looking for ways to more deeply connect to one another and get out of limiting patterns, I can help. Go to karen-yates.com for more information and to set up a free, 15-minute consultation. Now let's return to my interview with JoJo Bear. In this half, we talk about the benefits of working with your ass, finding a practitioner, and more.
I'm thinking of sexual trauma, and when you're working with people around, say, the anus or the prostate, let's — terrible pun — let's open it up, and talk about like, what gets stored. I really want to talk about what gets stored in the anus. What gets stored in the prostate. And what is the potential for liberation.
JoJo Bear: Yeah, yeah, I have a really good friend that's heterosexual, and I surprised him and I will say, you know, there's a lot of gay men that don't like anal sex. And he's like, really? Like, there's a whole lot of gay men that don't like anal sex, and there's actually a term for that.
Karen Yates: What's the term?
JoJo Bear: The side gay. A side gay. And so it's this whole formation of gay men — and I think yeah, or men that have sex with men, that just want to just do frottage and oral and kissy-kissy and stuff like that, and anal is not on the menu. And then there's people that love it. And I think the reality is that it is such an amazing place. And I'm going to give a little bit of a plug for it. [Karen laughs] The reason why is that if you think about that area of your body, just if you think about it, just that there's so many nerve endings down there, right, and there's so much pleasure to be had. And when I was working with a heterosexual couple, a cisgender couple, and this couple came to my office, they were really concerned they were doing it the wrong way. And so I just set it like this: I just said, you know, when I was learning how to touch vulvas, I had a lot of wonderful teachers on the other end of my hand, and they were just like, JoJo, just go really slow. Just really slow. And so I say the same thing. I say, there's the art of just really slow. And if you're a person that is receiving that, it's just really being in touch with your breath, and things may come up, right. It's the root, there's the root down there, right? It's also a place that as a child, if you didn't get through that anal stage, right, and you could look this all up. And there's thoughts around hygiene and poop, and there's layers of shame, and all this cultural stuff, real homophobic or patriarchy, like, you know, "real men," and I've put in air quotes, don't do that. And reality is that I know a lot of people — homosexual, heterosexual — that love to play with their asshole. And it's a beautiful thing. Do it slow, take a lot of breaths, use a lot of lubrication. If you have a migraine, if you get a rosebud massage, it'll take away the migraine. So if you have migraines, just get your partner to give you a sphincter massage — you don't even have to go in! You don't have to go.
That said, there's a lot of people that, you know, hold a lot of stress, a lot of shame, and a lot of trauma there. That was my case. I'll get real personal, like, I had a lot of tension down there, and a lot of shame. And I knew where it was from. There was a lot of sexual abuse in my life. And I luckily discovered all this before I started working with people, right? Because then I got to clean up a little bit, you know, and I got to, not work that into my sessions with my clients. So if that is something that is part of your journey in life, do yourself a favor, and really just go for it and get the help you need.
And I see it a lot. I don't diagnose it. But I see it a lot with certain men, that you can tell like, oh, wait a second. This may look like, you know, for me, this looks a little bit like sexual abuse. There's something there. I ask questions. And if a person says I don't know, or maybe, or, you know, I'm just the link in their chain. Getting the touch and really, you know, having some acknowledgement of like, Hey, wait, something may be off. Do you know what it is? And, for me, I feel lucky that like, I got to discover it, and I went into an awareness of it. And now I'm not disabled by it. And that said, I have a lot of choice, that if I'm starting to feel uncomfortable, if I'm doing my own personal stuff, I get to say, hey, stop, slow down. Don't do that. That's not what I asked for. And so, prostate massage and anal massage can be really beautiful and liberating. And really, really, really relax the body. And there can be lots of pleasure to be had. When I talk to men that want to get into this, want to practice it — I have a lot of guys say, I really, really really want to bottom, but I'm too tight! Or I am too scared. First of all, I just tell a lot of folks, can you please just lay off the porn? Because that is giving you a lot of expectations. A lot of editing there! And so just be gentle with yourself. And I always say, the first thing you can do is just explore without entrance. Just explore the neighborhood, wake up the neighborhood. And you can do it in the shower. You can do it, you know, when you're feeling the most calmness and the most relaxed. I always let people know, also do it when you don't feel like there's an expectation, like, I'm going to have an orgasm. Be in a space of curiosity, and explore and listen. If it doesn't feel good, then there's a lot more nerve endings in your body in other places. You can find your pleasure zones in your body
Karen Yates: Besides these sexualized areas of the body that we're talking about right now — and we've already talked a fair amount about the somatic experience and being in the body — what's being held onto, as you're working with people? What is lodged, if you will, that's been almost soldered into the male body?
JoJo Bear: I think I named it a little bit before — this whole idea of what a man is supposed to be. Some folks have, they come in with this idea that a real man should look like this, or a real man should act like this. And these are like actually really kind, loving, open-minded people. But yet there is this thought in their head of like, if I can't get a hard-on with my wife, I'm a bad husband, or I'm a bad person, or I'm not a real man. Right? It's like this assassination of a person's character, you know, of like who I am in this world, based on my ability to perform and have sex. So there's that. There's a lot of men that are walking around that are just detached. One of the things that I'm really fascinated with is particularly how, as boys — and they've done a lot of research on this; there's a lot of wonderful articles and books on this. As boys, young boys — and I'm using the term boy, right, honoring that there's other bodies that identify in all different ways. But culturally, a lot of young boys are these beautifully emotional, sensitive creatures, right? And what happens is — I've watched a lot of videos, and I've read all this stuff, where you hear people saying, like, parents taking their boys to get a shot, saying be a big boy, take it like a man, little boys don't cry, right? That there's this dissolving of vulnerability and intimacy, especially vulnerability. And what happens is, and like, it's even some of the research, where like, young boys are so in love with other boys, right? They have their best, best friends. And then there comes a time where it's like, you can't do that — that's too gay. Or that's not manly, right? And so, culturally, in the patriarchy, and there's just all this shit that happens. I see a lot of that with adult men, like somewhere along the way, they lost that vulnerability. So being a bottom, crying in front of somebody, you know, losing their erection, all of that stuff goes back to that moment: "be a big boy, be a real man." And so, a lot of the, you know, 40 year old 50 year old man that is going through this, like, sexual kind of, oh my God, who the fuck am I? My body's different. I'm a dad bod now, and I can't get a hard-on. Like, there's so much that happens. And it's like, I encourage so much, like, go into that vulnerability. Like, fuck the being a real man. Fuck the, you know, take it like, man, don't cry. All of that stuff, it has done nothing for you, except categorize you. And so why not be in your body? And I think it borderlines on like, the masculinity thing. Or noticing porn. That's a biggie. I've seen it now, because I've had the privilege of working with a lot of younger guys. They're like, that's all I know. Is porn. So like, when I get with someone, there's this like, weird default. There's just nothing — there's like this, like, I can't actually connect with another human. I am an advocate for porn. I think porn is okay. But I also categorize it as entertainment. I think of it as entertainment and potentially research. A categorized fetish, and I need to see hey, how do I do this? Right? It's not necessarily based on reality. And it creates a lot more damage to people that are in a space of constantly comparing. Right? And which, as humans, it's basically our pastime. So I think porn is something that is really big. And the reason why is that, you know, I'll hear this a lot. I'll hear this — 'Hey JoJo, I can't get hard-ons. Can you help me? Okay... All right. I've heard this so many times. And I say, okay, when you're with a person, you can get a hard-on. Right? And oh, yeah, yeah, like my partner, my lover, or trick, it doesn't matter who it is. And then I say, okay, so how about when you're sitting at home, or in your office, or on the toilet, and you're watching porn — can you get a hard-on? Oh, yeah, that's when I can get a hard-on.
I'm like, okay, so it doesn't seem like there's anything organic, unless your doctor has told you. And so that's the second question I always ask. I'm like, are you on any antidepressants? Are you on any medication? Do you have diabetes? We want to ask these things to clients, because I don't really want to spend four or five sessions working with a client, and then they tell me, oh, by the way, I'm on these, like, anti-erection pills, right? And so, once I gather all that information, I'm almost aware that there's something there. There's something that the body can provide, there's an answer that the body can provide. Right? And it could be psychological, it could be — like, the performance anxiety is a biggie. For a lot of folks, right? There's this performance anxiety, and that can come with loss of erection, the real tightening of an asshole, the not breathing, you know, all of that stuff that can really disconnect us from pleasure. And I think another thing, like I mentioned before, there's this age factor, like I see with a lot of men that I work with. There is this real — especially with certain gay men that had lots of sex, earlier in life. And then when they hit a certain age, it's not happening as frequently. So there's this real, like, whoa, who am I? So there's this identity crisis. So holding space for that is a biggie.
Karen Yates: In your work, as you're working with a client, what does shift and integration look like?
JoJo Bear: Well, I think in real time, like, after working with the client for a couple of sessions, I see shifts happen. They happen real subtle. If anybody's going to do this work, take some classes on body language, right? It'll elevate in practice. Now, there's a bunch of books written, and there's a bunch of courses around that. But when I start to notice clients breathing more — one, like just having that real kind of like, regulated nervous system breath, right? There's also this kind of moment with a client that says, oh, no, I want to sit here, or could you get me a glass of water,? When there's this kind of like, oh, they're requesting, they're making offers. This is good, because I say always along. And this is like, my coaching part, which I'll use that word, just for this, for this moment, is when I say stuff, like, hey, you're practicing this with me. You're getting to do this with me, and we get to do it, like, clunky. And we get to do it, like, weird, and feel uncomfortable. And you're practicing, because you're gonna do this with other people. Like, you're gonna actually go out and hang out with civilians, and do this, and make love and not get hard-ons, and be with it. And so there's this kind of like, when a person starts to really drop into that, there's this flow that happens. And also there's — and this is a really big thing — and sometimes your clients, when they start to say to you, like, wow, I feel like I've done a lot of work, and I think, you know, I don't know if I want to do any more sessions right now. Right? And they're assessing themselves and saying, like, hey, I think that I'm ready. I encourage a lot of practitioners to create that session where you're having that, like, breakup, almost. And it's not like a permanent breakup. But for some people, like that's actually really, really never actually practiced.
Karen Yates: Wow. Yeah. Yeah.
JoJo Bear: And it could be like, let's sit with each other and give each other appreciations. Let's say, okay, this is closure, how does closure look? And then also for me, and my nervous system, it actually feels really good, because there's sometimes – clients just disappear. Or sometimes clients are like, Okay, I'll see you next week, and then they'll cancel, and then I'll never see them again. And I really get attached to clients. I mean, I really care about the people I work with. But I've also created, you know, some sort of thick skin, knowing that, like, I am only a link in the chain. That, like, it is not about me. And I know that I've had a multitude of practitioners I've paid for that I learned from. Take what you can, leave the rest., right? And I think of them fondly. And I also feel, like, smarter and healthier because of them. And maybe that was only one time I saw them. So I just have to be in faith, that some dude learned something and they want to take care of themselves.
Karen Yates: Yeah. JoJo Bear. Wow, what a great conversation.
JoJo Bear: Thank you.
Karen Yates: Is there anything else you want to add?
JoJo Bear: Yeah. If you're a male-identified person, have fun. Nibble. I just took a course, a really beautiful course — Resmaa Menakem is antiracist, somatic abolitionist. I encourage any practitioner that's working with any human to really educate yourself in this. It's important. But I loved — I was on a Zoom call last week with him, and he really tells a lot of people to just nibble. Don't eat the whole thing. Just nibble, like, really, pleasure is something that you can nibble. And it doesn't have to look like it looks like in porn, or whatever you saw when you first thought. And it shifts, it changes. And it's not always, this is not always permanent. There's not this permanence. There's something that shifts. And if you feel like you want help or assistance, there's so many amazing practitioners out right now. There's a whole bunch of really cool people that I know, that are not creating more harm. And it's hard to pick and choose and not know. And that's the scary part. Right? And that can be a completely other conversation. And there are lots of people that are not equipped to do this type of work. So if that is something that's fearful, do your work, do your research. Ask around, talk to people. Because it's spooky. It's really spooky going into the unknown.
Karen Yates: Yes. People do want the details. And the details are important. You know, when I do consultations, people are like, so what exactly are we gonna be doing? That's a really important question.
JoJo Bear: Yeah. Yeah. And it's hard to answer that. Because it's really, like, every client is different. You know, and I tell clients, a lot of times, we'll probably be breathing. We'll probably be dancing a little bit, if that's, you know — I like to dance in my office, right? You know, it's like, be playful, be playful. Let's be playful. And vulnerable. And vulnerable doesn't mean naked. Vulnerable means like, how can I just be with what I'm dealing with right now? And then whether you want to or not, just let me know. Like, let's just be in relationship with that, you know. And I break that wall, too. Like, I'll tell clients, hey, you know, I'm noticing I'm feeling a little nervous, a little jittery, or I'm a little teary at what you said. So thank you for sharing that. I am not, like, stony. [laughs]
Karen Yates: Being semi-permeable is a very important skill to have. JoJo Bear, this has been a great conversation.
JoJo Bear: Thank you. Thank you. I really appreciate it. It's been a blast.
Karen Yates: For more information on JoJo Bear and other resources, go to our show notes. Wild & Sublime is supported in part by our Sublime Supporter, Full Color Life Therapy. Therapy for all of you at fullcolorlifetherapy.com.
Well, that's it, folks. Have a very pleasurable week. Thank you for listening. If you know someone who might be interested in this episode, send it to them. Do you like what you heard? Then give us a nice review on your podcast app. You can follow us on social media @wildandsublime and sign up for newsletters at wildandsublime.com. I'd like to thank associate producer Julia Williams and design guru Jean-Francois Gervais. Theme Music by David Ben-Porat. This episode was edited by The Creative Imposter studios. Our media sponsor is Rebellious Magazine, feminist media, at rebelliousmagazine.com.
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