Saturday, May 30, 2009

Coming out as "a blogger"

Back in February, I remarked in a comment that:
If one day I find myself a boyfriend who doesn't know about [my blog], then working out if/how to tell him will be very tricky.
That produced an anonymous comment which asked:
Why tricky? unless a blogger has things to hide surely it's better to let their partner know?...or is this part of blogging, keeping things secret from the person they love while sharing with the rest of the world and fellow bloggers! As you have met other bloggers, if they were to meet your partner would you not have to lie to them how you know them, which is fundamentally being dishonest to your partner? Or again is this part of the thrill? Maybe some of your other readers/followers have thoughts on this?
Thinking a bit about this, anonymous blogging is quite an unusual activity. It's certainly something that's only become possible with the growth of the Internet. I also feel that it's enormously beneficial to a person in many ways, because it provides an outlet for all one's hopes and fears, as well as acting as a personal diary. It's certainly helped my personal development a lot since I started blogging over 4 years ago.

Blogging when all your friends know the web address of your blog is different, because you can't say exactly what you feel. You always have to edit and restrict yourself, because your audience knows who you are and knows the people involved. Blogging in that situation is still worthwhile of course, because it's still creative and it allows all your friends to keep up with what's going on in your life. But you couldn't write about any relationship or other personal problems.

Beach photoFor me, it's certainly not a question of wanting to hide things from any new boyfriend. Indeed, in one sense I was quite relieved when ex-boyfriend P found out about my blog, because it forced a solution to the question about if or when I should tell him. But of course, after he knew about the blog, writing about my relationship with him became more difficult, and the same will also be true if I tell any new boyfriend about this blog.

Although I kept the blog secret from ex-boyfriend S, I feel that I should tell any new boyfriend about the blog. I enjoy blogging, but it takes several hours each week to draft my postings and to respond to the emails that I get, so I shouldn't keep something that occupies that much time secret from him. The alternative, where he knows that I spend time online but it's not clear what I'm doing would be a bad idea, because it might undermine our relationship if he thinks that I spend that much time cruising!

One possibility would be to tell any new boyfriend that I'm a blogger, but then not tell him the web address. That could be justified on the grounds that reading my blog would be like reading my private diary. However, if he went looking for my blog I think he'd find it quite easily! Because I've been blogging for so long, I know that it comes up in the results for many types of Google searches these days.

It's ironic that I get a lot of "Dear GB" emails from guys who're having problems coming out as gay, because I can see parallels with the problems that I'm discussing here about coming out as a blogger! It wouldn't be such a big deal if I only had a small blog, but since I've now got over 650 posts it's not an insignificant part of my creative output. And of course, coming out as a blogger to a new boyfriend carries the risk that if he reads my blog, he may end up changing his mind about wanting to be my boyfriend.

Another possibility would be not to tell any new boyfriend about this blog and simply give up blogging. The problem with that is that I do enjoy blogging. Also, it's taken a while to build up my small readership, and it seems a shame to throw it all away.

Anyway, if anyone has any thoughts on this subject I'd be very interested to hear them!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Email from a closeted Asian gay guy

A few weeks ago, a reader sent me the following email:

Dear GB,

I found your blog just today while trying to find out about gym etiquette (just generally; wanted to know if gay men act a certain way). It was also my first time reading about cruising and these other activities that happen in the gym. I'm quite surprised as I'm very conservative and come from a culture where even public displays of affection by heterosexual couples are not allowed, so homosexuality is not even spoken of. That makes me wonder actually whether a lot of men where I come from grow up and force and impose upon themselves a normal family life based on the cultural and religious expectations or obligations. How tragic their lives must be and the more I think about it the more I am fearing for my life.

It is not easy for me. I am in my mid 20s and have been in London for a few years. I'm a closet, but for the most part of two decades I was in denial. I am a virgin. I am also one of those 'idealist' thinkers who pivot around the ideas of emotions (and long term relationships) as opposed to being sexually motivated. Don't get me wrong, I am not putting any labels on anyone but just myself, because growing up in a conservative society that was probably why I turned out this way - emotional longing before sexual needs. Sadly I have never been able to experience either.

I had been in denial so much that even surfing about gay material now evokes a feeling of insecurity, guilt and fear to the point I am looking over my shoulders to check if anybody is looking, even in the comforts of my empty bedroom. Even typing out this e-mail now, I am making some changes so that I may appear as anonymous as possible (but how more anonymous can I get over the Internet?). Yes that is the kind of fear that dwells inside me.

There is always a balance for everything; two sides to a coin. So for the fear that haunts me, there is also an equal intense feeling of longing. I am slowly coming to terms with being gay now but I doubt I can ever come out of the closet especially with the people I already know. It would certainly break their hearts (no matter how much people would argue that they would understand) - I'd rather not break their hearts, I really don't. People have belief systems in lives that could shatter in a little moment and I don't want to be that moment.

Putting all the emotional downpour aside (please excuse me for that), I was wondering if you could give me some advice GB. I don't know where to start. I am Asian. I don't know anyone gay, I don't plan to visit a support group. I don't drink so I wouldn't go in a gay bar. I actually am ironically homophobic in a sense that I find myself not attracted to gays who flaunt it and act a bit lady-like. How hard is it to find an older gay partner who acts very straight? What I can tell you is that I feel an intense attraction to mature men (40s and 50s). Does that make my situation even harder? It would be a dream come true to meet a serious mature man who equally longs for mutual company.

What are my chances here in London GB? Given my personality and expectations. I guess on the physical side I should fair off fine since I go to the gym everyday - just to put that into account. What do I do?

I am running out of time. I am going home soon (for good) but I have a tiny chance of staying here, although I will have to fight very very hard for it. Unless I find something, a tiny bit of hope, then I wouldn't be able to find the strength to make a fight and stay here in London. The journey home is imminent and I might just be one of those men who submit to a 'normal life' and grow old wondering.

Best regards

I felt a bit sorry for this reader, because if he does have to go back to his home country it sounds like it's going to be impossible for him to find himself a nice boyfriend, which is what he seems to want. So immediately I sent him an encouraging reply:

Dear reader,

Thanks very much for writing to me :-). I know a lot of Asian gay guys, so I do understand what you're talking about.

Let me reassure you that as a gay guy in your mid 20's you've got plenty of time to find a boyfriend for a long term relationship. Let me also reassure you that there are also plenty of mature gay guys who like younger Asian guys, so that should work too. One way to find them is via groups such as the Long Yang club. However, you really must avoid going back home. Or if you have to go back home, find a way to come back to London. Perhaps you've been a student here, and perhaps you'd now qualify for the skilled migrant points based work visa?

Usually the first step in terms of coming out is the hardest, and the hardest by a very long way too. Don't get me wrong, there are more hard steps to take, but it does get easier. Just as long as you stay on the path that you've just stepped onto, I'm sure that eventually you'll find happiness.

All the best for now, GB xxx

Within a days I'd received a reply from him:

Hey GB,

Thank you for writing back so promptly. As you and many other readers know, closets (well, every human being in general) regularly have bouts of world-detachment or feelings of anxiety and depression. I am in one right now. I appreciate your advice on the LYC but I might not be ready for that now yet. I was however thinking of going to London Friend Turning Point. I'm debating whether or not I should go now, because this is the most difficult time for us students. Should I let these feelings sit on my conscience for just a little longer or should I start untangling them while balancing out my other obligations.

But don't worry, if there is a strong enough wind on a person's back, it'll take him somewhere.


London Friend LogoI sent him a reply to say that I thought that London Friend Turning Point was a good idea. Indeed, having come out to himself and now to me via email, going to meet other gay guys face to face in a supportive environment is a good idea for his next step.

In terms of his original query about gym etiquette, one of my earliest posts is titled 'How gay men cruise gym saunas and steam rooms'. I still think it's a good post, and indeed, applies to locker room etiquette in general.

He's probably right that some gay guys in his home country force themselves into a straight lifestyle. However, now that he's come out to himself, he doesn't have to be one of them. It really doesn't matter that he's still a virgin and hasn't had any physical contact with another gay guy yet. When he starts making friends with other gay guys, he'll naturally lose his virginity when the time is right for him.

The biggest thing he has to do is to overcome his fear of being gay. The natural cure for that is to venture out slowly into gay London. For example, he can go to gay bars even if he doesn't drink alcohol. For example, I think Ku-bar in Chinatown and Kudos in Adelaide Street are popular with Asian guys and guys who like Asian guys. Given how hard he finds it to accept that he's gay, it would do him good just to walk into such a bar, even if he walks straight out again!

Of course, I also recommend using web sites like gaydar to meet other gay guys. He should feel comfortable doing that because he can do that from the privacy of his own bedroom. Since he's Asian, perhaps he should also try fridae. Even though most of the guys who're on fridae are based in Asia, it's also used by Asian guys elsewhere, and by extension by guys elsewhere who're looking for Asian guys. There are many different types of gay guys, so it really doesn't matter that he doesn't like the overtly feminine type of gay guy, he should just say that in his online profile. However, I reckon it's better to specify that he's looking for 'masculine' guys rather than using the term 'straight-acting'.

So if he can stay in London, or indeed move to live in any of the main gay cities around the world, then I think he's got an excellent chance of finding happiness. Does anyone else have any other ideas for this reader?

Saturday, May 23, 2009

A couple of rice queens

"All the guys that you're dating seem to be Asian," says an old friend of mine to me over dinner one night last week, "I think you're turning into a Rice Queen!"

"But I also like other Caucasians, Latinos, black guys," I protest, "it just happens that all the guys that I've been seeing recently are Asian. Anyway, you can talk, you live in Bangkok so if that term applies to anyone then it's you!"

"Oh yes, I'm definitely a Rice Queen," admits my friend with a smile on his face. "There's nothing wrong with liking Asian guys, but it's a one-way street you know! I don't know of any Caucasian guys who've ended up with non-Asian boyfriends once they realise that they like Asians."

Suddenly I notice that my friend has a white thread 'sai sin' bracelet tied round one of his wrists. I was given one too when I was in Thailand in January. Apparently the Thai belief is that they help keep one's good spirits close, as well as warding off the bad spirits. Although my 'sai sin' bracelet is a bit worn now, when he notices that I'm wearing one as well my friend smiles with an 'I told you so' look on his face.

"Interesting ...," I reply thoughtfully, realising that I'd have thrown away my 'sai sin' bracelet if I didn't feel comfortable with Asian customs. "Actually one thing that I like about Asian guys in general is that they're often very family oriented."

"Yes that's true. But Asian values also have their problems. You probably don't get them over here in London, but in Bangkok, some Thai gays with their Buddhist mind-set can be so focused on the present that it's almost impossible to plan anything for the future!"

"But why are you looking for a boyfriend?" continues my friend, "because you seem to be having a great time on your own at the moment."

"Maybe, but I do miss having a guy to share my life with me," I reply. "Also, I much prefer falling asleep and waking up with someone. Actually I sleep better when I’m with another guy. Well, not the first time because when I've got a new guy in bed to play with it's all just too exciting! But once I get used to him then I do sleep better :-). I've never worked out why that is."

"Probably the subconscious feeling of security that you get from having someone next to you!" replies my friend with another wise look on his face.

I'd never seriously thought of myself as a Rice Queen before, but I guess my friend is right because if I'm lucky enough to find myself a new boyfriend one day, then I think he is likely to be Asian.

But I also think I fall in love too easily. That was always my problem in the past, because although I loved ex-boyfriend S, I also fell in love with ex-boyfriend P at the same time. On top of that, I found myself loving more guys as well. Now, I think I've fallen for my friend T, and also for my friend who sometimes gets hayfever.

It's a problem actually, because I want them both to be happy. I also don't want to let either of them down. One good thing is that both of them seem quite relaxed about the concept of committed relationships which aren't monogamous. None the less, I don't think either of them would be happy being my boyfriend if I officially also had other boyfriends at the same time!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Chelsea Flower Show 2009

As I said last year, I've visited the Chelsea Flower Show every year since the early 1990's. This year, even though ex-boyfriend S isn't my boyfriend any more, I still went along with him to the show. As usual we had a good time there.

Without doubt, the poor economic climate has had its effect on Chelsea 2009. Last year there were 21 show gardens, of which 8 got gold medals. This year there were only 13 show gardens, and only 3 got gold medals. No doubt companies have cut back on sponsorship, and if they haven't pulled out completely, they've reduced the budgets!

A couple of gardens caught my eye as being unusual. One garden in the small urban garden category wasn't a proper garden at all. Instead it's a sculpted art installation called Paradise in Plasticine, i.e. a garden made entirely from plasticine! Another unusual garden was The Quilted Velvet Garden, which was one of the main show gardens. Quilted Velvet is a brand of toilet paper in the UK. The garden's aim was to bring to life Quilted Velvet’s message of "a little bit of luxury every day", so indeed, the garden was basically a huge advert for toilet paper complete with a huge flower layout depicting a toilet seat which was filled with velvet cushions! As another sign of the times there was also a set of three "Credit crunch" gardens, one of which was called "The banker's garden", featuring a few objects from the game of monopoly.

My favourite show garden this year was the Laurent Perrier garden, which was one of the gold medal winners. It had a simplistic elegance that appealed to me. However I also liked the garden which won the award for being the best in show, which this year was The Daily Telegraph garden. As usual, although the show goes on until next Saturday, it's been completely sold out for ages. But there'll be another next year, so I'd advise any readers who want to go along to book early!

The Laurent Perrier garden was my favourite :-).

The Daily Telegraph garden, which won 'best in show'.

The Quilted Velvet Garden is basically a huge advert for toilet paper. Note the plants arranged into a toilet seat shape on the left at the back!

The Banker's garden from the set of three "Credit crunch" gardens. Objects from the game of monopoly are clearly visible!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Email from a gay guy accused of sexually harassing a woman

A couple of years ago, just after I'd introduced the "Dear GB" queue in this blog's right hand side-bar, I got an email that was much more urgent that the entries that were in the queue at the time. On that occasion I allowed a bit of "queue jumping" and posted the email with my response almost immediately. Since then, however, I haven't let anyone jump the queue!

But yesterday, a long time reader who's emailed me privately on countless occasions send me a request for advice which does seem more urgent than the other two requests that are sitting in my "Dear GB" queue. Given the urgency of his situation, coupled with the fact that this guy has been emailing me since July 2006, I've decided to allow a bit of queue jumping again. So with apologies to the two guys who he's jumping ahead of, this is the email that I received from this reader yesterday:

Dear GB

I've got the mother of 'high-maintenance' female employees to manage. To be blunt she is an unhinged, calculating, scheming woman. I don't use those words lightly. As with many companies, turnover is on the decline, and she knows her job may be at risk as she's smart enough. Last week she lodged an official grievance against me. Some 59 issues raised including racism (she's not British) and SEXUAL harassment being just two of the most hostile.

Following lengthy interviews with her, my Managing Director now finally believes this to be a calculated attempt to undermine me and oust me from the company, therefore enabling her to take on my job. All staff who've been interviewed report my impeccable behaviour concerning racism and those who work in my immediate office area have on record stated the sexual harassment charge allegation is just ridiculous and without any substance. The company are now trying to find a way to 'manage' her out of the business as soon as possible without further costly claims.

Should I just 'out' myself to quash this vile accusation?

Naturally, I sent this reader an immediate reply, in which I included the following paragraph:

I think you should come out if you don't think it would damage your career. Indeed, it's possible to relax and hence perform better at work when one isn't hiding one's sexuality. But you don't need to come out to everyone, well not at first anyway. You could just tell your immediate boss. In fact, given that you are gay, I'm sure he'd be very interested in the news because it could help the firm strengthen it's legal case in connection with his woman, if it were to get that far.

About two and a half hours after I sent that reply, I received the following response from him:


Thanks for your most speedy response. I'm wouldn't say I'm hiding my sexuality. Just not relevant to my work and has never been a topic of conversation in the workplace:) Small company - I'm one of the few white collar suits amongst the blue collars. I keep things formal as the guys on the factory floor like that. They enjoy telling me filthy tales when I'm handing out pay advice notes etc. I listen and smile politely :)

Do I have to provide evidence concerning my sexuality? Sworn testaments, stash of porn etc? I don't see my sexuality as a clear cut issue to be honest. First and foremost I'm just me and by the way I like guys if you must know sort of attitude. The woman has really been driving me mad for months. Every word I've exchanged has been guarded.

GB, my mortgage depends on you :) I trust your judgement to flesh out the topic etc.

I'm not a lawyer, but my guess would be that one only needs to provide proof of sexuality if the case were to go to court, and if the other side of the case were to dispute the fact. However, I have no idea what would be acceptable proof. I find the idea that a big stash of gay porn could be used to prove that one is gay rather amusing, but at best, I'd have thought that that could only be circumstantial evidence. My guess would be that testimony from any of the reader's boyfriends or gay lovers, coupled with the inability of anyone to find any girlfriends would presumably be sufficient.

Given that the grievance has 59 issues, it would be inadvisable just to focus on the sexual harassment charge. Judging by his manager's reaction so far, it seems that he's likely to survive this, however he mustn't become complacent. So rather relying on the advice of friends, bloggers, and blog readers, perhaps the best course of action would be to find himself a lawyer who's an expert in this field!

Do any other readers, particularly lawyers, have any thoughts on this situation?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Another enjoyable trip to Paris

Eiffel TowerBack in January when I was in Bangkok, while I was visiting the gay spa called Babylon, I met a nice reliable guy called C who lives in Hong Kong. He recently came on a trip to Europe, so we decided to meet in Paris and spend a long weekend together there. Even though I went to Paris to meet W back in February, and then again in March with T, I think Paris is a beautiful city so I'm always happy to visit for short breaks :-).

I take the train, arriving just in time for me to go out to the airport and meet C off the plane. It's great to see him again, and even though we've previously only spent a handful of hours in each other's company, we don't have any trouble establishing a rapport again. We take a taxi into central Paris and soon we're checking into the hotel together.

"I think I'm in room XX," I say to the cute hotel receptionist, "is it ready for us?"

"You always have that room don't you!" he replies, reaching across to get the key for me. He glances sideways and looks C up and down, before handing me the key with a big smile on his face.

"For the receptionist to say that you must have had this room several times before," remarks C as we make our way to the room.

"I guess I've just gotten into the habit of taking guys that I like to Paris and staying with them in this hotel room," I reply, grinning at him and rubbing him affectionately on his shoulder.

"And how many guys would that be?" laughs C, clearly happy that I've confirmed that I like him.

"Well, I don't think I should tell you all my secrets straight away!"

While we're unpacking our bags we decide that it would be interesting to visit Musée d'Orsay rather than the Louvre, which suits me fine because it's been many years since my last visit. It doesn't take long to get there by taxi and once there, we spend a few happy hours wandering around and amusing ourselves by making up stories about the people in the paintings.

"That woman there for example," I remark quietly to C, "is clearly the mistress of the painter, don't you think?"

"Could be!" replies C, walking up to look at the title of the painting, "But it's called 'Soeur de la femme de l'artiste', so I'm not sure about that theory GB!"

"No it all makes perfect sense," I reply triumphantly, "that's why she looks so up-tight :-). She's fed up being made to sit still so that he can paint her, in spite of the fact that she's been having morning sickness because she's carrying his child, and she can't even confide her troubles to her sister because her sister's married to this monster!"

Later in the afternoon, we're walking back to the hotel and as we’re crossing one of the main roads when I remember something about the seedier side of Paris that a friend told me a few months ago.

"Apparently there's a place just up the road here which is the kind of place that we met in," I remark casually, "I've never been, but a friend recommended it to me in case I needed it!"

"Really GB, what's it called? Can we go :-)?" asks C enthusiastically, "It'd be interesting to check out all the Parisian guys, hehe :-)".

"Um, well, I think it's called Sun City," I answer, feeling a little surprised by C's suggestion. I always think of those places as places that one goes cruising, so not the kind of thing that one does when one's already managed to find the company of a nice guy! "I guess we could go at some point if we've got nothing else to do."

I've booked a good restaurant for dinner but we've got a couple of spare hours beforehand, so when C again suggests that we should visit the gay spa I find it hard to come up with a better plan. In any case, I'm always curious to see what these places are like on the inside, so before too long we're on our way towards Sun City.

Once inside, the décor turns out to be Indian in style, a kind of a gay version of the Kama Sutra! In one sense it's quite well done, but in another sense it seems a bit tacky because it feels so un-Parisian.

We wander around together for a while to get a feel for the layout, but eventually we decide it would be nice to sit in the Jacuzzi together. It's very full, with perhaps ten guys already in the water, but C's keen so we leave our towels on the rail outside and walk naked down the steps and into the water. The water's nice and warm, and we each manage to find a bit of space to sit not too far from each other before looking around to see what's going on.

On one side there are a couple of guys who clearly know each other, because they're chatting to each other, and close to them another couple of guys aren't talking but none the less seem to be getting to know each other in other ways. However, apart from myself and C, the rest of the guys all seem to be on their own. I lie back for a couple of minutes to relax, but the next time I look up, I notice that someone has taken a distinct interest in C. One of the two guys that had been getting to know each other seems to have decided that C's a tastier proposition, and C's naturally enjoying the attention.

While C's is engaged with this guy, I find myself wondering what the etiquette is for this situation. Should I now try extra-hard to find a new friend for myself? Given that no one seems to be available, is it acceptable to watch what C gets up to?? And afterwards, should I ask C whether he enjoyed himself, or should I pretend that it didn't happen??? While pondering these questions, a few guys leave the Jacuzzi, which allows a few others to tie up their towels outside and take their place. I realise that the full-frontal sight of hot guys walking naked into the water makes sitting in the Jacuzzi quite a horny experience :-).

Perhaps C senses my mild discomfort with what's going on with his new friend because something happens and soon the other guy moves off in search of new conquests. It feels right to take the newly vacant position next to C, and no sooner than I've moved to occupy it I feel C's hand checking me out under the water :-). Although it's an obvious thought, I start wondering how clean the water in the Jacuzzi is and suddenly it seems like time to leave!

The contrast between the ambiance of the Jacuzzi and the ambiance of the smart restaurant that I'd booked is quite striking. We have a good meal together, and afterwards back in the hotel, we spend a lovely night in bed with each other.

We get on with each other very well, and the next couple of days pass far too quickly. At the end of the weekend we both head to the Gare du Nord, me to take the Eurostar, and C to catch the RER train to the airport.

"It's been a great weekend mate," I say to him, hugging him tightly.

"Yes GB, it certainly has. I've enjoyed it so much!"

When we separate from the hug to look at each other, I see that he's got slightly watery eyes. I too feel unhappy that we now have to go our separate ways. But that's exactly what's got to happen so reluctantly we part company. For almost a minute we're waving at each other as we're walking in different directions, but eventually we lose sight of each other.

A little while later, while on the Eurostar, I get a txt msg from C:

Wish you a good trip back home. Take very good care. Its very hard to say good bye

Who knows if or when we'll meet again. Each of our lives are based in big cities in very different parts of the world. However, even if we never meet again, one thing's for sure. We'll always have wonderful memories of the few happy says that we spent with each other in Paris.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Email from a guy in his first gay relationship

A few weeks ago, a reader sent me the following email:

Dear GB,

I have been reading your blog for half a year and seen your useful advices to so many readers, so I am writing in hoping you can show me your wisdom on the situation I am in.

I grew up in a traditional Asian family and currently in my early 20s while studying in college. I have remained closeted and seldom went to the gay club scene in my country (Asia) as I still had issues with my sexuality. I took a huge step last year to come out to my parents followed by my close friends (they are really receptive that's why I decide to move on with my gay life).

Last year I moved to US for one year study exchange and decided to be more open about my gay life since I am in a totally new environment. A few months ago I met a guy online who was living in the city nearby, after a few online chats and phone calls he visited me and we slept on the first night we met - the first gay sex for me (I didn't plan to give up my first time so easily but well... I wasn't that strong after all).

After his visit we still kept in contact. I wasn't planning to go into a relationship with him as I am ultimately going back Asia and I know it will be worse if I mix both my first gay sex and first gay relationship together (with the same person). But the guy was pretty persistent and after several visits to his place I found I actually like him as well, so I gave in to start dating him.

At the beginning of the relationship I stated that I am going back Asia after a few months and tried to play tough that I didn't really care about this relationship (the guy is 30 and much more experienced than me, I didn't want to act like innocent inexperienced brats and ended up getting hurt). But after a while I found I really care about him as no matter what this is my first relationship. I find myself jealous when I hear he would go to some gay resorts after I leave US (even though it might not mean he will have sex, I still feel uncomfortable) ... The point is this is my first relationship I don't know when I am going to move on from it when I go back Asia (when will the second one come?) while knowing he will eventually move on with his life after an unknown period of time.

Guess my biggest mistakes is to have my first gay sex and gay relationship with the same person while knowing it's definitely going to end (not a smooth beginning of my gay life isn't it?) After talking honestly to each other, we realize we really enjoy each others' company and I decided to continue this relationship instead of forcefully ending it now. Ultimately relationship is something I need to learn alone the way and I am glad I am learning with this nice guy. But I don't know if I can manage to pull out after it ends instead of getting extremely hurt. So here are my questions:
  1. Even though I have decided to continue, GB please give me your honest opinion did I make the right decision?
  2. If I continue how can I manage myself to enjoy his company while not to fall too deeply in this relationship and couldn't get out after a few months.
  3. I am still quite conservative and traditional about sex, but this guy's opinion about sex is as follows:
    "I know u are traditional but I don't think sex is such a bad thing! I think your perception of this will change over time...of course a relationship is ideal, and promiscuity is bad, but sometimes relationships are not available."
    Is he right? If you are not in a relationship and have sexual desire do you really have to sleep with people to resolve that? Guess it's my mistake to mix my first gay sex with my gay relationship otherwise I can take your fb + fb theory more easily.
Thanks for reading this email and I hope to see your advice on my situation!


It's impressive that this reader has already come out to his parents, because most Asian guys that I know have a problem with doing that. For most of them, the story is usually that they love and care for their parents a great deal, with the result that they can't come out as gay to their parents because they don't want to disappoint them. Anyway, I felt it was important to answer this reader's first question immediately, so I sent him a reply in which I said the following:

I definitely do think you made the right decision to continue with this relationship. If you stop to analyse who you're going to love and who you're not going to love, it takes all the romance out of life. Worse than that, it sets you up to be the type of guy for whom no one is good enough because everyone has their flaws. So I'd say take all the opportunities you can for love, relationships, friendships, however short a time they might last for. Without doubt, life is much more fulfilling that way :-).

Regarding the reader's second question, I can't help wondering whether he's familiar with any Buddhist philosophy. I learned a bit more about it when I was in Thailand last January, and indeed, one of the quotations that I photographed while I was there sums up the answer to this question perfectly:
Today is better than two tomorrows.
One has to let go of the past because it's happened and one can't change it. If one doesn't let go, one carries the past around like baggage and it has a detrimental effect on one's life in the present. Regarding the future, it's important to realise that nothing is permanent. For example, barring almost inconceivable advances in medical science, everyone reading this post in 2009 which is when I'm writing it will be dead by the year 2200. So looking at the big picture, none of our relationships are permanent. The future is less important than the present because it hasn't happened yet, and indeed, anything could happen tomorrow which could change our future permanently. We all have to learn to live with the transitory nature of our existence and the best way of doing that is stay focused in the present. So be happy for what you have NOW. The past and the future can take care of themselves.

Regarding the reader's final question, presumably he worried about whether one should be allowed to have sex with other guys when one is in a relationship. If he was ultra-traditional then he might think that one should only have sex when one is in a relationship, in which case the only person that one has sex with is one's boyfriend. However he was worried that it might have been a mistake to mix his first gay sex with his first gay relationship, so clearly he thinks that when one doesn't have a boyfriend then it's OK to find other guys for sex. Indeed, that's what he did because he wasn't in a relationship with his boyfriend when he first had sex with him.

All long time readers of this blog will know that I'm not keen on monogamous relationships, although I accept that every couple needs to make up their own mind on this issue. For me, the most important thing in a gay relationship is what commitments the guys in the relationship make to each other. I drafted my thoughts on what those commitments should be over a year ago, and I still think that my list is pretty good.

However one thing that I haven't said before is that I hate had the term "open relationship". The problem with the term is that it's describing the relationship in terms of the fact that there's not a monogamous sexual commitment between people in the relationship, with the result that one focuses on the sex. As I've said before, all the positive, caring, loving commitments are so much more important, but by describing a relationship as "open" it's as though the sex is the only important issue and the other details are irrelevant.

So to answer the reader's final question, my view is that his boyfriend is correct. It's also my experience that lots of gay guys start off with traditional views about sex and monogamous relationships, but then as time goes by many guys move more in line with my way of thinking as they gain experience. Given that he's already had the extraordinary courage to come out to his Asian parents, I wouldn't be surprised if eventually this reader turns out to be just such a guy!

Do any other readers have any thoughts on these subjects?

Update 11-May-2009: Unfortunately I didn't have time to incorporate a recent email from the reader into the posting yesterday, but a couple of days ago he sent me the following:

Hi GB,

How are you? Guess my email will be posted on your website soon, so I think it might be helpful if I give you some updates on my side.

Past one month has been awesome experience with my bf. We love each other deeply. He told me that he has never been so close with anyone after his ex broke his heart one and half years ago.

In fact he is actually looking for job in my country. He told me that he always wanted to work in Asia for a few years and I become another reason for him to pursue that. I am quite surprised but also really happy for that. Even though chances are SLIM given the current condition in my country, I am already appreciative of his move. I will just fully enjoy the last two months with him. In the end, no matter what the outcome of this relationship will be, I hope I have healed his broken heart and restored his confidence for pursuing long term relationship in the future. That's the least I can do for this great man!

Also thanks to this relationship I have become more confident and came out to more friends. They are very receptive and really happy for me. Love gives me confidence =)

Thank you so much for your email! I hope my story can encourage those who are afraid to love to follow their hearts and treasure every minute of their lives.

ANYWAY I guess I have a new question. If he cannot come with me, how could I slowly pull myself from this when I stay alone in my country (since I have fallen in love deeply). I know my bf may easily move on as he separates sex from love and can quickly divert his grief through sex with other people. But this is just not the way I want to follow. Any suggestion?

It's not easy to answer his new question. The Buddhist ideas that I mentioned above in connection with his original email should be some help. Apart from that, the best way to move on may be to find a new romantic interest, after an appropriate period of grieving for the relationship with his current boyfriend. His recent emails shows that his current relationship has helped him grow enormously as a confident out gay man, so there should be no regrets. Indeed, given his proven capacity to love, if his current relationship comes to an end there's no doubt in my mind that he'll make a wonderful boyfriend for some lucky guy :-).

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Nighttime fun with a cute Arabic guy

One night last weekend I find it hard to get to sleep. I'd spent the day with my friend T, but unfortunately on this occasion he can't stay with me overnight. Lying alone in bed, I start thinking about wholesome activities with other guys, which can often act as a natural sedative. So in the small hours of the morning, I decide to log onto gaydar to see if I can find any guys who'd be interested in helping me cure my insomnia!

Soon I'm chatting to a nice Arabic guy and things seem to be going well. He'd prefer me to visit him, which works fine for me because I usually travel around London in taxis and at this time of night taxis are easy to find.

GB: ok, so I'll visit you m8 :-), what's your postcode?
guy: actually im staying at friends place so cant give it out
GB: ahhh, so you don't know it, pity, it makes it much easier to work out where you are
guy: i do know it but not comfortable giving it out
guy: ill give u directions when u get here
guy: dont worry
guy: trust me

How disappointing :-(. In principal I am prepared to travel to meet this guy, even though it's the middle of the night, but I much prefer knowing exactly where I'm going before setting off. After all, I've got no idea who this guy is, and whether he's genuine or not. But thinking about this guy's point of view, I'm not sure that it makes sense.

GB: well m8, how can I visit you if you won't tell me the address
GB: even if you don't tell me the address now, if I visit you I'll end up knowing it anyway!
guy: lol
GB: so now it's my turn to say ...
GB: don't worry
GB: trust me
guy: lol

So at least this guy understands the lunacy of his position!

guy: if u visit me what will u wear
GB: clothes I guess! Until I get there anyway hehe
GB: what would you like me to wear?
guy: im really into guys in suits, or wearing sports kit
GB: I suppose I could wear my gym kit for you, would you like that?
guy: yeah would be good
guy: but wear something over ur shorts so u dont stand out

Gradually, I find myself being talked into dressing up in my gym kit and jumping into a taxi in the middle of the night to visit a guy who won't even tell me his exact address! But I have a good feeling about this guy, so I decide to trust him after all :-). Of course, he does give me a very good idea of where he lives, and he is prepared to give me his mobile phone number too. So shortly after 1:30am I set off to find a taxi, dressed in my gym kit with trousers on top of my shorts and a light summer coat.

It takes me about 15 minutes by taxi to reach the location from where the guy wants me to phone him.

"Hi, I'm here :-)," I say into my mobile phone, relieved that he's answered. On more than one occasion in the past in similar situations I've been left stranded! "So where do I go?"

"OK great, now let me see ... turn around."

"Um ok ..."

"Not that far, turn back a bit!"

"Can you see me then?" I say, asking the obvious.

"Yes of course, you're very close to me now! So if you come up to the door of that apartment block in front of you I'll let you in :-)."

It turns out to be a very smart apartment block, so no wonder he was a bit cautious about who he invites inside. Looking at the numbers of the apartments listed on the wall of the lift, each floor seems to be a single apartment! Soon I'm knocking on his door, which opens almost immediately.

"Hi, come in," he says quietly, beaming a very relaxed smile at me.

Face to face he looks just as cute as he did in his online pics. He beckons me into the main room, but I pause in the entrance area to take off my coat, my shoes and my trousers!

"Do you want a drink of something?"

"Sure, what are you having?"

"Red wine?"

"Great :-)!"

When I enter the room, I'm just wearing my gym shorts, with a white singlet and white socks. As I approach him he's in the middle of pouring a couple of glasses of wine, so I walk up to him and just give him a quick peck on his lips.

"Hmmm, nice," he says looking me up and down before leaning forwards to kiss me properly. Gently, he rubs the back of my upper left arm with his free hand.

Breaking away from the kiss, he finishes pouring the wine, before handing me one of the glasses. I sit down in the middle of the sofa, expecting him to sit next to me, but he takes a seat on a chair at one end. That's no good, I think, so quickly I move myself up to the end of the sofa so that I'm sitting right next to him. Looking around the room, it's very elegant, and furnished with lots of expensive looking items.

It turns out that he's very easy to talk to. He tells me that he works for an Arabic company based in the Gulf, and as a result he spends some of his time in Bahrain and some in London.

"What about you?" he asks.

"Oh, nothing as glamorous as that," I reply coyly, looking deep into his eyes, "I've got what seems to be regarded as an evil job these days, because I work for a bank!"

Wondering how long it will be before we get down to business, I rub him lightly on his forearm, which is within easy reaching distance. He looks me and smiles, and no doubt sees the desire in my eyes because he suddenly jumps out of his chair and onto the sofa. Straddling my knees by putting his knees either side of mine, he places his hands on my shoulders and pins me down. Wow, I think, these Arabic guys are real animals :-). But I willingly succumb, and soon he's kissing me deeply.

"Mmmm," I murmur coming up for breath, "that's very nice :-)."

I can see something hard flopping around in his undershorts, but I don't want to be too obvious so I move my hands round and rub him up and down his back underneath his T-shirt.

Gradually we start getting to know each other a bit better. Before too long I lift his T-shirt over his head. Soon I start feeling him, first on the outside, and then rubbing his leg gently I manage to manoeuvre my hand up inside his undershorts. After a about a minute he feels the need to remove his undershorts completely, and looking down, I see that he's a reasonable size. A bit later, as he gets even more excited, it's clear that he's actually quite big. By this time I'm naked too, but before things can go any further, he has a suggestion to make.

"Come this way," he murmurs quietly, getting up and heading towards a door.

I follow him through the door and along a long corridor and soon we find ourselves in a huge bedroom, at the centre of which is a big double bed. We both jump on, and immediately continue where we left off.

"I hope you don't have to go," he says urgently, when things are quite far advanced, "because I always like to cum twice!"

Soon after that everything reaches its natural conclusion, and we both lie back on the bed feeling exhausted and satisfied.

"Can you pass me some tissues?" he says quietly, "they're on the bedside cabinet next to you."

I pass him the box, grabbing a few for myself first, before asking him a question.

"Do you like cuddling?"

"Yes sure," he nods, so I move over to lie next to him.

He's lying face upwards, so I lie my head on his near shoulder and stretch my arm across his chest to hold him on his far shoulder, while he reaches his near hand round my back.

"I could cuddle all night," I say, "so just throw me out when you want me to leave!"

For a few minutes we just like there, naked in each other's arms.

"This kind of intimacy is so relaxing," I say to him, "it reminds me of when I'm with some of my oldest friends. I find that the longer you've known someone, the easier it is to relax with them!"

"Yes sometimes I guess," he replies. "Although actually, there's a friend of mine that I've known since I was 10 who I've recently stopped speaking to."

"How come?" I ask. "It sounds like you're both still in the school playground if you go around making and breaking friendships like that!"

"Well, he's just a very confused guy. He's got a girlfriend. But I think he may be gay."

"Is he a lover of yours?"

"No! Although I kissed him once."

"Hmmm, so would you like him to be a lover?"

"Well, he's got to sort himself out. He's had this girlfriend for 6 years now. She's very attractive too."

"It could be bad news for the girl if he is gay and he doesn’t admit the truth," I remark. "Ultimately it would mean that he's misleading her, even if he's misleading himself too!"

"Yes I guess so," he replies, "Anyway, I've decided to stop seeing him. He says these things when we get drunk together, but he always takes it all back the next day. It was when we were both drunk a few weeks ago that we kissed. Actually, the kiss was his idea!"

"The way you're talking about this guy," I say, "it sounds to me as though you'd quite like to be boyfriends with him!"

"You're very perceptive GB!" he replies. "Actually, when we were both sober I told him how I feel, that I wouldn't mind being boyfriends with him. I'm not sure how he took it. I'm happy just to be friends though."

"Are you? Really?? If want to be boyfriends with him, it might be hard just being good friends instead."

"Maybe. Recently we had dinner together and I just let him talk about everything. But I asked him a few questions and with all the drink inside him I think he answered truthfully. But I'm not sure he liked his answers. It's like, he's now admitted a few things to himself that he hadn't formulated properly before. A few days afterwards he phoned me to say that we should just be friends. But a few days after that he phoned again to say that he thought it would be very difficult to be friends, so we've stopped contacting each other completely now."

"Wow," I say, after listing to his story, "Difficult! Perhaps you could suggest a therapist to him, telling him that it's in his girlfriend's best interests for him to sort this out one way or another. He must care for her."

"Actually I think he's already told her that he thinks he might be gay! I guess it's quite an unusual situation."

"Trust me, it's not!" I say, speaking authoritatively now. "I know loads of similarly 'unusual' situations, all this kind of stuff is quite normal!"

Indeed, apart from all the Dear GB emails that I get, I generally find that whenever I get talking to gay guys about this kind of stuff there's usually at least one interesting story!

We chat a bit more but soon it seems like time to go, so I get up off the bed and he follows me back into the main reception room. I locate my gym shorts and singlet near the sofa, and having put them back on, I get up to kiss him goodbye.

"Well mate, it was really great meeting you," I say, looking him in the eyes.

I lean forward to kiss him, but when our lips touch, the kiss lasts longer than I was expecting. Next I feel him raising both his hands under my singlet and rubbing my nipples again.

"Mmmm, nice :-)," I murmur, and looking at him again I can tell what's going to happen!

This time we just play with each other on the sofa. With a bit more focus second time around, it doesn't take too long and soon we're cleaning up.

"Right," I say putting my gym kit back on again, "I really MUST be going now, it's almost 3:30am!"

"Yeah sure," he replies, still naked, "I need some sleep too!"

Outside his apartment, almost immediately I find a cab to take me back home, and within half an hour I'm falling asleep in my own bed. However, although I sleep well, the next day I find myself feeling quite tired. None the less, throughout the day whenever I remember why I'm feeling tired, the thoughts of the horny double-cum session always make me smile :-).

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Email from a guy who wants to lose his virginity

A few weeks ago, a reader sent me the following email:

Dear GB,

I've just discovered your great blog while searching for advice on gay virginity.

I've also e-mailed GMFA about this, but I thought I'd try you as well as you seem really sorted with a great positive outlook on life. (I can only dream about multiple boyfs!)

I'm a 30yo gay guy who has slowly come to terms with being gay. I'm out to family and friends, and a few people at work (as it's on facebook I suspect everyone knows now.)

However I am still a virgin. For a long time I've had low self esteem about being gay and felt very low. The irony is that I love meeting people and I'm outgoing, intelligent and fun in person. It's only when I'm on my own that I get down / obsessed with these things.

I'm quite stocky, but I think I'm quite well endowed and not in bad shape. I've lost a stone in the last year so feeling good. I have a science degree and I think I'm reasonably attractive.

My sexual experience consists of a 'boyfriend' at university who I didn't feel comfortable with, and couldn't perform with, and some fumbles with a stranger since.

What do you think is the best way to lose my virginity? I've had a few ideas:
  1. Random guy on gaydar
  2. Random guy in bars / clubs
  3. 'Advertise' my virginity on gaydar or somewhere (this one is a bit of a turn on but not sure what sort of guys I might attract!)
  4. Escort - I found some good ones in Gay Times
  5. Wait until I find someone really nice and special as a boyfriend who I can really trust and relax with. Downside is this is likely to take a long time!
I'm very horny most of the time. I get slightly obsessed with this, and the thought of doing something about it is alternately scary and exciting. I have any number of wild fantasies to try out (I have a terribly overactive imagination).

I also worry that I may not be able to relax enough to be any fun / perform, which is why spelling out what I'm after on gaydar or using an escort appeals. I really want relaxed, fun sex.

I really am going towards just 'getting it over with' now and losing my virginity so I can move on with my life. Your blog reinforced this.

I feel somewhat constrained by what friends and family will think if I start sleeping around, although I have reassured my parents that I'll always play safe whatever I do.

I think I have quite a high sex drive, and as a gay guy I really want to reject society's rules about these things and have fun.

I am starting to feel more confident about life recently. My friends are all straight and have moved away or got coupled up so I don't see them often. I don't socialise regularly enough with work colleagues either.

Where I live there is no scene which doesn't help. Anyway I finally got frustrated enough to do something about this. I've decided to move to London and I'm looking for a flatshare. I want to move in with a few like minded gay guys to make friends and have fun. I really want to go out, and go mad on the town with a bunch of guys before I'm too old! I feel like if I don't do all this now I never will, and I don't feel like settling down. I've also signed up to some gay social groups and e-mailed some guys I found online about meeting up (as friends (or more!)).

What do you think? Just setting this down in an e-mail helps a little, as I can see all the issues. I've always thought I was a bit screwed up, but I'm beginning to wonder if it's just all that built up sexual tension!


He sounded like a guy who'd had a bit of a rough time accepting that he's gay, but the email had a great positive tone to it that made me think that he'd managed to put most of his issues behind him. So I sent him an immediate reply, asking him a question, and also suggesting another possibility for his main query:

When you say that you want to lose your virginity, do you mean that you want to have anal sex with another guy, or do you mean that you're after any kind of sexual activity where both guys end up coming? Some people narrowly define "gay sex" as "anal sex", but I myself take the broader view.

Also, there's another way of losing your virginity that you haven't listed, although it might not be a good idea in your case. You could visit somewhere like Chariots sauna in London! Of course, even if you do visit a place like that, it doesn't commit you to do anything, you could just wander around and see what goes on :-).

Anyway, hope to hear from you soon. All the best for now, GB xxx

Within a day I received his reply:

Thanks for the quick response (you beat GMFA which impresses me!).

Things actually moved on since I sent this, I finally got the guts to start using Gaydar properly and was chatting to a younger guy who messaged me. He seemed keen and we were going to meet but he changed his mind this morning. (morning after syndrome). Also found a few other guys in the area. Messaged a gay couple my age looking for threesomes. I think I'm possibly a bit too honest for gaydar though and still learning the etiquette, any tips ;O)? Anyway it's given me a big boost.

To clarify, I don't just mean anal sex, any kind will do. (I'd like to be versatile but I'll see what I like!). Thanks for the tip about the Saunas. Your blog was interesting in that it mentioned younger / inexperienced guys going through a 'voyeur' phase. I definitely felt like that when I found some guys having sex in the bushes at pride a few years ago, it was great (but unfortunately a friend found it disgusting and dragged me off.). Watching in a Sauna might loosen me up in the same way....

Thanks again.

When I received that reply, this reader's original email was still only 3rd in my queue of "Dear GB" emails to be answered, so I didn't feel the need to send an immediate response. However, a about a week later the reader sent me another email, telling me about even more recent experiences.

I felt that queries at the end about his email, wondering about the decrease in his sex drive for wanking and wondering whether I myself might be able to help him unwind in bed did need an immediate response. So I sent him a reply to remind him that I only meet established bloggers, and telling him not to worry too much about his sex drive. I soon got a brief response which confirmed my thoughts that his sex drive wasn't going to be a problem!

The most recent email that I received from him was last weekend. Having read all this reader's emails in detail, my immediate thoughts are that he doesn't need any help at all, IF he can stay on his current path. Indeed, at present with his current high confidence levels, he's working very efficiently as his own analyst! He's got an excellent handle on all his issues, namely that he's a bit of a worrier which leads him to become self-absorbed, which in turn has caused him confidence and self image problems in the past. The fact that he's been able to analyse his situation proves that he's highly intelligent too. As an aside, it's interesting to see how helpful and cathartic it can be for people to put their problems down in emails, because I'm sure that's played some part in this reader's recent progress.

Anyway, my first thoughts are that this reader needs to be aware that his confidence and related happiness won't go on increasing forever. Hopefully they'll plateau at what one might call 'normal' levels, given that for much of his recent past they've been significantly below the levels of a normal person (if such a thing exists)! Another related thought is that too many simultaneous changes can be destabilising so perhaps he even needs to slow down a bit, and try and consolidate the improvements that he's recently been enjoying.

Regarding the main query about his virginity, since he does get anxious about things I think it would help if he can find a nice guy to have a bit of simple fun with. Although he needs to slow down a bit, I still think that he needs to lose his virginity sooner rather than later. The only person that virginity matters to is the person themselves, however no one can properly understand that until they've lost it! In spite of his increase in confidence, his recent emails contain an element of avoiding the virginity issue, and the longer this persists the more time he's got to worry and become more and more anxious about it.

I don't think an escort is a particularly good idea though, because that will bring it's own set of anxieties. In an early email he asked about gaydar etiquette, and I also note that a couple of meetings with guys that had been arranged were subsequently cancelled. Were the cancellations just down to the other guy, or did the reader get cold feet and give off the wrong vibes in subsequent communications? In any case, my experience is very much that hook-ups that don't happen immediately are always much less likely to happen the further forward in time that they're scheduled for. So I think that the reader should choose option 1 from his original list, namely a random guy from gaydar, but press assertively (not aggressively) for an immediate liaison. That way, the amount of time that the reader has to become anxious about the meeting will be minimised. And if he does start to worry, he just needs to remember that it's only a couple of guys ejaculating with each other, it really is no big deal!

In the last section of his final email, he wonders about what he calls some "minor sexual things that don't really matter but [he's] ashamed of them and [has] never told anyone". I'm sure that they don't matter too, but whatever they are, if he's ashamed of them that means that to some extent they do matter to him. He's welcome to send me an email about them, or as he suggests, discuss them with a counselling service like London friend. But as long as he continues to be ashamed of them, I think he should do something to cure his associated guilt.

Lastly, recognising how helpful it was to send me the emails, he says in one of them that he might start a diary. I'd agree, but with one minor alteration. Make it an online diary instead and start a blog, because the therapeutic benefits of blogging really can't be underestimated!

Do any other readers have any other thoughts for this reader?