As a child, Cathy experienced extended molestation, which caused her to dissociate from her body and feel huge shame about her body. As she grew older, she also gained weight, which left her feeling like no one would ever want her.

In this interview we talk about those early experiences, plus the healing she has done and why she now feels passionate about helping others know that they are lovable and acceptable just as they are.

Cathy is a 52-year-old, cis-gender female who describes herself as white, pansexual, polyamorous, and single with playmates. She describes her body as “round.”

She is the founder of The Intimacy Dojo, which you can find at

Here are some of the notable moments she shared with us:

  • 3:37 – Her first memory of sexual pleasure is confusing because she experienced pleasure around age 5 while being abused. The abuse was also confusing because it filled a need for touch and connection.
  • 7:15 – The body can respond autonomically to unwanted stimulation, which is confusing and can cause long-term emotional impact.
  • 7:45 – Cathy talks about how her fantasies to achieve pleasure were impacted by the childhood abuse and by growing up on a farm.
  • 11:00 – The abuse stopped around age 11 as her body developed, causing a new set of body issues (thinking she is no longer desirable in a more developed, larger, womanly body) and she feels shame about her body.
  • 14:50 – Cathy associated feeling the pleasure of an orgasm with guilt, even as she masturbated frequently in her early teens.
  • 15:45 – Her first boyfriend in college – they were able to explore with each other and he later came out as gay.
  • 20:00 – Her first experience with a woman was exciting because the power dynamics were different than with a man. She was convinced that she was a lesbian.
  • 25:00 – Further evidence of early abuse impact, when she crushes on a particular girl and ends up initiating a sexual experience with her, she assumes that she herself is the corrupting influence on the other innocent woman—there’s something wrong with her innate desires, and that she’s leading the other down a bad path.
  • 28:00 – the body shame associated with living in a larger body.
  • 30:00 – Cathy and Leah share their experiences of how confusing it is when you believe you are not desirable, yet other people express their attraction to you.
  • 36:00 – The discussion turns to healing around body image issues and embracing pleasure in any size and shape.
  • 43:00 – Cathy talks about her own efforts to break the stereotype that only thin people are worthwhile and sexually desirable, and her return to dating as a “big” woman.
  • 47:00 – She’s taking a break from dating to focus on personal transitions and personal growth.
  • 48:51 – Getting needs and touch needs met during quarantine.

Resources mentioned:

A lot of people are under financial strain right now, so I’m making all the Patreon extras available for free to everyone. Thank you to community members who continue to show your support through this hard time. The Patreon extras for this episode are:

  • Cathy’s first relationship, with a gay man who was having unprotected sex with men during the height of the AIDS crisis
  • The aftermath of childhood abuse and the therapies she tried, including EFT and Somatic therapy
  • A deeper dive into Cathy’s dating life
  • The extended Q&A


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Host – Leah Carey (website, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, email)

Audio Editor – Gretchen Kilby

Music – Nazar Rybak