Sex Ed in Bed
Sex and Leadership
By Jallen Rix, Ed.D. (c).
We’ve all heard the scandals. Someone in a leadership position gets cozy with one (or more?) of the “followers” and rumors fly. Feelings are hurt. Friends take sides and drama ensues! (Of course, this is only when the relationships don’t work out.) Some groups have responded to these kinds of challenges with a rigid ban on any kind of fraternizing within their given community. This kind of structure may be absolutely important to prevent the abuse of power, sexual or otherwise. Yet, does this reasonably account for leaders, bosses, mentors and ministers being simply human with the same natural drives as the rest of us? More specifically, have our LGBT leaders come out of the closet, only to live another kind of sexual double life? To find intimacy, should they be forced to go outside the very community they’re a part of? Isn’t there something wrong with that picture?
As one who teaches workshops on Sex and Leadership, I believe that keeping our LGBT leaders sexually restricted not only harkens to that of “just say no” education (if you can call that education), but it also passes up the important opportunity to lead by example, especially when it comes to sexuality. After all, sexual minorities are defined by, well... our sexuality. If we didn’t have or want sex with the same gender our community would literally not exist. Therefore, does it make sense that the people we look to as role models have to hide and suppress their desires giving the impression that they’re sexless beings? Of course not. In fact, it seems to me that if you’re going to take a leadership role in the LGBT community you probably should be a little ahead of the curve when it comes to being educated about sexuality.
It’s similar to most medical doctors and psychotherapist. Did you know that the vast majority of people in both of these professions have had maybe one class on sexuality? Doesn’t that strike you as scary when we turn to them for most of our sexual information? If they are going to be looked to as authorities of the body and mind then by golly! they should be educated about sex.
In fact, being educated and self-aware sexually is probably the best way for leaders to avoid inappropriate sexual dynamics, and believe it or not, the best example of this was developed by our own community. Safer Sex Guidelines are the perfect metaphor for a positive sexual model in leadership. Some sexual activities are completely safe. Other sexual activities are risky, and still others are just dangerous. The more information and education a person receives about the subject the better prepared a person is to make wise decisions about it. Sometimes, leadership is defined as simply being the person who plans ahead. For LGBT leaders to list (maybe even make a contract with themselves) what sexual behaviors are completely safe, could be risky, and way out of bounds, in light of the community at large is very important.
This touches on the other half of the equation, though how the community treats their leaders. Some communities use a leader as their savior, scapegoat and whipping boy all in one. When a leader is caught with his/her proverbial pants down, the public can be ruthless, never considering that a leader’s behavior might only be a reflection of the community itself. Former President Clinton will go down in history for his sexual escapades. When his scandal was all the rage, I never once heard someone in the media or in politics ever say, “Hmmm, if this is what our president is doing, maybe our society has a problem being honest about sexuality, too.”
Clinton is a great example of how a leader should not handle a sex scandal. I’m referring to the sad fact that in his position, he felt he had to lie about it. Could you imagine how different things would be today if he had been honest from the start? Could his honesty about sex have encouraged the whole nation to be more honest about sexuality? Sure, the religious wrong and drama addicts would have still been up in arms, but that’s nothing compared to the insulting betrayal our country felt.
I believe that everyone deserves a healthy, fulfilling and enjoyable sex life leaders included. Instead of backing our role models into a kind of corner (or closet) regarding sexuality and possibly “encouraging” them to lie about it, let’s be the example of diversity. Let’s keep our sexuality honest, informed and positive, so that everyone can make responsible choices without manipulation, pressure or shame.
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