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!

30 Days of Sexual Discovery… Day by Day

Your hottest summer yet:
30 days of sex positive,
playful learning – are you ready?

Just a few more days before the online version of the Sexual Discovery workshop will start! Here is a sneak peak at all the topics for each day… so make sure you check back on the 1. July to start your personal journey of sexual discovery!

  1. Overview and Aims
  2. Sex Negativity
  3. Shame
  4. Fear
  5. Sex Positivity
  6. Your sexual routines
  7. Your fantasy scripts
  8. Owning your sex
  9. Learning about sex
  10. Talking about desires
  11. Consent seeking
  12. Talking consent
  13. Exploring masturbation
  14. Non-ejaculatory masturbation
  15. Taoist breathing techniques
  16. Taoist stop techniques
  17. Taoist sex and the PC muscle
  18. Tantra breathing and connecting
  19. Tantra massage
  20. Tantra prostate massage
  21. Tantra sexuality
  22. Toys and accessories
  23. Toy Play
  24. Exploring BDSM
  25. BDSM play
  26. Public play
  27. Jealousy
  28. Playing with others
  29. Personal review
  30. The journey ahead

The welcome guide will be posted Wednesday next week… Please remember: the workshop will be available free of charge to members, and you’ll need a free membership account to access the workshop each day! If you are not already a member, then you can register here.

Welcome to 30 Days for Self-love!

Self-love seems so often unrequited. Anthony Powell Click To Tweet

Welcome to the 30 Days Self-Love! Starting on the 1 May and over the next 30 days this program will focus on developing and fostering your self-love, as loving yourself is probably the most important thing you can do. Without loving yourself, it is hard to develop and keep good relationships, stick up for yourself and support others.

But loving yourself is not as easy as it sounds: with the stresses of modern, daily life, especially as gay men, it is hard to find time and motivation to look at yourself and see how beautiful you really are. But not only time and motivation are a problem: all too often, it can be the environment in which we live, too. Sometimes even supposedly safe spaces, such as the gay scene, can make it really hard for people to love themselves. With constant demands for being perfect, being young, fit, the perfect lover… the scene, the media and people around us can have a seriously detrimental effect on our self-love. With all the demands and stresses related to these constant demands for perfection, it is no wonder that gay men are three times more likely to suffer than straight men.

In fact, the statistics when it comes to gay men and mental health, especially confidence and self-love are truly shocking: in a recent survey by London gay group GMFA, more than half of the men questioned had suicidal thoughts. Almost a quarter of the men surveyed had actually attempted to take their own lives. 70% of the men talked about low self-esteem, with relationship issues, isolation and not feeling attractive major factors. And while for straight men things get better as they age, sadly, this isn’t the case for gay men: Older gay men suffer significantly more from depression and low self-esteem than both their straight and younger counterparts.

So what can we do about this? The first step is to recognise the issue, and to learn and look at ourselves more objectively, and see how we really are. Just think: if you go into a gay bar, would you think that over half of the guys there think that they are not attractive? Probably not. But that is exactly what the statistics tell us. And I’m not talking measuring men about an abstract beauty ideal here. In fact, more than half of gay men think they are unattractive to all or the majority of other gay men. Is it really surprising then, that so few would even think about themselves as loveable?
But luckily, you have decided that it is time to love yourself. And that is, after all, the first and probably biggest step to a develop a happier, healthier, sexier and more attractive you, no matter what your body looks like. Because, as the saying goes, there is nothing as attractive as someone who actually loves himself.

I should briefly add here that loving yourself shouldn’t be confused with narcissism, arrogance or self-centredness: These are the exact opposites of self-love. Mostly they are behaviours developed to hide crippling self-hate. This is a fact worthwhile remembering when you come across someone like that next: behind a facade of criticising and belittling others, mostly hides someone desperately trying to hide his real self from anyone else.

But enough of the backstory, let’s begin with some points about how the program will work:

The program is divided into days. 30 days exactly (hence the name!). Every day will consist of a brief introduction of the topic or concept and how it helps to create real and lasting self-love.
Each day, there will also be an activity to perform. Most of these will be reflective, but some will be actual physical activities. Some of these activities are designed to be a one-off, like making a list of things you like. Others are activities that you can repeat daily if you want. Each activity will tell you about this.

After each activity there are three questions to help you reflect on the activity and to deepen your learning. If you are following the program online or using an eBook version, I suggest you invest in a small note book to keep the notes for each day. If you are using the printed/PDF version of the program, it will have the boxes to put your notes in printed for you.
Importantly: please don’t skip these questions! They may seem trivial and it is often tempting to just focus on the activity. But it is only by reflecting on the activity by using the questions that you can really create actual change.

The program is divided into three parts:

The first part of the program introduces a few basic principles, such as gratitude, kindness, positive thinking and some skills, such as reframing. These form the basic tool kit for the main program.

The second part then uses this tool kit to develop self-esteem and confidence, and identifies strategies for longer lasting, positive change in the way you see yourself.

The third part focuses on developing a realistic body image and identifies strategies and ways to deal with body image issues, including assumptions about the perfect body and challenging negative thinking. In the round-up, the program focuses on developing resilience for the future.

Before we start though a little word of caution: much can be achieved in 30 days. In fact, many people who have followed a 30 day program are often like changed people. However, change doesn’t just happen in 30 days. Keeping up the hard work and sticking with a few of the tools that you’ll be introduced to in the next few days and strategies you’ll develop during the month will help you to really make the change permanent.

And now… sit back and relax. On Monday (Day 1), we will be looking at the concept of self-love in more detail.

To follow the full program, remember to check back on every day from Monday, 1. May. You can also subscribe to the newsletter (sent weekly) here. I’ll be making the full program, including all activities available for free on this website until 31 May. During May, you can save all the daily activities or print them for your own personal use. After this date, you will be able to download all activities and the full text as a PDF-file – or a printed book.

Take-home message for today: It’s not easy to love yourself, but it is probably the most important investment you will make and the basis of a happier future.

Day 29: Gains and Progress

Let the gains begin! Click To Tweet

Today’s objective: Review the personal journey you have made over the course of this program.

Well done on reaching almost the end of the 30 day program! Before we review all of the key messages of the 30 days tomorrow, today is your opportunity of reviewing your immense personal journey that you have made.

The most important thing is now that you keep up the great work that you have started. Making changes is never an easy process. You were probably used to doing things and seeing yourself in the old way for a very

“I went from questioning myself and self doubting to
building love for myself. Thank you!”

The full workshop with all activities is available as a digital download directly from this site


30 Days of self-loveor buy the book now from any good bookseller.
ISBN 978-1546592815 (soft cover)   978-1370141586 (eBook)
To order online – via bookfinder
Amazon:   US – UK – CADE – FRIT – IN – JP – BR
Amazon Kindle: USUKCADEFRITNLINJPBRAU

Day 28: Coping Statements

These are just feelings and they will pass. Click To Tweet

Today’s objective: Identify a series of coping statements

As the final step in building ways to deal with potential setbacks or problem situations on your way to a happier and more self-loving person, today’s focus will be on developing a set of coping statements.

Coping statements are small, supportive sayings, ideas or quotes that help you through tough times. They are an example of positive self-talk, which you can recall when a situation gets challenging. There is really no

“I went from questioning myself and self doubting to
building love for myself. Thank you!”

The full workshop with all activities is available as a digital download directly from this site


30 Days of self-loveor buy the book now from any good bookseller.
ISBN 978-1546592815 (soft cover)   978-1370141586 (eBook)
To order online – via bookfinder
Amazon:   US – UK – CADE – FRIT – IN – JP – BR
Amazon Kindle: USUKCADEFRITNLINJPBRAU

Day 27: Strategies for dealing with problems

You can’t control every situation. But you can control how you deal with it. Click To Tweet

Today’s objective: Identify strategies to deal with potential problem situations.

Yesterday you identified the Top 5 most impactful potential problem situations, either as single situations – or a chain of events. Today’s activity will ask you to develop a strategy to deal with these.

Now that you had some time to think about the situations, let’s think of ways to deal with them. You have probably already thought through a few potential solutions for the situations when you first wrote them down. Now it is time to commit to them, and think of

End of the preview.

“I went from questioning myself and self doubting to
building love for myself. Thank you!”

The full workshop with all activities is available as a digital download directly from here


30 Days of self-loveor buy the book now from any good bookseller.
ISBN 978-1546592815 (soft cover)   978-1370141586 (eBook)
To order online – via bookfinder
Amazon:   US – UK – CADE – FRIT – IN – JP – BR
Amazon Kindle: USUKCADEFRITNLINJPBRAU

Day 26: Identifying problem situations

 

A problem is a chance for you to do your best. (Duke Ellington) Click To Tweet

Today’s objective: Start to create resilience by identifying problem situations

Wow! Before you even read any further, pat yourself on the back: the 30 Day program is almost over… and we have covered an amazing amount of material. If your head is spinning a bit at this moment, don’t worry: it will take some time for all the material and changes to filter through into your daily life. You may see the first benefits already: maybe you simply stop your thoughts sometimes and remember something from here. That is real progress. If this happens to you, congratulate

End of the preview.

“I went from questioning myself and self doubting to
building love for myself. Thank you!”

The full workshop with all activities is available as a digital download directly from here


30 Days of self-loveor buy the book now from any good bookseller.
ISBN 978-1546592815 (soft cover)   978-1370141586 (eBook)
To order online – via bookfinder
Amazon:   US – UK – CADE – FRIT – IN – JP – BR
Amazon Kindle: USUKCADEFRITNLINJPBRAU

Day 25: Challenging negative assumptions

Whether you think you can or you can’t. You’re right (Henry Ford) Click To Tweet

Today’s objective: Identify unhelpful assumptions and develop a strategy to challenge unhelpful assumptions

Yesterday’s thought diary is a very powerful tool to help you face situations where your are feeling anxious about what will happen. Challenging these situations is important as it helps to correct unrealistic predictions – especially in as far as the reactions of others are concerned.

However, reactions of others are only half the story: the other half that leads to

End of the preview.

“I went from questioning myself and self doubting to
building love for myself. Thank you!”

The full workshop with all activities is available as a digital download directly from here


30 Days of self-loveor buy the book now from any good bookseller.
ISBN 978-1546592815 (soft cover)   978-1370141586 (eBook)
To order online – via bookfinder
Amazon:   US – UK – CADE – FRIT – IN – JP – BR
Amazon Kindle: USUKCADEFRITNLINJPBRAU

Day 24: Thought diary

The way to change something, is to challenge it. Click To Tweet

Today’s objective: Learn to challenge unrealistic expectations using a thought diary approach

You have probably already realised how many predictions related to body image, but also other predictions for situations where you fear being judged in some form or feel ashamed, are actually not based on reality or any evidence. Rather, they are based on the fear of something happening. Today the focus is on learning a highly effective way of dealing with such situations by using a Thought Diary [PDF]

End of the preview.

“I went from questioning myself and self doubting to
building love for myself. Thank you!”

The full workshop with all activities is available as a digital download directly from here


30 Days of self-loveor buy the book now from any good bookseller.
ISBN 978-1546592815 (soft cover)   978-1370141586 (eBook)
To order online – via bookfinder
Amazon:   US – UK – CADE – FRIT – IN – JP – BR
Amazon Kindle: USUKCADEFRITNLINJPBRAU

 

Day 23: Body image issues’ long term consequences

To lose confidence in one’s body is to lose confidence in oneself. (Simone de Beauvoir) Click To Tweet

Today’s objective: Think about the long-term consequences of body image issues and how they can lead to cycle of shame and fear.

Over the last few days of the program you have already worked out a number of ways in which you are likely to respond to fearing judgement based on your appearance. You have also already

End of the preview.

“I went from questioning myself and self doubting to
building love for myself. Thank you!”

The full workshop with all activities is available as a digital download directly from here


30 Days of self-loveor buy the book now from any good bookseller.
ISBN 978-1546592815 (soft cover)   978-1370141586 (eBook)
To order online – via bookfinder
Amazon:   US – UK – CADE – FRIT – IN – JP – BR
Amazon Kindle: USUKCADEFRITNLINJPBRAU