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!

Day 16: Volunteer

Volunteers are love in motion (Anonymous) Click To Tweet

Today’s objective: Consider possibilities of volunteering and the benefits of it.

Volunteering has many positive effects: it increases the feeling of connectedness with your community and further wards off loneliness and depression. From a self-love perspective, it encourages gratitude, generosity and kindness. And if that isn’t enough: a 2012 study conducted by scientists from the University of Michigan found that people who volunteer have a lower mortality rate – than people who don’t. On top of it all, it can be a lot of fun: think the possibility of meeting lots of interesting people in an environment which is much more suited to social interaction and making contacts than the traditional, commercial gay scene. In fact, while living in London, myself and several of my friends swore that volunteering is by far the best way to meet other people: friends and lovers… you decide.

If you are already volunteering: well done. And I’m sure you need no more convincing about the benefits volunteering can bring. However, if you are not currently volunteering, use

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)
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Day 31: Sustaining the progress from the bootcamp

Wow! Well done you on completing 30 days of the bootcamp! This is amazing! We have touched on so many things over the last month, I’m sure it was quite a ride! Remember to check back in and pick out the good parts that you feel were particularly beneficial for you. It would also be great to hear from you which parts you enjoyed most! New: urbangay now has a community function – so please take the time and share your experiences there!

If you haven’t checked out the next “30 day” programs, have a look. Each program will pick up one of the themes from the bootcamp and develop it in much greater detail. Check them all out here.

In addition to being freely available on while they are running, they will become available as PDF-workbook downloads after the 30 days. So please make sure you get them!

I hope the bootcamp has been a good 30 days and it would be great to hear from you! Please also remember to share the bootcamp with your friends.

Check out these free programs for mindfulness, happiness, tantra, sex and life Click To Tweet

Day 30: Relationships

Today is our last instalment of mindfulness: a last, quick glimpse of how mindfulness can enhance your personal relationships – with your lover, partner(s) and also friends.

While some of the activities in the last few days might have been challenging for you. Especially if you have completed them with your partner and you haven’t been normally openly talking about sex and intimacy. Many people going through a sexual ‘bootcamp” together as a partner find these activities very liberating, but also challenging. So it is perfectly fine if you feel a little unsure about your feelings at this moment.

But today is not just about “the one”, but about the role mindfulness can play in different relationships. While absolutely non-sexual, the activity today can be, nevertheless, challenging and liberating in equal measures. I encourage you to do this activity first with someone you trust deeply, maybe your partner. Once you feel more comfortable with the activity, you can repeat the activity with other people in your life.

The aim of the exercise is to bring you, and your activity partner, ‘in touch’ with your feelings and emotions towards each other. Often people have very strong feelings as a result of it, and that is expected.

To start the activity, stand back to back with your partner, touching only at your shoulders. Become fully mindful to the feelings and emotions this brings up. Remain standing like this, in complete silence, for at least three to four minutes. Just focus and observe your feelings.
After four minutes, both of you should take a step away from each other. Again, check in with your feelings, now away from your partner and without touching him. Repeat this another two times, remaining in pose for about three to four minutes each.
After three steps, turn around and face your partner. Look into his eyes, look at his body. At everything that you see and check in with your feelings and emotions. How does it feel looking at him? How have your feelings changed during different positions during the activity?

As I said before, many people have said this activity brings up many different feelings and emotions in them. Be open to them. You may have changed dramatically how you feel, you may have had different feelings about what you wanted to do, or want to do now. Embrace and acknowledge them.

As the final step in the activity, share with your partner your feelings. Work out where you both have very similar feelings. Maybe you have very different feelings in some aspects, that is ok, too. Share your feelings with empathy and kindness in the spirit of an open and growing relationship.

I hope this last activity is something both of you enjoy doing – and where you discover new ways of relating to each other. Tomorrow we will be taking a final look at where we go from here – after 30 days of mindfulness. Please remember: share how you have felt on this journey. Either by using the comment function below, or by using #ug30bc on Twitter.

7 Tips for kickstarting the Best Year …ever – even if you gave up on your resolutions

So how has your start of the year been? Mine has been a bit rocky – and new year resolutions are awesome… but often turn out hard to keep (and some may turn out to be quite a stupid idea to begin with). However, there are a few things that can really make this year a happier, healthier and more fun year for you. So here are a few tips (mostly based on the urbangay happiness challenge).

  1. Learn a new language. Many language courses start in February (for example at many universities). That is an ideal way to rewire your brain to a completely different perspective, have mind-opening conversations – and travel like a local where the language is spoken. The other good thing is, once you signed up to classes it is quite hard to quit…
  2. If you don’t feel like learning a new language, you could just go easy(er) on yourself and pick up a new hobby: from stamp collecting to running, meditation or tantra. New skill – new you.
  3. Whatever you do… ditch your TV. OK, maybe keep a Netflix account for those emergencies of a Netflix and Chill date … but seriously: TV robs you of the time you could spend with friends, make new connections – or even have fun with your new hobby. And seriously, when was the last time you saw something actually worth watching on TV ?
  4. Avoid negative people. Yes… simple trick to make you more happy: avoid those that constantly bemoan the cold January, the state of the world economy or just the fact that the coffee they are drinking isn’t organic. Seriously, there is no better way to make your day worse than surrounding yourself with negativity. So… ditch the moaners. And say hello to people who realise it may be cold – but above all it is sunny!
  5. Start a challenge… OK, admittedly this backfired a bit on me. But starting a challenge is a great way to keep you motivated. And you can create a challenge on pretty much anything: from reading to running. Or whatever it is that you are doing. Think who can collect more stamps in 30 days… you or  your friend? – or can you both keep up with going fro three runs every week (btw… remember to join here!).
  6. Volunteer. I wrote about this before… it is really one of the best things to kick start a happier you: volunteer. Especially, when doing it regularly: it is also a great way to meet new people. So what are you waiting for?
  7.  Use To Do Lists. This one keeps you focused: First rule, write a To Do List before you go to bed for the next day. Like that you know exactly what to do the next day and get up with energy to “get things done”. Also, don’t forget, those lists can inspire some other areas of your life, like your sex life 😉 .

Do you have some more tips for a happy 2017? Why not share them below? Remember… whatever day it is, you can always kickstart a better year. 🙂 And, please, let me know how you get on!

Looking to meet new people? Try

If you haven’t tried it yet, is a great platform to meet all sorts of interesting people (gay, straight and all). It is a pretty popular platform in London, where you can join (I’m focusing on the gay/LGBTQ+-groups here) anything from naked yoga groups to learning to speak French.

Sadly, in Lisbon it isn’t quite as big and varied… but it is still a great, free resource to connect with others in town (not just LGBTQ+ folks). On the “comunity” side, there are at the moment basically two main groups:

The Comunidade Queer & Friends-LGBTQIA Portugal is a VERY active group that combines many events, not all of them LGBT-events. The group offers you the chance to connect to many people from all across the LGBT spectrum in Lisbon – and many events are arty and cultural in nature – and really showcase queer life in the city. Don’t be afraid if you don’t speak Portuguese – most of the events are more than happy to welcome non-Portuguese-speakers.

For alternative, arts and community LGBTQ+ events in Lisbon check out this meetup:… Click To Tweet

Lisbon LGBT Social Meetup Group has been a little dormant recently, but the new organiser (cough, cough, yours truly) is trying to revive the group at the moment. The idea for that group is to be more social and international, so doing things like bar crawls, brunches and regular drinks.

For drinks and socials in #gayLisbon with an international touch, check out… Click To Tweet

Please bear in mind that you don’t really to choose between the two groups: membership to is free for people joining one, two or twenty groups – so you can simply join both. So, whether you’re visiting Lisbon – or staying here for good … remember to come along and make some new friends 🙂 !

Four Alternative Ways of Meeting New (not only gay) Friends

Moving to a new city is exciting. And it also means having to find new friends… which can be a daunting task – especially as an adult and working from home… I know from my SWIPES analysis that friends and an active social life are very important to me… I literally get grumpy when I’m left on my own for too long. So I need to address this as a high priority point as soon as moving. Thus,  I came up with a few strategies I’ll use when getting to Lisbon (of course, you don’t have to move cities to use these strategies – they work just as well “at home”). As some of these strategies have already worked well in London for me, I’m quite hopeful I can do something similar in Lisbon. Though first, two strategies which seem popular and easy… Continue reading “Four Alternative Ways of Meeting New (not only gay) Friends”