Joe Kort (born 1963) is an openly gay American clinical social worker, clinical sexologist, author, lecturer, and facilitator of workshops. He met his partner, Mike, in 1993, and they religiously married under Reform Judaism in 2000 and legally married in 2005 in Massachusetts. The New York Times quoted him as saying, “For many young gay men today, settling down in a relationship in their 20s—or getting married if they live in Massachusetts—will feel like a very natural thing to do.”
Education and career
Kort received a BA in Social Work from Michigan State University (1985) and a Master of Social Work Degree (1986) and Master’s in Educational Psychology (1992) from Wayne State University in Detroit, MI. Kort has also completed his doctorate from the American Academy of Clinical Sexologists in Orlando, FL and holds a Ph.D. in clinical sexology.
Since 1985, Kort has provided psychotherapy and relationship counseling to individuals and couples, both gay and heterosexual, and specializes in sexual addiction/compulsivity, depression, anxiety disorders, sexual orientation issues, mixed-orientation marriages as well as adult survivors of sexual abuse/incest. He runs an ongoing Gay Men's Group Therapy.
Kort has devoted his career to advancing the social acceptance, and professional treatment of the gay, lesbian and bisexual communities. His first book, 10 Smart Things Gay Men Can Do to Improve Their Lives (2003, Alyson Books) gave answers to the most common questions his clients brought to him, outlining the most effective ways for gay men to escape negativity and achieve greater fulfillment.
Kort has appeared on television and radio programs, was a featured guest on The Montel Williams Show and The Tyra Banks Show talk shows on the topic of mixed-orientation marriages; "These men genuinely love their wives," a The New York Times article quoted him as saying. "They fall in love with their wives, they have children, they're on a chemical, romantic high. Then after about seven years, the high falls away and their gay identity starts emerging." Kort was also a guest on Oprah and Friends Radio "Better in Bed" with Dr. Laura Berman, discussing straight men who have sex with men.
Kort is an outspoken advocate for men who have sex with men (MSM), particularly heterosexual men who engage in sexual behavior with other men and are not gay or bisexual. The term down low specifically addresses African-American males secretly engaging in sexual behavior with other men. Kort has expanded the awareness of down-low behavior to apply beyond men of color and writes about this sexual behavior crossing all ethnicities, races, religions and socioeconomics.
In June 1991, he received his ACSW (Academy of Certified Social Workers), which is the most widely recognized and respected credential from the National Association of Social Workers. In 1995, he was certified to practice Imago Relationship Therapy, as developed by Harville Hendrix, Ph.D. and detailed in his books, Getting the Love You Want and Keeping the Love You Find.) In 1998, Kort was nationally certified to present couples’ weekends based on IMAGO Relationship Therapy.
Since 1998, as an Adjunct Professor at Wayne State University’s School of Social Work, he teaches graduate courses in Gay & Lesbian Studies. Since 1999, he has been a member of The Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health (formerly The National Council on Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity), as well as American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT).
Kort's website, StraightGuise.com, is addressed to the men and women who are involved with them. Since 2009, he has written an online advice column for 365gay.com, owned and operated by Viacom (a division of MTV and LOGO Television).
- Benoit Denizet-Lewis, “Young Gay Rites,” The New York Times, April 27, 2008. (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/27/magazine/27young-t.html?_r=1&scp=2&sq=joe%20kort&st=cse).
- 10 Smart Things Gay Men Can Do to Improve Their Lives (Los Angeles: Alyson Books, 2003).
- "Mixed Orientation Marriages," The Montel Williams Show, taped in December, 2005; aired Tuesday, April 11, 2006.
- "Women Who Love Gay Men," The Tyra Banks Show, Wednesday, April 19, 2009 (http://tyrashow.warnerbros.com/2006/08/women_who_love_gay_men.php).
- Katy Butler, "Many Couples Must Negotiate Terms of 'Brokeback' Marriages," The New York Times, March 7, 2006.
- "Better in Bed" with Dr. Laura Berman, Oprah and Friends show, XM 156/SIRIUS 195 Radio, March 5, 2009. (http://www.oprah.com/media/20090305_oradio_lb).
- Harville Hendrix, Ph.D., Getting the Love You Want (1988) and Keeping the Love You Find (New York: Pocket Books, 1992).
- 10 Smart Things Gay Men Can Do to Improve Their Lives (ISBN 1-55583782-4)
- 10 Smart Things Gay Men Can Do to Find Real Love (ISBN 1-55583898-7)
- Gay Affirmative Psychotherapy for the Straight Clinician (ISBN 0-39370497-1), W W Norton page
- "Straight Guise: Is My Partner Gay?" — a chapter about straight men in heterosexual marriages who have sex with other men — in Mending A Shattered Heart: A Guide for Partners of Sex Addicts (ISBN 0-977440060: Gentle Press, 2008.)
- Foreword to Loving Ourselves: The Gay and Lesbian Guide to Self-Esteem by Kimeron Hardin Joe wrote the this books ISBN 1-59350-045-9: Alyson Books, 2008).
Newspapers, magazines and journals
Since 1996, he has published newspaper articles on the special issues faced by gays and lesbians in the Detroit Free Press, Between the Lines, the Detroit News, and The Oakland Press, some of which include:
- “The Men in the Mirror: Gay Men and their Porn” (June, 2002) for In the Family.
- “Queer Eye for the Straight Therapist” (May, 2004) for Psychotherapy Networker magazine
- “Homosexuality and Pedophilia: The False Link” (September, 2004), for In the Family.
- “The New Mixed Marriage” (September, 2005), for therapists working with couples where one spouse is straight and the other gay/lesbian) for Psychotherapy Networker magazine.
- “Covert Cultural Sexual Abuse of Gay Male Teenagers Contributing to Etiology of Sexual Addiction” (Winter, 2005) in Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity Journal.
- “The Sex Addicted Mixed-Orientation Marriage: Examining Attachment Styles, Internalized Homophobia and Viability of Marriage After Disclosure” with Deborah M. Corley, Ph.D. (spring 2006), in Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity Journal.
- “Gay Guise: What to Do When Your Client Has Sex with Men, But is Straight” (July/August, 2007), for Psychotherapy Networker magazine.