Category Archives: HEALTH

THE POWER OF MEDITATION

naked teen boy

I’d like to share with you a secret that will bring you peace, focus and stillness. It is something that I try practice daily and when I miss the opportunity to do so, I can feel the difference in my mood and mindset. I’m talking about meditation and while I’m certainly not the first person to preach its benefits, I am a strong believer in its power. Meditation is often mistakenly associated with people on the fringes of society, practiced by men with shaved heads in hemp trousers but the truth is that it’s a secret natural mood enhancer enjoyed by people from all walks of life.

My personal favourite mediation is led by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the leader of the Art of Living movement. I came across his teachings through a friend of mine and I can honestly say that his messages and approach to life has changed my understanding of happiness and peace. The below mediation is simple to follow, short in length yet extremely powerful. Try this every morning for a week and enjoy the changes that it will bring to your life.

 

 

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PERSONAL TRAINERS WHO USE STEROIDS

gay bodybuilder

In my opinion, hiring a personal trainer who uses steroids is like asking Kim Kardashian to give a lecture on inner beauty – it doesn’t make sense.

Personally when I look to a trainer or a fitness professional for body inspiration, I want to know that if I follow their lead then one day I too could have a physique like them. It would be a shame to find out that this could never happen without injecting an illegal substance into my body. I see all these incredibly muscled fitness celebrities on Instagram, with hundreds of thousands of fans, spruiking messages of ‘strength’, ‘determination’, ‘willpower’, ‘gains’ etc. without acknowledging that their superhuman size is also due to another factor – steroids. Some, you can tell are clearly using artificial enhancement while others are questionable. The problem though then becomes, how do we distinguish between natural and not? By default everyone falls into the same ‘fit’ category and fans are left wondering why they can’t put on the same size as their heroes.

I guess that I don’t understand the obsession for size. While I try to see every choice from both sides, I have yet to hear an argument for steroid use (other than a genuine medical reason) that is plausible. To me it appears to be purely vanity and dare I say it, borderline narcissistic? I’m happy to be proven wrong and it certainly isn’t my place to judge someone’s personal choices. However, my issue lies with people in power such as trainers and Instagram celebrities, whose actions do have an affect on the expectations and self esteem of others. A young guy, following the training regime of another guy from Instagram, wonders why his physique is taking so long to change even though he works out religiously. Unrealistic expectations lead to disappointment which is made harder when you’re only being told half the story in the first place.

Steroid use by personal trainers and Instagram fitness celebrities is like false advertising. PT’s are there to motivate and inspire you to reach your goals and one of the ways that they do so is through their own desirable physical appearance. You wouldn’t hire an overweight PT who clearly doesn’t practice what they preach. Rather, you choose the extraordinarily fit muscle man with the tight tank top, shorts and  fluro Nikes.  But what if your PT’s body has been boosted by chemical enhancements? You’re being sold a fake product.

We cheered for Lance Armstrong in the Tour de France and felt betrayed when we found out that he was doping. Why? Because we look to these sportsmen for inspiration, for examples of human will and achievement and when we find out they’ve been cheating, we feel cheated ourselves. We feel lied to. Why then is it different for bodybuilders, fitness professional and PTs?

 

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MODERN GAY HEALTH: WHAT IS PREP?

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To PrEP or not to PrEP: Is Truvada really a sexual health game changer?

There’s a lot of discussion at the moment about the use of PrEP as a safe sex tactic for gay men. Writer David Mang explains what PrEP is and looks at whether or not it’s the right tactic for you.

While the horrors of the AIDS crisis of the 1980s are mercifully consigned to history, HIV remains a major health risk for all sexually active people, particularly gay and bisexual men. In 2014, around 2,800 LGBT men were diagnosed HIV positive in the UK – many of whom could potentially have avoided infection had they been using a PrEP drug such as Truvada.

What is PrEP?

PrEP stands for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, and is a method of preventing HIV infection which has recently been made available for sale in some territories, including the USA. It involves taking an antiretroviral drug on a daily basis. At present, the leading drug on the market is Truvada, which has been shown to reduce the risk of HIV infection for people who are identified as ‘high risk’ by as much as 92%.

The easiest way to think about is is to remember that PrEP is the method, whereas Truvada is simply a brand name. When the patent on Truvada expires in a couple of years time, the market may well be flooded by equally effective alternatives, lowering the cost of the drug.

How does it work?

First of all, it’s vital to remember that PrEP is not a vaccine. When you take PrEP on a daily basis, it enters your bloodstream and can stop HIV from taking hold and spreading. However, of you fail to take PrEP consistently, it’s effectiveness weakens, and there may not be enough medication in your bloodstream to protect you.

Should I be using PrEP?

The reduction rate in HIV transmission from using PrEP is hugely significant. With the medication broadly considered to be safe and relatively low on harmful side effects, the evidence in favour of taking them is compelling – particularly if you frequently engage in high-risk sexual activities such as barebacking, anonymous sex or group sex, or if you’re an intravenous drug user. It could also be a major breakthrough for mixed HIV status couples. According to a study by HIV I-Base, around half of gay men in London would take oral PrEP drugs to reduce their risks of contracting HIV.

On the other hand, PrEP is not a silver bullet for sexual health. First, it is only effective if taken consistently, so don’t think of it as a gay version of the ‘morning after pill’. If you decide PrEP is for you, it’s critically important that you take the drug every day. It also provides no protection against other STIs such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea, anal warts and syphilis.

What are the potential side effects?

Some people who have taken Truvada have complained of mild side effects including loss of appetite, insomnia and an upset stomach. However, in most cases these issues have resolved after regularly taking the drug for a month or so. Beyond that, it appears to be a fairly comfortable and easy drug to take.

How do I get hold of PrEP?

A relative newcomer to the sexual health market, PrEP is not currently available on the NHS in the UK, and can only be accessed by participants in selected medical trials. However, in other countries such as the USA it has been brought to market, albeit at a high price point. Sexual health campaigners are calling for Truvada to be made available on the NHS, and it is hoped that before too long PrEP will become another powerful weapon in our sexual health arsenal.

For more information on PrEP click here 

Image by Bruce Weber for VMAN.

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THE BEST SEX TIP YOU WILL EVER LEARN

gay sex tips

Sex – there is probably no other three-letter word in the English language that simultaneously conjures up both excitement and anxiety in gay men. S-E-X, three letters combined that spell out pleasure, lust, love, passion, yearning and often, confusion. So what’s the one thing that you can do to improve your sex life and to eliminate the confusion? I’ll share that with you in a moment, but first let me discuss my sexual education.

When I first learnt about the mechanics of gay sex at the age of fourteen I was completely mortified. Mortification led to confusion and confusion led to fear. I had so many questions and concerns but nobody to talk to. When parents sit down with their children to give them “the talk”, it rarely covers topics such as anal sex, douching and blowjobs. Sexual education for gay teens at school is no better. So how then are meant to learn how to have gay sex?

My straight male friends learnt about sex from their older brothers and from each other. They would compare notes, share tips and boast about their experiences. Not having any gay friends growing up meant that when it came to my first time I didn’t have a cache of stories from which to inspire tricks and tips. It was completely unchartered waters. While I had had sex with girls before, the differing anatomy meant that my sex skills (and a use the term “skills” loosely) were non-transferable. I compare it to playing tennis and then attempting to play golf. Although both sports involve balls and swinging, the techniques employed are different. Just because you can get a little ball in a hole in one sport doesn’t mean that you’ll be able to serve an ace in another.

So my knowledge of gay sex was formed through porn. But gay porn made it seem that your first sexual experience would be easy. You, the virgin, make eyes with your baseball coach in the locker room and the next minute you’re in the throes of passion. Expertly and seamlessly, you move through a series of positions that border on Olympic gymnastics and in forty-five minutes you both climax, shower and the credits begin to role. Easy. Although in reality, it’s nothing quite like that. In real life you spend years stressing over finding the right guy for your first time. When you finally find that guy and make it to his bedroom you quietly fumble through a series of uncomfortable positions, things often get messy, he gets awkward, someone climaxes in seven minutes, someone doesn’t climax at all and then it’s all over before you can say “but-Sean-Cody-makes-it-look-so-much-sexier-than-that”.

Which brings me to the best sex tip you will ever learn. When it comes to sex, particularly gay sex, which can take a few attempts to get right, the most important thing is communication. Forget all the other tips you’ve read or been told about how to improve your sex life, if you can’t communicate with your partner then nothing else is going to work. What do you like? Do you like it when I do this? Which position is best for you? How about we try this? Does this hurt? Can we change positions? These are the types of questions and conversations you need to have to enhance your sexual enjoyment. Communicating with your partner, whether they are a one-night stand or a long-term lover will enhance the experience for both of you. Sex is meant to be fun and it’s meant to be pleasurable so if it’s painful or uncomfortable or if you’re doing something that you are not enjoying then something should be said. Younger, more inexperienced guys often tell me that they’ve been left traumatized after their first sexual experience because it was just too painful and they were too scared to tell their partner. Without getting into the anatomy of it all, the truth is that if done properly, sex should not be painful. If approached slowly, at the right angle and with verbal guiding from both partners then sex should be amazing. This can only be achieved through talking. It doesn’t matter which position you take in the bedroom, top, bottom, left or right, it’s important to be open about what you like and what you don’t like to ensure that you are both having fun.

While there may not be a manual for gay sex, if you adopt an open-communication approach in the bedroom then you and your partner will be able to teach each other a thing or two and perfect the art of sex. Oh, and remember that practice makes perfect so if it’s your first or second time, don’t expect it to be flawless. It’s messy, it’s sweaty, it’s exhausting but man it’s wonderful!

Image by ChuanDo & Frey for L’Officiel Hommes Singapore.

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RULE NO.15: THE SECRET TO HAPPINESS IS SELF-LOVE

Happy Boys - Modern Gay

The secret to happiness is self-love (and not the sexual kind).

It may have become evident that I often discuss “self-love”. I believe that self-love is the hardest thing for gay men to achieve, the lack of which is at the root of most our dysfunctional behaviour. Many gay men still hold onto the shame of being gay, remnants of their closeted days which makes self-love even more allusive. But it’s not just gay men who suffer, all of humanity experiences feelings of fear, self doubt and self loathing; these are universal characteristics of the human condition.

Gay men, however have found excellent ways of masking these fears. We create fabulous and flamboyant personas, engage in regular sex and devote our time to aesthetic pursuits all in order to mask our true feelings. I’ve always thought that those people who display extreme traits are often masking the exact opposite. The loudest and most confident people are often the most scared, the people having the most sex are the loneliest, the most popular are afraid of not being liked and the most vain are never content with their appearance.

So how do we overcome our self loathing and fear? How do we find happiness within ourselves? I’ve been fascinated with these questions for as long as I can remember because I truly believe that only when you are happy does everything else fall into place. Only once you love yourself, can you be loved by others, romantically or in the broader sense. We try change external factors (jobs, partners, friends, cities etc) to make ourselves happy when all we really need to do is change ourselves.

Last night while trawling Youtube I found a video that offered a very simple answer to the happiness question. It proposed the easiest approach to finding fulfilment that I’ve ever come across (and I’ve done a fair bit of research!). Ask yourself this question:

“What would someone who loved themselves do?”

In whatever situation you may be, ask yourself “what would someone who loved themselves do?”. I can assure you that your whole perspective will change immediately. If you’re feeling upset, confused, enraged or bored ask yourself again  “what would someone who loved themselves do?” – the answer will come to you instinctively and those feelings will be quashed immediately.

Try this with me for the next week and let me know how it works for you. To watch the video Click Here.

Photo Credit: Diana Scheunemann

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RULE NO.14: YOU’RE NOT PICKY, YOU’RE INSECURE

Steven Klein Male Models

It was a Sunday afternoon in summer. A female friend of mine had asked that I entertain a friend of hers while he was in Sydney. She assured me that although he was ten years my senior, he was handsome, charasmatic, successful and friendly. Obviously I was sceptical but being the friend that I am, I agreed to do her a favour. I met him at a popular Sydney restaurant for drinks and we hit it off instantly. He was handsome and charismatic, just as she described. The conversation flowed and we were getting on like old friends. After a bottle of champagne we headed to a local gay venue for a few more drinks. Being a Sunday, this particular venue was wall to wall with gay men.

“Is there anyone here you like?” he asked.

“Not really” I replied after scanning the room for potential. “I’m very picky”.

“You’re not picky, you’re insecure” he responded instantly.

My blood began to boil.

How dare this guy presume to know me after one bottle of Clicquot and an afternoon of small talk. Couldn’t he tell that I’m confident and self-assured? That I’m successful and intelligent. That I’m the whole package. That I’m just waiting to find the right guy. That I’m…. insecure.

As I tried to reach for a defensive response I was stumped because in that instant it dawned on me, he was right. I wasn’t picky at all, I was afraid of rejection. I was insecure. Behind the confident facade, I was a scared boy, afraid that nobody would  love me. For so long I had hidden behind a vail of protection disguised as “pickiness”  in order to dismiss guys before I even had a chance to make a move; before I had the chance to be rejected.

He’s too short. Too buff. Too skinny. Too gay. Too butch. He dresses badly. He’s too old. Too young. Too tanned. Too many tatooes. Too clean cut. Too hipster. Not hipster enough. He’s not successful. He’s not my type anyway. I doubt I’m his type.

There have been so many excuses.

I realised that I had created a defense mechanism which had protected me for so long from facing rejection. Before I even had the chance to be rejected, I would justify reasons why I shouldn’t approach a particular person or give them a chance. This is such a limiting view of life. In retrospect, the greatest loves I’ve had have come from finding the courage to approach the handsome guy across the bar. But I’ve missed so many moments too due to my insecurities and unjustified justifications. I think about the times I wished I had said something to the guy who made eyes with me in the supermarket, or the boy from Canada my friends brought to the party. What could have been if I just had the courage to say “hi”?

A heart that is never broken dies of dystrophy. It’s only thorough the broken heart that light shines through. Without risk there is no reward. So instead of pretending that you’re just picky or waiting for someone to approach you, recognise your insecurities and try work on them. We need to have faith in ourselves and what we offer to the world.

A friend of mine who worked in marketing for an energy drink company (let’s call it Energy X) once told me a story that changed my way of thinking. She said, “Josh, at Energy X we don’t try convince people to like our brand. Some people drink Coke, others like Iced Tea. We have enough faith in our incredible brand that we appreciate those that love Energy X and it is those people who we pursue. We don’t try convince someone who only drinks Coke to drink Energy X too. You are like Energy X. Have faith in your incredible brand. Know that not everyone will like you or be attracted to you but appreciate those that do. Pursue them“.

This has stuck with me till this day and has helped me overcome my insecurities and my fear of rejection (a fear that we ALL share). We cannot convince someone to like our drink if they only drink Coke. Just the same as you aren’t attracted to everyone you meet, not everyone will be attracted to you. Be brave and be honest and realise that all this time you haven’t been picky, you’ve just been insecure.

Photo Credit: Steven Klein “Games and Restrictions”

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RULE NO. 12: IF YOU WANT TO FIND LOVE, PUT YOUR PANTS BACK ON

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Personally, when I’m about to have sex with a new partner I want to be able to unwrap the present, not already knowing what the gift inside looks like.

My mom and dad have been married for 32 years. Theirs is a relationship out of a fairytale. They actually remind me of Allie Hamilton and Noah Calhoun from The Notebook. It’s not that my folks have ever been engaged to other people or that they’ve lived in the Southern States of America. My dad has never built a house for my mom and as far as I know my mother isn’t an heiress. As a matter of fact, my parents and these characters have nothing in common except their undying love for each other. I have never seen two people who are as much in love, apart from the movies, quite like my parents. Their story truly ends happily ever after which is problematic for a person like myself who doesn’t believe in Hollywood endings.

One evening, while I was chatting to my dad about another one of my failed relationships, I asked “Dad, what’s the secret to meeting your soulmate?”.

“There is no secret” he responded, “everyone is just so overexposed these days that there is no magic or mystery in relationships”.

His words instantly struck a chord me with me. I’ve always felt nostalgic for the bygone days when men would court their love interests and couples would create relationships founded on newly learnt knowledge of each other. Perhaps this is why The Notebook is a favourite amongst gays and single women. We’re all hoping that one day our Noah or Ryan Gosling will appear out of anonymity and save us from singledom. But nowadays, with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Grindr, Manhunt, Scruff, Dudesnude etc it seems that nobody remains anonymous for long.

There are no surprises anymore, no intrigue or mystery surrounding people. Not only do I know what you look like without your clothes on but I know what you ate for breakfast. I’ve witnessed all the holidays you took with your ex-boyfriend, your intimate moments in bed together, the walks along the beach, what he bought you for Valentine’s Day. Hell, I’ve even seen the collages of pictures from each week you were together (and I noticed when they stopped too!). I know what you look like in your underpants, I’ve seen your entire wardrobe, I know all your friends and I even know which is your favourite movie. I’ve witnessed all the songs you listen to on Spotify, read all your funny jokes, followed your check-ins at your favourite cafes and know who else was there with you. I’ve virtually met your mother, grandmother and siblings. I’ve seen the inside of your bedroom, know what car you drive, where you have you hair cut, how you take your coffee and what your desk at work looks like. I’ve seen pictures of you when your were a kid and to be honest your were #cuter when you weren’t so vain and wore a shirt more often. Which makes me think, who takes those “selfie” shirtless pictures for you anyway?

Now before you accuse me of hypocrisy, I openly admit that I am responsible for partaking in many of the previously listed activities although I draw the line at soft-core porn. Quite frankly I find it all rather attention seeking but before I digress too far let me bring it back to the purpose of this post. In a time when we are all encouraged to be more linked-in, wouldn’t you prefer it if people kept their face out of your book? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if new love interests had the opportunity to discover all your subtle character traits for themselves? Personally, when I’m about to have sex with a new partner I want to be able to unwrap the present, not already knowing what the gift inside looks like. If everyone’s already seen the package on Instagram, where’s the excitement?

So before you complain about never meeting your Prince Charming or that your relationships never last, step away from the gym mirror, lay down your phone, put your pants back on and ask yourself “what would Noah do?”.

Image: River Viiperi (Paris Hilton’s boyfriend) for Interview Magazine. Here are some more pictures from the September 2012 underwear editorial featuring other male models.

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RULE NO.11: YOU WERE BORN THIS WAY

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Throughout puberty I wondered “why am I gay?”

Before Lady Gaga confirmed that she was born this way, before Kurt Hummel vocally expressed his problems 3 octaves higher than most 16 year old boys and before any celebrity promised that it would get better, I was a confused teenager trying to understand why I was gay.

Attending a conservative private school that prescribed to a certain Judeo-Christian religious persuasion, homosexuality was merely a subject in a health book that was superficially brushed over one afternoon in grade 9. This particular book claimed that teenagers often experienced passing attractions to the same sex as a byproduct of hormone release. I wished that when the hormones stopped releasing so would my my same-sex attraction. It wasn’t to be.

Needless to say, my understanding of homosexuality was rather limited.

Furthermore, my belief and comprehension of God was shaped by my educational institution and by all accounts, God didn’t approve of gays. So why did he make me gay?

At first I thought he was punishing me for something I may have done before I was even born. Perhaps my soul was intrinsically bad and therefore I needed to suffer the burden of being gay as a form of repenting? The future seemed very daunting.

Then I was told by a religious teacher that God doesn’t hate homosexuals but he hates the sins that homosexuals commit. Was loving another person of the same sex a sin even though it felt so natural? So, I rationalised that it was to be my test in life to resist all homosexual temptations, thoughts and desires no matter how right they felt.

In my later high school years l began to consider that perhaps God had made me gay not as punishment nor as a test but because he knew that I could handle the pressure. Other boys might not have been able to cope with life as a homosexual. I was grateful that I, a strong willed, confident boy with supportive friends and a loving family was made gay instead of someone less fortunate who may have found themselves in the same predicament.

When my faith in God began to wane, as it does for most who’ve attended a religious school, I searched for other answers to my big gay question. Did my upbringing have an impact on my sexuality? I had read somewhere about childhood trauma and troubled upbringings affecting sexual development and causing homosexuality. Reflecting on my childhood there was absolutely nothing that could have adversely affected me either obviously or subconsciously. I grew up in an “ideal” environment with parents who were besotted with each other, who provided their children with love, support and unnecessary material possessions. I had an amazing relationship with my mum and dad and my sister was one of my best friends. We lived in an affluent area, participated in extracurricular activities too many to name, traveled often, spoke openly about our dreams and fears and comforted each other when the family dog died. My friends even commented on how “extraordinary” my family life was. Surely this wasn’t the cause of my homosexuality?

During this period of questioning I had some dark days. Days when I wondered what was the point of it all. Maybe it was better not to be than to be gay? Luckily these days were few and far between but I know that others have suffered more deeply with their own feelings of confusion and questioning.

In the end, I found the answer. I was born this way. It never crossed my mind that it was a choice; that in some way I had chosen to be gay. What teenager would choose such a challenging path? I was born this way. My upbringing was not the cause, my soul was not bad and I definitely wasn’t being punished. I was born this way. It’s as simple as that. There is no other reason or further questioning needed.

I hope that by sharing my experience, others who are going through or have been through this process will see that a part of self-acceptance is undergoing a period of questioning. The greatest relief is discovering and then believing that you are the way you are because that is the way that God or nature or the universe intended you to be.

Read Rule No.1: There are no rules (except for one)

Photo Credit: Benjamin Eidem by Stefan Zchernitz

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RULE NO.10: BEWARE OF LATE ON-SET ADOLESCENCE

Gay Youth

I’ve coined a new disorder that affects many gay men. It’s called “Late On-Set Adolescence”  and although I’m sure someone has already conducted a study into this phenomenon, I think that it is still widely undiagnosed. 

“Late On-Set Adolescence” (LOA) is the result of gay men having to hide their sexuality throughout their formative development years and missing out on the same experiences as their straight counterparts (sexual exploration, dating, forming friendship groups with likeminded peers etc). In doing so they experience a self-identity growth period that is not indicative of their true self. Whey they finally come out of the closet, they go through a second adolescence whereby they learn about their sexuality, experience sexual contact with the same-sex for the first time, begin dating, find similar friends, go out to gay venues, become more focused on their appearance and experiment with drugs etc. This may happen when they are 18 or 25 or 35 or 50 but for most gay men I know who have been closeted, it does happen at some stage. During this stage, gay men often find themselves drawn to other men who are experiencing LOA and this is one of the reasons that you see groups of friends who are of mixed ages; the 30 year old who socialises with 18 years olds, the 50 year old who hangs out with guys in their ’20s.

LOA is a period of experimentation and self discovery that gay men must experience. It can be an amazing time for growth and self acceptance but conversely, just like acne during puberty, there are down sides. Some men become fixated with “making up for lost time” and take their sexual experimentation to a whole new level, sleeping with many different partners and becoming obsessed with the pursuit of sex. Although I am a strong advocate for (safe) sex and sexual exploration, I believe  that any excessive behaviour is unhealthy and detrimental to one’s happiness.

Also, during this period one might see gay men become cliquey and “bitchy”, enjoying the drama that comes with dating, sleeping around and making new friends. Often their social lives become reminiscent of a high school playground with cattiness, drama and fighting. These traits are particularly unpleasant and contribute to the stereotype of gay men being bitchy queens.

For many, this period is short lived as they move into the next phase of deeper “inner” self discovery.  The problem arises however when gay men become stuck in LOA, when they sacrifice ambition for trivial pursuits such as time in the gym or on the dance floor or finding their next sexual conquest. They may mature in age but  they seem to always be chasing the next  guy who is experiencing LOA (perhaps in order to avoid growing up and facing the next stage of develpment?). You’ll notice these guys as the 30/40 somethings who still dress like teenagers (revealing singlets, short shorts, baseball caps and high tops) and always appear to be dating or surrounded by younger guys.

The cure for LOA is self-acceptance as soon as possible. Gay boys should be encouraged to experience adolescence when it was intended for them to do so. The most well-rounded gay men that I know are the those who “came out” the earliest or didn’t need to come out at all. As society becomes more accepting of homosexuality, it is my hope that more gay men learn to accept their sexuality at a younger age and eventually LOA will simply be ‘A’.

Photo credit: Willy Vanderperre

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RULE NO.8: IF IT MAKES YOU FEEL BAD THEN STOP DOING IT

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When do you feel the worst about yourself?

At the gym?

When you check Instagram or Facebook?

When reading gay men’s magazines?

When you’re at a nightclub?

When you log onto Grindr?

When you hang out with certain “friends”?

When watching porn?

Why don’t you….

Change gyms? Or try yoga?

Delete Instagram? Unfollow certain people? Limit your time on Facebook?

Read a book instead of buying a magazine?

Do something different on a Saturday night?  Stay in with one person you really like and watch crappy TV?

Delete Grindr? Approach the hot guy in the street?

Stop spending time with people who make you feel bad and make new friends?

Watch an inspiring lecture online instead of porn? Ted.com is a good place to start.

It can be hard to pull yourself away from things that make you feel bad. Some may call it an addiction to pain while others may say it’s a result of self loathing but whatever it may be it’s certainly something that we’ve all experienced. The knowing that you’re making yourself feel worse but being unable to stop yourself. The worse you feel, the more you do it. Does this sound familiar?

Challenge: For one week DO NOT log onto Instagram or Facebook, DO NOT go out to clubs, bars or social venues you frequent regularly (unless they make you happy), DO NOT spend time with anyone who has made you feel bad in the past , DO NOT use Grindr and DO NOT look at porn. I did. And after one week the results were amazing. I felt more relaxed, less anxious and most importantly my self-esteem was lifted. This may sound like a late night infomercial but the only thing I’m selling is an easy approach to increasing your happiness (and it’s free).

There is much scope for discussion on this topic but in the meantime, take an inventory of all the things that lower your self-esteem or make you feel bad about yourself and for one week, just one week, commit to not indulging in any of them. Let me know the outcome.

What makes you feel bad about yourself? Did avoiding these things for a week make you feel any different?

Photo Credit: Baptiste Radufe by Serge Leblon

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