Three reasons to get active for every gay man

A guest post by Paul, who is the curator for the @urbangay twitter this week, follow him, interact and talk to him on twitter until Sunday!

This week I’m taking over the @urbangay twitter account for a week. My interest is mainly in being healthy and active, and I think it is something really important. Not just because of the obvious and well-known health reasons (and making for better sex!). But there are three more reasons why it is especially important for gay men. Here they are:

1) It’s great to make you feel good
Engaging in sports and eating a healthy diet to help you fuel your activities has an unbelievably great influence on how you feel about yourself and your life. Simply engaging in regular exercise has the same effect on you as taking antidepressants, but with only positive side-effects. With gay men much more likely than straight folks to have mental health issues for many reasons, exercise can be a key to make us happier and healthier. Of course, you don’t have to feel down, or even start an overwhelming exercise program: even small steps will have a great effect, at least when you do them regularly. So start and get active today and within a week you will see how much better you feel!

2) It will improve your body image
Not just your mood and how you feel about yourself and others around you will improve: but your body image will also become much better. Body image problems are endemic in the gay community. I used to hate my body when I was a teenager, and even into my twenties. Only when I started exercising regularly did I start to love me and my body. And I’m not saying this because I became muscular and looking like a sex god (I didn’t!). But because exercise influences how you feel about your body!

3) You can make so many new friends!
Finally, I found that exercise is a big benefit for a great social life. It binds together like nothing else. I love joining in with LGBT-sports groups or events, and I bet you’d love it, too! If you live in or near a bigger city see if there are any gay sports organisations you can join. There are lots of these around and many organisations have something for every taste: from yoga to rugby. And don’t forget outdoor sports away from the big cities like skiing and hiking, too! You won’t believe how it changes your social life!

Let me know what you think about sport, being active and healthy and gay! Tweet to me and follow my tweets @urbangay all this week!

Meet the @urbangay Twitter Curators for October!

In October, the @urbangay twitter account will be curated by these four different guys. These guys will take over the twitter account, and tweet and interact with all the followers. Why? Because the urbangay community is a diverse community of different guys, different backgrounds – and where we can all tell our story and learn from each other. If you’d like to become a curator in future, please get in touch here!

week 1: 1-7.10:
Paul: HealthyGay
I’m a health fanatic and love all things related to nutrition, sport and keeping fit. I hate the gym but love the outdoors. Expect lots of this in my tweets, lots of inspiration and hope to get a lot of tips from you guys, too!

week 2: 8-14.10
Ricardo: Portugalissimo!
I’m 49 and relocated to Portugal last year. I only recently had my coming out and I’m now living here and keep discovering this liberal and great country.  I’m honoured that I’ll be able to share the fantastic secrets of this small country with you!

week 3: 15-21.10
Andre:  Nude Yogi
I’m Andre, born and raised in the Netherlands and now living between Bali, Amsterdam and Berlin. I’m a yoga fanatic and love nude yoga for men, tantra and all things chilled.

week 4:22-28.10
Maxx: The Gay Cruiser
Sex is my life and I love everything about it. I’m dreaming of becoming a sexologist and love exploring sex outside and inside the boxes of our lives.

 

Calling all social media urbangay storytellers, activists and YOU…

Have you got a story to tell? Why not tell it by becoming an urbangay curator? Click To Tweet

I’m really proud that guys from all different backgrounds come together with the urbangay workshops and seminars. Some of the amazing people have already contributed guestposts to this blog, and many more will follow in the next few months. But I really want to do more to celebrate our community and the ideas from urbangay. Therefore, to celebrate this diversity and to make the different voices heard, during October, I’ll be trying something new with urbangay  – think of it as a social media experiment: If you are reading this… you could be part of it!

In October, I will hand over the control of the urbangay Twitter account with all its followers to four different guest curators: one guest curator every week. In other words, handing the social media voice to a different guy every week.

If you are a member of the urbangay community,  why not consider becoming guest curator for a week and show to the world how diverse our community really is!

To participate, please write a brief outline of the ideas you have and the sort of thing you’d like to tweet/talk about. If selected, you’ll be free to tweet anything you find interesting, respond and interact with anyone publicly as long as it:
a) doesn’t contravene the community guidelines and any Twitter rules
b) is not commercial in nature and
c) it is in accordance with the urbangay manifesto.

I’d especially welcome curators who want to promote a particular non-commercial cause. If there are more than four applicants for the curator position I’ll choose four for this time. Please indicate in your email which week(s) (week 1: 1-7.10; week 2: 8-14.10; week 3: 15-21.10; or week 4:22-28.10) you’d like to take over as curator. If this experiment works, I might contact you again and ask if you’d be prepared to take over at a later stage.

To apply, please email stephan@urbangay.org before the 15. September. You will be notified if you have been successful before the 18. September. All decisions will be final.

And don’t forget… to follow @urbangay on Twitter!

Why I have more sex after deleting hook-up apps

Guest post by Rob J.

Let me get this out first: I’m Rob… and I’m part of the Happy, Healthier and More Active “beta team”. This means I got to test drive the 30 day program starting in September on urbangay.org. Today I wanted to give you the low down on one one of the days that I think had the most surprising effect. This day was the no hook-up apps day.

I’m not giving too much away, but actually it was more than a day: the program asks you to delete all the hook up stuff for one week. Instead, go and try to hook up  the old fashioned way: bras, clubs, saunas, cruising. And then think back after a week. The reflection stuff that always comes with the programs.

To be honest, this part of the program freaked me out. I wouldn’t say I’m a Grindr slave, but I love the app. It is probably amongst my top three apps: quick check in in the morning. At lunch time. In-between at work. I love the idea that I can cruise and be cruised anytime anyplace. Sure, there are some jerks on the app, but at least once or twice a week, I hooked up with a lot of guys. And when we did, it was mostly fun. I love sex, I love to fuck around and this was a great way to hook up for me. I also had none of the app shame some guys talk about, or was embarrassed about being seen on the app. To me Grindr meant cock fast. Maybe I should say I live in a big city, so it was kind of easy. This maybe different if you are in the countryside!

To me giving up Grindr was like a mission from hell. I can do sport. Eating fruit and buying a cinema ticket. But this was one mission I cursed Stephan for.
I actually thought of simply not doing it all together. But I made the mistake and told Stephan this… His response was to ask how much sex I had last week: truth be told, I hooked up with one guy and it was a bad one. So he suggested to give it a try and face the challenge of trying to hook up with guys without knowing their cock, their size and preferences first. And to “go out and do it”, as that is the key message of the program.

First hurdle for me was to find an alternative: I know close to where I I work some guys use a toilet to meet. I know a sauna. I know a sex club. But these places had become alien to me in years of Grindr hook ups. In fact, I was surprised they still existed at all.

Second hurdle: Time. I can have lunch, check Grindr and get a blow job. I can’t have lunch and go to a sauna to get a blow job. Or at least I thought that.

Third hurdle: Communications. How do you signal to a guy wanking at a toilet to follow you to somewhere quiet? Easy on an app. How do you even signal to other guys around you that you’re up for it? Without looking like from a cheap porn scene?

The easy option was to give up and just let a week pass. But I wanted to try. And the result? Some bits were shit… but I discovered a lot more options for sex and how to get sex fast.

Here are my personal highlights: The toilet close to work is really pretty active. Yep, you get cock teases and guys who just want to look. I figured them out after a few visits. Which means you can focus on the real guys who are up for it. And because they are and you are, I found things actually worked easier there. Not always great sex, but definitely quick.

I’m also fortunate enough to work close to a sex club. They have a lunch time special, which means for a drink you get in. You can also go after work, but I found the guys in the toilet to be better then. Doing your lunch naked amongst guys having sex is strange. For me it means you have a 1 in 2 chance of having fun – even if you are picky. Sex is definitely better there, the guys can be hotter in the toilet. But, as I didn’t even know this place existed before, so that was a good find.

The expensive option: sauna. I keep that for after clubbing or after going out. It is just too expensive to spend just half an hour there. The annoying thing: I spot guys on Grindr in the sauna now.

OK. I should tell you that I reinstalled Grindr after the week (subscription, you know). This is three weeks ago. I have been on it twice. And met one guy. The rest of my hook ups were in real life.

My point is that all of the other options are actually better for getting off. I don’t get off every day. But I have met hot guys, and I hook up most days. Sometimes it is just a wank. Sometimes a group thing with several guys worthy of a porn movie. It is a game. On balance: I now think Grindr is more fantasy and less doing. I know it is a personal thing: I love sex. I love having lots of it and with many guys and I’m open to that. And after a week without Grindr I realised how much time I spent trying to get sex on it while actually ending up getting little. I also holed myself in and forgot about all the other options. To me, that is what I learned from the experience: Go out and do it works.

I hope you enjoyed this reflection on the program. If you’re joining in September, get ready to do some stuff. Some of it will be ok, some of it so so. But some of it will be great.

Thanks Rob for this post! You’ll meet Rob again as part of the program. 

Starting 1 September: Happier, Healthier & More Active!

Don’t miss the start of the new online workshop “Happier, Healthier & more Active!”, which will start  online in September.

Wow! This workshop rocks!

With 30 small, daily activities, each one hand-picked, scientifically proven to make a Happier, Healthier & more Active you. Log on to urbangay.org from Friday, 1st September – and get a new activity every day.

Every day an easy, small task.
A big win!

Every day, the workshop will suggest one small activity to try. There will be an explanation why – and you’ll be able to read how guys who completed the workshop before you felt the activity was for them. You’ll then also be able to develop your own collection of Happy, Healthy & more Active habits, and track them, chart your progress and see how these small activities will change your life to be more fun, more fulfilled and more happy!

Want to put a reminder into your calendar? Download an .ics file here to put it right into your calendar!

The Quinta Project – gay retreat community in Portugal

Reconnect to yourself and other gay men with the @gayQuinta co-living community Click To Tweet

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live together with other gay men on a farm?
Maybe you want to take a break from bustling city life – and just disconnect for a few weeks?
Or maybe you want to just be yourself, and stay in a relaxed community with like-minded guys.

Whatever your answers, you should definitely check out the Quinta Project: a gay co-living community and retreat centre forming in Portugal, based on the values of urbangay.

The Quinta will offer medium-term co-living in a rural setting for gay men: from a few weeks to a few months, for guys who want to disconnect from big city life and reconnect to themselves and other men. Based on the mission to offer a unique experience, the Quinta Community will be a unique and different alternative to escape to – away from to stressful and demanding urban life. The idea is to offer a safe, supportive, inclusive and non-judgemental space for guys from all over the world, where you can connect with others, live, learn and exchange ideas and form friendships away from the hurried and often superficial city life.

A key principle setting  the Quinta community apart from just a shared living space will be the emphasis on community-based social and learning experiences. Upon joining, guests will become “contributors” to the project itself. The Quinta will provide shared spaces, meals and social events for everyone. And in addition, all contributors are also asked to organise at least one event for the other community members during their stay. This could be a yoga session, a guided workshop, a talk, screening or anything else that the member wants to share with the group. This way, everyone is encouraged to bring a piece of himself to the others, and the other contributors can learn something from every guest at the Quinta.

At the moment, the Quinta Community is looking for a suitable location. With plenty of summer shine guaranteed, the Quinta is building a body-, age- and sex-positive community to share a rural habitat, where a group of men can live respectful, towards nature, the environment and other men.

To find out more about the project and see how it develops, head over to the project webpage or follow them on Twitter or Facebook. The urbangay newsletter will also have major updates as the community and project progresses, so don’t forget to look out for them in your inbox!

Why do gay men put up with so much mediocre sex?

A guest post by Daniel

Why do we settle for quantity when all we want is quality sex? Click To Tweet

As gay men some of us have lots of sex. And in many places. At least if we want to: we can pick up a guy on the way to work on the train, have sex with guys during our lunch break, at the gym showers in the afternoon and afterwards we can have a threesome with the hot couple from Grindr. Sex is what we are, our favourite hobby and plenty of sex is what we have.

I’m one of these guys who used to have lots of sex. I live in London, so it is easy for me to find the next hook up. From bars, clubs to parks, to apps and fuckbuddies. Last year, my average guy count was somewhere between 10 and 20 guys a week. Many regulars, many not. And I know quite a few guys who easily surpass that number. If this sounds like playing the elysian fields to my straight colleagues, it probably is.

You’d think that all this practice would make “us”, the constantly horny, contantly looking gay guys really good at sex. Yet, time after time, when I just had another Grindr date, changing-room blow job or wank in the park, I remain disappointed. True, I had two or three amazing sessions on the Heath [ed: gay cruising area]. One or two Grindr dates where I felt so satisfied and fulfilled afterwards that I skipped checking out the park on the way home. And I remember the time I had pornable sex in the toilets close to work.

I ask myself, is why are there so few times that I remember? I have cum in the toilets at work thousands of times. Mostly down the drain. I fucked an uncountable number of guys in the park. And I dare not put a number on the number of Grindr dates I had. And off all those times taken together, I remember not much more than a handful. Why? Because the thousands of other times were unremarkable at best, and downright bad most of the times. But the lure of the good ones kept me coming back for more. Hoping, like an addict, that the next guy would be one of the few times I had sex to remember. But in almost all cases, I ended up with just another bad or mediocre episode soon to be forgotten.

I ask myself why aren’t we better at it? With all our experience, shouldn’t we be monumentally good at sex anywhere, anytime? Instead, why do we put up with a quick wank at the urinal, a uninspired suck in the bushes and a lacklustre fuck to round the day off?

Many sexperts will say it is because anonymous and quick sex is simply hollow. And I give them right. But that is hardly a revelation, we all know it. My question remains: why don’t we invest more into learning and improving the sex we have?

I’m ready to admit, I’m as guilty as anyone in this respect. I often put up with what I can find, even if I know there are better ways.

For me, finding this out was during the sexual discovery workshop. I discovered a path to better sex. Not by having more of the same sex, but by thinking about how to make sex better. What was it that I really wanted?

The result of the workshop for me was at first contradictory: Instead of more sex, I have less sex now. But, it is better sex. Sex that is satisfying and leaves me fulfilled. The sort of sex that I remember, and not the sex I want something else five minutes after. I’m not there yet all the time. And while many of my friends laugh at me for no longer being on Grindr 24/7, and think I’m simply becoming old when I politely signal to the hunky guy in the gym showers that I’m not up for it right now. But I know for myself, that once I do have sex nowadays I don’t just forget it afterwards. Instead, I know, I have a good chance of experiencing something actually worth memorising.

To those men out there who are left unsatisfied by just an other understall wank, I have one suggestion to make: Put yourself out of mediocrity and start upgrading your own sex, sexual knowledge and work on finding sex that is worth it. Learn about sex positivity. Embrace sex scene writing. Don’t just settle that quick fuck or the wank that just happens. Because it is the best gift you can make yourself.

Daniel is in his late thirties and lives and works in London. Originally from a small town, he enjoys the big city and embraces the diverse experiences there. He is starting to build his own network of regular guys to have sex with now, while hoping to delete hook-up apps one day. Thank you for contributing!

I went to a Gay Sex Workshop

I never thought one weekend could make such a difference. Click To Tweet

A guest post by Andreas

I came across the ad for the sex workshop on one of the online dating sites. Interested in what it was, I clicked the ad to find out more. Looking through the website of the workshop I found a few weekend classes being held in my city, one of which starting in two weeks. Without much thinking, I decided to give it a try. My sex life for the last few months had been pretty dull. I had only a handful of online dates, and nothing ever was a real connection. Even the sex was just dull. I hadn’t been out on the scene, and didn’t really want to go, as I find it too competitive and hard for me to speak to someone. So a sex workshop seemed a thing to try and revive my sex life, maybe learn a few things or even make some friends.

With the date approaching I started to get a lot more nervous than I anticipated when I signed up: I started to have doubts about the guys. How they would react to me. I was getting nervous about being naked, as the workshop information said. If there would really be sex? How would that work? What if I don’t want to do it? A lot of questions came to my mind.

A day before the workshop all the doubt got the better of me, and I almost pulled out. What rescued it was that an email with the directions had the phone number of the workshop trainer. Full of doubts I called him, secretly hoping he would tell me not to come.

He answered and was very patient with my questions. I never expected that. I’m not a really confident guy when it comes to sex. I see lots of guys who are just going for it, in bars or wherever. But that is not me. I get horny, I think I can do it, but then I get scared. That’s how I would describe me. And the workshop was exactly this.

So I was glad to hear some reassuring words from the trainer, who also told me that I could always pull out. But before, he encouraged me to give it a try. The environment would be quite different to a sex club or sauna. And they also had a separate space where one could go and take a break. Also he told me that my doubts were totally normal. Most guys had those doubts, and I’ll see how they are nervous on the day, too.

Nervously I went to the venue on the day. It was an early evening “check-in”, where everyone arrived before the start of the main workshop the next day. I was way too early, so I went to a have a coffee around the corner. Again, I nearly pulled out, but eventually I got myself together and went over to the venue.

The venue was a little hidden. When I arrived I was greeted by the trainer and a few other men sitting in what looked like a kitchen. To my relief they were all dressed. Most people also seemed quiet and normal, not at all how I imagined this to be. More men joined us, but most seemed not to know anyone. This was a bit of a relief, as I imagined lots of couples would be there. But it also meant many people were just sitting there quietly.

When the time came to start, we were asked to take off our shoes and move to the main room. The trainer started by explaining the rules of the workshop. Still fully dressed, we eventually started to have some ice breaking activities. These included hugging and touching at some point, but it was all very respectful and in a really supportive and positive way. After the introduction session everyone walked to a nearby restaurant to have dinner together. It really felt very different from anything I have ever experienced: like a connection had been made.

I’m not going to give away too much of what happened over the next two days of the workshop. But for me it was an amazing experience. We talked about our fears, our sex life, our sexual roles. Yes, we did get naked. No, we didn’t have any full on sex with each other. But what we did was built trust and shared an amazing experience. Different to the hook ups and dates I had met on the scene. Something much deeper than I imagined. It was a different experience to anything I had ever experienced.

The outcome of the workshop was not just that I had made new friends. I also learned some techniques. The most important outcome, however, was that I learned how to face myself and my fears. I embraced the core theme of sex-positivity and although it still is a journey to be traveled for me,  I feel now a very changed man. Changed for the better. And I just booked my next workshop. This time, without the fears. But looking forward to a weekend with like-minded guys, making new connections, learning new things and exploring more about what I really want.

Andreas is in his mid-forties and lives alone together with his dog in a big city in a small country…   Thank you to Andreas for this guest post!

Be Proud, Not Pushy: A Guide To Pride Etiquette

I’ve come to realize how often the conversation stalls when it comes to consent outside of the bedroom. Click To Tweet

A guest post by Kitty Stryker
Editor of “Ask: Building Consent Culture” & Porn’s Riot Grrl

I’ve been going around the country talking about consent culture for years now, often in alternative communities – BDSM, polyamory, Burning Man, swingers, queer folks, etc. It’s a topic I care deeply about, but I’ve come to realize how often the conversation stalls when it comes to consent outside of the bedroom – the consent of negotiating daily interactions vs sexy fun times.

As this is Pride month, I began to flash back to the various ways I had come to accept as normal in the party atmosphere of the Pride parties I’ve been to over the years.

Every time I go to a Pride event, at least one of the following 5 things happens:

1. Someone (usually a gay man or a straight girl) grabs my breasts or costume without asking

2. Someone takes a sneaky photo without my consent or knowledge

3. Someone tries to offer me something dosed without letting me know upfront

4. Someone loudly interrupts a conversation I’m having (almost always with another queer femme) to center themselves in a desperate bid for attention

5. Someone will attempt to use their inebriation as an excuse for crossing my boundaries

I want to acknowledge that it is not just heterosexual allies who do these pushy, entitled things, but fellow queer folks. From talking to my friends, it seems it’s sunk into the common consciousness as just something one has to tolerate to be in those spaces.

I think that’s absurd, and I wanted to offer a quick and easy guide on how to perpetuate consent culture in these spaces so everyone can celebrate and feel safe.

1. Don’t touch people without asking. This should be super basic, but, ask people before you hug them, ask people before you kiss them, ask people before you touch their hair, their costume, their body, their wheelchair, etc. It doesn’t matter if you’re not “sexually attracted,” it’s still grabbing at someone without asking and that’s not ok. A smile and checking in about consent can make an interaction really amazing and intimate instead of deeply unsettling and scary.

2. Let people know before you take their photo. I have a very selfish reason for this – I generally want to see copies of photos taken of whatever awesome outfit I’m wearing! But there’s other reasons why this is important. It’s respectful, and indicates that you’re not trying to be sneaky or creepy. It also allows people to say “no thanks,” which, if you don’t let them say no, they can’t really consent, can they? There’s lots of good reasons people don’t want their photo taken – they may not be out, they may have dysphoria, they may be shy, they may just not want to be the subject of a photograph. Ask, and respect the response.

3. PLEASE tell people if your cookies are “special.” If you don’t want to take the risk of having your dosed goodies intercepted by the cops? Don’t bring them. As someone who is really allergic to weed, getting accidentally dosed by a well-meaning partygoer could really ruin, not just my day, but my whole week. Also, don’t waste good edibles on people like me who will just end up hospitalized! Give them to folks who will really appreciate them.

4. Be respectful of people’s space. We covered physical space in the first point, but I also want to encourage you to be respectful of people’s emotional boundaries. If you’re a heterosexual woman, maybe don’t go to a bunch of parties specifically marketed to gay men – similarly, if you’re a straight man, leave lesbians alone? If you’re white, sit out the Pride party your Black and brown friends have that’s POC only. If your trans friends need space to process their feelings, don’t invade.

5. Drink more water, cause being fucked up is not an excuse to violate people. For many cities, Pride is less of a protest and more of a party. I have mixed feelings about that, on a personal level, but it’s where we’re at now. Oftentimes, Pride means a lot of outside drinking in the sunlight, sweating from dancing all day, perhaps indulging in other chemicals, and just not drinking enough water. Dehydration and being under the influence can certainly join hands in leading people to make poor decisions about boundaries, both their own and other people’s. Don’t be that person getting sloppy at Pride. Make sure you eat properly, and drink a bottle of water for every drink *at least*. Your liver and conscience will thank you.

This list is by all means not exhaustive – there’s lots of other ways you can encourage consent culture at Pride! But this is a very good start. By respecting each other’s bodily autonomy, we can ensure that our queer spaces are safer spaces… and by learning and modeling how to do it better, maybe we can shift the cultural consciousness. Or at least have a better party.

 

kitty.001Kitty Stryker is a feminist writer, queer activist, and rising authority on developing a consent culture in alternative communities as well as an active member of the genderqueer feminist art collective, the NorCal Degenderettes. She was the founder of ConsentCulture.com, a now offline website that ran for 4 years as a hub for LGBT/kinky/poly folks looking for a sex critical approach to relationships. Now fundraising for a book tour in honor of her book “Ask: Building Consent Culture” (an anthology through Thorntree Press coming out in 2017), Kitty tours internationally speaking at universities and conferences about feminism, sex work, body positivity, queer politics, and more. She lives in Oakland, California with her wife, boyfriend, and two cats, Foucault and Nietzsche. For media inquiries and bookings, email miss.kitty.stryker@gmail.com.

Sexual Discovery… the book

sxd.001

Great news! I’m super loving the cover of the book which accompanies the online workshop “30 Days of Sexual Discovery”.

The book is now available to pre-order from most e-bookstores (ISBN 9781370218707). If you want the complete workshop to download automatically to your favourite reader when it launches on the 31 July, you can now pre-order the book.

Of course, don’t forget to join from the 1 July first… for 30 days free right here on urbangay.org.