The Trouble with Sex

Kink, Consent & Coming Out

May 13, 2019 Season 1 Episode 4
The Trouble with Sex
Kink, Consent & Coming Out
Chapters
The Trouble with Sex
Kink, Consent & Coming Out
May 13, 2019 Season 1 Episode 4
Dr. Tammy Nelson and Guest Joseph Jaafari
Dr. Tammy and journalist/filmmaker Joseph Jaafari talk candidly about sex, consent and being LGBTQIA today.
Show Notes Transcript

From gay kink to gender pronouns, Dr. Tammy and journalist/filmmaker Joseph Jaafari answer your questions as they discuss the complexities of being LGBTQIA in the world today and how to - safely and consensually - let your freak flag fly. 

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Speaker 1:
0:06
[inaudible]
Speaker 2:
0:07
welcome to the trouble with sex, where we get up close and personal with leading experts to expose the naked truth about sex, love, and relationships. I'm Dr Tammy Nelson. As a sex and relationship therapist, I've helped thousands of individuals and couples improve their sex lives and enjoy intimate and fulfilling relationships together with my guests. We'll talk about the latest trends, answer your questions and share insights into the most pleasurable, sometimes painful, but often forbidden aspects of the human experience.
Speaker 1:
0:44
[inaudible]
Speaker 3:
0:45
if you've ever been challenged by the concept of monogamy and what it means to you and your partner and your relationship, you're far from alone. Communication around the meaning of this one word is a huge component of how I work with couples. That's why I've been honored to be invited to do a Ted talk based on my book, the new monogamy, to watch or listen for tips on how to make your relationship sexier. Search for Dr Tammy Nelson Tedx, the new monogamy, or go to the trouble with sex.com for a direct link. Today's guest is Joseph Darious Jafari. He's a filmmaker and a documentarian and a journalist. He's worked for places like rolling stone and vice and his topics are intense. They're about being gay, being kinky. He's done documentaries about the pop lifestyle, about crime in the military, and he's one of these people that goes deep and granular and gets personal. And today's going to get personal with us. Welcome Joseph. I'm so happy you're here. Thank you so much for having me. Ah, your documentaries are amazing. To be a journalist and to take that camera around, you have an eye for what's really happening out there. N for the trouble with sex.
Speaker 4:
2:03
It's, it's, it's true. So when I went into this field, I didn't really want to report on LGBT community issues, right? I, I am an openly gay man, but I really wanted to focus on heavy-hitting issues. At the same time. I noticed that the landscape and the conversation around LGBT issues was, I guess you could say kind of pithy, like it wasn't really interesting. Uh, and it didn't really get to the hard hitting issues that I've found most interesting. So when, you know HIV and gay marriage, when I went, those are the two biggest stories, you know, how was that pithy? Well, I mean just one of the things where, I mean everybody was talking about it, right? And they were doing it in very general ways, but nobody's really talking about these issues that the gay community really face abuse, um, problems within the military. All these other problems that just were kind of glossed over because those two issues were on the forefront of America's mind. But at the same time, we just weren't focusing on these other, all these other problems that I felt that there needed to be talked about. So I think that's so
Speaker 3:
3:00
interesting because right now being gay in America is a challenge as it's been since the beginning of time. And so it's scary to be gay, but there's also a lot of freedom right now that we'd never had before.
Speaker 4:
3:12
So yes, yes and no. So I guess you could say that the gay community is going through a bit of a cultural renaissance. I mean, there are more people now out than probably ever. Actually, I don't have numbers to back that up, but it feels like there's way more acceptance of gay community, gay culture, queerness. You know, Rupaul's drag race is on VH one. I mean it's just, it seems to be everywhere. But at the same time it, we still have a ways to go. Specifically when we talk about, you know, trans issues, you know, we know for example, that trans, the Trans community faces. Can you just slow down and tell everyone what does trans mean? Sorry, trans, transgender. So people who were born with a certain sex and felt that they weren't part of it, they weren't the, that sex when they were born and then they wanted to transition into the sex of their choice or the sex that they believe that they are. Um, so their community, for example, faces tremendous violence 50% more than we see in the straight community. Uh, and then for example, gay women, um, lesbian women, bisexual women, they also face a higher rates of violence than their straight counterparts. So it's, it is like a cultural renaissance. But at the same time we are still seeing ways to go when it comes to specifically abuse and inter partner violence.
Speaker 3:
4:24
It, it's such a sort of a dichotomy so you can be out more. And by being out it means you can come out and say I'm gay and you could be openly out in the, in your communities and you can get married if you're gay. But that also has a risk behind it. Right? So that if you're out and people know you're out, there's more of a risk of hate crimes
Speaker 4:
4:42
being abused and that, that thing, a heart getting a hard time from people out. That is true. I mean I was just having a conversation the other day. We was talking about abuse, you know, reporting abuse to police. Right. And I was being told by somebody over at the anti-violence project of New York City that while we're seeing people just not being believed when they go to the police, I'm like, wait, but we live in New York City. I mean, how is that possible? And you know, the person I've spoken speaking to made it very better. Used to said it very eloquently, right? That despite living in these areas, these pockets of liberalism, it's kind of a misnomer that people just are sometimes better, you know, better off by being out, um, that they're still experiencing a lot of violence, a lot of hatred, a lot of homophobia, even within our, you know, our little liberal communities.
Speaker 3:
5:26
So what are the benefits of actually coming out if young people are listening and they're like, well then forget it. I'm just not going to come out. I'm not going to move to New York. I'm never going to tell my parents. I'm not going to tell my friends. Like, what are the benefits of coming out and being, feeling safe?
Speaker 4:
5:40
Hell No. Hell, I mean, the benefits coming out. I mean, I guess the benefits is that, you know, mental health, I mean, you can actually be yourself and you know, you don't have to worry about hiding that part of you. I mean, you think about the mental stress that comes along with closeting yourself, right? The self anguish, the depression, suicidal. I mean there's a reason why we're seeing so many suicidal attempts among young Gabe kids. Uh, and a lot of it has to do with closeting themselves. I mean, it's, it's, it shouldn't be a shock. The fact that coming out as hard as it is, I mean, I, I hate to give, you know, the, it gets better speech cause I think it's just all so played out, but it's, but it's so played out. But the reality is that it's very, it's very true. Right. But it does get better. It does, honestly does get better. Um, it's, it's something that, I mean, it's, it just does, it does.
Speaker 3:
6:24
So if somebody is listening and they're in high school and they're thinking, well, tell me how it gets better and tell me what I should do. What's your advice for them?
Speaker 4:
6:34
I mean, far be it for me to give advice about finding yourself sexually. I didn't come out until I was like, you know, in my twenties, you know, I was highly closeted. I grew up in a very conservative family. You know, Muslim, father, Catholic mother. That's rough. Yeah. So, I mean, all your points are against you. Exactly right. And like, so I, I, but I, I guess like the best way that I would say, if you're going to come out, you know, and you're, you're still in your teens or you know, even after college or something like that, it's just, you know, do it in the best way that you think you can, you know, do it loud and proud or do it, whatever makes you feel safe at the end of the day. Right. If that means that, you know, you tell one person and then tell another person, that's important.
Speaker 4:
7:13
Uh, if it means, you know, just like breaking open the closet doors and like, you know, s prancing out, then by all means, you know, Prance your heart out. I mean, absolutely you should, but the reality is that you have to do it within the confines of like, whatever you find most safe. I love Prince your heart out, press your heart out. We should have that right across. Right. And I don't mean to lie, I don't, I don't mean to stereotype or anything like that and it's just, it's, it's more of the idea of like just be, you're just be, you just be your true self.
Speaker 3:
7:37
Right? So if you're a gay man, I gay woman, bisexual, trans, whatever you are, find a safe community. Find even if it's a safe person or two or if it's a safe place or safe community of people that will support you.
Speaker 4:
7:52
Well, yeah, I mean that's kind of the easiest way to go about it. Right? I mean, one of the things that I found that I actually find even to this day super interesting is this idea of chosen families within the gay community. And I guess everybody in this world has a chosen family to a degree. When you think about orphans, thanksgiving or something like that. We all have our families that we crowd around during important moments in our lives. But specifically when the gay community, you know, we actually choose our families more often than I feel that maybe other straight communities do as well, like [inaudible] and especially within kink communities as well. You know, because there's also, there's that second layer of like coming out of not only am I gay but I'm also into leather and that's an entire community or something like that. And so you have to surround yourself by safe people and people who will not judge you because as wide and diverse as the straight community is, so is the gay community. And so you need to also find those, like those safe communities within that community to surround yourself with. Absolutely.
Speaker 3:
8:49
Yeah. That's such a good, such a good vision to create your own family that you have another in your life. Not only are you born into a family, but you didn't really choose that family. So now you can choose the family that you would actually find safety and companionship. And I mean, people might understand it. Yeah.
Speaker 4:
9:07
It's the same thing as choosing a partner, right? Like, you know, you're not born with a partner. You choose up. I mean, I mean, I guess some, like some people would believe that, but like you, you, you, you choose your partner, um, that you, that you want to spend your life with or it's been part of your life with, for all, for all, for all you care. Right. Um, or multiple people that you want to spend parts of your life with. Uh, it's, it's, it really comes down to that point of choice.
Speaker 3:
9:29
Yeah. So to connect to this idea of being gay, first you have to accept it in yourself and that's for some people that's a struggle. Right? And that's the first step,
Speaker 4:
9:40
the first step to acceptance. Yeah. Was that hard for you for, oh man. Um, I don't, I don't, I don't know if it was very hard for me. It definitely was a lesson to be learned. Uh, I had a lot of internalized homophobia growing up, just like being, growing up in Arizona. I mean, I'm not sure if you read the news recently, but they just made it okay that teachers could talk about gay sex in like any kind of way that is not harmful. Um, but, uh, it just, it wasn't, it wasn't something that I felt that I could talk about very openly, and it was something that I definitely internalized most of my life until my twenties. Um, so yeah, I mean that was something that was one of the biggest things I had to get over. But you, but you better believe that the moment I came out, I mean, I told my sister, she asked me, who are you dating? I said a guy named Rob [inaudible]. That was the first coming out. That was my first coming out conversation. And then after that it was just like, you don't know to hell with it. I'm just going to like live my best west Hollywood life. I was living in La at the moment and I'm just gonna go do me. Yeah. You pranced out. I pray. I, I galloped out. Yeah.
Speaker 3:
10:47
Yeah. And on that note, we're going to gallop out right now for a short break and a word from our sponsors. Hi, out there to all our listeners. I wanted to tell you about my favorite good clean love lubricant, almost naked. It's totally organic and it was named one of the safest products on the market by an independent scientific research study. Best of all our friends at good clean love are offering our listeners a 15% discount. Go to good clean love.com and type in t t w s 15 at checkout. That's t t w was 15 for 15%
Speaker 1:
11:26
aw,
Speaker 3:
11:28
welcome back to the trouble with sex. This is Dr Tammy Nelson and with me is our guest Joseph Jafari. And we're talking about the trouble with sex and the struggles with being gay in today's culture. And we are talking to him about his personal life, about coming out as a gay man. And Joseph, I'm wondering, you know, where at a moment in politics where there's a gay man who's gearing up to run for president has really never been done before, at least in an outweigh and an out and proud way. And I know that right now the politics of being gay is really risky, but there's this freedom that's never been had before. And I'm wondering for you, does that make it easier or scarier or where does this leave you on a personal and a professional level?
Speaker 4:
12:17
So, um, I mean, we're talking about Pete, Buddha judge right now and I mean, he's, he's hitting the wave legs and all that sort of stuff. But I mean, it cannot be underscored enough. The kiss that happened between him and his husband when he announced his 2020 campaign. I mean, that's an important moment of history that we all need to recognize. And, you know, and in my short time on this earth, I don't think I ever realized that that would happen. Um, but at the same moment, you know, going back to what we were talking about earlier, it's that there is this really great renaissance of being out and proud these days in America. But I don't know if this is something that is shared universally among Americans, right? I mean, we, we know for a fact that, uh, gay marriage is the most accepted than it ever has been. We know in our countries around the world, not around the world, sorry, but in our country it's, it's, it's more accepted now than it ever has been in the past. We know that, you know, people are coming out, you know, very openly about it. And the idea of queerness, even the idea that we're even talking about using proper pronouns, you know, that's something that I don't think, you know, ever happened in the scale that it has been before. Can we just
Speaker 3:
13:27
talk about that for a second? So when people ask what are your pronouns, they are asking, do you identify as he and him or she and her or they, and I'm not sure that people understand that or,
Speaker 4:
13:43
I mean, sure. I mean, people who uh, you know, identify as neither him or her, um, you know, gender is for all, for lack of a better term. It's just, it's just the spectrum, right? I mean that's what everybody says. Um, is something that, you know, I, I personally identify as a, as a man. Um, I don't identify as a woman, so I am okay with the he him pronouns. Some people they that were a lot of people didn't even, some, a lot of people they don't identify as either and they view themselves as them and you know, that's actually, there's been this huge debate over, you know, pronoun usage and it's, if you look at other languages, the term them is actually fairly common. It's, it's interesting when we talk about it in news though because it's so weird to refer to somebody as a singular person as a them. And so even our own, well even our own AP style guy, they're just like, you know, of course use it if they identify as them, but that's a journalist. It's hard to write about it that way. Absolutely. But just, you know, be, be, be, be mindful about for the audience because it is confusing.
Speaker 3:
14:47
And that brings me to a question that we have from one of our listeners. Uh, they're saying
Speaker 4:
14:52
I don't identify as gay, straight or bi. What will that mean for me as I'm graduating from college now and trying to get in, in a relationship. Do you Joseph have any advice for our listener? I mean, I would say probably the best thing to do, and we're talking about sexuality right now, which is different from gender of course. Um, but you know, not identifying as gay, straight or bi, I feel like, I feel like we live in this society now where we are at least able to talk about sexuality as fluid, just like gender is fluid, uh, and that it's okay to dip your toes in the waters wherever you really want to, so long as you do it safely and consensually. Um, so I would say my, my personal advice, um, would be to, you know, let your freak flag by fly however you want it to fly.
Speaker 4:
15:40
Um, just be safe about it and be consensual with it. And you mentioned something earlier about kink and consent. Can you just tell our listeners what you mean by Kink, how you squeeze consent in there? Yeah, I, and it's, it's an important topic to talk about these days because it's something that is prevalent. Um, it's something that we heard about a lot last year when it came to, uh, Eric Snyderman, it came to, uh, sorry, the New York attorney general who was accused of sexual assault and he used kink as an excuse. We all said he was kinky. He said he wasn't being abusive. Exactly. And so it's something that we're talking about a lot these days because a lot of states don't have consent laws. And so what does consent look like? A lot of people surprisingly just don't know that consent is also fluid. We talk about fluidity right now, but like consent also can be taken away at any moment, something like that.
Speaker 4:
16:28
And so within the kink world, be taken away so you can give consent and then you can change your mind. Absolutely. 100% absolutely. Because you say yes or you don't say no. That doesn't mean that throughout the whatever you're doing throughout your sexual experience with that person at that moment that it could change. Absolutely. I mean, how many times do you change your mind while eating in the middle of the donut? Like you know, something, something as many schools that I mean something, you know your mind can change it. It's allowed to put down your daughter. You could say, I don't like this anymore. Exactly. Absolutely. So within the, within the world of kink and so describe Kink, I mean it's such an umbrella term, but I kind of like just to tell people like it's whatever flogs your log or floats your boat, whatever, whatever gets you off.
Speaker 4:
17:13
Right? I mean it's, it's, it's whatever, it's whatever gets you off [inaudible] right? I mean it can be in the form of something as physical, it can be mental. I mean there's so many ways that you can look at Kink, right? But specifically right now, it's really important to talk about kink and you know, consent, because we're hearing a lot about, you know, what is consent post me too, right? And it's 50 shades of gray. Well and so shady. And so when we, it's funny, when I was doing my documentary about, uh, pups in the gay community, which was, you know, it's a, it's, it is a kink where gay men adopts the personality of dogs and you know, it's, it's not to go too deep into it, but basically it's just a kink that kind of came out from the 80s then evolved to something really popular these days.
Speaker 4:
18:00
It's a lot of newbies going into it. You know, one of the things that you know, I found is that people 50 people call it the 50 shades phenomenon. Um, right now. And I, and I can't speak more to the past, but I can definitely speak for right now there's a large number of people who after 50 shades came out, they really wanted to gravitate towards a kink. You know, they thought it was sexy, but it was fun being tied up. Exactly. But nobody, and especially the film, the book, they never really went into what consent looks like. Right. And so, I mean one of the people that I interviewed for my documentary, it was brand new to kink when to pup play. You know, it was really interested in that. Didn't know that he could say no. You know, like basically like you know when you're thinking about, oh well I guess is what I signed up for.
Speaker 4:
18:43
I guess this is, I should go. Absolutely. I guess I'm allowed to have my ribs broken I guess. Like you know, you know, be locked in a cage for seven days with, you know, ribs broken. I mean it's the idea of like some people are just, I mean I especially think that within, you know, the gay community, we kind of talk ourselves into like putting ourselves into bad situations a lot because of like maybe our own mental health or anything morning. Just cause you come out and you're gay, you're into kink. You do not have to have your ribs broken right now. No, of course not. I think that should go without saying, but I mean at the same time we should have, shouldn't have to say it, but we're saying well, because I think that what has happened is that we are talking about kink in a way that is not really education focused, right?
Speaker 4:
19:24
We're talking about it in a way that is purely fun and purely, um, you know, just, just pleasure, which is a okay and fine, but at the end of the day, you know, there is a level of education that needs to be had when it comes to this type of fun. So what's your recommendation? If anyone out there is listening, they want to do something kinky. What's the first thing they should do? I mean, really understand this sounds, this sounds so professorial, but at the same time really understand your rights, your rights, and kind of what exactly you know you are allowed to in to not do. Right. Or there's nothing that you can't do. Actually I take that back. You know what exactly, you have the right student. You can say no, you can walk away from any situation. Uh, and that's something that I feel like a lot of people just don't.
Speaker 4:
20:08
So those two things are important. You can say no and you can walk away from any situation. I think that's just the basis for anything. There are so many times where I was in sex clubs filming and talking to people and they were just, when they were brand new, they didn't realize that it feels uncomfortable to walk away and kind of shun people away. But at the same time, if you are in immediate danger, you're allowed to walk away from it. So we should do a whole nother podcast on sex clubs because that's a whole nother area of interest. It is tied up and yeah. Yeah, for sure. If you had one piece of advice for our listeners around any p any of this to help them give advice around consent being gay, coming
Speaker 3:
20:48
out, being into Kink, what's one thing you'd want to listen? You want our listeners to know that you can leave them with?
Speaker 4:
20:54
You know, I really, I really want people to understand that there's nothing wrong or weird, you know, about kink or even being gay, right? I that for some odd reason, the gay community, you know, historically we've kind of taken on kink as like a subculture of ours, but we've kind of internalized that as like, now our sex is weird or risky. Um, and it's wrong, you know, to have that, have that kind of mindset. The reality is the fact that there's, there's nothing wrong with either of these types of sex practices, relationships, whatever you want to call it. Um, but what you should do if you decide to, you know, go into any of these, uh, you know, these situations be a, you, you decide that you want to have your first gay experience, uh, the fact that you want to, you know, be tied up for the first time. You just don't know exactly what to do. You're allowed to walk away and you're allowed to say no and you're allowed to report it.
Speaker 3:
21:45
We could spend several podcasts talking about all the layers of everything that you've experienced on all of your information. It's fascinating. Thank you, Joseph. It's been great having you as a guest. This episode of the trouble was sex was sponsored by our friends at good, clean love, revolutionizing sexual health with organic and natural solutions made by women.
Speaker 2:
22:09
To find out more, go to the trouble with sex.com or email me@drtamiatthetroublewithsex.com join our mailing list. Follow us on social media. Sign up for our newsletter or send me a question. The trouble was, sex is produced by brandy Sabbath and Jane Applegate audio post by flavor labs. Brian Quell and Eric Stern and our music is by Bruce [inaudible].
Speaker 1:
22:35
[inaudible].
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