Tag Archives: PRIDE

MODERN GAY SPIRITUALITY

I often talk about gay issues and my gay identity but rarely do I touch on the spiritual side of life. There are so many facets to who we are, beyond our sexuality. My spirituality is one of these many facets.

In this video, I talk for the first time about the spiritual side to this gay boy and how moving out of my apartment taught me an important lesson about attachment to things outside of ourselves.

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TRYING GAY DATING APPS: PART TWO

My hunt for Prince Charming on gay dating apps is in full swing but I think I may have overcommitted…How many conversations can I have at once across Grindr, Chappy, Match, Hinge and Tinder?

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WHAT I LEARNT ABOUT LONELINESS

Loneliness is a universal feeling but there are experiences of loneliness that are unique to gay men.

I recently published a post about being 34, single and lonely to which I received an overwhelming response. People reached out to show their love and support and in doing so, shared their own stories about loneliness. I read messages and comments from men and women who were older, younger, married, single, confidently alone and also afraid of being alone forever. Their words helped me to realise that loneliness doesn’t discriminate nor is it reserved for single people or for gay guys.

While loneliness is a common feeling, I do believe that gay men have it particularly hard due to the pressures put on us by gay culture and social media. In the below video, I discuss what I learnt about loneliness in the wake of my blog post and share my thoughts on why it seems that gay guys may struggle with loneliness a little bit more frequently and harshly.

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I’M LONELY BUT I’M OK

What apartments, flat mates and colon inspections have taught me about loneliness. 

I didn’t think I would be alone at 34. When I pictured my life in my 30’s I thought that I would be rich, famous and happily married to an Italian prince – no really, I thought I would be married to an Italian prince. Instead, I’m very much single, struggling to earn enough money to support my over indulgent millennial lifestyle and working in a job that makes other people rich and famous. Most of the time I’m content with this life however lately I’ve been feeling quite alone, a feeling which can be traced to the impending departure of my flat mate from our apartment. For the last four years I’ve lived with a wonderful flat mate in a gorgeous apartment, owned by a landlord who makes Patrick Bateman seem like a less aggressive Betty White. Soon my living situation will be turned upside down as my flat mate moves into his own place and we must decide quickly what to do with our lease.

This has left me in a predicament; find a random stranger to move into Patrick Bateman’s warehouse conversion with me or terminate the lease and move out by myself. I knew that this living situation wasn’t going to last forever and even though I wouldn’t have wanted it to, I honestly thought that the next time I would have to move it would be into a beautiful home with my beautiful partner (or a castle in the case of my Italian prince fantasy).

When I look back at the circumstances that led me to singledom in my 30’s, I’m not sure how this aloneness happened but I do feel that I’m partly to blame. Boys have come and gone in my life and while I’ve had a couple of loves, or what felt like loves at the time, I haven’t come across anyone who I think I could bare to keep for ever after. Perhaps I haven’t tried hard enough, opened my heart wide enough (insert anal joke here) or perhaps it’s because when one pictures his future husband to be Italian royalty with a sprawling estate in Tuscany and a villa on the cliffs of Positano, all other men pale in comparison?

Having to move has brought up a lot of unsettling feelings. Being a self-diagnosed social loner means that I should be relishing in the prospect of living by myself. Strangely, I’m feeling lonely and somewhat isolated. This move is a reminder that at 34 years old I’m solely responsible for myself – at the end of the day there’s nobody looking out for me except for me. Yes, I have a loving family but they live on the other side of the world. Yes, I have caring friends but this is London and everyone is dealing with their own issues which means that it’s my sole responsibility to find a new home while I juggle a hectic career, a health routine, a skin regime, cooking, cleaning, laundry, ironing, a social life, finances, check-ups, bills, appointments, groceries etc. etc. etc. If I drop a ball there’s nobody there to help me pick it up. Stupidly, on top of all this I’ve recently decided to give up alcohol (only until March) which now seems like the worst idea ever because alcohol makes me so, so happy. Oh and I’ve also given up sugar which is the only other thing besides alcohol that soothes me when I’m stressed. Mix all these things together and what’s even worse is that I’ve lost my sex drive completely. A once horny individual who’d get semi aroused at the site of a phallic shaped root vegetable, I now have no desire for sexual intimacy which means no desire to go out and meet men thusly continuing the cycle of perpetual non-man-ness and feelings of loneliness and gloom.

Just to give you an idea of how single I really am, let me regale you with a story of the anal kind. Mothers and friends stay with me here, this isn’t a story about sex. Alas, it’s a story about a medical misadventure. I’ll save you a rambling introduction and jump straight to the point where I find myself checked-in to Royal London Hospital for a sigmoidoscopy, a procedure that uses a camera to check the lower 20 inches of one’s colon. When you go in for such a procedure you are presented with two options; option one, sedation – this is where you’re put in a lovely state of utter relaxation through a twilight sleep whereby you feel nothing. The procedure takes place while you’re totally zonked and you wake up feeling fresh and revitalised with a professionally examined colon (as opposed to an amateur examined colon?). The second option is non-sedation whereby you’re completely awake for the whole procedure with nothing to relax you but some butt hole numbing cream. From what I’ve been told, option one is like floating on a soft marshmallow cloud of loveliness but take it from me, the chooser of option two, that option two is very different. You know that scene in Alien where the little alien explodes out of the guy’s chest? Yes? Well it feels a bit like that but without the relief of the alien actually breaking through your rib cage. At one point, when her camera was well past the point of no return, the doctor turned to me to tell me that some have likened the discomfort I was about to endure to the pain of childbirth.

Why would someone put themselves through such an ordeal? Well, anyone can choose option one but the catch is that they’ll only release you from the hospital if you have an escort. This means someone has to come to the hospital and check you out. They then need to chaperon you home and ensure that you don’t swallow your tongue or do whatever it is that doctors are afraid you might do after having some sedation and a camera up your bum. If you choose option two however, then you’re free to leave the hospital unaccompanied as soon as you’re finished.

It’s 3pm on a wintery Tuesday in December and I have no escort therefore I have no choice but to go with the alien-breaking-through-rib-cage-similar-to-childbirth option. I have no family member who’s obliged to help me out (because those are of course the rules of family), no friends to call upon because it’s 3pm on a wintery Tuesday and the hospital is in East London when all my friends work in the West and no Italian prince by my side because apparently Italian princes can’t be found on Grindr or Chappy or in dirty Hackney nightclubs. So as I stumble out of Royal London Hospital at 5pm on a wet and wintery Tuesday evening, releasing pockets of gas from my colon which I’ve been warned is a side effect of the procedure, and remembering that Dr. O’Donnell’s 20 inch long camera is the most action that I’ve had in weeks, I wonder to myself ‘is this the loneliest I have ever felt?’

But it’s not. It’s now when I have the real prospect of not having anywhere to live and no partner to lean upon that I feel the loneliest. Don’t cry for me though – this isn’t a pity post.  I’m ok with my loneliness, in fact, I feel that loneliness can be an empowering feeling when looked up from a different perspective. It can shock you into action, make you evaluate your current situation and change your bad habits for the better.  It can be the impetus for something beautiful and even a wakeup call to love.

I saw a psychic when I was in Sydney last month. She knew, without me saying a word, that I lived in London and that I was going to move out of my apartment. ‘You need to live alone’, she said, ‘it will open a space for you to find your soulmate’. What an interesting thought – maybe this loneliness, this current sense of foreboding and instability is actually the universe’s way of shaking things up to make room for love? Maybe this whole situation isn’t just a search for a physical home but it’s an awakening inside of me that things need to change in order for me to find a solution to my singleness. I believe that sometimes the universe gives you a hard nudge, such as imminent apartmentlessness, in order to push you in the right direction. While I’ve loved where I’ve lived for the last few years it has been the epicentre of a carefree, debaucherous and often wild lifestyle which I now see is in complete opposite of what I want and need now. Change can be hard and it can be scary and while I’ve tried to control my circumstances as best as I can to avoid the unknown, something inside of me tells me that this loneliness is only temporary and much needed for my own growth.

Who knows where I’ll be living in one month or even one year? Maybe I’ll still be alone, maybe I’ll be living with a partner or maybe if everything works out the way I imagined all those years ago I’ll finally meet my Italian prince, move into his family palace and live happily ever after.

Now read this: 5 Misconceptions Gay Boys Have About Other Gay Boys

Image: Philip Ellis by Damon Baker

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WHAT I LEARNT FROM BECOMING ALMOST FAMOUS

When I was a young gay boy and I felt disconnected from my peers, bullied by older guys because of my sexuality and generally despondent with the world, I would imagine a time in the future when I would be rich and famous. I’d see myself as an Oscar-winning actor, or a billionaire entrepreneur, living in a world where people longed to be my friend. This was my coping mechanism, my way to justify the hard times.

“One day, they’ll all wish they had been nicer to me. One day, they’ll see how amazing I am and they’ll regret the way they treated me”.

I thought that I had overcome these feelings but when an incredible opportunity came my way that almost made my childhood dreams and wishes come true, I realised that inside I was still a bruised young gay boy. It made me question the motivation behind my desire to be successful in all areas of my life and led me to ask, “Are gay men so obsessed with fabulousness and perfection because of the trauma we suffered growing up?”.

Watch this video to see the full story.

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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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FRIDAY MUSIC FIX: ROBYN

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Three seconds into Robyn’s ‘Hang With Me’ and I’m hooked. The electronic beat grabs me by the ears and forces me into alt-pop heaven. 10 seconds later and the distinctive Swedish vocals kick in. I’m melting into a kaleidoscope of juicy sounds that permeate throughout my body, causing the hairs on my arm to stand up. It’s like sucking on the teet of the universe and all I want to do is drink more. I want, nay, I need to dance to this song forever; carelessly throw my arms into the air, close my eyes and let Robyn envelop me. Not many songs have such a visceral effect on my insides but this song is different. It’s a perfectly formed pop-song that takes me on a journey. I’m in a field in Sweden, I’m on a dancefloor in San Francisco, I’m 16 years-old and in my bedroom, I’m having sex with a gorgeous stranger. 3 minutes in and I’m having a full blown ear-ection. Finish me off Robyn. And she does. And the song ends and 3 minutes and 34 seconds later, I’m spent.

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Painting by Kris Knight 

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15 GAY GUYS TO AVOID IN 2015

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One week into 2015 and chances are that you have already broken most of your New Years resolutions. While you attempt to find your way back onto the right track towards health, happiness and your dream job, why don’t you also cleanse your soul of poisonous people? Here’s a list of 15 gay guys to avoid or remove from your life in 2015.

Disclaimer: the people mentioned below might also be your straight friend, female colleague or family member and should be detoxified from your life just the same. And another thing, don’t take this list too seriously…

1. THE GOSSIP
If he speaks more goss than Perez Hilton and TMZ combined then chances are he’s talking dirt behind your back too. Although everyone knows that a gossip cannot be trusted, he has the uncanny ability to discover information through his network of unnamed sources. Remove yourself from his network immediately.
2. THE DRAMA QUEEN
This guy lives his life as if he is a Southern Californian teenager girl being followed by a reality TV crew or an ill-tempered mob boss wife from New Jersey. He thrives on creating drama between people and as such his presence in your life is emotionally draining. Do not become caught up in his Bravo TV franchise.
3. THE JEALOUS ONE
Friends should be supportive of one another but some gay guys cannot deal with other people’s success. You’ll be able to identify this type of person cause he will always be the one discounting other’s achievements with comments like “yeh he has a good job but he’ll never find a boyfriend” or “so what if he’s good-looking, his boyfriend still cheats on him”. Stop spending time with jealous people because secretly they’re hoping that you fail too.
4. THE MANIPULATOR
The manipulator, strategist and liar are often the same person and should technically be grouped together. This type of guy likes to control situations and has a powerful ability to manipulate others into doing what he wants. He will lie and mould the people around his so to achieve whatever strategy he has thought up to benefit himself. When things do not go the way he plans, he’ll turn his back on you in jealousy and find a way to enact his revenge. This guy is dangerous and should be avoided at all costs.
5. THE STRATEGIST
6. THE LIAR
7. THE BAD INFLUENCE
A controversial inclusion on the list because a bad influence can sometimes be the key to the craziest of adventures. In small doses the bad influence can be fun and mischevious but if left unchecked he can lead to your demise. He is the friend who will convince you to stay out longer at the club when you have an early flight to catch the next day or persuade you to accompany him to a sex party in a sketchy part of town. If you enjoy missing your flight or engaging in sex acts that have yet to be named then by all means keep the bad influence around.
8. THE ATTENTION SEEKER
Loud, obnoxious, inappropriate and always vying for the spotlight, the attention seeker makes every moment a dramatic one-man performance about himself. He survives on the gaze of others and will do anything to attract attention. When you’re out in public with him he makes you feel uncomfortable with his outlandish behaviour and lack of social awareness. If you’re slightly uncomfortable being watched across a restaurant full of strangers then either ask your loud friend to step down from the table and put his shirt back on or just stop spending your precious time with him all together.
9. THE NEGATIVE ONE
Negative gay guys will suck the life out of you…and not in a good way. They complain that they don’t have a boyfriend, that they never meet anyone new, that their job is awful, that the music at this club is shit, that their martini is too dry and that nothing ever goes right. Negative people will cast a grey cloud over you, make it rain and then drown you in their pessimism. Replace the negative gay guy with a positive, easygoing and optimistic friend immediately.
10. THE BOYFRIEND THIEF
He is the friend who always dates or sleeps with your ex-boyfriend several months after you broke up. This will have you reflecting on all the times he hang out with you and your boyfriend while you were still dating. How long has he had these feelings? Why does he always end up with with your exes? What type of friends sleeps with your ex-lover anyway? You can take it as a compliment or you can just take him out of your life completely.
11. THE SPONGE
Never pays for dinners out, always manages to avoid his shout at the bar and somehow ends up in your room on summer holidays even though he hasn’t contributed to the cost, these are the ways of the sponge. While it’s commendable to help your friends when they are short on cash or in-between jobs, do not support the sponge as he has no intention of ever changing his ways or repaying the favour.
12. THE OPPORTUNIST
Have you ever noticed how some gay boys are only friends with semi-famous, extremely good-looking, well-known gays? Their so-called best friends are carefully selected based on their social capital and once they’ve infiltrated the group they work to develop their own social profile. These people are known as opportunists as they actively seek out situations and people that will help inflate their own egos. If you’re friends with one of these types then you’re probably a semi-famous, extremely good-looking and well-known gay so be aware that there is a social climbing impostor amongst your midst.
13. THE PERFECTIONIST
‘I love my life and I love my friends and I’m so grateful to the universe that everything is perfect’ reads his Facebook status. As a matter of fact, when scrolling through his social media it may actually appear that his life is perfect and if it wasn’t for his over-the-top declarations of perfection then you might almost believe them. Nobody’s life is that perfect and even though his beautifully photoshopped pictures make you feel like your life is crap, he’s probably desperately miserable and therefore terrible company anyway. Stay away.
14. THE TAKER
Do you know a gay guy who loves talking about himself? While the truth is that most of us love talking about ourselves there is a special type of gay guy who will take no interest in another person when having a conversation. He’ll never ask how you are or what you’ve been doing or if everything is ok in your life. Rather he’ll prefer to talk about his life and his problems and if the discussion ever changes where you become the focus then he’ll lose interest. This is a taker – a person who takes other people’s attention and steals other’s time but never returns the favour.
15. THE REPEAT OFFENDER
Perhaps you are friends with someone who fits one or more of the above descriptions but the good that they bring to your life far outweighs the bad. If this is the case then you don’t mind putting up with their shortcomings because you understand that we all have our flaws and that nobody is perfect. That’s completely fine. It’s not until they repeat those shortcomings over and over again till you reach a tipping point when you cannot forgive them anymore. Maybe you’ve called them out on sponging, or lying or thieving your boyfriend but they still never change. If this is true then 2015 is the year when you must decide whether or not you want to keep them in your life or remove them indefinitely. The choice is yours.
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THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LOVE AND LUST IS A BROKEN HEART

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

When I was twenty-three years old I moved to Milan to study at university. Within a month I met a guy. He was the most striking human being I had ever seen. He was slightly taller than me, long brown hair, voluptuous lips, golden tanned skin, a strong Roman nose, beautifully lean body and the most impeccable style for which Italians are famous. He was the epitome of an ‘Italian Stallion’ and an example of the way that I had imagined all Italian men to look before I had moved to Italy. The first time I locked eyes with him, I felt his gaze reverberate through my entire body and I remember thinking to myself that this was what love at first sight felt like.

Milan being a small city meant that we frequented the same parties and places and on the weekends I would regularly spot him walking the streets of my neighborhood. On one fateful evening in my favorite club, Plastic, I finally gathered the courage to approach him. We spoke and danced and drank and immediately the sexual chemistry was palpable. That evening began a year long ‘relationship’ (and I use that term loosely) that taught me lessons to which I still refer today. He triggered a range of emotions inside of me that I had never felt before and as a result I behaved in a way that was completely out of character for me. Instead of being the confident, stable minded person I had always been, I turned into a lovesick puppy that craved his attention and affection. I thought of him as a drug. When I ‘had’ him I was on a blissful high but when he left me, the euphoria faded and I would crave him until I could have him again. It would often take days or weeks before I could have my next fix of him. Occasionally we would unexpectedly cross paths in a club or restaurant and I would spend the rest of the night pining over him and watching him from across the room. If we left together then I would be content but when we didn’t my heart would shatter and I would punish myself by listening to depressing love songs and crying myself to sleep. I’m not sure if he knew the power he had over me or the way that I felt about him but I imagine that the song lyrics I emailed him or the way that I looked at him were clear enough indicators. In retrospect, the manner in which I acted makes me cringe with embarrassment but at the time I was convinced that I was in love. But it wasn’t love. It was lust. I was in lust with him and it took a broken heart to come to that realization.

It is so easy to confuse love and lust, especially when we are younger, as they are both powerful feelings that can be easily mistaken for one another. Love and lust make our hearts beat faster, they are similar feelings that can overwhelm us so much so that we do things that we would never do and much like love at first sight, so too can we fall in lust at first sight. The difference between the two is that lust grows stronger the less of it you receive back from the person with whom you are in lust while love grows stronger the more of it you receive back from the person with whom you are in love.

Lust is sexually driven while love comes from a deeper place within one’s soul. Lust speaks to our egos, our bodies, our animal side and our insecurities. Love speaks beyond the physical, transcending… Continue reading here.

Image by ChuanDo and Frey

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THE MOST IMPORTANT RULE FOR ONLINE DATING

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

I have been using the internet to communicate with other gay guys my age since I was fourteen-years-old. What started as a means to explore my curiosities in the privacy of my bedroom has matured into a means by which I have met romantic partners. In the early days of internet dating you were warned not to share too much detail about your life for fear of being taken advantage of but as we have become more comfortable with this digital medium we are more open to sharing our phone numbers, private pictures, personal stories and even our home addresses.

When I was eighteen I signed up for one of the few gay dating sites that existed at the time. The internet was the only access I had to the big gay world but because I was still in the closet I was reluctant to use a real profile picture for fear of being outed. Like many other questioning, young gay guys, I established a false profile, using an image that I found online. I created an alluring persona of the ideal “straight-acting”, high school jock and used this disguise to communicate with other guys. Luckily though, I quickly realized the pointlessness in pretending to be someone you are not, both digitally and in real life. Although my fake profile allowed me to comfortably chat to other gay guys (something I could not do while I was still in school) I knew that these relationships would never eventuate into anything more than an internet fling. I deleted my accounts and stopped using the internet for chatting until I was comfortable enough to establish a profile that reflected the real me, with genuine pictures included.

Since then I have met some great guys through dating websites and apps. Along the way I have also learnt some valuable lessons about online dating, the most important of which is honesty. Pretending to be someone that you are not is pointless in the long run. Sure it may allow you to escape the reality of your life in the moment but ultimately it’s a dead end and people inevitably are hurt. I also strongly believe that we should only be in relationships with people who love us for who we are and not for who we think they want us to be. The best way to attract these people into your life is to be honest from day one, and this means being honest in your online profile too. Exaggerating your height, body type or income may increase the views on your profile but what happens when you meet your love interest in person and he realizes that you are not a six-foot-two footballer with a six-figure salary? Such superficial things as body type and salary should not even matter in a loving relationship but they will become an issue if you have lied about them from the start.

While honesty is certainly the most important rule in online dating, here is a list of 7 practical ways to improve your online profile that will hopefully lead to happily ever after.

Image by Steven Kohlstock

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