As part of our “Men In the Fight” podcast series and in honor of our 10th episode (whoohoo!) we welcome special guest Gene McConnell, who for nearly 40 years has been speaking on the topic of shame, including its role in the perpetuation of human trafficking and addiction and its impact on one’s personal perception that effects all other relationships.

On today’s podcast, Gene unpacks a vital message about the critical need we all have for intimacy, shedding light on true intimacy versus the illusion of intimacy. He also explains that while shame disavows us of the notion that we are a candidate for love and true intimacy, the way out of addiction is building real intimacy and true connection. This is reflective in the ethos of Gene’s organization Authentic Relationships International, which is grounded in teaching individuals to build and maintain healthy relationships in marriage, in the workplace and community.

Finally, Gene casts a powerful vision for what he’d like to see in the future, emphasizing the necessary cultural shift that needs to take place. He believes by changing the collective mindset that shames addicts into going underground to consume pornography secretly – we may encourage them to come out boldly and to run towards true intimacy. He imagines that if one individual can be part of the continuation of exploitation, what can one person do who has been redeemed from that life?

If you’d like to support Gene, stay informed about the important work he is doing, schedule a presentation, or attend an upcoming event with ARI, you can find out more by visiting