Tag Archives: LGBTI

MODERN GAY PERSPECTIVE: LEARN TO LOVE YOURSELF (AGAIN)

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We are told that in order to be happy we need to “love ourselves”, to discover the joy within and to build our self-esteem but nobody really tells us how. In this personal post, guest writer Joshua Vaughn shares his story about depression, losing his self-love while in a relationship and then the five steps he took to find that love again. 

Life as a gay guy can often be a battle, we don’t have it easy. Let’s admit it. I mean, lets really admit it. You can say that us gays have the same opportunity as our straight counterparts – and yes that is true, we do, possibly even more. But do you think many straight guys have ever had to reveal news about themselves that could potentially result in exclusion from social circles, family or their community? Have straight guys ever had to cover up who they really were in fear of punishment, abuse and rejection?

Moving beyond coming out and self-discovery, let’s look at the gay dating world. How many times has your attention been driven to the topless six pack Grindr profiles? Or how many times have you had to describe yourself as ‘masc’ in order to be accepted by another?

Yes, life for everyone is tough, but as gays, it is a little more complex.

For a large chunk of our lives we have had to cover up who we are.  Once we come out, we go on to label ourselves to fit in, to impress others and to feel loved, but really all we truly need to do is to love ourselves a little bit more.

Loving yourself is a constant habit, it takes work. I have recently come out of a relationship where by the end, I was a completely different person. Walking into the relationship I was confident, I knew who I was, I was witty, charming and an all-round social butterfly. Towards the end of the relationship, I was diagnosed with severe anxiety and constantly in fear of losing my significant other. I was a hermit who lacked energy and on some afternoons I was completely bed ridden. It is safe to say I was a completely different person. People would automatically assume that it was my significant other’s influence that made me become a total different person, but it wasn’t him at all. It was me.

I accept full responsibility. Why? Because I forgot to love myself. I was so invested in the relationship, I put him before me. My needs and wants fell by the wayside. I became secondary and as a result I suffered immensely. Slowly but surely my mental illness got the best of me. I let the relationship dictate my happiness (relationships are add-on’s, not a core feature in life!) I needed to learn how to love myself again, and I needed to do it fast!

After hundreds of Google searches, kindle downloads, self-help blogs, talks with good friends and professionals, I came up with a plan to become the best version of me. I won’t go into the importance of loving yourself, there are plenty of articles on Google that cater to that, but what many articles don’t address is the actual practice of loving yourself. And that’s what it is. It is a practice that needs to be included into your daily routine so that it becomes a habit.

Now this may not apply to everyone, however I would recommend that you simply try it out for a week or so, you really have nothing to lose and potentially everything to gain.

  1. Firstly, know the person you want to be. Create a wish list. Let’s be realistic here. You don’t want to totally transform yourself into someone else. I’m talking about creating a list of qualities about yourself that you want to shine more, to develop. Think back to a situation where you thought you handled it well. Or even think back to a better time. Mine was to be more positive, charming, energetic and adventurous.
  1. Come up with a motto. Like an affirmation, decide on a piece of text that you can always refer to. It can be a goal of some sort. A reminder of why you are doing this. Mine is ‘ Be the best person I can be, and everything else will fall into place’. I wrote this down along with the qualities I want to shine listed in the previous step, stuck it on my bedroom wall and referred to it daily.
  1. Strengths! Everyone has them. And write them down! Keep a strength journal. Every day I would write down my ‘wins’ for the day. They could be as little as having a good hair day, or as big as doing well in a presentation. Focusing on my positives and telling myself that I am amazing made a heap of difference.
  1. Fake it till you make it. Embody the person you want to become in step 1. Think like that person, walk like them, talk like them. I embodied the version of ‘me’ that was confident with who he is. I walked tall, spoke with certainty and charm, I oozed positivity. And after a while it worked, I slowly became that person.It takes 30 days for something to become a habit. This is going to be hard, but trust me it will pay off. Some people may disagree with this step, but hey, sometimes we get to such a dark place that taking a break from the person we are and focusing on the person we can become is the only option.
  1. Treat yourself like a child. Speak to yourself as you would a 5 year old child. Be kind to yourself. If you screw up or make a bad decision, think about what you would say to a five year old, and say it to yourself. Admit that you were wrong, but be kind and gentle so you can move forward.

At this point, I can say confidently that I am better than my old self, I am now the best version of myself. People have noticed and commented. I am excited about life again. I am excited to explore and roam. Sure I have off days when I feel like I have lost my footing. When this happens, I acknowledge that I feel this way and am mindful of my thoughts but I use the steps above to get back on that path.

Remember, only you can make yourself feel loved and happy, it’s no one else’s job.

Have you had a similar experience? Have you had to learn how to love yourself again? Comment below!

Image by Sylvain Norget

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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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17 TIMES WHEN THIS PICTURE OF KIM KARDASHIAN PERFECTLY DEPICTED MY GAY LIFE IN LONDON

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It’s been almost three months since I moved to London and while I have thoroughly enjoyed myself for the most part, there have been a few moments when I’ve felt like a frightened Kim Kardashian being mobbed at Paris Fashion Week. Here is list of 17 times when this picture of Kim Kardashian perfectly depicted my gay life in London:

1. THAT TIME WHEN I WAS THE OLDEST PERSON AT G-A-Y LATE

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2. THAT TIME WHEN MY FRIENDS LEFT ME ALONE AT EAST BLOC

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3. THAT TIME WHEN I ENDED UP AT FIRE ON A FRIDAY MORNING

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4. THAT TIME THAT I WENT TO HEAVEN ON A MONDAY NIGHT 

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5. WHEN THERE WAS A SIGNAL FAILURE AT BANK AND I HAD TO WAIT 7 MINUTES FOR THE TRAIN TO ARRIVE

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6. WHEN I ACCIDENTALLY FOUND MYSELF ON OXFORD STREET ON A SATURDAY AFTERNOON

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7. WHEN I FLEW EASYJET TO ITALY

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8. WHEN NONE OF THE EQUIPMENT WAS FREE AT FITNESS FIRST

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9. WHEN I MET A HOT BOY IN SHADOW LOUNGE AND HE INVITED ME BACK TO HIS PLACE…IN ZONE 4

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10. WHEN THE WAIT FOR A TABLE AT EVERY RESTAURANT IN SOHO WAS OVER AN HOUR

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11. WHEN I THOUGHT THAT IT WAS A GOOD IDEA TO TAKE A BLACK CAB FROM DALSTON TO NOTTING HILL

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12. WHEN I HAD TO TAKE THE TUBE DURING PEAK HOUR

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13. WHEN I WENT TO BOROUGH MARKETS

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14. WHEN I HAD TO PAY £15 TO GET INTO ROOM SERVICE

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15. WHEN I COULDN’T FIND ANYWHERE TO SIT DOWN AT THE YARD

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16. WHEN I REALISED THAT ALL THE HOT BARTENDERS ARE STRAIGHT

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17. WHEN I THINK ABOUT EVER HAVING TO LEAVE THIS EPIC CITY

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THE GAY AMERICAN MEN OF INSTAGRAM (GAMI)

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An outsider’s satirical view on the gay American men of Instagram.

The gay American men of Instagram (GAMI) must have an abundance of energy and equal amounts of money. I see them on Instagram and I wonder how they have the stamina to lead the eventful lives that they do. If they’re not at a pool party surrounded by equally beautiful men then they’re at a trendy restaurant playing drag bingo or trying out the latest hot-yoga-hip-hop-boot-camp-spin-fusion class. In their spare time they’re running cross-country to raise money for homeless youth or flying business-class across the globe to visit friends in exotic locations. And they’re documenting all of this with the precision and skill of a professional photographer, always ensuring that the angles are right, the timing perfect, the lighting adjusted and the appropriate filters applied. I don’t understand how they do it but I’m intrigued.

Never do I see pictures of them alone, unless of course it’s a gym selfie or an artistic semi-nude picture taken on a mountain trail. They all seem to be very popular, regularly hashtagging “bestie” under pictures of different guys and girls. How many best friends do they have? They must never feel lonely. The GAMI are fascinating and I’m certainly not the only one who is fascinated by them. These men have a combined following of millions. While some use their huge fan base as a means to inspire and raise money and awareness for LGBTI causes, others are happy to simply entertain their adoring fans. And they have plenty of adoring fans. Gay men from around the world love to comment on their pictures, openly daydreaming that one day they too will have fabulous lives.

But how do they do it? How do the GAMI have the energy to maintain their very social social lives? Where do they find the time to attend all those gay parties in all those gay cities throughout the world? And how do they fund their lavish lifestyles?

I can only assume that the GAMI must be making a fortune in their respective careers, although I’m not 100% sure what their careers entail as they never appear to be working. Are they doctors? Dancers? Hairstylists? Make-up artists? Models? Businesspeople? Designers? Whatever they do they must be doing it well because the GAMI are always decked out in the most stylish clothes (when they’re wearing clothes) and always eating in the most expensive restaurants (when they’re eating). Do they ever have downtime or a bad hair day? Do the GAMI get pimples? Do other gay men of Instagram ever reject them? While I’m sure there are plenty of regular gay American men who are also on Instagram and whose lives are unexcitingly normal, I never see them. They do not appear on my news feed or garner enough likes to justify following.

But then again maybe the GAMI don’t always lead such fabulous lives. Perhaps they are smart enough to realize that Instagram isn’t actually a reflection of the real world. Perhaps they have worked out that with clever editing they can make their lives seem much more interesting than they really are. Either that or the gay American men of Instagram have an abundance of energy and equal amounts of money.

Image by Remulo Brandao for Coitus Magazine

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MODERN GAY DATING: YOU ARE NOT MY TYPE

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This article was originally written by The Modern Gay for Match.com

“What’s your type of guy”, she asks. “I don’t really have a type” I respond “but I would probably say that he’s of Mediterranean decent, 6-foot-3, 80kgs, long dark-brown hair, bronzed skin, light eyes, Roman nose, sumptuous lips, slim build with a light covering of body hair and a scattering of tattoos. He’s thirty-two years old, most probably university educated, successful in business, speaks several languages, dresses like a GQ model and has the wit of Russell Brand coupled with the boyish charisma of Harry Styles”. As it turns out, I certainly do have a type.

“What was your last boyfriend like” she inquires further. “English decent, short blonde hair, 5-foot-10, smooth body, 20-years-old, with the style of a surfer and the wit of a doorknob” I reply. As it turns out, my ideal type of guy and the guys I actually date are completely incongruent. Why is this the case? Why is it that our ideal type and our actual type are often entirely different? Can we do anything to bring the two into alignment? This is something with which I have been struggling of late, compounded by the big “three-zero” which looms on the horizon.

What began as a creep towards the age of thirty has now turned into a full-blown gallop and as I approach the next milestone in my life I become increasingly anxious about the type of men that I find myself dating. When I was in my early 20s and dating guys similar in age to me it was fun and carefree. It didn’t matter much to me what their long term goals and aspirations were or even if they had any. Nor was it of much concern whether or not they were the type of people I would be happy to introduce to my parents or friends. Now that I’m in my late 20s and still find myself attracted to those same guys, the things that never seemed to bother me back then have now become of greater importance. Yes he’s pretty but what else does he have to offer? Yes he is full of youthful energy and always up for a good time but does he think that Palestine is a new fragrance by Kim Kardashian? Yes he’s great in bed but would… To continue reading click here.

Image by Mariano Vivanco

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THE ONE GUY THAT EVERY GAY MAN NEEDS IN HIS LIFE

MODERN GAY BLOG STRAIGHT LIFESTYLE BLOG

There is a special type of man that every gay guy needs in his life. This type of guy is an essential partner who can make the arduous journey through life that that little bit more pleasant. He will be there to console you during your breakups, dance with you to cheesy diva music on a night out and offer you advice from a completely unique perspective. He is the type of guy that you can talk to about things you can’t with your other guy friends and although you may say, “I love you” to each other, it is a very different type of love. There is a special type of man that every gay guy needs in his life and that is a straight male best friend.

It takes a straight man with special qualities to bestfriend a gay guy. The first quality required is an unwavering comfort in his own heterosexuality. Whether he’s sharing a bed with you on holiday in order to save money or dancing on a podium next to you with his shirt off, doing things that are perceived to be gay does not faze a straight guy who is comfortable in his own sexuality. He will feel comfortable walking down the street with his girlfriend hand-in-hand while you walk next to him with your boyfriend hand-in-hand. He’ll hug and kiss you hello and tell you that he misses you when he hasn’t seen you in a while. He will easily blend into a social situation where he’s the only straight guy, not flinching when your gay friends are being overly flirtatious or affectionate and he’ll relish the fact that you introduce him as your “token straight friend”. For him, being around gay guys is not a threat to his masculinity. As a matter of fact, it doesn’t even faze him at all.

A straight best friend doesn’t see sexuality as a defining aspect of your friendship. You are not his “gay best friend” and he is not your “straight best friend”, you are just mates. This is the second essential quality. While some straight girls excitingly seek a gay best friend as some sort of glitzy, novelty accessory, your best mate loves you for so much more than your sexuality. You share similar values and similar tastes in music, sports, humor, books and fashion. Together you can talk about similar experiences in love, relationships, heartache and it doesn’t matter that those experiences are between different genders. Some of these guys may have been your best friends from a time before puberty, when your sexuality was still dormant while others you may have only met after you came out. In both cases your different sexual preferences were never a factor on which your friendship was forged.

Much like with any other friendship, the most important quality that a straight man must possess in order to bestfriend a gay guy is loyalty. It is loyalty that ensures the longevity of any friendship, it is loyalty that helps a relationship survive the ups and downs of life and it is loyalty that binds male friends as brothers. Loyal friends are those who will be there when the club lights are turned on and when the music stops playing. It is during times of personal crisis such as health scares, deaths and depression that a loyal straight friend truly displays his mateship.

Having a straight man as a best friend also provides balance to one’s life. They provide a sounding board on which you can bounce ideas, problems and concerns and receive advice back from a different viewpoint. Often if we spend too much time within our own community, surrounded only by other gay guys we can become caught up in the drama of daily gay life. Having a neutral, outside party with whom we can confer is important for ensuring not only variety but also one’s own sanity. A straight male best friend is also a reminder that in a world where we have been judged, teased and chastised largely by other straight males, there are those in our midst who love, support and care for us regardless of our sexuality.

Image by Olaf Blecker

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THE DATING GAME: LESSONS FROM THE FIELD

Gay Rugby Boys Scrum

The following is an extract from an article originally written by The Modern Gay for match.com.

“The Dating Game” as it is often referred is an intricate play of tactical maneuvers, distinct rules, and pre-determined positions between two foreign teams who are brought together to achieve mutual victory. The problem though is that nobody knows the rules, the positions are ever changing and the maneuvers that are learnt in training normally don’t work on the field. What’s even more complicating is that after kick-off the game rarely goes to plan as off-sides are called, red cards are given, fouls are made and penalties awarded. More often than not, someone is bound to get hurt or sent-off and ultimately one or both teams leaves the pitch feeling like a loser. In the end, when we date as if it were a game, nobody wins.

While I don’t claim to be a love professional or a coach, I have certainly been on my fair share of dates and I feel that I have learnt a few lessons along the way.

Like many other guys there was a point in my life when I didn’t want to play the game anymore.Wait three days before you message him. Don’t write back straight away. Play it cool. Be mean, keep them keen. Don’t act too gay. Sleep with him regardless. I followed all the rules and believed that with practice would come perfection but I never seemed to score a goal. Then came a series of terrible dates. There was the guy who spoke only about his ex-boyfriend for the duration of dinner, the personal trainer who refused to eat anything that wasn’t green and the gorgeous Italian boy whose English skills were much better online. After a season of disappointing results I was ready to call a time-out or retire early.

I decided to take stock of the situation, to look back over all my dating experiences to see if there was a common problem that could explain my past failures. To my surprise, after deep analysis, I realised that I was in fact the problem. There were three mistakes that I continuously made which could explain why dating was so daunting. These mistakes turned into three lessons that have changed my entire perspective on dating.

Firstly, I realised that I was placing too much pressure on the outcome of the date, willing for it to be a ‘happily ever after’ love story before the referee’s whistle had even been blown. While I have always considered myself to be an independent person, in retrospect, I went through a stage where I was eager to be in a relationship. I empathised with Charlotte from Sex and the City who in one episode desperately exclaimed, “I’ve been dating since I was 15. I’m exhausted. Where is he?” I shared her pain and translated it into a period of binge-dating where every failed attempt at love seemed to be one step further away from Mr. Right. One should never approach dating or love from a place of such desperation. That was my first mistake.

My second mistake was framing dates as if they were job interviews. Will he like this outfit? What questions will he ask? What questions should I ask? What if he doesn’t like me? I hope I give a good impression. Should I be myself? Should I be who I think he’s looking for?

To continue reading click here.

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MODERN GAY PERSPECTIVE: MY COMING OUT STORY

coming out gay modern gay stories

What would a gay blog be without a personal coming out story? Following on from my post “43 Lies I told myself while in the closet“, in my latest YouTube video I talk about how I came out to my parents and it may not be the way that you would expect.

There is no right or wrong way to come out of the closet. It can also feel like there may never be a right time. While I was out to my friends, sister and colleagues, I still found it difficult to tell me parents. Perhaps it was the fear of disappointing them or perhaps it was the fear of the unknown? It can be scary to reveal a significant part of your identity to the people you care most about but eventually there is a tipping point, a moment in time when keeping it a secret feels more daunting than telling the truth.

Click here to view my story on YouTube or to subscribe to The Modern Gay channel.

Image  by Yiorgos Kaplanidis

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43 LIES I TOLD MYSELF WHILE IN THE CLOSET

The proverbial ‘closet’, a dark place of shame, doubt and fear where almost every gay man and woman begins their journey. We keep ourselves locked deep in that closet, telling ourselves stories about why it’s safer inside than out. We tell these stories until the day comes when we have the courage to see them for what they really are, lies.

This is the list of 43 lies that I told myself while in the closet.

Modern Gay 43 lies I told myself in the closet

The Modern Gay has expanded to YouTube! Please subscribe to The Modern Gay Guide to Life for extended personal content and don’t forget to tweet me @moderngay so that I can answer your questions.

 

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MODERN GAY ADVOCATE: THE POWER OF SHARING

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I have always believed that sharing our personal stories is a means by which we can create social change and empower our gay community. I believe so strongly in this idea that it was the impetus for creating The Modern Gay Guide to Life. As a matter of fact, the UN Human Rights Office also believes that sharing our stories can create positive change for our community and so they created a video entitled ‘The Power of Sharing’.

Created for International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the emotive video focuses on the impact that each of us can have by sharing our own stories and by showing our support for our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex friends, colleagues and family members.
 
“It’s quite easy to hate an idea, harder to hate a person,” said OHCHR’s Charles Radcliffe. “This video speaks to the power we all have within us — to share our own stories and to support our friends and family members in the face of prejudice. For everyone who can do so safely, IDAHOT provides a chance to start conversations within our own families and communities and to challenge the negative stereotypes that fuel homophobia and transphobia.”
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