Thursday, May 30, 2013

Jesus + Booty = Peace. A Q&A with the Christian Sex Maven

Do you love the Lord but also love booty and are trying to figure out how to bring the 2 together? Well, do we have a blogger for you!!! De-Andrea Blaylock-Johnson, an LCSW and Christian Sex Therapist who's got some answers!

De-Andrea and Alan on their honeymoon!
De-Andrea and I attended college together at Saint Louis University (SLU). Back then, the Black Student Alliance at SLU had a mentoring program where upper classmen mentored freshmen until they graduated. Well, De-Andrea was assigned to me as my mentor and she's been a-mentoring me ever since. We also have the same birthday, which makes De-Andrea doubly awesome ;-)

Besides being a brilliant writer and health professional, De-Andrea found her niche in teaching saved folks how to have kinky reckless the moment within a healthy relationship, of course. Being the heathen that I am, always fascinated by the physical pleasures of the world, I stopped De-Andrea to ask her a few questions:

Blue: Where are you from?
De-Andrea: I am from the union of Theda Pittman and James Blaylock, Jr. I was created in love on their 5th wedding anniversary and landed in St. Louis 2/18/1981. I've lived in North City, the West Side, and North County, but everyone's really from Kemet (Egypt), right?

B: Tell us a little about your background.
D: In Jujitsu? No background whatsoever. Let's start with my education. I graduated from Saint Louis University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Social Work with a minor in Theology. I then matriculated at Washington University in St. Louis where I earned a Master of Social Work degree with a concentration in Mental Health.With my faith, I was born and raised United Methodist in the same church my parents met and married. As a teenager, I built myself spiritually with mentors that are COGIC, and studied theology at a Jesuit Catholic University. ...and now I attend a Baptist church. While in college, I began to explore pre-Christian religions and was excited to see similarities with them and modern Christianity. After visiting Egypt in 2009, I revisited what I learned in college and reaffirmed my belief that it's all the same story told in different cultural contexts for the most part.

B: What church do you go to?
D: I currently attend New White Stone Missionary Baptist Church with my husband. He's very active there, serving as a deacon and leader in the music ministry. I joined soon after we returned from our honeymoon and enjoy the family atmosphere and appreciate the support of my pastor, Min. Marcus Divine.

B: How did you discover that Christian Sex Therapy was the way to go professionally?
D: I think I discovered Christian Sex Therapy as a possible profession by accident. One of my good friends introduced me to Sex Therapy while we were in undergrad. I knew that I wanted to do therapy of some sort and was interested in working with relationships specifically. However, specializing in sex just seemed super interesting! I mean, it's sex: the word so many are afraid to utter in mixed company but everyone exists because of it. Because of the (incorrect) lessons I learned about sex and sexuality from the Christian community, I realized there needed to be a venue for sex positive messages that were in line with the Faith. I did a bit of research and just came to the conclusion that there are far too few people within my community that profess to be Christians and are willing to speak openly about sex and sexuality from a place of love and not condemnation. You must be the change you wish to see, right? Yes, that's paraphrased from Mahatma Gandhi who was not Christian, but also said "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."

B: How does your professional history in social work affect the way you view sex among the saints?
D: I am a social worker at heart and a true fan of the training I received, mostly because of the Person-In-Environment perspective. Basically, as a mental health professional, I've been taught to examine an individual's situation from various viewpoints, taking into consideration their community and how it impacts their worldview. As it relates to sex among the Saints, I understand and, in some situations, have been taught a lot of the same negative ideas about sex and sexuality. These ideas can impact how you interact with others and what you may think is available to you. I believe sex is a wonderful part of the human experience. Even Paul talks about how it can extend salvation to your mate. However, because sex is often used to manipulate and control (and has been in the canonical 66) I can empathize when people believe what they believe because of what they've been taught. To some, my being a follower of The Way opens the door to an honest conversation about sex and sexuality and true growth and healing can take place. Social Work and Sexuality go hand-in-hand.

B: What has been the most...we'll just say "interesting" thing you've run across in your experience or research?
D: I'd say the most interesting thing I've run across is the observation of my own growth. Sexuality is broad and I've only been exposed to a...naw, I was about to lie. I've seen and been exposed to a lot of stuff! However, I notice that my reactions have changed. As part of my Sex Therapist training, I had to attend a SAR - Sexual Attitude Reassessment - where I was flooded with all types of sexual images and given an opportunity to process them. You have to ask yourself tough questions you may not have considered, but it's important to deal with your own "stuff" before you're able to help anyone else heal from theirs. 

B: What are your core values?
D: My core values:
Love conquers all.
I am created in Love.
Love is the answer.
Fear cannot exist in the same space as Love.
God is Love.
And I am sexy as hell.

B: If you could go back in time, what would you tell 10 year old De-Andrea?
D: I remember being too practical as a youngin'. I remember a conversation I had with my father, who died when I was 15 years old. I had these grand ideas of what I wanted to be when I grew up. First, I was going to be a singer-dancer-actress, then a fashion designer, then the first black female Supreme Court Justice, then a chef. I used to watch cooking shows on PBS and recreate recipes. One night, I was talking with my dad about my latest creation - a chocolate peanut butter cake - and how I probably shouldn't work toward being a chef because it was highly unlikely that I'd become a SuperStar Chef. What he said to me is some of the best advice I've ever received. He told me to stop worrying about fame and just create. He told me I could be whatever I wanted and that I shouldn't worry about being practical, but that I could do anything I put my mind to. I was probably 14 when I had that conversation with Daddy.