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Finding the Root of Your Sexual Fantasies
originally published in Between the Lines Michigan Gay and Lesbian Newspaper April 21, 2004

Joe Kort offers new workshop to help gay men integrate love, sex and intimacy—he calls it erotic intelligence.

>>Click here to register for the workshop

“You know how you say you can tell a lot about a person by knowing their friends,” asked popular psychotherapist and author Joe Kort. “Well, if you know a lot about your sexual fantasies and desires, you know a lot about you as a person.”

Intriguing, you say. Tell me more.

“We live in a sexually illiterate society,” Kort continued. “There is little to no permission to examine openly our sexuality in terms of orientation, behavior and fantasies. Most people, gay and straight alike, do not know if their sexual fantasies are healthy or unhealthy. While gay men are more inclined to act out their sexual desires and fantasies more openly than their heterosexual counterparts, there still lies confusion as to what is positive and self-affirming and what is not.”

Since 1985, Kort has been trying to help gay men be less confused – about this and a host of other issues. Last year, his hugely successful first book, “10 Smart Things Gay Men Can Do To Improve Their Lives,” was released to great critical acclaim. It has thus far sold nearly 8,000 copies, is current in its third printing, and talks are underway to have it translated into three foreign languages.

Now Kort, who has been conducting workshops for years based on the Imago therapy concept formulated by Harville Hendrix, has developed his first workshop series based solely on his own book and several stimulating articles he’s written over the years.

“I kept hearing clients talk about wanting to have a relationship and what was a gay relationship?” said Kort. “And kind of not knowing and exploring what the differences were between sex, love and intimacy, and not having the right language for it in the gay community. There was such a need for gay men to start talking about it and exploring it.”

Kort will navigate the first expedition through these murky waters May 14-16. Called “Reclaiming the Man in the Mirror,” the workshop promises to be a fascinating journey through the sexual subconscious.

“This workshop will explore the definitions of sex, love and intimacy and how to integrate them all together for gay men,” Kort said. “Much of our culture as gay men – as well as for our heterosexual counterparts – is confused about how to make this integration. There is also confusion about how to have healthy sex, love and intimacy without having to have all of them combined. This workshop will help clarify all of this.”

But worry not. If you choose to attend this fascinating three-day session, no one has to become privy to your forbidden desires and that fantasy you’ve long harbored about being hung upside down by a pair of Hanes Her Way pantyhose while gently being spanked on your bottom with a Christmas tree shaped Jell-O mold.

“There’s not going to be any unwanted sharing,” Kort insisted. “No one’s going to be involved in any forced sharing as to what their fantasies are. In fact, I don’t do any of that. Whatever you’re fantasies are they’re private.”

What Kort will do is help you translate your private thoughts, discover their origins and understand what they say about you.

“I think all sexual fantasies are healthy,” he continued. “There are some that should never be acted on because they might be putting the person who has them or someone else at risk. I don’t believe there’s any pathology in our sexual fantasies or desires. Instead, I see them as a positive story about ourselves that’s trying to be told. Learning what the nonsexual meanings of our fantasies are can be very helpful. For example, you might have a fantasy of being dominated and spanked.

There’s nothing wrong with that fantasy and there’s nothing wrong with doing it. But what I would want to help someone do is explore why they have that fantasy. Not in a negative way but in a positive way. What does that mean about me?”

Kort learned the benefit of helping people explore the origins of their fantasies through years of work with men who are addicted to sex.

“I’ve learned from sex addicts that if you can uncover the coded material or story, the non-sexual parts of it, then I’ve been able to help them a lot better,” he said. “So I really want to help people understand that now I’m bringing that new theory with me to even healthy fantasies and it’s not to pathologize. It’s about knowing ourselves better as gay men.”

Hence the title of the workshop, “Reclaiming the Man in the Mirror.”

“It’s sort of like we look in the mirror and we see what other people made us be – a heterosexist society, our families,” Kort explained. “So it’s like, let’s reclaim who we are, sort of upgrade ourselves or give ourselves our own makeover.”

The “Reclaiming the Man in the Mirror” workshop takes place May 14-16 at Kort’s Royal Oak office. Please note that while Kort is developing a similar workshop for couples, this one is for singles only. For further information, please visit www.joekort.com/dgaymen.htm or call 248-399-7317.

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