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Boy Slut Author Zachary Zane’s Tales of Bisexuality, Shame, and Fear of Rejection

Jun 30, 2023

 

Rejection is a situation that most people struggle with. In fact, people tend to be so afraid of rejection that our brains come up with sophisticated ways to avoid rejection and the shame or embarrassment that often tags along with it. Rejection is a part of life whether someone is dealing with rejection from a romantic interest or getting turned down from business dealings; rejection hurts but it’s survivable.

 

In this episode of the Modern Intimacy Podcast, Dr. Kate Balestrieri and author, Zachary Zane, talk about Zachary’s own experiences with rejection, shame and his bisexual identity.

 

Why Does Rejection Feel So Bad?

 

The experience of rejection is one that most don’t choose to seek out. If you think back to a time you were rejected, you might even still feel the turn of your stomach remembering how bad it felt. Rejection feels bad because we often subconsciously experience rejection as a personal attack.

 

Rejection can come with negative thoughts that can be consuming, such as “there is something wrong with me,” or “I am not good enough.” The person who did the rejecting might not believe those statements at all, but that doesn’t stop the brain from fixating on why it happened and taking the rejection extremely personal. Some can spend a lot of time feeling flooded with shame which can erode at self-esteem, confidence, and insecurity.

 

When someone rejects us, we often perceive it as a rejection of our whole selves. It can be hard to step away in the moment and think, “maybe they are looking for something different,” because our brain goes into overdrive of negative thoughts about ourselves. This can manifest into feelings of anger as well, which is why sometimes someone can become enraged and violent when they are rejected.

 

Learning How to Live with Rejection

 

Learning how to overcome rejection can be challenging as people usually care a lot about what others think of them and want to be accepted. While it’s unlikely you can train yourself to never feel rejection again (without repressing your emotions), what might be helpful is learning how to work on any negative ways that rejection affects your life.

 

Radical acceptance

 

Radically accepting that rejection is a natural part of life can be empowering. You are not going to be for everyone, and everyone won’t be for you. When you learn how to radically accept this concept, rejection can start to sting less.

 

Don’t deny

 

It can be an impulse to force yourself to forget experiences with rejection due to how bad it feels, but learning how to sit with the discomfort of rejection can actually help you feel like impacted by it. The more you deny it, the more powerful it can feel.

 

Process how you feel

 

One way to make sure you are not repressing your emotions about rejection is to talk to others about how you’re feeling. You can talk to friends, family, co-workers, a therapist, or anyone else who will hold space for you and have empathy for your experience. Sine rejection is a universal experience, they will likely know exactly how you feel and not judge you.

 

Rejection is only as powerful as we allow it to be. Learning how to live with and accept rejection is one way we grow more comfortable with those experiences and ultimately grow from them.

Zachary Zane is a Brooklyn-based columnist, sex expert, and activist whose work focuses on sexuality, culture, and the LGBTQ community. He is the author of Boyslut: A Memoir and Manifesto, coming out on May 9th, featuring real accounts of intimate and wild sexual experiences curated by the author.

 

He’s also the co-author of Men’s Health: Best. Sex. Ever.

 

He has a weekly sex advice column at Men’s Health titled “Sexplain It,” where he answers a diverse range of questions pertaining to masculinity, ethical non-monogamy, sexual insecurities, and the LGBTQ community.

 

He also has a monthly column at Queer Majority called “Zach and the City,” which explores romance and sexuality through Zane’s fabulous life. Set against the backdrop of New York City, Zane uses his personal experiences as a young and adventurous queer socialite to unpack the current state of cosmopolitan sex, love, and dating.

 

He currently writes for The Washington Post, Rolling Stone, and Prevention and has written for a wide array of publications.

 

As a leading bisexual activist, Zane has spoken across the country at universities and panels alike, discussing issues pertaining to the bisexual community, sex-positivity, and ethical non-monogamy.

 

He attended the “Bisexual White House Briefing” at the White House (under Obama), Dr. Kate and Zach discuss bisexuality, sexuality, polygamy, and the sexual shame that arises from so many societal “norms”.

 

They talk about being the rejector and the rejected, “nice” ways to reject someone, and inherent issues that come up even when you do the right thing.

 

Zach is a “sex expert and activist” and honestly portrays the dilemmas and way he’s tried to figure out life unashamedly.

 

Website: www.modernintimacy.com

Dr. Kate Balestrieri 

Modern Intimacy

This is the cover for the Modern Intimacy with Dr. Kate Balestrieri podcast.
Dr. Kate Balestrieri, host of Modern Intimacy, a licensed psychologist and certified sex therapist, helps people live more fulfilled lives by shattering stigma and erasing shame. Dr. Kate invites you to join her as she investigates the relationship between sex, mental health, relationships and modern society.

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