********** Spoiler Alert , its only 15 Questions! **********
The Sexual Health Alliance gained a super star earlier this month when we welcomed Dr. Chris Donaghue to the family. Dr. Chris Donaghue is an international lecturer, therapist, educator and is now the Director of Clinical Education for The Sexual Health Alliance (SHA). He is also the host of the LoveLine podcast, weekly expert on “The Amber Rose Show”, and frequent co host on “The Doctors” tv show. Please continue below for an intimate interview with Dr. Chris Donaghue.
Q1. SHA: The Sexual Health Alliance (SHA) is centered around providing Provocative
Dialog and Radical Collaboration. We’ve seen you say "radical is a holy philosophy,”
Can you expand upon that?
Dr. D: "“Radical” is a much needed perspective in our current political-social climate. I use the term to define a new way of thinking and to practice psychotherapy. The world needs a
new paradigm that challenges and opposes the traditional models based in sex negative
and White cishetero norms and values that pathologize diversity and creativity in
psychology, sexuality, and relationality. Clinicians sling around popular terms, ones like
sex addiction, codependence, gender, and monogamy, without ever exploring the
problematic values they are born from and reinforce. Radical means to critically analyze
who our terms, theories, and treatments oppress, exclude, or pathologize. Radical
philosophy leads to liberation, compassion, and healing."
Q2. SHA: You started looking at sexuality first through the lens of feminist and
queer theory, what did you find?
Dr. D: "Feminism and Queer theory both blew open my mind, and changed not
only how I saw sexuality, but also changed me entirely as a person in the
world. These two theories were really healing for me because they told
me that my creative ways of being and my very diverse expansive
sexuality were not only healthy, but were also strengths. Feminism
challenges clinical and cultural norms that prioritize labor before
relationship, and problematic individualism in favor of a more cooperative
and universal ethic. Add Queer theory to this, and I was suddenly able to
see differences as not being disorders or pathologies, but as beautiful
diverse ways of being, that not only challenged standard ways of living,
but were far “healthier” and allowed for more stable and sustainable sex
and relationships. Our standard models do not work, and we need to
create new ones, not keep trapping our patients in flawed theory."
Q3. SHA: What book(s) are you reading right now?
Dr. D: "Haha, I’m currently reading about 15! I’m always buried in a few piles of books as I
use cross-disciplinary work to learn more about psychology and sexuality. I think
most psychological writing is just a regurgitation of the same old problematic
ideals. I’m reading a lot of Mad Studies, always lots of anti oppression work by POC
(People of Color), Transhumanism, Neurodivergence, and lots of Fat liberation and
body rights work. It all ties together into a theory of liberation and expansion; my favorite tag line of “normal isn’t the goal”. Health lives in strange, nonconformistways of being and thinking."
Q4. SHA: You’re one of the few people we know with 2 PhDs and more tattoos than we can
count. What's the most meaningful tattoo you have?
Dr. D: "I’m an education junkie, and love to learn. After I went through a doctoral program
in clinical psych, I wanted to learn more about human sexuality so I entered a
program for that, all the way continuing to get tattooed which began way back at
age 16. Back then it was among the more radical things one could do. I still
purposefully lecture, practice, and do media showing them off to use it as a way to
create space for acceptance of diversity (my White Male cis privilege in action). My
Joan of Arc tattoo is my most meaningful. She is a beautiful example of courage
and strength and an original radical, queer, feminist."
-SHA: We agree education is the spice of life!
Q5. SHA: What’s the most important thing you talk about in the first or second therapy
session with a client?
Dr. D: "The importance of authenticity- permission to love yourself, all of yourself, just as
you are. The radical idea to not have shame around your body or sexuality. Which
is the opposite of what our capitalist culture of consumerism and normativity
allows for most people. It’s a life’s work to dismantle all this, but I want my work
with patients to be a loud voice telling them its ok to love their fat, queer, sexually
fluid, hypersexual, porn lovin’, non binary, polyamorous self."
Q6. SHA: What are the top 3 items on your bucket list?
Dr. D. "I’m happy to say, that although I don’t have a proper “bucket list”, I’ve
achieved most of my career and life goals and fantasies. What’s left is to
teach at a university (which is in the works), leave America, and to live on
the beach (also in the works)."
-SHA: Can we join?
Q7. SHA: One of our goals is to provide all therapists and healthcare providers with high
quality sexuality training because they often receive little to no education in sexual
health. What is the most important piece about sex that you want all providers to
know? What would you want them to incorporate into their practice?
DR: "I want all providers to know that “differences are NOT disorders”. Which was the
goal of my first book. Many healthcare providers and therapists still think in terms
of normalization, and believe that “health” is in conformity. I have patients enter
my practice having been shamed and pathologized for watching porn, not wanting
to get married (yes, this actually happened), or dating someone transgendered (yes,
this also happened, at a treatment center I once worked at. The director saw this
interest as tied to the clients “acting out” behavior). I want clinicians to work more
on acceptance and confidence in authenticity, and less on policing and diagnosing
(all of which are forms of control and not actual healing)."
Q8. SHA: What are your top 2 books that have influenced you and why?
Dr. D: "Everything by bell hooks continues to influence me greatly. She looks at
the world with a critical lens on oppression, which I think we all need to
get more sensitive to. I do believe that goal has the most valor, and should
be the ultimate goal of all those in the healthcare field- working to end all
oppression, and not supporting or adding to any oppression (I’m talking to
you ”sex addiction” people!). I’d also add the work of Crunk and Hood
feminism. Those ladies are scholarly as hell, kicking ass, and showing us
where we need to go."
SHA: Thanks Chris you are the best. Please see more about Chris @ https://www.drchrisdonaghue.com/
Please Join us for Round 2 of this interview with the amazing Dr. Chris Donaghue coming soon!