Meet Our Teachers–Amy Jo Goddard
Amy Jo Goddard was based in New York City for many years; she has a master’s degree in sexuality education, but she also has lived a vibrant creative life, writing plays and doing performance, and she’s morphed into a notable sexuality empowerment coach whose classes and teleseminars are invariably smart, informed, and juicy. Now she’s back in Northern California, and Good Vibrations is luring her down from her mountain lair later this week for a class at our Polk Street store. More about this event, Getting Erotically Unstuck: a playshop on desire, pleasure and sensuality, below––including ticket link. Now, get to know Amy Jo and some of the big-picture ideas and issues that motivate her. –Carol Queen
CQ: What are the most common reasons people become “erotically stuck”? Do these things vary by a person’s gender, age, or other sort of identity?
AJ: People become erotically stuck for many reasons. The patterns I see most are that a person begins to feel lackluster in their life as a whole or might be in a depression and that just sucks their vibrant life energy–I think reconnecting to the erotic is one of the best ways out of such a state. I also see many people–women especially–who are in big struggles around their desire: they don’t know what they desire, or don’t have much desire and they feel conflicted about why. They want to figure it out and aren’t sure how to go about that. We’ll talk about some of the reasons for conflicts about desire in the class–it’s a big topic. I think many people feel stuck because they have a desire to experience more of their erotic/sexual selves and they are in relationships with people who aren’t interested or can’t meet them where they are–that’s really disheartening for many people. And more broadly, many people are stuck because they don’t have a deep enough understanding of their own erotic energy, how to work with it, and utilize it for creating the life they really dream of. It’s so powerful and yet so many people are walking around the world with “erotic amputations” because they’ve so cut it off–often unconsciously. So this class will be a chance to learn more about it and how to work consciously with this powerful energy!
CQ: Why do you think pleasure, and erotic pleasure specifically, is important for us?
AJ: Erotic pleasure connects us to the core of who we are and why we are here. It connects us to our own life force, our vibrancy, our desire to do something and connect in the world. It is our own creative juice for whatever we choose to be creative with in our lives. Our erotic energy is our lifespring–we use it for sex, human connection and to make babies, and we also use it to cook, to make art, to make beauty, to write, to connect with nature or the divine, to create communities, businesses, creative projects. This energy is the core energy in us all and we can choose to use it in all sorts of ways. If you think of the things that give you the most pleasure in life, many of them probably relate to this because these are the activities you get lost in, you loose track of time, you love doing them so much. Creativity. Being in nature. Being with people you love. Sex. Those things show up on people’s pleasure lists frequently. I think we are all born to create something and so when we are using our erotic, creative energy, we are aligned with our purpose. It’s not about whether you are having sex–it’s about all of these creative, erotic endeavors.
CQ: What does it mean to be a sexual empowerment coach? What does your typical workday look like, or what range of work do you do?
AJ: I am a midwife for people’s sexual journeys. I work with women and couples to have more pleasure, better sex and deeper intimacy in their relationships. Sometimes women come to me when they are not partnered because they really want to focus on this core part of their being. And sometimes people are running into obstacles in their relationships and they seek out support to take it to the next level, to deal with discrepancies in their desire or to learn how to have better sex and more satisfying intimacy with one another. I am trained in many modalities and I bring a lot to my work. I see sexual and spiritual energy as coming from the same source–that same wellspring and so the work is very holistic. It’s about helping people to show up authentically in all aspects of their lives, including in sex where women often abandon themselves and their own desires for the love or security of their partners. True sexual empowerment is a deep process of excavation and healing, claiming one’s voice and desire, showing up as emotionally powerful and learning how your body works and what it wants and how to communicate that. It’s a process I call “coming home to the self” and it impacts every area of one’s life. We have to learn to stop leaving ourselves. We have to learn what it means to be at home in the self so we can actually show up as the person we want to be in life and in relationships.
My typical day! Luckily, this work is not typical at all and every day brings with it tender stories, deep work, laughter and pleasure. I run a business with an incredible team and we have fun together. Our team meetings are pretty unconventional. Many of my days are some combination of writing (I am working on my book 9 Elements of Sexual Empowerment now), phone meetings with business partners, calls with women who are interested in doing some work to see if we are a good fit, client sessions by skype, and group coaching or teaching calls I do with women in my programs. I work from my home in Napa and my favorite workdays are definitely the weekends when the women in my Sexually Empowered Life Program come for a weekend retreat. I also travel a lot and teach in other cities and present at conferences. So I spend a good amount of time in airports and have learned to be very productive on planes!
CQ: You’re going to do a teleclass soon on healing from sexual trauma. In your informational materials about it you say, “Over 20 years ago when I decided to go into the sexuality field, one of the primary reasons for my unusual choice was that I wanted to help people heal from sexual trauma so they could have sexually fulfilling lives. I knew it was possible—I’d done it myself, and I knew the power of that healing work. I also knew how much trauma could impact a person’s sexual life and functioning. In my clients, I have seen how the wires of sexual pleasure and ecstasy get crossed with manipulation and violation. It can be really hard to untangle all the wiring.”
Without recapitulating the class––and feel free to tell us more about how a reader could participate––what would you say to someone who’s undergone trauma to motivate them to make the journey to a place of sexual wholeness?
AJ: Sexual trauma is a term I use broadly to include everything from sexual abuse, rape, and other physical/emotional boundary violations, to early/premature exposure to adult sexuality/pornography, birth trauma or other traumas involving the body and authority figures, to being forced into sexual identities that were inauthentic and against our will. There are many ways we can experience trauma around sexuality. When there has been trauma, it has to be healed in order to move sexually to a healthy place. That healing looks different for different people and I am committed to creating a variety of experiences that will help people to move through their pain and struggle to find resolution, peace and acceptance of it and to come out the other side with a deeper understanding of themselves and their own sexual agency and power.
Each person has to choose the time that is right to do that work, and I would suggest that the sooner you do it, the sooner you will recoup what is yours and be able to love yourself wholly, because the psychic wounds can be so very deep. I work with women who have already done some therapy and healing on their trauma and have the constitution in place to get to the other side of it. You can heal. You can move your life forward in deeply powerful ways when you commit to this healing process. It can take years for some. The phone class I have coming up is an introduction to the connections between sexuality and trauma, and in September, I’ll be offering a full weekend on Healing Sexual Trauma–very powerful work for those who are ready for the excavation. Bring your chisel and hammer.
CQ: What should someone who is ready for the next steps on their sexual journey do to get in touch with you?
AJ: If you are interested in taking your work to the next level and won’t be able to be at the Good Vibrations class on July 17, just pop me an email at email@example.com. You can see more about the work I do and get some other free classes at www.amyjogoddard.com.
I hope to see you at Good Vibes!
Here are details about Amy Jo’s upcoming class:
Getting Erotically Unstuck: a playshop on desire, pleasure and sensuality Thursday, July 17, 6:30-8:30pm
$20 in advance, $25 at the door
Sometimes we feel disconnected from the experience of pleasure, and need to take the time to reconnect with our desires and sensual selves. Amy Jo Goddard‘s workshop uses movement, meditation, reflection and group exercises to rekindle the flames. What is holding you back from experiencing pleasure and desire in your daily life? What are the things that make you feel most alive, and how can you work to bring those aspects of your life into greater alignment with how you live? People of all genders & couples welcome. Learn more at www.amyjogoddard.com.
Amy Jo Goddard is a Sexual Empowerment Coach, author, sexuality educator and founder of SPECTRA, a mentorship program for sexuality professionals. She is the co-author of Lesbian Sex Secrets for Men. Currently, she teaches her Women’s Sexually Empowered Life Program, maintains a private coaching practice and hosts sexuality events and VIP days with private clients in the Napa Valley.