Sex Shaming During COVID-19 — A Discussion with Shaun Proux

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Think Queerly Podcast — Episode 133

In this special edition of the Think Queerly Podcast, I speak with my friend and colleague, Shaun Proulx about the issue of shaming and judgment of those who are choosing (and needing) to have sex during the COVID-19 pandemic and social quarantine.

Haven’t We Been Here Before?

In this episode Shaun and I get right into the various contrasts we are witnessing in human behaviour during the COVID-19 pandemic and why that reminds of our own experiences having lived through the very beginnings of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the 1980s.

We discuss the layers of shame, including gay shame, bareback shaming from the early days of AIDS and eating our own — how marginalized groups are often more judgmental of their own, which further exacerbates feelings of shame and a lack of belonging and acceptance. Shaun drives home the point that this is a conversation for everyone who has sex, not just gay men. Everyone needs to hear this message and have this conversation.

We talk about the neuroscience of the mammalian brain, which is always seeking acceptance, connection, care. If those needs are not met, we have a difficult time using our pre-frontal cortex, the so-called human brain for logic, reasoning, and planning for things like safer-sex strategies. This all comes back to the human need for touch, physical connection, and sex — the longer we go without social connection, the more difficult it is to be “human.” We are all feeling some form of social-distancing fatigue.

This of course makes it even more of a challenge being single right now, especially for people living alone. For those who suffer depression or have challenges with addiction, following the rules is more challenging and stigma and preaching abstinence simply does more harm than good.

We conclude with a discussion about the need for compassionate and empathetic advocacy, as well as practicing more empathy for all of us. COVID-19 is the straw that has broken the camel’s back; it is a tipping point for humanity to realize that it’s not just a global health pandemic, rather, this is a life-changing, world-altering, system-disruption that is forcing us to evaluate civil liberties, human rights, and greater respect for the planet.

About Shaun Proulx

Shaun-Proulx-Headshot

Shaun has credits as a television personality and host, producer, talk radio host, motivational speaker, columnist, author, publisher, actor, live event host, spokesperson, life coach, and activist for the issues of mental health, animal rights, and HIV stigma. He is the publisher TheGayGuideNetwork.com, Canada’s #1 LGBT digital magazine since 2002. Find out more about Shaun at his website, ShaunProulx.ca.

Links to Articles Mentioned on the Show

Image credit: Thought Catalogue Sex Dreams

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Darren is a leadership coach in Toronto, Canada who helps his clients to connect and embrace their uniqueness and freely create the life they want. He writes and podcasts regularly about Queer Leadership.