In this insightful panel conversation we examine the impossible and shame-based standards the fitness industry sets and how this impacts our sex lives. A co-production with Comfy Fitness.
Wild & Sublime Podcast Transcript
S4E11 | Is the Fitness Industry Ruining Sex?
Carrie Drapac: What are we missing out on in that opportunity that sex provides if at the same time, it is providing this opening into vulnerability and we’re saying, ‘wait, wait, wait, wait, wait! Don’t see all the ways in which I’m not enough because I’ve worked on this like, perfect physique and this perfect aesthetic, and I can perform this perfectly, because I put all this work into it,’ but actually like the gift that sex is is the vulnerability.
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 your sexual expression. I’m sex educator and intimacy coach Karen Yates. This week we speak with fitness professionals and sexperts on how the fitness industry shapes our views on sex. Keep listening. If you’ll be in Chicago, Thursday, June 15, come to the Hungry Brain for our pride edition show guest hosted by Matthew Amador. We’ll have storytelling with Lily Be, a panel conversation, stand up with Manny Petty, an interview with Rae McDaniel and more. I’ll be there too. The link to tickets is in the show notes or go to wildandsublime.com.
Today we’ll be doing something a little different. This episode is a co production with my friends at Comfy Fitness, a fitness and wellness studio that began in Chicago but is now exclusively online and centers on working somatically with clients both one on one and in groups. The co founders approached me recently to be on a webinar panel talking about the fitness industry’s influence on sex. And then I said, ‘Hey, you do somatic work. I do somatic work. Let’s do a co-production.’ So here we are. I love the panel discussion during the webinar. And now that portion is this episode today. The original webinar a few weeks back included Kira Macoun, one of the cofounders of Comfy Fitness, leading a modified squat exercises that helps folks not over tighten the pelvic floor while doing them. Unfortunately, that will not be part of the episode today. You’ll have to sign up at Comfy Fitness to get in on Kira’s clinical somatic class. The link is in the show notes. But we will have Carrie Drapac, the other founder of Comfy, lead us in a land acknowledgement meditation, the beginning of our conversation, a fantastic extension and deepening of the land acknowledgement practice we’ve been doing on Wild & Sublime for a while. You’ll hear in this conversation today. Folks that have been recurring guests on Wild & Sublime Caitlin V. Tazima Parris and JoJo Bear each along with Carrie and Kira have a unique take on how the fitness industry has changed our view of sexuality. I think you’re going to enjoy this. We begin with Comfy co founder Kira Macoun talking about her background and some of the essential conflict she felt in the beginning when starting the business.
Kira Macoun: Carrie and I have been at this fitness thing for about 15 years at Comfy Fitness. When we first started our business in order to sell our product, we had to sexualize ourselves a lot because that’s what a lot of our competition was doing. And it was like to get clicks on YouTube or to get any level of attention in the fitness industry we were supposed to look sexy. And for me there was a little bit of a disconnect. In doing that it didn’t feel right to me. And I didn’t understand really at the time why that didn’t feel right until many years later as we matured as exercise instructors and embodiment instructors really why that connection always was a little bit cracked for me, I never really loved the idea of being sexy in order to sell fitness because while some people might find sexiness from the world of fitness, it’s not necessarily a cause and effect relationship. And it was never really why I was using fitness. And so I’m really excited that we finally have made that connection. And we get to have this conversation openly.
Karen Yates: [to listener] Co-founder Carrie Drapac then spoke about how Comfy Fitness approached wellness.
Carrie Drapac: We are virtual fitness studio and we offer movement as self care. And our mission that we really try to uphold through all of our online classes through our one-on-one work is to really start stripping away that conditioning and the cultural beliefs that create this embodiment or a detachment from the body. So having this conversation with you is a big part of how we do that is actually getting together and talking about these conditioned beliefs that often come from the larger culture around us that we swim in, not even knowing that we’re in the water of it, and then affect the way that we show up in our bodies. And sex is a huge part of how we show up in our bodies.
Karen Yates: [to listener] We then moved on to the larger conversation with the panelists beginning with the land acknowledgement,
[to panelists] we’re going to be going and talking about the lands that we are on right now. I am on the lands of the Council of three fires: the Ojibwe, Adawa and the Potawatomi nations, in addition to a lot of other nations on this land, which now colonially is known as Chicago. Tazima is on these lands as well. And so is Kira, so I’m gonna go around and ask each of our guests what lands they are on. So why don’t we start with JoJo Bear. We have JoJo Bear tonight, somatic sex and intimacy guide. What lands are you on? And what populations do you typically work with, JoJo?
JoJo Bear: I’m on the land of the Aloni people and that is otherwise called Berkeley, California. And I generally work with a lot of cock-bodied folks, mostly gay men, but I work with lots of folks that have cocks. And that’s my population of people that I work with.
Karen Yates: Awesome. Thank you. Caitlin V, sex and relationship coach and star of “Good Sex” on Discovery plus, what lands are you on and what populations do you typically work with?
Caitlin V: I am in Los Angeles, which occupies land originally and still inhabited and cared for by the Tongva, and Chumash peoples. And I also work primarily with cock-bodied folks mine identify as cisgender and heterosexual, and I reach them through my YouTube channel, which has about 550,000 subscribers and 80 million views and gives me a epic platform from which to impact not just straight men, but all of the people who they have sex with, who they relate to, and who are in their lives and benefit from their having done the work and having the conversations that we’re going to have today.
Karen Yates: Awesome, awesome. And Tazima Parris sex coach and pleasure mentor, what are the populations you work with primarily, Tazima?
Tazima Parris: So I work with high achieving people-pleaser women, who are usually over 35. And I do work with pussy-havers, because of my specific work with talking about women’s genitals and how that works into how we relate to people and social issues around having a pussy.
Karen Yates: So Carrie, why don’t you talk a little bit about embodiment and practice regarding the land acknowledgement?
Carrie Drapac: Yeah, absolutely. I am first off on the land of the Eastern Band of Cherokee, which is also known as Asheville, North Carolina. So land acknowledgement is an important thing, I think, for people to tap into knowing our history, because history lives in our bodies. But something that I’ve seen is that often it becomes like lip service, or it becomes an intellectual exercise of like, oh, do I know. And really, there’s a part of it that is about knowing, but there’s also part of it that is about dropping a little bit deeper into the body and saying, not just what land are we on, but what is my relationship with the land in general, the land that I am on the land that is supporting me, the land that grows food that I put into my body that nourishes me, so I wanted to just invite everybody into just a short embodiment practice, sitting in such a way that your feet are on the ground, or if you’re on the floor, that’s an amazing thing if your tailbone is kind of right on the ground. So take a moment and if it feels comfortable for you, you can close your eyes. If not, just sort of allow your eyes to go into a soft focus gaze. Take a moment just to notice what connection you have with the ground right now. Whether that’s your sitz bones, your tailbone, the bottoms of your feet. If you’re laying in a bed, the bed can serve as Earth as ground right now as land and a beautiful practice for just regulating our nervous systems in and bringing in deeper nervous system rest is a practice that we call the yielding. Right? In a culture that is constantly go go go about production, about consumption, yielding? It’s an anti-capitalist decolonial practice. It’s just about slowing down, stopping, giving right of way to something else. And in this instance, that something else is land, is Earth itself. So seeing if you can just allow yourself to rest, kind of settle and give, even if it’s just 2% more of your weight over to the land that is underneath you.
The beautiful thing about Earth and our relationship to gravity is the more that we drop down and allow ourselves to yield our weight into the earth, the more she rises up to meet us with a phenomenon called Ground Reactive Forces. And those ground reactive forces move upward through our bodies. And they allow us to stand up and move forward through life. So without this connection to land without this connection to earth, without the allyship of gravity, our whole lives are not possible. So just with that in mind, maybe that in and of itself, knowing that may allow you to yield and soften even more deeply down into the surface that’s supporting you, down into the earth and the land that you are on that sits beneath that. And in that softening, taking a moment, to just offer gratitude, offer gratitude to the land that you’re sitting on, thanking her for supporting you in the many ways that she has for nurturing and nourishing your life and for making every breath possible.
And as we have this conversation tonight, right? As we go into conversation, as we go into concepts as we go into exploring really exciting ideas, energy in the body tends to move up tends to move up to the brain into the head. And I invite you to check back in and drop back into this connection and this gratitude towards the land that you sit on as a way to just stay deeply in your body as we explore the topics for tonight.
Karen Yates: Thank you, I really appreciate it that carry that was a wonderful acknowledging ceremony. Thank you. Thank you. I’ll start off with a basic question. What messages do you think people get from the fitness industry about sex? There’s many messages there. Caitlin, I saw you nodding first, why don’t we start with you?
Caitlin V: Yeah. What’s interesting is I think it goes both ways. In this message, it goes both from fitness to sex and sex to fitness, which is that like, the reason for fitness is sex. And the reason the thing that makes you sexually acceptable is being fit. So both of them are exclusive clubs. They’re based on a feeling or creating a feeling of not being enough needing to perform, to work, and to effort in order to be worthy. And because of that they’re inextricably linked. And the only reason to do one is essentially the other.
Karen Yates: Yeah, yeah.
Tazima Parris: Yeah, I see that as well. There’s also a thing about age that comes in, that youth is the only thing that is sexually attractive. And a lot of the fitness aspect–cuz the population I work with is women over 35, 40,50–there’s this constant barrage of messages that anyone over 30 is basically expired. And so older women might head to the gym or like my clients in particular might be talking about, ‘I need to get fit I don’t want to be naked,’ those kinds of ideas of like, ‘I’m not acceptable the way that I am, things are not in the places where they used to be. So I need to tone up. I judge up my body so that I’ll be now sexually attractive, like the 20 year olds, so I can compete.’ There’s a competitiveness about it, there is concern over losing prospects or no longer being relevant as a valuable sexy being. So they go to the gym and try to fix it. Even when they get… they kind of start getting it, quote, unquote, fixed, they still might have things about shaving or what they’re wearing, or does the lingerie look okay. And it just it’s like a whole bunch of stuff that gets in the way of actual intimacy, actual pleasure, actual satisfaction, actual connection. There’s all of this surface level, how does it look? And there’s not any focus on how does it feel, especially for the woman? Especially for the woman?
JoJo Bear: Oh, my God… Well, I mean, both, both of you that shared it, it really hit a lot of good points. And I was thinking also, there’s this whole idea of like, Who is it for? Like, if I’m working out? Is it for me? Or is it to be good looking or to be seen? And so it becomes this kind of tailspin of figuring out that whole thing, that exclusivity between sex and fitness, and I also look at it, like, I do work with a lot of men that are over 40. And they feel like they have to be at the gym,three hours more, or they have to, like, attain a certain look so that they can get laid. Right? And it’s a little bit harder. And it’s funny, because just today, I was chatting with someone who had a heart attack. He went on a keto diet, and was working out three or four times a day, and he had a heart attack. And this was all because he wanted to. I mean, he’s in his 60s, but he wanted to be, you know, like, in this space of constantly getting laid. And that was his idea of like, I have to work out I have to work out I have to work out. So…spooky.
Karen Yates: Yeah, I mean, it’s interesting what everyone’s saying, I was just suddenly thinking about this, like internal thought loop that just gets…especially, Jojo, when you were like who is this for? It’s like this thought loop just starts developing in the head of like, ‘I need to be attractive, I need to be attractive.’ And it’s like you’re becoming so disassociated from the self and the body that you know, I think… I’m sorry for the person you’re talking about. But that was an excellent example of how a disassociation becomes so intense that you suffer a heart attack, which led me to think, is this really about the desire to be loved? Like your client wanted sex 24/7. But is there a deeper need there? Is it the desire to be loved and cherished? And we somehow have put fitness or the body beautiful as that stand in? If I do x, then I’m going to be loved and cherished. Carrie Kira, what do you…I see a lot of nodding going on.
Carrie Drapac: Yeah, I mean, I absolutely. Obviously we equate sex with pleasure, but we also it is connection, right? It is body to body connection. And we equate connection, yes, with love with acceptance with intimacy. And so I think that yeah, there is that deeper desire for love and connection underneath just the desire for sex. And then of course, yeah, there is all of the conditioning that we have from a very young age, right of all the love and the attention and the things that we needed that we– the very small and very big ways in which we didn’t receive those when we were children, and that we then start to learn, oh, if I perform a certain way, if I get really good grades, then you know I get a certain type of acceptance from my parents or my teachers. If I perform a certain way in the school yard, I get the acceptance and the attention and the connection with my school mate or all these like various ways. Yeah, in which the way that we perform is certainly connected to that just foundational nourishment of love and acceptance that we all as human beings need. Jojo, you put it really beautifully with that question of like, Who is it for? Because at the end of the day fitness particularly, you go into a gym, what’s a main staple or a main feature of gyms? mirrors, right? So the mirror in and of itself creates that externalized gaze. You are looking at yourself, as if you are somebody else looking at you. And so you can take that third person, right, understanding of yourself or looking at yourself, and then take your own mind and all of your own insecurities, and then sort of project those on to anybody else that’s looking at you and assume that that’s what somebody else who walks in the gym is thinking about you when they see you. And so really, yeah, the somatic approach that I think all of us here, whether we’re working in the world of fitness, or in the world of sex, are bringing in is like, how do we take that gaze, how do we take that, “who is this for?” and move it from outside of us and recenter it right into more of our own bodies, so that it’s like, Oh, me first, not in a way that is selfish. But in a way that is centered in the self being centered in the self is very different than being self centered, right?
Karen Yates: Absolutely.
Carrie Drapac: What we think of self centered. So yeah, it’s just to me at the very heart of the fact that mirrors are such a big part of fitness, that in and of itself, creates, yeah, just a fundamental schism between your brain, your body, your spirit, all of it.
Karen Yates: Kira, do you have a thought on that?
Kira Macoun: Most certainly, I love what everybody said about seeing oneself and it being a very visual thing. And I’ll add to that my favorite client are the clients who come in with chronic pain. And those folks can’t do everything that there is to do in the world of fitness often because of some of the issues that they’re dealing with. And I think that often, one of the messages that we deliver in the fitness space is the “go hard or go home” messaging, which it’s like, if you can’t perform this, then this space isn’t for you. And there isn’t really any room for anything that’s less than that. And so you know, you have this image of taking that idea into the bedroom and being like the most flexible, right? or like being able to toss your partner around and being able to hold down dog for God knows how long, right? And that’s not necessary for having really good, close, intimate sex. And then the other thing that I know Carrie and I have dealt with it so many times, is people who come to us about chronic pain, often come with a self diagnosis, and often actually a diagnosis from another professional and that being a you need to strengthen more, you need to contract more. And what we have found over the years inside of our training, is that the softening, and the releasing, and the letting go is actually what will relieve the chronic pain. And, and so you know, we see a lot of parallels inside of what we’re teaching our clients and our members that Comfy Fitness and what y’all teach with your clients is that there is a releasing and softening element that’s vital to actually enjoying what it is you’re doing with your body.
Karen Yates: Kira, I love this equation you made between go hard and go home, both fitness wise and sexually. And certainly everyone here is like nodding, because in terms of like erections, gotta stay hard, stay strong, or it’s gonna be… it’s gonna be a terrible sexual experience. There’s nothing else but that or, you know, vigorous sex is the better sex like muscular, vigorous sex, we’re gonna be DOOOOOing it. How many rock’n’roll songs are about “all night long.”
Caitlin V: I’m gonna do pick up on what Kira was saying for people with chronic pain, because people that deal with some sort of sexual dysfunction also get that message that sex isn’t for you. The number of guys that are in my inbox that are like, ‘I really want to date and have sex and form relationship, but I don’t get hard every single time” or sometimes they come too fast. And therefore I have to fix this thing about me before I can have the kind of intimacy and the kind of relationship that I desire, and working together within the range that they have the things that are possible for them and for their body. And often, you know, because I work with cis het men, they have only ever been fed the message of get hard, stay hard perform, keep going until she taps out or else. And so that softening that Kira was speaking to speaks directly to what I get to do with the men that come to work with me because this is a completely new angle on them and on their sexuality. They’re courageous enough to really dive into it and allow that relationship to expand and shift and change. They end up transforming the abilities of their body, the capacity of their pleasure, the experience that they have with a lover. So there is this really cool parallel that is when we take away this industrial strength structure, it has to be this kind of way. And this performance in both ways, right performance literally, like I’m performing sex and sexuality and I’m performing lifting and physical ability, when we take that structure off of it. And even though you know, I don’t wish ED or chronic pain on anyone, there is a silver lining in that you get to have an experience of your body that isn’t accessible if it is quote unquote, performing as it is supposed to.
Karen Yates: [to listener] We’ll return to the conversation in a moment. Wild & Sublime is supported in part by our sublime supporter, Full Color Life Therapy, therapy for all of you at FullColorLifeTherapy.com.
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We return now to our conversation with Caitlin V. Tazima. Parris, Kira, Macoun, Carrie Drapac and JoJo Bear. We will be talking about softness, hardness, and vulnerability, and joy.
[to panel] JoJo, talk to us about the men you work with.
JoJo Bear: I’m brewing here. This is a good conversation. And I’m also thinking, one thing that I noticed with a lot of the dudes I work with, is, there’s a lot of sucking in the gut. And I think it happens with all of us. I mean, I imagine there’s this fascination of sucking in the belly. And that really messes with the diaphragm and hold your breath. holding breath can create anxiety, stress. And basically, you’re not breathing. And so that’s important to live. And so I think there’s this direct route, there’s this direct route from like, I have to look a certain way and I cannot be soft, I cannot be soft in any way, whether it’s the cock or whether it’s the belly or whether it’s…and there’s this correlation there with breath. And so it’s like, when I start off working with clients, it’s like, “Let’s breathe. Before we do anything. Let’s just think about and relax the belly, let your gut relax,” not to mention that it’s our second brain. It’s our consciousness. And there’s a lot of stuff happening in the gut. But I really feel like there’s this direct connection between like this extreme fitness: I have to look a certain way. And the resistance to soften. Yeah, that’s what I’m thinking about.
Tazima Parris: I want definitely want to jump in on the softness conversation for multiple reasons. One, is that part of I think our obsession with hardness and performance is overvaluing in our society of the masculine and not just overvaluing of the masculine, valuing a specific kind of masculine. That is only the sort of warrior-fighter part, the protector part. The feminine has softness built into it, and the women that I work with these high-achieving people pleasers subscribe to that hardness of the masculine because they’ve been so well trained in that space. And it’s their comfort space because there’s so used to it. And if we allow for softness, there’s so a whole other world that’s available to us specifically in sexuality. And that is accessing the feminine side of sexuality which is that soft, unpredictable roller coaster space of we don’t know what’s going to happen next, but we’re essential and we’re feeling in our body is present in them. Breathing in. “Wow. And what’s this? Oh my goodness. And what’s this other thing?” And this sensation is beyond just the genitals. You’re accessing your full body in that space. And especially of a person with a cock experiencing soft cock, that’s not hard, that’s not available to perform, you have a whole rest of your body that you could be using. For pleasure. Like, that’s the other thing. A dildo, though, is always, always ready. And part of that ideal of being able to perform and not accessing tools because the person with the cock feels like they are emasculated by it, that’s part of that overvaluing masculine framework anyway. So we, if we just like, step out, let’s just leave that on the side for a moment. And then enter at least a space where we’re valuing that feminine and masculine approach to sex and sexuality and sensuality. If we can, even those up a little bit. I think it would transform people’s approach to sex, and how we show up in our sexuality as well as how we show up at the gym. If it didn’t have to be about that. What would it be about like JoJo said, Who was it for? What is it for to what end? Am I here, whether it’s at the gym, or in the bedroom, or somewhere else where you get sexy time.
Karen Yates: Tazima, I love what you’re saying, because it’s like, I’m in menopause. And I’ve put on some weight. But suddenly, I’m like, –and I used to be in the gym all the time. Because I was used to be up I used to be performer. So I mean, I still perform, but it’s like, it’s so different now, you know, because it’s like, okay, yeah, it’d be nice to lose some weight. But it’s like, eehhhhh. It’s like, okay, I’m softer than I used to be. Okay, that’s life. That’s the way it goes. And why am I why do I want to work out now? Well, to be active and an internal sense of fitness, like, you know, being able to do things in a healthy way. Right? So it’s so much it’s so different now. I want to change the focus of the conversation and ask our panelists specifically, so JoJo, with your clientele, how you help folks, the gay men you predominantly work with, how do you help them move from this place of “I’m not enough. that I need to be more, I need to achieve or…” what are some of the approaches you take?
JoJo Bear: For me working with clients, it’s all about, you know, they come in for sexual stuff, or erotic stuff. And most of the stuff that I bring into the room is all about agreements and conversation and voice and really working on making requests and learning how to be in a space of making offers. And the slowing down, especially that I work with a lot of men that have erectile difficulties, slowing down the system. And I guess this could apply to also the working out, it’s just not having those real hard line expectations. Right? There’s this like real like, I have to get here, I have to look like this. It has to be like this. And pulling back the camera and saying, Hey, let’s look at the whole view. There’s a lot more here than just this one way of doing things. And I think the most important thing is just working on The Voice, really understanding. How do I ask for what I want? How do I actually even come up with a moment to know what I want? Right? Most people don’t even know. Most of the people I work with don’t even know, they’ll just think I don’t even know what I want. I have an expectation. And it hasn’t worked out. And so let’s try something different.
Karen Yates: Yeah.
JoJo Bear: yeah.
Kira Macoun: It reminds me actually, I’ll just pop in on that note, it reminds me of clients of mine who I’ve taught several tools to, and they’ll say, like, “I’m having this issue with this part of my body” or “I want to do that with that part of my body. What should I do?” And frequently my answer is, what do you feel like doing? You know, because it’s like, well, I mean, I can give you movements to do and you have a library in front of you of things that you could do you know, we’ve worked together at this point long enough. Maybe take a moment and ask yourself, what do you want to do? And your answer is going to probably be the right answer.
Caitlin V: I want to add something about this question of not enoughness in particular, but like here that’s making me really miss working out with you Hi, we’re trained with Kira two days a week for a whole year–changed my whole relationship with my body, but on not enoughness: what I tell my clients now is the experience of not enoughness is common to all humans. We all deal with it. That you’ve had times where you really truly felt like enough, and then that feeling slipped away, and they didn’t feel like enough for a while, and then something happened and you didn’t feel like enough. And then that’s it, and it changed. And so I tell them, it’s like quit trying to feel like you are enough. And just notice and give up when you don’t feel that way. Right. Like, and it’s been this has been, I think one of the best changes I’ve made in my coaching, ever, because it has stopped me from trying to answer this question or solve this. And I have become very transparent with my clients, like I deal with not enoughness all the time, I’d say that that’s like a core wound. For me, it’s like part of the air I breathe, right. And I get to remind myself that that is an illusion that was handed to me, that people who make money off of me and my insecurities really benefit from that. Whereas the people who I care about, and I’m in relationship with and who rely on me in a day to day basis, really do not benefit from, let alone the fact that I don’t benefit from it. And it’s also got me to a place where I think this is like the most critical part of it, the accepting and doing what I want to do, instead of feeling like there’s something that I should be doing, like here, we’re saying, like, instead of chasing the thing that I think is going to make me feel like enough, which is more views, more weights, fewer pounds, more orgasms, getting laid all the time, right, like, we can just get off of the treadmill. And then we’ll get back on it. And just remind ourselves to get off of it again.
Carrie Drapac: A word that keeps coming up for me, as I hear you all sharing is just vulnerability. Right, and that in fitness a lot of, almost why we try to achieve fitness, an ultimate form of fitness is almost to make ourselves invulnerable, right, of like, “Oh, I’m super strong, I can take on the world or I can you know, I can lift this heavy box, and I don’t need to ask for help.” Or I can run you know, like however far it is I want to run I can do whatever it is that I want to do. And I don’t need to ask for help. And there’s something in that, like, you know that not enoughness, where it’s like the fitness almost feels like it can be a covering for that. Because it’s like, well, now I am enough because I don’t have to ask for help. Right? And isn’t that oftentimes what we’re taught is like, well, if I can go it alone, then I’m enough because I don’t need anyone anyone’s help. And sex is the opposite of that. Right? Like it is the place of ultimate vulnerability, like it is the act that invites us to, like just this extreme amount of vulnerability, and what are we missing out on in that opportunity that sex provides if at the same time, it is providing this opening into vulnerability? And we’re saying, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait! Don’t see all the ways in which I’m not enough because I’ve put on this… Yeah, cuz I’ve worked on this, like, perfect physique, and this perfect aesthetic, and I can perform this perfectly, because I put all this work into it, but actually, like, the gift that sex is, is the vulnerability. And so yeah, there’s just something in that to me that I’m that’s just coming up, as I hear you all speak Yeah, that’s just as kind of like resonating down in my belly and in my womb.
Tazima Parris: I gotta add on to that, Carrie, thank you so much for that. The thing as humans that we’re looking for, ultimately, is to be seen for who we actually are. That’s that feeling of love. That’s that sense of vulnerability or being accepted, or feeling like you belong inside of a couple or inside of a social group or whatever we want to be seen, that– it’s super vulnerable to be seen. It takes bravery to be seen. It takes bravery to be vulnerable. And when we are doing things to “invulnerable” ourselves,[laughs] or stop that it’s actually putting like these shields up that hardening that that sort of impenetrable space so that we can stay safe. But what we want the most is to open up, right what we want the most is to, can I really be who I actually am and let my freak flag fly even if it’s just a tiny freak flag or even if it’s just a very vanilla. Very not freaky at all flag. is when we rob ourselves of the opportunity to actually be seen by creating these masks, or shields or capsules in which we’re presenting this false sense of who we are. It’s not even satisfying to have the sex, it’s not even satisfying to be at the gym to lift the thing by yourself. Because you don’t want to be alone lifting the thing by yourself at all you want to be with someone who say, Can you help me? Can we do this together? That touches our hearts. That’s the thing that we want. That’s the thing we’re reaching for. That’s what we’re reaching for on social media. That’s what we’re reaching for in all these spaces in our lives, is just to be seen. And I think the fitness industry has created a space of like, not that the way people consume sexual situations, as in porn also takes away that thing. And so we’re walking around, everybody’s literally suffering from the exact same thing. And if we just name it, like in this conversation, we can start to transcend it. And that’s what makes me excited about this topic. And our talk tonight.
Karen Yates: This is good. This is good. I’m thinking about when you’re in bed with someone and being in this like semi disassociated state that, that modern society and the fitness industry promote of like not enoughness and the loop, that ability to be vulnerable, you can’t get there because you’re so in the head. There are actual– and I know everyone has seen them– there’re actual articles–I remember reading it in Cosmo as a kid– of like, how to lounge to make yourself look like a little bit thinner. You know, like it’s this loungy pose, right? Like, bust out, you know, like, like, like knees just so, like, oh my god, it’s like the Oscar, the red carpet…
Tazima Parris: Point your toe. point your toe.
Karen Yates: Point your toe like, right? And I was like, oh my god, like, how can you possibly be present? If you’re like thinking, okay, boobs out, like twist the torso. It makes me crazy thinking about it.
Tazima Parris: That’s our problem cuz we don’t shut down. Until we’re accessing an orgasmic state. Our minds don’t shut down.
Caitlin V: Yeah, I didn’t realize how much time and energy I was spending literally just going to war over myself. And any decision that in the end, like just how quiet it is, when that is absent. But I’m also I keep thinking about something. And it’s nagging me. So I guess now’s a good time to bring it up, which is that like, I recently started doing Pilates, because I heard that it made sex better and more enjoyable. And that Joseph Pilates himself actually had it in mind as he was working on Pilates. That because you’re because of the way that it strengthens the body, that people would have more sex and enjoy sex more. And actually, we would end up in a more peaceful world, because people would be busy enjoying sex, right? And so I’m thinking that as much as we are talking about the relationship between fitness and sex, and how both of these industries and the commercialization of them has led to this sort of like bankrupt anti somatic disassociated, like yuck yuck yuck. Also, there is a relationship between fitness and sex that is like very synchronistic and cooperative and where like one can really like enhance your ability to enjoy the other. I know for myself, my movement practice has given me more access to being in inhabiting my entire body, which has given me increased sensitivity, which has made sex better, and then that having, you know, a fun, like, you know, having pleasure, in sex and seeing Oh, wow, okay, maybe if I were a little bit stronger, like I could have held that pose a little bit longer, and maybe the orgasm, maybe I couldn’t, I would have I wouldn’t have had to like tap out before I orgasm like that also is very incentivizing to exercise, to continue to study, to remain fit. So I think that there, there’s a way that these relate that’s actually like wholesome and wonderful and fun. And I’m about to turn 35, so like that’s very new for me. That’s new this year. I finally got that software update installed and it’s great.
Karen Yates: I love that.
Carrie Drapac: Caitlin I’m glad that you brought that up because obviously as fitness professionals like having this conversation we’re not here to be like “and never work out.” This conversation to begin with, is because for most people fitness especially as adults, right, like kids aren’t like four years old being like “let me go to the playground and work out,” right? like they’re just playing, like kids are just in their bodies because that’s how we come out and then it you know, it gets interrupted along the way, so by the time we get to be adults and we’re like, Oh, wow, like being in my body and with my body is not as easy as it used to be because this is modernity, and we’re sitting at computers, and we’re with devices and behind the steering wheels, and we’re interacting with machines all the time. Fitness is often the way in, right? It’s, it’s often that first way that people say, hey, I want to connect to or reconnect to my body. And so I’m going to go running, or I’m gonna go to the gym, or I’m going to take a class. And so we’re certainly not saying don’t work out, we’re just saying, How are you working out? And what are you bringing to it? Like? What is the lens through which you are viewing yourself and viewing fitness? Why are you doing it? Right? Like, really? What is your motivation and your inspiration behind it like? That’s a huge question like a lot of times early on in our training careers, when people would come in and say that their number one goal was weight loss, our question would be, well, why do you really want that for yourself? Or is that just some sort of like, shooting that you’re putting on because the culture and your family and what I’ll ever has put that on you, because we can guarantee, if there’s not a deep internal motivation for that, for some reason, then like, fitness and connecting to your body from that should is not going to be enjoyable, it’s not going to be fun. It’s just going to be pressure, and a series of probably like feeling like failure. And this conversation we’ve already had of like, not measuring up not being enough. So it’s really Yeah, a question of as you engage in your body, why? What’s your motivation? What’s bringing it to you, as JoJo asked, Who is it for? And, yeah, and just really, I’d say having a deep intention, having a deep intention to why it is that you’re showing up. And also, knowing that there is no, there is no end point. That’s another thing we like to sort of point out to people just like insects, everybody’s reaching for the climax, everybody’s reaching for the orgasm. And sometimes if we can just let go of there being like, some endpoint, oh, it’s all we’ve got to get to this thing, the experience can be more pleasurable. Same thing with fitness, right? If you let go of there being this expectation and this thing that you just have to achieve, and you’re just doing it for the sake of being healthy, being in your body relating to your body, and being good to yourself, it’s gonna be a whole lot more pleasurable.
Karen Yates: For more information on Comfy Fitness and their classes and individual work, go to the show notes. You can also find links to the work of Caitlin V., Tazima Parris, and JoJo Bear there as well. Well, that’s it folks have a very pleasurable week. Thank you for listening. You can follow us on social media at Wild & Sublime, and sign up for newsletters that wildandsublime.com Got feedback or an inquiry, contact us at info at Wildandsublime.com. I’d like to thank our design Guru Jean-François Gervais and the creative imposter studios, our editing company, the music by David Ben-Porat. Our media sponsor is rebellious magazine, feminist media and rebellious magazine.com
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- Caitlin V – sex coach
- Tazima Parris – Sex coach and pleasure mentor
- JoJo Bear – somatic sex and intimacy coach
- Kira Macoun – Comfy Fitness founder
- Carrie Drapac – Comfy Fitness founder
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