Tag Archives: gay blogger

THE JOY THAT COMES FROM GRATITUDE

luxury gay bloggerI have led a very blessed life. The places that I have been, the people that I have met and the privileges that I have been afforded have truly made me a fortunate person but until recently, they never made me happy.

Being surrounded by others who seemed to have so much more than me, skewed my understanding of how lucky I truly am. It’s not my fault though. We’re raised in a society that encourages us to keep wanting more and in doing so never allows us a moment to reflect on what we already have. By focusing on the wonderful things in our lives though and giving thanks for having received them, we transition from a state of lack to a state of plenty. Gratitude is the instigator of this immense change.

You don’t need to be rich or famous or popular or successful to practice gratitude nor do you need to be religious. The simple act of opening your eyes in the morning and being able to move out of bed is something for which we can be grateful. Even biting into a fresh piece of fruit or living in a safe country are occasions for giving thanks. When you reflect on all the small things that you have in your life you realise that there is so much for which you can be appreciative.

Instead of focusing on the lives of others and things that they have, look into your own life and give daily thanks for even the simplest things. Joy is a bi-product of gratitude and gratitude is the anecdote for dissatisfaction.

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THE POWER OF MEDITATION

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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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A MESSAGE FOR ALL THOSE THAT ARE LOST

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Children’s books are filled with life lessons and positive affirmations, many of which we miss the first time around. They are fables and stories, written with unbounded fantasy and wonder that come to life through the imaginations of untainted youthful minds. When we grow up and grow out of children’s books we forget the power contained within their pages. Now, reading back on books from my childhood I have come across quotes and excerpts that seem almost prayer like. Today I would like to share with you one of my favourite quotes in the hope that no matter where you are in the world and no matter what you are going through, you know that everything is going to be OK. This particular quote comes from the very wise Christopher Robin in Winnie the Pooh.

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WHAT I MISS FROM INSIDE THE CLOSET

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‘The Closet’ can be a terrifying, lonely and suffocating place. It’s a metaphorical cage that represents suppression, oppression and even depression.  Looking back on my own experience those three things were certainly true but amongst the darkness there were a few positives that I can now say I truly miss.

Contrary to popular belief, it is not always doom and gloom inside the closet. As you start to push open the metaphorical door and peer into the light beyond the crack exciting things start to happen. You realise that there is an enticing world out there with endless possibilities. Although you might not be ready to spring out of the shadows in all your rainbow glory, you start experimenting and testing the waters. The sense of curiosity, compounded by the guilt you feel for doing something ‘immoral’ can actually be quite exhilarating. I remember the thrill that came with kissing boys in the back of my car in deserted carparks or sneaking guys out of my bedroom window in my parents house. Sure most of these highs were then followed by lows and feelings of shame but during those stolen moments I felt ecstasy that I have found hard to replicate in my later years.

It’s the feeling of doing things for the first time, things that you are told are wrong but which feel so right – these are the times I miss from my youth and from inside my own closet. Finding moments to hold hands with a boy at a party when nobody was around and then letting go as soon as your friend walked into the room then desperately waiting for that friend to leave so that you can do it again.  Receiving messages on your phone from your crush and then telling your mum it was from your boss when she gets too nosey. Smiling at a stranger in the change rooms at an inter-school swimming meet. Once out of the closet these situations don’t hold the same sense of danger. The fear of getting caught is removed but it is the fear of getting caught that makes your heart beat faster and electrifies your senses.

When I first started experimenting with boys and going to gay clubs I felt as though I was doing something that was on the fringes of society. For someone who had been brought up in a somewhat conservative environment, being gay almost became an expression of rebellion for me. The cover ups and fabricated stories allowed me to be part of one world at night and then return to the normality of heterosexual, conservative life by day. It was fun, for a time.

After a while though the thrill of breaking the rules diminishes and you are left with the realisation that you cannot be happy and in the closet forever. For the short period of time, in the beginning of the long walk out of the closet, every experience is brand new, every man-to-man touch is a blessing and every moment, no matter how brief, spent out of the closet is a relief. These are feelings that can never be replicated again. This is what I miss from inside the closet.

Image by Damon Baker 

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WHY GAY MEN ARE SO MEAN TO EACH OTHER

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I could have entitled this post ‘Why people are so mean to each other’ because the reason is common across all sexualities. For the purposes of this post though, I’m going to focus on the gay experience. Why? Because the factors at play that cause us to tear each other down are often stronger in gay men which can make us meaner than most.

Why do we look at the success of other gay men and find reasons to justify why they’re not deserving of it? Why do we make fun of fellow gay men who are different from us just for being themselves? Why do spread rumours, leave hurtful messages on social media and ostracise others from within our own community? The simple answer is insecurity and what is insecurity? Insecurity is the fear of not enough.

When we see people doing something for which we negatively judge them it’s because it stirs something within ourselves that we do not like. Do you discount someone else’s success by spreading rumours that he slept his way to the top? Chances are you are insecure about your own ability to achieve your goals. Have you purposely excluded someone from your friendship circle because you think that he’s not good enough to be your friend? Chances are that you yourself don’t feel worthy enough to be loved by others. Extreme action is in itself a reflection of its opposite. I will repeat that for emphasis. Extreme action is in itself a reflection of its opposite. The loudest people are often the most afraid, the most confident often the most anxious and the most popular are often the loneliest.

Many of us gay men have been made to feel insecure through our formative years because of our sexuality. Once we are liberated we have the option to overcome that insecurity. For some though this insecurity becomes internalised, covered up; it is left unaddressed and surfaces as bitchiness, meanness and what can only be compared to adolescent behaviour (because adolescents are often the most insecure!).

Where does this insecurity originate? It comes from the fear of not enough. I’m not good enough. Rich enough. Handsome enough. Fit enough. Masculine enough. Popular enough. Smart enough. Loveable enough. Seeing good, rich, handsome, fit, masculine, popular, smart and loveable people awakens the insecurity within us. We tell ourselves that these people are flawed to make ourselves feel better because we are afraid that if they succeed then by law we must fail. This is the power of scarcity, a function of modern society which convinces us that we will never be or have enough. We have been misled to think that in order to get ahead we have to aggressively force our way past others but the universe doesn’t operate with that same limited mentality. The universe is abundant. There is enough oxygen for everyone, enough money to be made, enough opportunity for all those that seek it. Just because someone else has a boyfriend or an apartment or a dream job, does not mean that you cannot have those things too. When you look at the world from a place of abundance then the fear of not enough vanishes and with it your own insecurities.

Something else happens when you see the world from a perspective of abundance – you actually begin to see people differently too. People’s successes do not cause you shame or jealously but act as an example of what can be achieved. Instead of wishing failure on your fellow gay man, you honour his achievements which in turn actually empowers you to go after your own. It’s rather quite simple.

So if you’re ever the victim of a mean gay then now you know that he himself is actually suffering. A person who sees the world from a secure, abundant space will never be threatened by another’s triumphs nor will he find reason to be mean to his gay brethren.

Image by Sven Banziger 

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DAY 7 OF 31: CHECKING IN

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Today marks the first week since I started my challenge of updating my blog or Youtube channel daily. When I started this challenge I knew that it would be difficult, not because I don’t have anything to share with you, but because I want to make sure that what I do share with you is enriching in some way.

It’s crazy how many thoughts go through your head throughout the day but often when you try to collect them or put them into words, they fall through your hands like water. I guess the purpose of this post is to admit that tonight, I don’t have the mental fortitude to put my deep musings into words. Often I find it exhausting enough dealing with my own internal monologue and to have to relive those one man scenes again tonight is proving difficult. I do however have some interesting posts in the works for the coming days such as ‘How looking back over your shoulder at boys is the most fun you can have with two eyes’ and ‘Why gay men are never content in their relationships’ so make sure you come back again tomorrow.

Thank you for your continued support and don’t forget to email, tweet or comment below with any topics or questions you would like to me cover.

Image by Julia Hetta

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WHY COMING OUT IS SO HARD YET SO REWARDING

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Today we observe National Coming Out Day and to mark the occasion, here is a list of 8 reasons why coming out is one of the hardest things you will ever have to do and yet the most rewarding.

  1. You have to publicly reveal to your friends, families, co-workers a secret about yourself that you feel ashamed of… yet once you come out that shame begins to fade away
  2. You have to publicly reveal to your friends, families, co-wokers a secret about yourself without knowing how they may respond… yet their responses may pleasantly surprise you
  3. You have to reveal to people a part of your identity that may be at odds with their personal beliefs… yet their beliefs may actually make them more tolerant
  4. The first people that you come out to are often straight and can’t empathise with your experience… yet straight allies can make for the most powerful allies
  5. You may live in an environment that does not make it safe for you to come out… yet when you’re old enough or independent enough to remove yourself form that environment you will find people to help protect you
  6. You feel trapped by your fears, insecurities and worries while you’re still in the closet… yet when you come out you realise that the things that frightened you the most never happen
  7. You feel like you’re always pretending while you’re in the closet… yet when you come out you can be your true self
  8. You feel like a coward for not having the courage to come out… yet coming out is one of the bravest things you will ever do

Image by Exterface Studio

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FRIDAY MUSIC FIX: A TASTE OF HONEY

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Do you believe in reincarnation? I do and I’ll tell you why. My unbridled love for disco music is clearly a carryover from my past life as a discotheque frequenting, flare wearing, dance floor boogying, New York living, Tony Manero type. I’m pretty sure that I partied at Studio 54 with Andy Warhol and Bianca Jagger because what else could explain the nostalgia I feel when I hear songs like ‘Boogie Oogie Oogie’ by A Taste of Honey? Or my love for flares? Ok, I don’t really love flares but I do love the energy and freedom of disco music which transports you to another place and time.

You can’t tell me that this song doesn’t make you want to flick your hips around a rainbow underlit dance floor?

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Celebrities during New Year's Eve party at Studio 54: (L-R) Halston, Bianca Jagger, Jack Haley, Jr. and wife Liza Minnelli and Andy Warhol. (Photo by Robin Platzer/Twin Images/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)

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GAY TEENAGERS AND THE MISSED YEARS

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Last night I watched a beautiful Dutch film called Jongens (Boys). It was the story of two teenage boys and their relationship and it made me reflect on my own teenage years. Watch the video below then check out the trailer for the film here.

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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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