Every other Wednesday The CSPH will highlight a Sexuality Professional you should keep your eye on. Their backgrounds are very diverse in order to bring attention to the wide variety of amazing people working in the field. This week we bring you Dr. Brian Rzepczynski, The Gay Love Coach™.
1. What do you do in the field of sexuality?
I specialize in providing individual and couples coaching to gay men (I work with all genders and sexual orientations too!) to help them maximize their success in dating, relationships, and sexual intimacy. I also offer classes, workshops, and programs over a variety of topics related to relationships and sexuality and services are conducted over the telephone or in-person on an international basis.
2. Where are you based out of?
I am based out of the Chicago, IL area but my services are offered on an international basis.
3. What is your focus? What do you do?
I have a private therapy practice where I work with all ages and populations on a variety of mental health issues. As an outgrowth of this practice, I built a relationship coaching business specifically targeted for the gay community and I run both businesses simultaneously.
My primary passion lies with the coaching practice in which I coach and teach dating, relationship, and sexual enrichment skills to gay men predominantly to promote their success and potential in their love-lives. This is accomplished through personal coaching, classes, workshops, and writing outlets.
4. What are your particular goals and passions in the field?
This is the mission statement I use on my website to describe my passion for this field:
Historically, there have been minimal resources available to the gay community for fostering positive and affirming identities, particularly in the area of relationships. While there finally appears to be a shift in society’s awareness of gay issues, there remains a crucial void for fulfilling the needs that gay men seek to enhance the quality of their lives and relationships. Predominantly due to homophobia and a lack of visible role models, we were never really taught how to best manage our singlehood as gay men, let alone how to effectively date and maintain intimate long-term relationships with other men. And that is the driving force behind the creation of The Gay Love Coach: Man 4 Man Coaching Services™.
This website, and its offerings, is intended to serve as a central hub and interactive community for gay men seeking information and support for more efficiently navigating their single/dating lives and relationships. Despite the negative and ignorant stereotypes, gay relationships CAN and DO thrive. There has just been a lack of guidance in helping gay men better understand themselves, identify what they’re looking for in a potential partner, and develop the necessary skills and confidence to seek out and sustain healthy, long-term committed relationships. It is hoped, through this website’s services and the shared wisdom of all gay men around the globe who visit and participate in this site, that our community can benefit with improved knowledge and skills for being more happily single or coupled in our lives.
“I work with gay men who are ready to create a road map that will lead them to find and build a lasting partnership with Mr. Right.” —Brian Rzepczynski, The Gay Love Coach™
5. Why did you choose to work in this field?
I went into social work because I’ve always had a natural affinity and desire to help people overcome challenges and improve their quality-of-life. The catalyst to actually moving me toward pursuing the degree in the helping profession was actually…Dr. Ruth Westheimer! When I was in high school and just starting college, Dr. Ruth had a call-in talk radio show called “Sexually Speaking” that really resonated with me and I wanted to do what she was doing. That, along with my own “coming out” process, really spurred me into wanting to work in the sexuality field in some way.
6. Where did you go for school/training?
I obtained my master’s degree in clinical social work in 1992 from Western Michigan University and just earned a doctorate degree in 2010 from the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality.
7. How did you get to where you are?
Lots of education, studying, training, and dedication/motivation to accomplish the goals of my mission! The support of my family and friends has also been instrumental in my success. With almost workaholic vigor, I’ve had to learn how to balance all the roles in my life and sacrifice certain things to be able to make my dreams come true…and it’s still an evolution. It will always be a work-in-progress, and that’s what I love about it. My passion for this work is almost spiritual, larger than myself, so it never quite feels like work and the enthusiasm for it fuels the movement forward.
8. Do you have any literature out (websites, articles)?
My website is http://www.thegaylovecoach.com and houses a multitude of articles that I’ve written, as well as an advice column. My writings have gone viral and are spread throughout the Web. The most unsuspecting outgrowth of my coaching practice has been the frequent contacts I receive from the media for interviews. I’ve been interviewed and/or quoted by The Chicago Tribune, MSN.com, and Esquire Magazine. I was interviewed by a singles radio program on gay dating and was even approached and signed by a media production company to be the resident sex coach for a reality TV show that was being produced (unfortunately the project was dropped due to lack of financing). I’d never imagined reaching these heights when I first started, so it’s been a very enjoyable secondary benefit to the business.
I am also co-author of the 2005 self-help book A Guide to Getting It: Purpose & Passion in which I wrote a chapter about how to develop “zest for life.”
9. What would you recommend to future sexologists attempting to get into the field?
This work is very important! You will likely face much opposition and resistance as you spread your sex-positive message, but you’re making an extremely important contribution to changing the fabric of our society and helping the world become more affirmative about sexuality. We’re breaking down barriers.
My recommendation for a future sexologist would be to go to college and obtain a master’s degree in a counseling, psychology, or social work program as the basis and foundation for your career. From this, I would suggest gaining additional human sexuality-specific training and education for your own growth and professional credibility. And be proactive in getting your message out! Having a specific niche is also important to develop an expertise that people will begin to identify you as the go-to person for that area of sexuality for whatever population, issue, research, or academic area of the sex field that you pursue.
10. What is the most challenging aspect for you working in this career?
The most challenging and sometimes painful part of my work is having to contend with homophobia. I frequently receive hate mail, false subscriptions to my mailing list from people who think it’s funny to sign up someone they know to a “gay site”, and on occasion have even received letters with veiled death threats and statements of a violent and abusive nature for the work that I do. Over time, I’ve learned to accept this as being par for the course and that my mission and those that I am able to successfully reach and positively impact is far more important than dealing with ignorance and prejudice. Homophobia is an unfortunate consequence of what I do, but my passion for spreading my message about affirmative gay relationships and sexuality helps to buffer that and actually helps to motivate me to keep fighting even harder.
11. One must read-what would you recommend? Why?
For a student breaking into the field, my favorite would have to be the Guide to Getting It On by Paul Joannides. It is comprehensive, very sex-positive, informative, practical, and fun and covers the wide spectrum of sexuality. I think it should be required reading as an adjunct book to most current human sexuality textbooks because it gives a different spin and much needed balance to the typical dryness and sometimes not always so sex-positive college texts out there.