Highest Self Podcast 502: Pleasure As A Pathway To Healing with Jo Portia


We have been conditioned to look away from our sensuality, but when we bring our sensuality online we are able to receive more of the gems and delicious flavors and textures always available to us.

On my sensuality path, I have had the pleasure of coming across an amazing queen and sensuality coach, Jo Portia! I immediately felt connected to the juicy wisdom that she shares and knew she had to come on Highest Self Podcast. Her journey of sharing her reinvention post-divorce (something I myself have gone through) and how she used it as fuel to make herself more open, pleasure-filled, and ALIVE resonated so deeply with me.

In this week’s Highest Self Podcast episode, Jo Portia and I dive into how you can create a pleasure-filled life, how to reinvent yourself at any stage of life (with or without a massive initiation), how to use pleasure as a tool while healing, tuning into and creating from your pussies desires, understanding lessons from your past/present relationships, slowing down to mindfully enjoy your life, and soul much more.

This is one of those episodes that will open your heart up and give you permission to go deeper into your desires, inspire creativity, and realize that what you find yourself craving the most is already there within you – ready to be witnessed, felt, and expressed. Enjoy!

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Episode #502: Pleasure As A Pathway To Healing with Jo Portia
By Sahara Rose

[00:00] Sahara

My body is not a tool, it’s a fucking temple, you know, and when you treat it as such – and yes, like, anointing yourself with oils, and beautification, and adornment, these were all sacred, ritualistic acts, these are the spiritual path of the feminine. And it’s our western culture that makes us feel like it superfluous, like “Oh, you care about beauty? Like, you’re superficial”, it’s like “Oh, no, look at the goddess”, you know, beauty is how she inspires. And it’s not beauty in the western, filtered standard, but it’s to be an act of beauty, to observe beauty in everything.

And yeah, to me, it’s made this whole path, like, so much more filled with pleasure because I see beauty everywhere that I go.


[00:55] Sahara

Welcome back to The Highest Self Podcast! My name is Sahara Rose, and this Podcast is all about taking spirituality and making it grounded, modern, fun, relatable and filled with pleasure.

[01:07] Sahara

So, my own journey has really been about seeing the body as sacred, and sensuality being this powerful tool that we can use to bring more aliveness, and richness, and joy into everything that we do, and it’s not something that is just related to sex. Often times, we think of sensuality and sexuality as interchangeable, but rather, sensuality is to be involved in the senses, your taste, touch, smell. And when we bring more of our sensuality online, we’re able to actually receive all of the gems and delicious flavors and textures available for us that we have just been, like, so, like, hand-sanitized away from.

[01:47] Sahara

So, in my own journey, I find a lot of different sensuality coaches, and I found this amazing queen named Jo Portia. Like, the moment I saw her Instagram, I was like “Who are you? We’re best friends now! This is happening! What’s going on?” And I just loved her journey of sharing her reinvention, especially after her divorce, which was something that I’ve also gone through, and how she used it as fuel to make her more open, and pleasure filled, and juicy, alive, which has been my experience as well. So, I’m super excited to have her here on The Highest Self Podcast, sharing how we can create pleasure-filled lives and reinvent ourselves at any stage. You don’t need to go through a massive initiation to choose to reinvent yourself right now.

[02:24] Sahara

So, Jo, welcome to the Podcast!

[02:26] Jo

Oh my god, actually hearing you say that, I’m so fucking turned on right now! 

[02:31] Sahara

Oh good, because, yesterday, we did a coaching session, I loved it, and you were like “Should we start with the breast massage?”, I’m like “Absolutely, yes!”

[02:38] Jo


[02:39] Sahara

And you were saying how it’s so important to bring that pleasure into everything that we do, and pleasure outside of food. So, can you share a little bit about how we can utilize pleasure in our healing?

[02:53] Jo

Yeah. I mean, pleasure is so important for the nervous system, first off. Like, the more pleasure your body can actually experience, the more ability your nervous system can relax into itself, and actually open up some of the different areas of your nervous system that’s currently trapped, or like, traumas being trapped in the body. 

And so, we often know that trauma lives in the body. I often tell my clients, issues live in the tissues. And when the body can experience more pleasure, it actually has more capacity to heal.

[03:25] Sahara

I love that! And when we are allowing ourselves to experience that pleasure, we can go into these dark portals and they don’t seem so scary anymore because we have our nervous systems, we have that sense of safety within ourselves.

So, we were chatting right before this about how to tune into your pussy’s desires. So, can you share a little bit more, like, what does that, first of all, mean, and then how do we do it?

[03:46] Jo

Yeah. I mean, first off, like, your body is a vessel of power, of pleasure, of boundless fucking potential. It is the most extravagant and exquisite instrument that you have in this lifetime, to be able to do anything, be anybody that you desire to be, and create, from your body’s desires.

I think tuning into your pussy is super important, and one of the biggest ways that we are so disconnected from our bodies, especially as people with pussies, is, we’re often told to not listen to our bodies, we’re often told to fix things, we’re often told that our bodies are something that we’re ashamed of, that we need to reject or that we need to deny. 

And I’ve always found that when you are tuned into your pussy, which is this incredible portal of transformation, creativity and life, you’re able to really change and shift things.

One of the things I often tell my clients to connect to their pussies or how to connect to their pussies, is really slowing down, which, we all know, is really difficult in this modern-day time. But the best way to do this is to just close your eyes, connect to your breath, I like using a conscious breath, which means it’s an inhale in through your mouth, open mouth exhale, sounds a little bit like this [sound], and seeing if you can bring the awareness straight to your womb space or your pussy. And the more that you can slow down in your body, slow down in your breath, and really connect to this very sacred part of you, the more that you can begin to listen to the very subtle ways that pussy wants to seduce you in the way that, maybe, she wants you to move through life, sound through life, experience life. And the more and more that we can connect to this part of ourselves, the more innate wisdom is there because it’s the most truest part of our bodies.

And if you think about it, like, our bodies are so beautifully designed, right? Like, pussy is in between the legs, legs tend to keep things closed, if we need to, and because of that, like, the way that I like to see this is that, this is a part of us that is, like, so filled with wisdom, and all we have to do is connect with it.

[06:06] Sahara

I mean, it’s the portal that creates life, you know, it’s literally the hologram. There’s not one person who’s on this planet that wasn’t, like, a 3D printer in a womb space.

[06:18] Jo

I mean, I created two children.

[06:19] Sahara

Exactly. And it’s heartbreaking that we see it as anything less than sacred. I think a lot of us, you know, we’ve disconnected ourselves from it because of fear, you know. And some of this fear makes total sense, it’s rightfully so, like, it’s not safe to be woman in the world today, in most places and often times, you know. And our wombs and our pussies carry so much for us. 

And I know, in my own experience, you know, and I’d love for you to share this desire map process that you do, of tuning into it. But I think, sometimes, we’re afraid of what our desires are because we feel like we won’t be safe if that happens. 

So, how can we connect to, like, what our desires really are, when we have this, like, voice in our heads being like “That’s not safe”, or “That’s never going to happen”?

[07:05] Jo

Yeah, well, first off, I think it’s, we are often taught that our desires are just no safe (period), right? Like, desire, that word, carries so much co-opted patriarchal conditioning. Whenever anybody hears desires, even, I see this in my clients, they immediately brace their bodies, like “Desires? What? I don’t – what do you mean I get to talk about my desires?”, or even just like “Is my desire safe to be spoken out loud?”

And one of the things that I like to say is, goals live in our mind, desires live in the body. And so, when I do a process like desire mapping, what is really is, is about tuning into what that core desire is. And that core desire, from my experience in coaching women in sexuality and sensuality and relationships, is really around finding safe, beautiful, sustainable, exquisite love and partnership. 

And I think women, these days, especially in our modern-day society, we don’t want to claim that. It’s hard for us to claim that because we have to be the strong, independent woman who is getting it all done, and the moment that we say that we want partnership, it’s almost like that entire narrative of being a strong person, is no longer something that we can also own.

But the reality is, some of us yearn to be in love, some of us yearn to be in, like, rich, deep partnership. So, when we connect to our desires through our body, I like to encourage my clients to just connect to their breath, really slow down, get back into their body and think about what their desire really is. And then, through our Five Senses Reality, which is using sensuality as part of that practice, I help them build out and visualize what would their desire look like, what would it sound like, what would it feel like, what are the things that they would touch in their environment, once they actually can experience that desire, what do they taste, what do they smell, all the delicious things. Because what that actually does, it’s shuts off the prefrontal cortex and allows us to be inside of our bodies when we’re experiencing this desire. Once our bodies know that this desire is real for us, inside of our bodies, then we can begin to start moving towards those things, in our lives, completely naturally.


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[10:35] End of Advertisement


[10:36] Sahara

And it’s so powerful because, you know, you guided me through this process and I was witnessing, like, my desire was to be on a yacht in Italy (just being real). So, I’m, like, imagining I’m on this yacht in the sea breeze and I’m having so much fun, and Bamboleo is playing (she’s guiding me through this). And then, I’m like, my mind is like “Bitch, that’s the first scene in Taken, you’re going to get kidnapped on this yacht! Like, this is not safe!” And, like, I could see my mind was already going into, like “Where are your friends? Do people know where you are?”, like, all of the safety precautions of this. And I was, like, stopping this, like, desire of mine, even in my own head, because of all these limitations.

So, let’s say someone’s desire is, you know, to be in healthy partnership or to go to a play party, or whatever the thing is, but then they’re thinking of all the reasons why it won’t happen, how do we, like, catch that, or even, like, work with that part of ourselves?

[11:29] Jo

Well, I mean, we’ve got all these things that are protecting us, right? Like, our mind is constructing ways to protect us because we’ve had experiences where parts of us weren’t in safe situations.

And I think one of the ways to be able to work with that is to identify what is protecting you. Is it protection? Is it a fear? Like, what is the actual sub-personality or thing that’s keeping you from that desire? Each of these, within us, have some sort of need fulfilment, just like we do.

And so, when we can identify what these parts of our body, or parts of our mind, might need, it’s easier, then, to offer it reassurance. Maybe if it needs safety – like, yesterday, it was like, if it needs safety, maybe just, like, figure out, do you need a friend to call you, do you need, like, just a check-list? I, even, was like, you can tell me when you’re going on a date, I offer that to my clients all the time when they’re dating around the world, and they want to just, like, create that additional sense of safety within themselves. 

So, finding out what these parts of us that are being activated, the parts of us that are saying “No, you can’t have that”, and really reassuring that.

Sometimes, these parts of us are old conditioning, old trauma, and if it is an old trauma piece, maybe like an inner child wound, really tuning in and tapping into that part, also, and asking “What does this part of us need? And how can we reparent that side or how can we reprogram that side so that we could start to lean in towards what we actually desire.

[12:55] Sahara

Totally. Like, I witnessed that part of me was like, my mom’s voice of like “Be careful, like, you never know what’s going to happen”, and also, that part of you loves you, you know, it wants to protect you, it wants what’s best for you. It’s not about throwing it away because then we become children again who, like, you know, fall and scrape their knees and just don’t understand, like, there is a need for safety in this world. And it’s like, how is that part of you actually really giving you what you want in a way? And it’s like, the part of me that wants to protect me, wants to make sure that I won’t have to, like, recuperate from something later on, so, it actually wants me to have a good time, but a sustainable good time, not a short-term long time.

[13:33] Jo

Totally, totally. And I also think, too, like, those parts of us were our heroes at one point of our life, like, they were there for a reason. And one of the things that I recognize in my work with my clients, when there’s maybe not a need to fulfil those parts, or like, those parts of a particular need or want, I often say, what would it look like if we offered this part of you gratitude? What would it look like if we can offer this part of me, just, acceptance, that it was a part of your life for so long? Can it eventually melt away and soothe and just integrate itself into the nervous system? Because, really, all these parts are looking for us to integrate them within ourself.

[14:10] Sahara

And I think that’s so key in reinvention, you know, because, often, we’re like “Yes, I want to reinvent my life, be a brand-new person”, but it comes with looking at why you are the way that you are, and bringing those parts of you, and having compassion for why you had those beliefs, why were you in those relationships that you were in? And it doesn’t mean you need to, like, throw those things away, but it’s rather like “How can I integrate those lessons?”

So, let’s say someone is post-break-up or divorce, and they’re feeling a lot of feelings, but also, there’s this huge sense of hope of what’s possible. How can we take the lessons from previous relationships and then use them towards our north star of where we want to go?

[14:52] Jo

I love that. Actually, it’s funny, as you were saying that, I’m, like, thinking about, just, what is often said to me about the desires they have in relationships. And using those parts – one of the things that we can do is, actually, find out: 1) same thing. Find out what they need, but also, like, those are the red flags too, right? Like, those are the lessons that we learned in love, those are the wounds that we have. Those wounds turn into the wisdom of how do we navigate this new relationship, how do we navigate this new life? You can build values or a new vision, based on some of those lessons, and looking at them and going “Okay, this is what I don’t want, so, now, what is it that I do want out of this new situation that I’m having, or this new life I’m trying to create?”

[15:34] Sahara

I love that! Because, often, we’re so afraid of finding ourselves back in those patterns and situations, and if we really sat with it and looked at our shadows and looked at those parts of ourselves that accepted that type of relationship, then we can trust that we’re not going to go into it again because we’ve learned and we’ve grown, and we’ve learned more about ourselves.

And I think, often, like, we limit our desires of what’s even possible and we jump into what we already know of like, getting back together with the ex, or the thing that’s comfortable for us because it’s like “Well, I already know that shit-bag, so I know what I’m going to get”, as opposed to…

[16:08] Jo

“I’ve done it before, I’ll do it again”.

[16:10] Sahara

Exactly. As opposed to trusting and being in the void of like “I have this desire to be met, to be seen, to have this beautiful relationship, and sex life, and sensuality, and it’s not here right now, and I’m going to sit in the yearning, I’m not going to make it my entire life, but I’m going to sit in that space because it’s only from having that space that it can actually, one day, be filled”.

[16:34] Jo

Yeah, yeah, I mean, you have to come to a place where your body feels safe enough to receive the greatest abundant love, or sex, or life, that you ultimately desire. And it won’t happen when your body is rigid, frigid, freaking the fuck out, because it’s like “Oh my god, everything is wrong”, it’s only going to happen when your entire body can soften to whatever is that experience that you’re yearning for.

I like to use the word craving, sometimes, when it comes to desire and focus, simultaneously, because it’s like, when you have that focus, when you have that clarity, when you have that desire, hand-in-hand, altogether, that’s something you’re craving for. And when you’re craving for that, your body is yearning to experience that in its full sensorial experience. 

And so, when we can just, I don’t know, like, to me, it’s like, if we can soften and surrender into the safety of our greatest, biggest desires, the more possibility there is. And I know this just living my own life, like, I never thought I would be able to be in love again in the way that I am, after two decades of being in the same relationship, and it still, sometimes, shocks me that I’m in this incredible, safe partnership, especially after all of the heartbreak I’ve experienced from my childhood, to traumas, to heartbreaks in my marriage, it’s like “Holy shit, I’m experiencing, like, the greatest love of my life!” And it’s the things I’ve literally written down, wrote down my whole five senses desires and reality around it, and like, sat with it and allowed myself to be safe enough to want those things, and to also believe I was deserving and worthy enough to have those things. And that took work, like, that’s not easy. And I found that pleasure was the thing that helped me to expand the capacity to receive those things, inside of my own body.

[18:29] Sahara

So, for you, was that a self-pleasure practice, breast massage, like, what did that look like for you to allow more pleasure and softness in?

[18:35] Jo

Yes. So, I define pleasure as what feels good to your nervous system. So, it can be sensual, it can be sexual, it can be as simple as eating a delicious five-course meal, or even eating, like, French fries from In-n-Out, it doesn’t really matter, it’s whatever feels good to me in that moment. 

And sensuality, to me, is a practice about being present in your body, that’s it. About being present and experiencing your five senses, or whatever senses are available to you.

And so, with all of that in mind, it’s like, I just practice, honestly, being alive and living my life to its fullest. Because I think, so often, we can get caught up with “Oh my God, I’ve got to resolve this trauma, I’ve got to heal this, I’ve got to do that”, and, like, chasing this catharsis, when sometimes, the greatest catharsis we’re supposed to be chasing is actually just living and enjoying our life.

[19:25] Sahara

Yes! So in agreement with you. I had this, like, realization, I was like, I love blackberries, and I was eating these blackberries so fast and I was like “Why am I eating them so fast?”, it was almost like I couldn’t get enough in my mouth, and I was like “Okay, pause, just, like, really eat one blackberry at a time and feel how it has these little balls and they burst, and the taste, and the tartness”, and it’s like, you could get so much more pleasure with being mindful, with one blackberry, than scarfing them all down our face. And it’s like, that’s what we do in life, you know. It’s like “I need more sex”, “I need more food”, “I need more stimulation”, something, whereas, if you just took a sip of that water and really just tasted that water, you just felt your lover’s touch just so slowly, you don’t need all the stimulation anymore because you’re so present with the minutia that is. 

[20:15] Jo

Yeah, yeah! One of my favorite pleasure practices, actually, it’s sounds so silly but this is how I invite pleasure and sensuality into my entire life. 

I have this faux sheep’s skin rug, like, underneath of my feet at my desk, and so, after I’m done with a full day of coaching calls or work, I literally am like “I’m going to be this jungle cat and, like, just crawl on this thing and let my body indulge in the way the softness feels all over my skin”. I also just love, like, I love imagining that I’m an empress from Egypt, from like way back in the day, and applying body oil as if I’m anointing my body like royalty. And those little small pleasure practices help me to just tune into that part of my own personal power.

The other practice is, like, whenever I put on my jewelry, I’m like “You know what, if I’m a fucking queen, I’m going to put this on like a queen”, every single piece, I’m like “Who is this queen going to be today?”, and that, to me, is such a really easy, practical way to create a pleasure practice or a sensuality practice without having to do the whole big old ritual, lighting the candles, which, I, personally, still love to do, I’ll do that once a week, but every day, it’s “How can I invite this into my every-day practical life?”

[21:31] Sahara

I love that because we are all putting on our jewelry, or even just shampooing your hair, how can you make it more sensuous, how can you make brushing your teeth more mindful, how can you make, like, getting into bed? Even, like, stretching, like, I noticed in myself, because I was a yogi, I was, like, stretching in this, like, get to the deepest stretch and, like, mechanical way, and I was like “No, how can I just linger here, and dance here, and touch my leg, and just, like, feel more pleasure in the stretching”, rather than like “Get the left leg, get the right leg”, like, you know, my body is not a tool, it’s a fucking temple, you know, and when you treat it as such – and yes, like, anointing yourself with oils, and beautification, and adornment, these were all sacred, ritualistic acts, these are the spiritual path of the feminine. And it’s our western culture that makes us feel like it superfluous, like “Oh, you care about beauty? Like, you’re superficial”, it’s like “Oh, no, look at the goddess”, you know, beauty is how she inspires. And it’s not beauty in the western, filtered standard, but it’s to be an act of beauty, to observe beauty in everything.

And yeah, to me, it’s made this whole path, like, so much more filled with pleasure because I see beauty everywhere that I go.

[22:45] Jo

It also sounds, to me, it’s like, you’re in the present moment of what’s available to you too, right? Like, so, seeing beauty everywhere you go, taking it in, noticing what it feels like to take in beauty into your body, as you’re looking at things, seeing things, listening to music, sipping on tea, can be such a powerful practice of sensuality and opening yourself up.

I love to tell my clients, whenever we’re coaching through a pleasure practice, or I’m teaching them how to create a pleasure practice, I always say “Your body’s an instrument. So, if your body’s an instrument, how are you going to play her? How are you going to touch her? How is she going to sing to you when you’re stroking her, or admiring her, or moving as if you are this, like, incredible piece that can play any fucking song that you want?” And that, I think, is the beauty of it all, right? Like, seeing your body as a temple, seeing your body as an instrument, whatever turns you on, whatever turns on pussy, tune into your pussy first, see what pussy desires to be, and then follow the impulses.

[23:51] Sahara

So beautifully said! I love this! I’m like, these are the types of conversations the world needs right now, because we’ve become so rigid, even in our spiritual approach, you know, of like “Biohacking, you’re never enough”, and it’s like “What if you were so fucking so sacred just as you are, you just aren’t noticing it?”

[24:07] Jo

Yeah. I mean, permission granted.

[24:09] Sahara


[24:10] Jo

Like, I have this sign in my house, when I got my divorce, or when I was going through my divorce, and it says ‘permission granted’, and part of that purpose, of that sign, was permission to be human, permission to laugh, permission to cry, permission to be in your full sensual power, permission to be weak in that moment. And for me and my kids, I have a 19-year-old and a 13-year-old, I wanted them to see a mantra that they were able to actually just, like, lean into their present self, without any pressure of having to change themselves in that moment. I think that was one of the most powerful things, for me at least, in reinventing my life, was, like, giving also, just, permission to be.

[24:46] Sahara

So beautifully said! Thank you so much for sharing all of this. This is exactly what my pathway has been, and I know so many, especially women, are awakening to this because we have been taught to see our bodies as this constant self-improvement project that’s never good enough. And most people look in the mirrors and they see all the ways that they hate themselves and nothing that they love (and myself included, like, it’s been an ongoing process). And I think these little acts of self-pleasure are how we reclaim our power and realize, like, how beautiful we already are, and then when we feel that, we emanate that and then we receive that, and then we’re, all of a sudden, you didn’t need another cream or whatever else, it’s like, you just needed to really look in the mirror and see yourself.

[25:31] Jo

Yeah, yeah. It reminds me of this thing I was telling my girlfriend today, because I walking around Erewhon, and for some reason I was, like, super magnetic, but completely ragged this morning, and I was like, oh man, it’s because I practice coming home to myself every day. And it’s a daily practice, to come home to myself, to come home to my divinity, to home to my sensuality, and it’s something that I know I feel radiating, and of course, it’s like, when I feel like I’m radiating it, everything else feels like it’s coming from overflow.

[26:01] Sahara

Absolutely. I notice such a difference in my magnetism the days that I do my embodiment practice in the morning, and I don’t, and I’m like – you know, people think about, you’ve got to put on glitter, whatever, it’s like, just embody your juicy pleasure and you’re going to be the most radiant goddess. And not just to attract, but, like, for yourself, and, like, that being enough.

[26:19] Jo

Yeah, yeah. You know, for anyone, like, listening, I guess, the challenge here is, if you’re experiencing shame, or experiencing guilt of the way that your body is, the question that you might feel to ask yourself, and this comes from one of my feminist scholar mentors, which is “Who gets to benefit from your shame? Who gets to benefit from your guilt? Like, who is truly benefitting?” And often times, the answer is, you know, big companies who are creating beauty products, or even society and culture because they just want to keep women small. And so, when that becomes your answer, there’s your truth, nobody benefits from it.

[26:55] Sahara

Absolutely. Yes, it’s a multi-trillion-dollar company, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics, and plastic surgery, and all of these things, that are going to continue to put these faces that are not even real, that’s not even what they look like in real life, and tell you that’s the beauty standard to make you on this constant quest for something that doesn’t actually exist, when the pleasure, and the magnetism, and the beauty was already inherently within you. 

So, yes, we need this message out there and for us to all reclaim beauty as something that comes within ourselves.

So, where can listeners connect with you, learn from you and dive deeper into your coaching?

[27:29] Jo

Yeah! You can find me on Instagram @iamjopotia or you can also find me on my website at joportia.com


[27:37] Sahara

Well, thank you so much for tuning in! I hope this inspires you to have your own self-pleasure practice, whether that’s eating your blackberries really sensuously or doing an embodiment practice, or dancing, singing, looking at the clouds, whatever brings you joy.

[27:52] Sahara

And we’re so excited to announce our new Embodiment Coaching Certification, which you can learn more about in the show notes below.

[27:59] Sahara

Thank you so much for tuning in, and I’ll see you in the next one!            

Pleasure As A Pathway To Healing with Jo Portia 
By Sahara Rose

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