See how Jo is working toward women’s sexual health, healing, and liberation.
“This is my truth. I need to speak it. And it might hurt but it needs to get out there.” - GoFitJo
Joanne Encarnacion (aka GoFitJo) is one of the bravest people we’ve met.
By sharing her own journey of sexual trauma and healing, she’s inspiring other women to work through their own traumas to find radical self-acceptance. She now works as a life coach to “help women release their stories of shame so they can become emotionally fit and sexually liberated.” (Three cheers for sexual liberation!)
But that’s not how Jo started out.
Jo’s current career trajectory started as a personal wellness journey
“A lot of it was mainly to get myself in a better health state, take care of myself, and develop a self-care practice,” Jo told us. “I did not expect to necessarily be talking publicly about my sexual trauma, but I've always shared from a place of authenticity and a place of realness and rawness.”
She was surprised by the outpouring she received after sharing her story online. “I shared pieces of my sexual trauma online—on my blog and through social media—and was getting so many comments... people saying, ‘Oh my God, you're such a strong woman.’ And I'm like, ‘You have no f*cking idea.’”
Jo quickly realized that women were opening up to her because she had a unique and personal understanding of their emotional landscape. So in 2019, she went back to school to get her life coaching certification.
Jo was inspired to help women with their own journeys.
“I remember thinking, 'I'm not equipped to work with women in this capacity.' I wanted more framework to give my clients. I wanted to learn more about neuroscience. I needed a much wider toolkit.”
Now her coaching practice focuses on sexual trauma, relational wounds, and helping women to become more emotionally fit. She helps them “create healthy boundaries so that they understand how to show up in their relationships from a place of truth and honesty.”
Jo explained to us, “I help them get one step closer to their sexual liberation, so they don't feel so shameful about parts of themselves that they’ve been hiding away for so long.”
The queen of messy conversations
Jo writes on her website that she loves “to be called the queen of messy conversations, because I believe that hard, messy, and difficult conversations with ourselves and others is where deep growth and expansion of heart and soul happens.”
We love this idea, so we asked her more about it. What’s a messy conversation, according to Jo?
In her words: “Messy conversations are our raw truth that we're so afraid to share because of fear of judgment, fear of other people's opinions, or fear of being shamed for thinking that way… They’re often the most vulnerable conversations. They’re the ones that leave you feeling that vulnerability hangover because you're like: this is my truth. I need to speak it. And it might hurt but it needs to get out there. Because if I don't say it, then I'm only holding myself back and I'm also holding you back.”
Defying labels on social media
In addition to her coaching practice, Jo maintains an active Instagram feed and blog that’s pretty head-turning (at least, it turned ours). She’s not afraid to pose in lingerie or with sex toys. Jo is all about breaking the mold.
She told us:
“I like to think about what are the labels and boxes that the world is trying to put me in and how can I step out of those boxes.”
The importance of self-pleasure
Since we’re Pepper, we talked to Jo a bit about sex toys and pleasure. We totally agree with Jo when she says, “self-pleasure is extremely important because it's an opportunity to connect back to your body. Masturbation has been seen historically as a dirty thing, but it's really all about connecting with yourself intimately, getting to know yourself in the most sensual way possible.”
She didn’t always see it this way. She told us, “I remember one time I had my own hang-ups about using a vibrator. I used to think that something was wrong with me because I couldn't orgasm without it for so long. A therapist of mine actually framed it so beautifully… she said, ‘Some people need glasses to see, even though seeing is a ‘natural’ bodily function. Well, orgasms are a natural bodily function, so why should there be any shame or hang ups about needing to use a vibrator?’”
And as Jo says on her Instagram feed, “In order to reignite physical intimacy with a partner you have to explore how you get intimate with yourself… You have to learn how to be intimate with yourself first or you can’t expect that from someone else.”
Jo has two great inspirations
Why does Jo share her painful journey so openly? Why does she put her authentic self out there for everyone to see? Two reasons: her daughters.
“My biggest inspiration is my girls. I don't want them to grow up feeling the same shame about their body and sexuality that I did in my lifetime.”
Learn more about Jo
We were thrilled that Jo was able to take time out of her busy schedule to chat with us. We walked away from that convo feeling a little more sexually liberated ourselves (and that’s saying a lot). Learn about Jo on her own website and Instagram. She might just change your life.