Tag Archives: gay lifestyle

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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THE BOOK THAT CHANGED MY LIFE

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I remember the day so vividly. With plenty of time on my hands due to a mid-semester university break I found myself wandering along the main street of my neighbourhood. It was an unseasonably hot winter’s day and I was enjoying my outdoor meander when something compelled me to enter a bookstore that I had so often passed and yet had never really noticed. As I entered what could only be described as a typically normal looking bookstore with no defining character yet abundance of charm, a book caught my attention. Turquoise and yellow in colour, the cover was simple which made the title sing out louder – The Power of Now.  I walked over to the shelf and picked up the book from its wooden altar. When I turned it over and read the description on the back I was instantly enthralled. With book in hand I returned home and began the most perception shifting lesson of my life. My mortal words cannot rightly describe the premise of the book which was written by Eckhart Tolle, a man who had not scribed anything of note prior to this book. Tolle will attest to the fact that the source of his inspiration was from something higher than himself.

In simplest terms though, the main teaching is that you are not the voice inside of your head but the awareness behind that voice. Although this may sound a bit airy fairy to the average reader, I wholeheartedly encourage you to read The Power of Now for yourself. Without a doubt this book is the impetus for my journey of self awareness and curiosity of self improvement. It took me no more than one day to read from cover to cover and I can so clearly recall the ‘uh huh moment’ (as Oprah often describes them) when everything clicked. It was as if for the first time in my 23 years I could see the world for the magical place that it honestly is; everything seemed so bright and illuminated and my body felt intoxicated by life itself.

I’m going to end my post here before my enthusiasm puts you off and you discount me for a total madman. Before you go though, I would like to share a very special quote with you. Taken from chapter 8, this quote is my personal mantra, the lesson that I try so hard to practice daily and I do hope that it may help you too.

True salvation is fulfilment, peace, life in all its fullness. It is to be who you are, to feel within you the good that has no opposite, the joy of being that depends on nothing outside of itself.

–  Eckhart Tolle

Follow this link to read more about the The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment

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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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GAY CLUBS ARE A REFLECTION OF YOU

A crowd in a gay club

I’ve had a love-hate relationship with gay clubs over the years but in this short video I discuss how they are actually a reflection of your state of mind and I offer some advice on what you can do to improve your gay clubbing experience.

Watch below or click here.

 

 

 

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MODERN GAY CHALLENGE: 31 POSTS IN 31 DAYS

GAY VIDEO BLOG

Something momentous is happening on November 7th and to mark the occasion I will be posting 31 videos over 31 days. Nothing is off limits as I discuss everything related to modern gay life from sex, drugs, parties, boys and self esteem.

 

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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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SEX WITH A STRAIGHT GUY (PART 1)

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Based on a true story.

The summer of 2005 was the most sexually exciting summer of my life. There was a feeling of freedom, of fun and of possibility. It felt as though I had finally found my niche. After years of coming to terms with my sexuality I had finally uncovered a world of nightclubs and friends that were embracing of people of my kind.  It was a summer of music festivals and boys and sweaty underground parties named Bang Gang, Starfuckers, Gay Bash and Healthclub. It was a summer of dance floors filled with fags and poofters and hags and drag queens and inquisitive straight boys whose sexuality was as questionable as the drugs they put in their bodies. There was a youthfulness in the air and the atmosphere was electrified by music aptly called electro. The summer was bright, not only because the sun seemed to set late and the disco lights shone for hours but fluorescent fashion was coming into vogue. Every Saturday was punctuated by a new purchase of fluro clothing which we paired with extremely short denim short or an oversized singlet cut so deep in the neck and underarms that it looked as if someone had tried to rip it off your body.

My days were spent lazing by my pool, which because of its proximity to the beach, became the central meeting point for all my friends after hours spent on the sand. We would watch the summer afternoons roll into nights from the prime position of deck chairs, strategically placed to catch every last ray of light. The Australian sun is famously harsh but staying cool was easy with the aid of bitterly icy beers and frequent dips in our own personal backyard lagoon.

I moved around that summer with a wildly fun group of friends. We were a mix of different backgrounds; an American girl named Tessa who was studying abroad, a private school boy named Rich, his best friend and keen surfer, Dave and another boy James who at the time was the love of my life. James and I were the only gay guys in our tight club of five and although we constantly hooked up, it was an enduring summer of unrequited love (on my part). James was so different to me. He had been out of the closet since 15 and was so at ease with his sexuality. I on the other hand had just come out to my friends and was still unsure of myself. James was an only child who lived with his mum in an apartment while I had a sister and lived with my parents in home that was on the other side of modest in size. He had graduated from a public school that was accepting of gay students whereas I had spent my entire education at a conservative private school that avoided recognising the issue. Even geographically we lived on opposite sides of the Eastern Suburbs train line.

Physically we were very different too. He was smaller than me in both frame and height, with long chocolate brown hair that fell across his face and a chiseled jaw line that seemed to be carved from stone. His skin was golden which he was lucky enough to have inherited from his Italian grandparents and covered in the perfect amount of dark hair. He was the most beautiful boy I had ever seen. I was 6’3, fair, hairy and broad.

We met at university after I had spent the first semester pining over him from a distance. I can’t recall the details of how our paths crossed but I think that the now defunct social media site Myspace may have had something to do with it. By the end of the summer I considered him one of my closest friends, particularly after I realised that he would never love me like I did him. I don’t think the other members of our clan knew how strongly I felt for James nor was it important. What was important though was that each day was filled with pursuits of pleasure which often extended to pleasure of a sexual kind. As a group of two straight guys, two gay guys and a girl we certainly found ourselves in interesting sexual situations, the details of which need not be relived again. There was one incident though that was a turning point for our group and, from which I have learnt a life lesson that fundamentally changed my perception of sex and friendship.

It was two months into the summer, at the point in the year where the temperature is at its peak and the days their longest when the lines between friendship and lovers became blurred. The closer that we became as group of friends, the further the boundaries of sexual identity were pushed until one sexually charged evening changed everything indefinitely….

(Part two coming soon)

Image by Sebastian Faena 

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THE MOST POWERFUL GAY ADVERT…AND IT’S FROM A BEER COMPANY

Gareth Gay Guiness Advert

Guinness, the 256 year old Irish beer company has just released a powerful advertisement featuring legendary Welsh rugby player Gareth Thomas. The former Wales captain came out of the closet in 2009 and the following year was voted the UK’s most influential gay person.

The advertisement is particularly powerful for several reasons. The first because it’s an advertisement for a beer, a product category which is normally more comfortable using stereotypical notions of masculinity to sell more units as opposed to openly gay men. The second reason is that it’s for an internationally recognisable Irish brand. With Ireland legalising gay marriage only four months ago, this short video is another sign of how progressive the country is, particularly when it comes to gay equality. But the third and most poignant reason is that Thomas mentions how his teammates were the ones that helped him in his ‘darkest hour’ and how when he needed them the most they were there for him. Sports seems to be the last frontier to conquer when it comes to homophobia but Gareth’s story is an example of how there is hope for change.

Watch the ad below:

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MY GREATEST FEAR HAS ME CRIPPLED

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It’s been so long since my last post. 92 days to be exact and the longest time since I first started this site. While I wish I could blame it on writer’s block, this is certainly not the case – I’ve had so much that I’ve wanted to share with you. On the surface I blame my job for my lack of writing as it consumes so much of my time and energy but this isn’t the cause either. What I’ve come to realise is much deeper than effort or inspiration, it is something that has affected me throughout my life and permeates all facets of my being. What I’m referring to is vulnerability and the repercussions of not giving into it.

Vulnerability is the ability to put yourself out there, wholeheartedly, in the scary big world, for all to see, and without control of the outcome. It’s the strength to forfeit expectations and honestly live in the moment. I’m certainly not the first to discuss this topic, researcher Brené Brown does a far more eloquent job at explaining the concept in this widely watched Ted Talk, but this is the first time that I’ve realised how debilitating the fear of vulnerability can be.

But first, how does this impact on writing? Well, my writing can almost be seen as a metaphor for my life. When I write I ruminate over every word and every sentence, making sure the end product is perfect. If I don’t think that the final product is perfect, particularly in the eyes of others, then I won’t push publish on WordPress. If only you could see the unfinished posts that are sitting in my drafts. This translates into the real world too. I can’t start a project or move towards a goal until I know that everything is in faultless alignment. Such obsession with perfection is evident in my personality traits whereby I do my best to portray the well put together image of someone who has their life together, who is successful, confident, unfazed by other’s opinions and certain of his future. How far from the truth the reality. Like a vicious circle this in turn influences my writing because a post about how I’m afraid of vulnerability will shatter the illusion that I’ve worked so hard to create. Herein lies the power of this particular article.

I work in the communications industry, a profession where my day-to-day task is to control ‘messages’ that brands want their customers to receive. I’m great at my job and skilled at creating the right perception for my clients amongst the public, probably because I’m so good at doing it for myself. Using these same skills, I have crafted a life that avoids vulnerability at all costs. I’ll dismiss people before I’ve had a chance to properly meet them to avoid them doing the same to me first. I’ll do the same to guys I find attractive. I’ll create stories about how I shouldn’t approach them because they’re probably stupid or an asshole and I’m better than that anyway when in actuality it’s fear of rejection which in turn is avoidance of vulnerability. I’l be loud and boisterous amongst people who I don’t find intimidating but when I’m in a crowd of people I deem ‘superior’ in popularity or status I’ll purposely ostracise myself. As I’ve become more aware of this concept of vulnerability I’ve also become more aware of how it affects others, particularly gay guys. Have you ever noticed how some gay men love to tear each other down? How they’ll look at someone else’s success or someone else’s relationship and pick at all the flaws? “Oh he makes a lot of money but I bet his boyfriend is cheating on him”. Why do we do this? Because we’re jealous and too afraid to admit that we feel less successful in comparison or worse, that we fee we are not worthy of being loved.

This particular post is a personal first step towards vulnerability, a step closer to honesty and wholehearted living. I want to share more with you, dear reader, in the hope that we can overcome our shame together. You see, shame is a component of vulnerability. Avoiding vulnerability is a protective mechanism against exposing one’s shame. If I’m not open then you can’t see the darkness inside of me. Both Brown and Alan Downs, author of The Velvet Rage have explored this concept of shame. Downs looks at shame particularly in the gay context and how it affects ours lives. Personally I think you need not even open a book to understand the by-product of shame in the gay community. In my opinion, many mainstream gay mega parties are a perfect example of shame avoidance. These gatherings are a coming together of men who are hiding from their shame (either consciously or subconsciously). They mask their vulnerability behind hard bodies of muscle and supress their emotions through excessive drug taking and sex. In my eyes, the act of taking off of one’s shirt in this environment or similarly in a gay club is an overt expression of vulnerability avoidance. The act says, ‘don’t try know me for me but judge me only on what you can see of me on the surface’. Of course I am generalising and I’m sure I’ll be accused of stereotyping or internalised homophobia but I only offer these observations and musings as my own opinion. Whether or not you agree with me or Downs or Brown is not the point, the point is that we are open enough with ourselves and each other to discuss our shortcomings. That is what vulnerability is truly about.

I hope that I can continue to write stories and post articles that you find thought provoking. Perhaps some will be inspiring, while others purely entertaining. You may agree with what I say or my words may have no resonance. Either way my intention is to be more open so that you and I can share strength and embrace vulnerability together.

Image by Giuseppe Attanasio 

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SUNDAY STYLE: HOME STAY

naked man bath sexy gay boySundays are for long baths, sleeping in and spending the day lounging around the house (shirtless or in your Sunday best), just like Nick Steele in this 2013 shoot by Tony Duran.

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