From holy to 'Hoe,' Byron Jamal ​is 'The Love Guru'

Byron Jamal. Photo courtesy of Jeff Dorta: Project Publicity

If you're uncomfortable talking about sex, you might have a hard time reading Byron Jamal's new book "How to Heal a Hoe" which will be available on February 14, 2022.

Then again, it may be exactly what you need especially if you are overcoming some sexual shame causing you to sabotage potentially great relationships.

Jamal, 39, is not afraid to speak up about uncomfortable sexual topics, in fact, he encourages people to ask about them. That might be in contrast to what you would expect from him given his religious educational background. Sometimes being frank about human sexuality doesn't dovetail smoothly into the groove of conservative spirituality. So he decided to leave his old church behind and matriculate at the school of humanity instead, giving himself a new moniker along the way.

"I'm a former pastor who felt I was more effective in one-on-one office sessions than in the pulpit," said Jamal. "I could be more authentic to real people with real problems. I left the church to have fewer restrictions in helping people. That soon became my ministry in a new and unique way as The Love Guru."

Originally from Charlotte, N.C., he now resides in Atlanta. Jamal identifies as bisexual and prefers the pronouns he/him. He believes that all relationships have the same challenges and rewards. He says the nuances and foundational things are the same, but the bottom line is we all want to love and be loved.

But in the LGBTQ+ community, there is so much judgment about who they love and what they do in bed. These aren't judgments held exclusively by the straight crowd either. The gay community has its own judgments and a lot of those are in the form of pithy bromides. Jamal says cliches can hinder one's ability or desire to know someone because we think we already do. "If you watched coverage of national pride parades or most mainstream movies, the focus is on the more flamboyantly feminine men and very masculine women. While that represents some, it doesn't express us all. It's better to get to know someone one-on-one before applying any cliche to them."

Photo courtesy Project Publicity

He continues to say that hurt speech doesn't just come from the outside world, sometimes we attack ourselves. There's a word for it: shame. "All of us were born because of the mechanics of sex, and yet it's the source of our biggest shame," he said.

"How we love and who we love is judged by everyone, including ourselves. Shame is something you must continue to overcome, like me with eating bread and trying to lighten the load on my scale," he laughs. "It's a continuous process that you maintain by surrounding yourself with sex-positive people, places, and things."

What about overcoming the unique dynamics inside a gay relationship? People often joke that two males who "identify" as bottoms will never work out.

"The initial goal of sex is pleasure, but the deeper goal of sex is intimacy. That intimacy can take many forms beyond penetration. When two people connect, yes they want great sex. Even more than that, they want a life partner to share all their life with. This can happen with touch, toys, and tongues. They just need to unleash their inner creativity."

That seems like good advice. But gay and lesbian relationships are different, or rather they're perceived that way. Jamal agrees, saying other than the obvious physical differences, lesbians tend to focus on the emotional dynamics of the individuals. "You can catch them swapping personal stories and chatting for hours in bed." As for gay men, they, "tend to focus on the physical aspects of life, from gym bodies and luxury vacations to designer shoes and steamy sex. Both like cuddling, but men will do less talking afterward."

Which brings us to Jamal's new book "How to Heal a Hoe." It's described as "A loving self-healing approach to sexual stigma, shame and trauma." It could be called a help yourself self-help book. As for the title, it suggests recovering from toxic promiscuity, but the author says it's more than that and a certain slut-shamed southern lady from an 80s sitcom might have had it right all along.

Courtesy of Byron Jamal & Project Publicity

"Being a hoe is good if it doesn't make you feel bad," Jamal explains. "Sex is a healthy component of life and our expression. There are many ways to get to know your body, desires, and passions. Sex just happens to be a really effective way. So as long as our girl Blanche from the Golden Girls is fine with changing her sheets three times a day, who are we to judge?"

Then there's the opposite end of casual sex, monogamy. While both monogamy and nonmonogamy relationships can be happy and healthy, he says it's important to acknowledge that monogamy is just our default relationship type. "Choosing what works for you should be a matter of personal desires, needs, and preferences. That means you'll need to really dig deep to understand your own authentic desires, separate from what might be expected from you by those around you."

That also might mean having a relationship with something on a higher plane. Although judgments and prejudices from human beings can be damaging, religion and its cannon can also breed self-loathing and discontent over time. Jamal is adamant that God loves gay people. He says they are the most creative, expressive dynamic people on the planet. "God created everything, including gay people, and (to my knowledge) God doesn't make any mistakes."

Courtesy of Byron Jamal & Project Publicity

So the question might become, is it better to be loved by God or other human beings? There's a seemingly easy answer. The author says people can be fickle and irregular when it comes to affection. "So basing your worth on them will always set you up to fail. God is unwavering and unchanging. To know you are loved by God is something that becomes an unbreakable foundation in your life, one that you can build a stable and emotionally secure life on."

Armed with the spiritual principles he preached at church and the lessons he learned after he left the pulpit, Jamal became "The Love Guru." His advice isn't just centered on the LGBTQ+ community. He coaches and supports straight people too. Jamal is a firm believer that, "loving your inner hoe is the key to a healthy sexual love journey," no matter what your orientation.

It's true: You can't spell "evolve" without "love."

The author is currently celebrating the upcoming release of his new book and gearing up for a brand new project. "I have partnered with a dear friend of mine and created a new card game, 'The Biggest Hoe,' which is best described as 'sexy Uno.' I'm preparing for an upcoming game night book tour to help start conversations that end sexual stigma and shame within our culture."

"How to Heal a Hoe" will be released on February 14, 2022, and will be available on Amazon.

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