New York City provides ample access for connecting with others. Managing editor, Corey Wesley, and I love living and being a part of this great city and meeting other people on both personal and professional levels. Recently, we were discussing the many people we’ve encountered in our personal and professional lives and discovered that several people struggle with depression, body image, and addiction. We also read that gay men are three times more likely to experience depression compared with the general adult population (Sage Journals), so we decided to explore what’s available for those struggling. We discovered Raw Sexy Spiritual, a dynamic duo working to shake things up and tell it like it is.
John, a life coach, and Tony, a psychologist, have teamed up to bring a message of compassion and to help individuals see their own power to improve their lives. Through workshops, a weekly live show called the Raw(est) Brunch, virtual sessions, and retreats, they are delivering life improvement opportunities in a way that some might consider unconventional. John and Tony discussed with us their vision and how they are bringing relevant, in-your-face content to those in need.
Why the name Raw Sexy Spiritual? When they met about 2 ½ years ago they agreed with each other that there was a lack of content speaking to gay men. They believe gay men are willing to talk about sex but not so much about the power they have within. As they explored how to describe the material and content they were developing and as they met with others to discuss branding, the words that kept coming up were raw, sexy, and spiritual.
The guys shared their thoughts about spirituality in the LGBTQ community and why they believe depression and drug addiction are such serious issues in our community. On the one hand they feel that the community is more spiritual and aware than ever. On the other hand, they believe that the community is hungry for more and there is opportunity to go further. And with the state of the current leadership in Washington there is clearly more to do. Tony shared that although the community is more mainstream many don’t necessarily know where to go for information, especially information or resources that are relatable.
Tony began his career in substance abuse counseling and he provided insight that was quite enlightening. Those dealing with with substance abuse are often dealing with a transient form of control. John added that as a community we have been and still are oppressed. We all have a desire to be accepted and when we are accepted into a community, even one where we may be engaged in harmful activities, it becomes okay. People get stuck and don’t see that there is any different way to be. Some of the work the guys are doing helps bring different perspectives to their clients so they can see there is a different way. With workshop topics like “Breaking Away From the Cool Kids Table,” “Mindful Masturbation,” and “Shedding the Shame & Stigma,” they’re making content as relatable as they can.
One of the ways Tony and John reach their audience is through their weekly Facebook Live and Instagram Live show called The Raw(est) Brunch. During their lively broadcast they explore raw topics in the community that have included self expression, knowing your truth, when to let go, relationships, body shame, and jealousy. Technology and social media are essential tools for the guys. The use of the internet expands information and access, especially to those who may be more isolated. As John mentioned, a youth in middle America can hide under his covers and hear gay men talking about issues he’s struggling with and this could help him feel less isolated.
Some may consider their methods unconventional and they’re okay with that. Freud and some of the other authors of psycho-social methods lived in different times. John and Tony believe the ways counselors and therapists connect with clients needs to change with the times and the populations. While there are plenty of methodologies from which to work, no one method works for everyone. We’re whole persons with multiple dimensions to our personhood. They’re attempting to connect with clients using language and methods they believe clients want and need. Their direct manner of working with clients may not be for everyone but as John says, “If we’re not your cup of tea, then there are other opportunities out there.”
The guys agree that loving ourselves for the way we are is one of the answers to pulling ourselves up and getting through the mucky shit we often deal with. That is our key to living our most fulfilled life. When we arrive at that place, our perception shifts to knowing the answer is not elsewhere but inside ourselves.
We’re delighted to highlight Raw Sexy Spiritual and encourage you to find ways to connect with John and Tony.