Tag Archives: gay sex

WHY I’M SCARED OF SEX

I don’t know about you, but my sexual education was a little blurry (much like the video below). It was very matter-of-fact, clinical and to be honest, terrifying. The key message was around safe sex and all the horrible things that could happen to boys and girls who didn’t follow the safe sex (or abstinence) route. This has had a lasting impact on the way that I view and enjoy sex. Watch the video below and comment to share your experiences around sexual education.

 

 

 

 

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STOP MAKING BEING GAY ONLY ABOUT SEX

It has taken me a long time to reconcile my feelings towards sex within a culture that overemphasises its importance. Let me preface this article by saying that I love sex and I encourage everyone to have a healthy and enjoyable sex life; my argument is that we need to redefine the importance of sex in modern gay culture. On one hand, I’ve learnt from my environment that being a gay man allows you the freedom to have as much sex as you want but on the other hand, I’ve experienced first-hand how over-sexualisation within gay culture creates anxiety, self-esteem issues and complications with holding down a steady relationship.

Our gay culture is a result of our tumultuous past, a past in which gay sex was overwhelmingly associated with shame, hate and fear. Being gay was seen as a sexual perversion, not as a personal identity. The majority of closeted men had no means by which to express their identity other than through seeking sexual relations with other closeted men. As such the act of sex become intrinsically linked to one’s sexual identity. Until recent history it was unacceptable and more often, illegal, to have a relationship with someone of the same sex so the only outlet for gay men to express themselves was in the bedroom (or any other discrete place). Sex was the means by which one could act on their sexual identity and hence it became one and the same.

As laws changed and society’s acceptance of homosexuality spread, sex was brought outside of the bedroom and into the mainstream. It was used as a rebellious articulation of gay life, a big F U to all those who were already disgusted with the gay ‘lifestyle’. Gay sex even became political. The issue that we now face is that the importance of sex hasn’t evolved. Our modern gay society is at a crossroads, a tension point where we need to take a look at how sex plays into our identities and the importance we place on it within our gay culture. This is so timely as at this very moment people are waking up to the fact that the gender of the person you sleep with need not define your identity. Why then is sex still such a focal point of gay culture?

We’re fed messages of sex through gay media, social media, on posters for parties, in nightclubs and on television. We feel pressured to be having regular, hot sex with many men because as a gay man it’s apparently our privilege. Yet so many of us still feel lonely, disconnected and unable to maintain relationships. I believe that this Grindr culture, built on sexual ‘freedom’ is nothing but an outdated expression of our identity.

The purest form of our confusion around sex can be seen on social media. The most popular InstaGays are the ones who show the most skin or post pictures of themselves with their legs open, asses out, in provocative positions. We support this behaviour by showering them with likes and follows and mimic what they do in the hope that it will be reciprocated. Sex sells, and my God us gays are buying it! It becomes an endless cycle which we cannot escape and social media is making it worse. It upsets me when gay guys on Instagram who I admire for using their social influence for good post shirtless pictures with the hashtag ‘thirstythursdays’. Why does everything have to be reduced to sex? Then again, I’m a hypocrite because I do the exact same thing. The most liked picture that I’ve ever posted on Instagram is one of me shirtless in skimpy shorts. I know that these pictures are going to provoke a response and when I’m feeling in need of attention, I post them. My desire to be wanted sexually, mixed with my need for validation contributes to the cycle.

My personal behaviour and our culture’s obsession with sex has a ripple effect that runs deep – it impacts our self-esteem. In order to be having all the sex we should be having we need to look like people who other people want to have sex with. We strive to look like porn stars, muscled, young and hot and if we don’t, we feel unworthy. Personally, this is something that I’ve struggled with since my teenage years. I’ve spent years trying to unpick the stories I used to tell myself that linked my self-worth to my outward appearance and my attractiveness to other gay men. When I was younger I’d put off dating guys until I felt that my body was ‘good enough’ or I’d get drunk before having sex to mask my insecurities around being naked. I would go to big gay parties and nightclubs and feel anxious because I knew everyone there would be shirtless and that I wouldn’t feel confident enough to take my shirt off. Everywhere I looked, all I saw was sex.

I want to reiterate the point that I do love sex and one of the most fun things about being a gay man is being able to sleep with other men (you should try it…). What I do worry about though is that our approach to sex needs redefining because its importance in our culture is causing loneliness, anxiety and inner personal struggle. I for one have experienced all of these things. Emotionally, I feel that I want to settle down and be happily married yet I find myself behaving in quite the opposite way. I say that I want a boyfriend but I’ll just as readily have casual sex. I see this tension on Grindr when a young gay guy writes in his profile that he’s looking for something serious yet three minutes into the conversation he’s already sent or requested dick pics.

While I’m not advocating that we all stop having sex, I question whether or not we’ve unconsciously inherited a culture that places too much emphasis on the act of sex itself. I’m also concerned that earlier definitions of homosexuality as a mental illness and our own personal shame have caused an unnecessary and unhealthy emphasis to be placed on sex.

It’s not just the way we show ourselves that continues over-sexualisation of everything in gay culture; the way we profile gay celebrities and the way that straight people show their support for equality is rooted in sex. They’ll be topless on the cover of a gay magazine or raising money to fight homophobia in a naked calendar or dancing semi-nude with their sports team in the name of pride. We take someone who is a positive role model, strip them down and sexualise them, which only demeans their message and perpetuates the notion that in the end, it’s only about sex.

Gay Pride Parades are another example of how we overplay sex as a core tenant of our identities. Pride is no longer about protesting for equal rights with banners and chants but rather it’s about working out in the gym for 3-months prior to parade day to look sexy wearing nothing but a g-string. I’m all for homovisibility but when it comes to Pride Parades or Mardi Gras, I find it hard to identity with the majority of people who participate; my expression of my homosexuality isn’t linked to my body or to sex alone yet this is the overwhelming image portrayed during these festivities.

Ultimately the outdated belief that to be gay is just to have sex with men is the unsteady platform on which many opponents of marriage equality stand. They use the argument that gay marriage will lead to the legalisation of incest or bestiality. What they’ve not recognised is that both those things are only related to the act of sex and not to personal identity. A man who has sex with a dog is still likely to be a straight man. His sexual perversion is not a reflection of his personal identify, unless of course he identifies as a dog.

So what is the solution? I propose that we stop making being gay about sex alone and try to skew our focus towards other parts of our identities. Most of us reading this post are lucky enough to live in countries where we can express our personal identity in ways beyond sex. We must continue to celebrate our diversity, our richness of character and our multi-layered identities without reducing everything to sex.

Image by Erick Monterrosa for Homotography

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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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5 MISCONCEPTIONS GAY BOYS HAVE ABOUT OTHER GAY BOYS

Modern Gay Male Models Life

And so the saying goes “the grass is always greener on the other side“. However, those who have actually taken the time to peer over the fence, will have noticed that this isn’t always the case. While it’s human nature to compare ourselves to others, gay boys seem to constantly benchmark themselves against other gay boys.  But is every other gay guy actually having a much better time than you?

In a bid to set the record straight, here are the 5 MISCONCEPTIONS GAY BOYS HAVE ABOUT OTHER GAY BOYS:

Modern Gay Sex Boys

1. Everyone is having more sex than you

You’re the only one not getting laid. While everyone else is having wild, passionate sex with handsome men all over the city you’re eating Ben and Jerry’s Choc Chip Cookie Dough and watching re-runs of Sex and the City.  If you’re in your early 20s you’re particularly worried that when you turn 30 your sex life is going  to shutdown faster than an Ed Hardy store.  NOT TRUE. A recent Australian study revealed that men in their 30’s have the most active sex lives amongst all age groups. If you’re in your 30s, don’t worry, this doesn’t mean that all your peers are out getting laid every night (it just means there’s a lot of sexually frustrated 20 year-olds).

Kurt Blaine Glee Gay Love

2. Everyone has been in a romantic relationship except for you

This one’s for all the young guys out there who complain that at 19 years-old they’ve never been in a romantic relationship. Boys, real life is not like an episode from Glee. Great relationships are actually hard to come by and don’t come with a pop soundtrack. When they do happen they’re amazing and the longer it takes to find one, the more you’ll appreciate it. Enjoy the journey and remember “you wont find love from someone else until you love yourself”.

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3. Everyone has a better social life than you do

Going out Tuesday-Sunday night does not make you a better person. It just makes you tired. While some boys are so stricken with FOMOOB (fear of missing out on boys) that they need to be on the scene nightly, the majority of people are happy to have a few nights in. We all have periods of time when we have no social plans and other times when we’re more popular than Lady Gaga on Twitter.  If you’ve got nowhere to be on Saturday night, don’t fret. Just grab a tub of Ben and Jerry’s Choc Chip Cookie Dough and put on Sex and the City.

Clueless Movie Gay Gif

4. Your friends get more attention from men than you do

Whether it’s on Instagram, in the club or at the gym, you feel that your friends get much more attention from men than you do. The truth is that while you’re too busy focusing on the people checking out your “hot” mate, you’re probably missing out on the guys looking at you. As my grandmother says, “every jar has a lid” and you’ll miss finding your lid if you spend too much time  benchmarking your attractiveness against others. Stop comparing yourself to your friends and if you can’t do that, then make some new friends.

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5. Everyone else is happy

This is the biggest misconception that gay men, straight men, women, children and everyone in between share. Life is full of ups and downs and no living person is excused from the vast array of human emotions, good and bad. Unfortunately modern technology has allowed us to edit out the crappy parts of our lives and repackage for the public an image we wish to portray. It’s not often we see a picture on Facebook of someone after they’ve had a terrible day or fought with a friend or eaten a tub of ice-cream (Ben and Jerry’s) or had their heart broken. Social media is not real life. Sometimes though real life isn’t any better as we’ve  been conditioned to pretend that everything is ok.  In actual fact we’re often just as confused, anxious and upset as each other.

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RULE NO.5: YOU CAN CONTRACT HIV FROM SOMEONE YOU LOVE

Young Gay Couple

One of the best things about having a boyfriend is choosing not use condoms. I’ve heard from friends of mine that they choose not to use condoms with their boyfriends after a certain period of time dating. They rationalise that they’ve been together for long enough that they can trust their partner but this is a grave mistake. A large portion of newly diagnosed HIV cases are the result of a person contracting the virus from a partner who did not know that they were HIV positive. You cannot assume that your partner is negative simply based on the period of time that you’ve been dating. He may not be aware of his own status.

When and if you decide to stop using condoms in your relationship it’s important to follow the Four T’s: Talk, Test, Test, Trust. This is the safest approach to ensuring you look after your health and the health of your partner.

I have copied the following information from the ACON website (an Australian health organisation established to promote sexual health for the gay community) as they explain the Four T’s best.

Some HIV negative men in ongoing relationships with other HIV negative men choose to have anal sex with each other without using condoms. At best this decision can help make the sex they have special, at worst it can increase the risk of either or both partners contracting HIV.

Choosing not to use condoms with a regular partner is a major decision. It’s not only a decision about the type of sex you have together, it’s a decision about how much responsibility for your sexual wellbeing you’re prepared to hand over to your partner. By choosing to have sex without condoms within your relationship you are saying to each other ‘I trust you with my health and safety’.

THE FOUR T’S

Step One – Talk

To safely stop using condoms within your relationship you need to be able to talk openly and honestly with each other about why you want to do it, what the potential benefits and risks might be, the ground rules for sex inside and outside the relationship and how you’ll deal with any problems that may arise.

If you come to an understanding with each other on all of these issues and still want to ditch the condoms you should then move on to Step #2.

Step Two – Test

Step 2 is for both of you to have an HIV test. You can do this together or separately. If you’re going to have anal sex without a condom you should both be totally sure you are HIV negative and aren’t going to put each other at risk.

If the tests for both of you come back negative, you should still continue to use condoms for 3 months before moving on to Step #3.

Step Three – Test

Step #3 is to get a second HIV test. If neither of you have had unsafe sex throughout the three-month period then the second test will confirm that both of you are HIV negative.

If this is the case and you still want to stop using condoms with each other you can then move on to Step #4.

Step Four – Trust

Step #4 is to negotiate a clear agreement for sex with each other and other people outside the relationship (if that’s what you’ve decided) as well as guidelines for dealing with any problems that might arise.  Once these have been made clear you can then trust that you and your partner will stick by them.

If the two of you decide to stop using condoms for anal sex with each other remember it depends upon open and honest communication.  The discussions you have about condoms and sex can help you understand each other better and build a stronger relationship

www.acon.org.au

Photo Credit: “Viva Las Vegas” by Matthias Vriens McGrath

How have you negotiated safe-sex with your partner?

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