Am I having enough sex? Should I be having more? Or less? Should I be promiscuous while I’m young? Should I be having more adventurous sex? All these questions constantly go round and round in my head.
Gay sex is a minefield and for most of us, one we’ve had to navigate ourselves pretty much blind. Gay sex education is almost non-existent in school (at least when I was growing up), you can’t really turn to your parents for their perspectives and without gay siblings, role models or friends, there’s very few places one can turn to for advice.
For this reason most of what I personally learnt about sex was through porn and through trial and error.
I also wonder if the emphasis that the gay community places on sex is one of the reasons that so many guys (myself included) find it hard to make meaningful connections. There are definitely gay men out there who have a healthy relationship with sex but for the rest of, there’s confusion and disconnection and a little bit of anxiety.
Watch this video of me talking about gay sex and my experience and let me know how you feel about this sticky topic.
After a string of lacklustre dates in 2019, I was becoming somewhat jaded by romance. That’s until I met someone special while I was in Sydney over Christmas and New Years. Although short, what I learnt over the three weeks we were together has re-engergised my approach to meeting guys and taught me an important rule about dating.
In this post I look at the two things that are key to connecting with someone when you first meet and discuss how gay dating apps, when used unsconsciously, can be detrimental to making real connections.
Growing up I didn’t have any gay friends. My closest friends were girls and I naturally gravitated towards them. You can imagine my anxiety during those times at school when boys and girls would be separated – school camp, gym class, in the playground etc. Luckily though I did have a few straight boy friends, one who still remains like a brother to me today, who I could rely on during these moment. Overall though, I never felt like one of the boys. My straight male friends were part of a group of other straight boys and even though we all got along well, it was always as if I was on the outside looking in.
In my teens and early 20’s I met some wonderful gay guys and started exploring the gay scene but again, I felt like an outsider looking in. I couldn’t connect with the gay community and never quite found my niche. Because of this I developed a bit of a superiority complex whereby I’d dismiss the gay community, other gay men and the whole scene as a world that I didn’t really want to be a part of. I chose to hang out with straight friends and frequent straight clubs and bars over gay clubs and bars. I wore the fact that I didn’t have many gay friends and that I was an outsider as a badge of honour. In retrospect this was a coping mechanism to compensate for my lack of gay connections.
It was only after I moved to London that I found my group of gays – guys that are supportive, who uplift each other and who share similar values to me.
Recently I’ve realised the importance of having gay friends like these. I love my straight friends dearly but as we’ve grown up, their lives have taken them in a very different direction to me. They’ve married, bought houses and had kids. Their daily concerns and interests are very different to mine – a single, gay man whose only responsibility is himself. As our paths have diverged, I’ve become aware of how important it is to surround yourself with people who can share in your life experience, who can relate to what you’re going through and who can lean on for advice and support.
In the below video I talk about my perspective on gay friendships even further and hope that by sharing my experience, I can inspire other gay men to consider the importance of having gay friendships in their lives.
It’s the most colourful time of the year – it’s gay Pride in Sydney or as it’s locally called, ‘Mardi Gras’. A great time to celebrate the LGBTQI+ community and to stand proud with friends, family and straight allies. Unfortunately there are two things that happen around this time of year that really upset me.
Watch below and comment as I’d love to hear what you think!
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.
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.
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.
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?”.
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.