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Ten Smart Things Gay Men Can Do to Improve Their Lives Paperback – August 1, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Joe Kort is a certified Imago Therapist, a member of the National Association of Gay Addiction Professionals, the Academy of Certified Social Workers, and the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists. He is adjunct professor at Wa

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

From the Introduction

I'm a certified Imago Relationship therapist who specializes in Gay & Lesbian Affirmative Psychotherapy, men's issues, and in treating sexual addiction/compulsion. Over the past 18 years, I've treated literally thousands of gay men in the Detroit area--in one-on-one individual therapy, in weekend workshops for singles, as well as for partnered couples, and in ongoing group therapy.

Again and again, I see clients making the same mistakes. Inevitably, I find myself giving dozens of clients the exact same advice.

Reading this book, I hope you'll recognize the stumbling blocks, both internal and external, that have held you back from living an effective, totally fulfilled gay life. Each of these Ten Smart Things is an antidote to a specific problem that clients have brought to my office time and again. Through my work with clients over the years, I've seen what works and what doesn't. Now, I'd like to make these "prescriptions" available for every gay man to use, in book form.

If you will, these Ten Smart Things are kind of a checklist, answers to the challenges that any gay male must face at one time or another--usually, throughout his life. Yes, every gay man can score ten out of ten, if he wants to. But none of these chapters is a cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all prescription. Throughout, I'll give you real-life examples (with names and identifying details changed, of course) of clients who put these basic principles to work in their own way--almost always, with considerable success and satisfaction.

I ask every one of my clients (and everyone who reads this book) to recognize that he's a unique individual. You deserve health and happiness, as your birthrights. And yes, you happen to be gay. So to live a rewarding life as a gay man, you must tailor anybody's advice--mine included--to fit your own particular goals and circumstances, always keeping your own values, lifestyle, and personal strengths in mind.

In upcoming chapters, I'll introduce you to gay men who've crippled themselves emotionally (and often, sabotaged their romantic relationships as well) by not coming out to anyone except themselves, their partners, and a few close friends--and therefore, keeping themselves isolated. You'll also meet heterosexually married men who, in their 40s and 50s, came out of denial and admitted to having been gay all along and had the courage to come out, finally being honest with themselves and their families.

You'll read how coming out to your family can reawaken--even worsen--the dysfunctional problems that have been there all along. But you'll also read how men from 15 to 57 have forged deeper, warmer bonds with their parents, siblings, former in-laws, even their children. I'll explain why gay men are so often criticized for being "childish" or "immature"--and how to avoid falling victim to gay culture's overemphasis on looks, youth, and glamour. Afraid of growing old? I'll offer you numerous remedies, including meaningful involvement in your local gay community--and most importantly, serving as a mentor yourself, giving other gay men (both younger and older than you) the benefits of your own hard-won experience.

I need to explore with you the specific ways that sexual addiction manifests in the gay male community. Most cases of sexual addiction are rooted in childhood sexual abuse; and often respond to a combination of individual and group therapy. You'll learn why so-called reparative therapies--to "cure" our homosexuality--can't possibly work; and, at the same time, learn about the genuinely helpful "therapy workout" opportunities available to every gay man. Should the best therapist for you be male or female, gay or straight? Stay tuned!

Perhaps most importantly, I'll show you how to keep your romantic relationship with another man alive and evolving--as you both pass beyond the first stages of infatuation, through the inevitable power struggle, and on to deep and abiding love.

Believe it or not, your most serious quarrels and disagreements are potentially healthy, and can lead to tremendous personal growth for you both, both as partners and individuals. Even if a wedding or commitment ceremony doesn't feel appropriate for the two of you, you'll want to read about other gay couples who have taken that courageous step--with all the frustrations, surprises, and joys that went with it.

You needn't be a Mensa member to do smart things and start reaping the benefits. "Smart," because hundreds of my clients have already proven to my satisfaction (and more importantly, to their own) that these choices work. Often, even one or two of them has improved his life to a surprising degree.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Alyson Books; 1 edition (August 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1555837824
  • ISBN-13: 978-1555837822
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,071,440 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Joe Kort, PhD, LMSW is an openly gay psychotherapist. Dr. Kort specializes in clinical sexology providing sex therapy, IMAGO Relationship Therapy for gay, lesbian and heterosexual couples, gay affirmative therapy, Out-of-Control Sexual Behaviors (OCSB) and childhood sexual abuse.

Dr. Kort is the author of:

"10 Smart Things Gay Men Can Do To Improve Their Lives" published by Magnus Books

"10 Smart Things Gay Men Can Do To Find Real Love" published by Magnus Books

"Gay Affirmative Therapy for the Straight Clinician: The Essential Guide" published by Norton

"Is My Husband Gay, Straight or Bi?: A Guide for Women Concerned About Their Men" published by Rowman and Littlefield

He facilitates IMAGO Relationship Therapy weekend workshops for couples based on the book, "Getting The Love You Want: A Guide for Couples" and Singles "Keeping The Love You Find: A Guide for Singles", by Dr. Harville Hendrix.

Dr. Kort also facilitate workshops for men on sexuality, sexual behavior, sexual fantasies and sexual intimacy.

For more information go to

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

88 of 100 people found the following review helpful By R. Derrick Mickle on August 30, 2004
Format: Paperback
I just finished reading _10 Smart Things..._ and I must agree with previous assessments that the book is a bit self-congratulatory. While I certainly would have welcomed this book when I was in my early 20s (I'm in my 30s now), I do feel that there are a number of paths to ultimate self-actualization than the grow-up/get-married approach Kort advocates here. Don't get me a wrong: it's an approach that works for a lot of people, and it is an approach that will work for many, but not all gay men.

I also have a problem with the way Kort glosses over the intersectionality among race/ethnicity, class and sexuality. Kort mentions being raised a Jew, but doesn't explore how being Jewish informs his being gay. As an African-American kid who grew up poor, but "made good" and got Ivy-league degrees, I can wholely testify that my journey to self-actualization was (and continues to be) fraught with challenges that being gay only complicated. It is this intersection I wish he had explored more because ethnicity and class create complications that should be integrated when addressing sexuality. For example, according to Kort, the whole "DL" phenomenon in African American communities is explained away as a guys stuck at Stage One in the coming out process (identity confusion). But a culturally informed view would recognize that DL guys can NEVER identify as gay--gay is seen as a white identity, and being on the DL is the best he can do to acknowledge his sexuality and remain "authentically black." I'm not affirming this as a healthy outlook (far from it), but it does point to Kort's culturally narrow view (white and middle class) of the construction of a mentally healthy gay man.
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 5, 2003
Format: Paperback
I stumbled upon to this book on a display table on gay literature at a local book store. Yes! The picture of the cute author on the cover was the very first thing that caught my eye. Sorry, guys--he's married! However, when I gleamed through the table of contents and read the first chapter--I could not put it down! I have read enough gay, self-help psychology books to know this is the best of all. Kort is a trained psychotherapist, who offers his personal experiences and those of his clients to clarify why we as gay men "act out" and instructs us how to empower ourselves to changes our negative behavior(s) and attitude(s)--no matter how entrenched we they think they are. I was not until I read this book that I realized that I harbored some degree of internalized homophobia or heterosexism. According to the author there are some thought patterns and actions are very subtle and exists on a subconscious level, e.g. being non-commital in relationships, gay men's obession with youth and the perfect male physique over other qualities in our search for the perfect boyfriend, catty, hurtful insults gay men say to and about each other, etc. I highly recommend this book. It's written in a clear, direct, understandable style--not leaden with heavy obtuse, psycho-babble. I assure you it will set you in the right path towards developing a healthier, happier perspective on life.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Martin A Hogan HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on May 19, 2004
Format: Paperback
Joe Kort's book is full of good intentions, great advice and packed with real life examples. Although the contents are factual and certainly have real meaning for any gay man who reads it, it's still a brief summary. If Mr. Kort had added more diverse examples of gay men's hardships and how they overcame them, it would be even more helpful. However, that's a tricky prospect, as redundancy is a tough trap to avoid. I am saying that the book is terribly short for the immense amount of subject matter it attempts to cover. It seems to be geared toward the younger gay man (not necessarily in age) and can be viewed only as a short general guide. Perhaps another book addressing issues for happy single men may be forthcoming, as we do exist. It is still well-written, even if it does read as a tome.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Book Guy on August 10, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book helped me to realize I need to grow up and take responsibility of my maturing process as a gay man. I also found it helpful in dealing with my family and coming out, sexual issues, internalized homophobia, and pursuing the right relationship. The most disappointing aspect of this book was the author's use of patient anecdotes as opposed to more in depth analysis of the issues he addresses. The author uses lots of patient anecdotes, some of which are not all that relevant. Some of the anecdotes are about straight people, which is fine, and some of them apply equally to the gay experience, but I would have preferred a mostly gay perspective. There were also several patient anecdotes where the patient(s) just seemed to drop out of counseling and off the face of the earth, making the anecdote seem less applicable and diminishing the hope that counseling can make a difference. I wasn't quite sure of the point in using these particular patient anecdotes, but there are several of them. Otherwise, I gleaned some useful information from the book, which at times was a laborious read.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 3, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is an interesting, engaging and reader friendly book that for the most part stays away from psychobabble and preachiness. He illustrates how the stunted emotional/psychological development of gay men is a result of our homophobic culture. The chapter on sexual compulsions/additions is also one of the best I've ever read. At times the book does feel a little self-congradulatory and also a promotion for imago therapy but dont let that stop you from reading it. It is well worth the money and has should be read by all gay men, single or partnered of any age.
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