This week I sat down with a colleague / new friend named JoJo Bear. We had an enlightening, open conversation about intention, touch, intimacy, the power of clear communication and our work as hands-on practitioners working with men. JoJo is a certified Clinical Hypnotherapist, Somatic Sex Coach & Educator with certifications from The Institute of Advanced Study of Human Sexuality in San Francisco, CA and The Hypnosis Motivation Institute in Los Angeles, CA. Through his training with Clinical Hypnotherapy, JoJo became educated with the modalities of NLP, Past Life Regression Therapy, Handwriting Analysis and Guided Imagery Facilitation. Blending this with his keen intuition of what the universe was directing him to practice, JoJo embarked on a journey of hands-on work spanning more then a decade with men from around the world. He has created a touch modality called Hypno-Massage that uses words and touch as the starting point of a deeper conversation between the giver and receiver. With this JoJo finds and opens doorways into a deeply healing, safe space, for the men he works with.
Having only know JoJo in passing and from his, often times provocative, advertising for workshops he facilitates around the world, I had no idea what to expect. Knowing he had just concluded his “Rosebud Massage 101 - relaxing your ass” workshop, I was anticipating an interesting discussion. We met in a small East Village coffee shop and spent close to three hours engaged in a dialogue of complexity, simplicity, duality, and community. As JoJo talked with me about the work he does, from a sexological bodyworker's therapeutic perspective, I began to gain a deeper understanding of this sensual, sometimes sexually focused modality that is so easily misunderstood and often misrepresented ( i.e “Tantric” i.e “Erotic Touch” i.e. “Masseur Finder” …more on this to come). What rose...to the surface for me was the importance of education, clear communication, and a practitioner’s intention when engaging in all types of hands-on therapies. With borders, boundaries, and assumptions in constant flux, I appreciate moments like this where I have a forum with a fellow professional to talk honestly and learn from one another.
A classroom can teach techniques but cannot prepare healers for the complexity of what happens inside the treatment room. I feel much of the learning that has to be done in touch therapies focused on men working with men, in reality, is often outside our scope of any “training”. Schools and licensing boards impose strict and necessary guidelines for safe and ethical practices, however in the reality of man-to-man touch, the complexity of navigating the grey area confronts all practitioners as well as clients.
In our conversation I was impressed by the clear intention behind JoJo’s complicated work and his ability to zero in on a simple and often forgotten tool in a hands-on sessions...conversation! Conversation as a means to clarify, from the start, many of the obstacles within the grey area of man-to-man touch both clients and hands-on practitioners face. JoJo opens his sessions with what at first appears to be a simple question “What kind of touch is it that you need from me today?”. Think about that for a bit and let its complexity grow. How honestly could you answer that question and, how prepared for the answers are you and the practitioner?
As I drank my green tea, openly sharing tales with JoJo from our years of touching and being touched by the thousands of men we have worked with, I gained a deeper understanding of the importance of this simple question, and the power of intention behind both the giving and receiving sides of hands-on therapy. What we each bring into the treatment room is complexity, and it is our ability to creatively and thoughtfully navigate this energy that will ultimately direct the healing process. It is up to both the giver and the receiver of touch to be clear in their intentions, because it is precisely in that moment of clarity where we are given the chance to contemplate the reality of what it is we seek. We may then use this awareness as our first step on this path toward mutually beneficial balance.
You can learn more about JoJo on www.metamorphicembodiment.com