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Hey There, Nice To Meet You!
Sonalee Rashatwar (she/they) LCSW MEd is an award-winning social worker, sex therapist, adjunct lecturer, and grassroots organizer. Based in Philly (licensed in NJ and PA), she is a fat queer non-binary therapist working as a sexual violence crisis counselor, specializing in treating sexual trauma, body image issues, racial or immigrant identity issues, and South Asian family systems, while offering fat and body positive sexual healthcare.
Popularly known as TheFatSexTherapist on Instagram, their notoriety peaked when they were featured on Breitbart in March 2018 for naming thinness as a white supremacist beauty ideal. Sonalee is a sought-after speaker who travels internationally to curate custom visual workshops that whisper to our change-making spirit and nourish our vision for a more just future.
Sonalee is not paid for her labor as a community organizer, where she has fundraised and facilitated a free five-day political action summer camp for LGBT+ South Asian and Indo Caribbean youth. Sonalee received their Master of Social Work and Master of Education in Human Sexuality from Widener University in 2016 and have been working in the field of anti-violence for 8+ years.
View my interview from the Explore More Summit where we discuss the following:
“You deserve pleasure. You deserve connection. You deserve healing.” - Sonalee Rashatwar
Sonalee Rashatwar BRINGS IT in this talk about gender, food, families, pleasure, and our inherent worthiness. The 4th annual Explore More Summit includes interviews on pleasure, body love, trauma, healing, connection, the erotic, and much much more. You can purchase my interview and others here!
Areas of Expertise
As an immigrant and community organizer working across cultural and ethnic borders, I offer unique insight into the ways residual colonialism continues to warp sexuality norms. Much of what we experience as acceptable sexuality has been shaped by colonialism. I develop cutting edge workshops on how gender, sexual behavior, and health are marginalized by these interlocking systems of oppression.
An accessible therapeutic space is an important aspect of trauma recovery. Disability is a natural part of the human experience, which is why I offer a distinctive culture of acceptance, freedom from stigma, and release of shame for all of my clients. All bodies are good bodies. And all bodies deserve love, care, and respect from a clinician who is constantly working to disrupt the field by intersecting disability justice into all treatment modalities.
The construct of health is a stick used to beat marginalized people with, especially fat people. This is why I integrate politicized conversations into my therapeutic work. Let’s work together to unlearn the ways we are using healthism to measure our own humanity and worthiness.
For more than 8 years I have worked with individuals (ages 13+) who have survived experiences of domestic and sexual violence. As a sex therapist, I have received highly specialized training to address generalized sexuality-related issues. I have additional expertise with intimate partner violence and sexual violence from my years of clinical nonprofit work.
At the intersection of warm comfort and radical acceptance, my therapeutic orientation feels more like a post-trauma doula. I provide a non-medical guided-experience after sexual trauma, using psychological and emotional support to help clients adjust to their new realities. I offer a unique focus to trauma recovery as a sex educator, by centering recovery around pleasure. This is an often overlooked aspect of sexual trauma recovery.
South Asian sexuality
Much of my graduate academic experience was spent writing about the immigrant sexual experience and unlearning dominant sexual norms. I curate workshops for all audiences to better understand South Asian individuals and families living within the North American diaspora.
I build workshops for clinicians to understand South Asians as a special clinical population due to their specific migration histories based on caste, class, religion, race, and nationality. These workshops include an uncommon assessment of South Asian family systems, sexualites, and ethnosexual identity development.
Sexuality is morphed by the pressures of compounding oppressions, which is why I offer solution-focused workshops that affirm the colonized experience and contribute to the radical imagination of our decolonial sexual futures. We must unlearn the ways we have been forced to exist within what is considered “normal,” and begin to imagine the ways we can flourish outside of these pressurized systems.
By aggregating individual forms of sexual resistance, I am able to weave together workshops explaining broader ideas of collective sexual liberation. Centering conversations around pleasure and body liberation, we can better imagine how joy will lead us to revolution.
I come from an exclusively pro-body & anti-diet perspective. This means I will never use food moralism to tell you to replace foods you love with foods you hate. I will never use intentional weight loss as a therapeutic goal. I will never collude with fatphobia in our therapeutic work.
Body autonomy is paramount. Let’s weave together body acceptance and body love to heal body image trauma from within. This involves rejecting external pressure from diet culture and re-centering around our body's inner compass. I also curate workshops for clinicians to learn to understand fatphobia as a clinical issue and how to treat fat trauma.