April 7, 2010
Category: Gay Culture

I have had the privilege of sharing my life with two different dogs during two different eras of my adult life. It doesn’t feel right to say I owned these dogs, for reasons that should be obvious to anyone who looks a beloved dog in the eyes and sees clearly another sentient being looking back at you with an expression that might be quizzical, adoring, or might reflect wisdom beyond our understanding. In any case it is clear the dog is its own person, so to speak, with its own motivations, thoughts, feelings, needs, and desires. The dogs owned themselves without doubt, and I have been fortunate to be their caretakers as well as being the recipient of their generous attention and care.

The first dog I brought into my life was a young, female Rottweiler I adopted from the animal shelter. Looking back I can see that a Rottweiler was a perfect dog for the somewhat insecure young, gay man I was, as her sturdy build and characteristic markings complemented the masculine image I was eager to project. When we walked down the sidewalk together, people often crossed the street in fear. You would never mistake me for a frightened sissy with such a fearsome beast under my control. She was as gentle a being as I’ve ever encountered, however, and she always greeted visitors as if they were long-lost friends. She had a deep-throated warning bark that sounded so fierce, my brother nearly jumped out of his skin one night when he came creeping into my house late in the dark. But even when neighbor children teased her relentlessly through the screen door at the front of the house,...

Read more
Frank Strona
February 23, 2010
Category: Health

So, what does it mean to be “clean?"

For those of you who follow my blog and some of my other internet-based projects, you know I have particular point of view when it comes to gay men, sex and responsible sexual health.

Lately, I’m finding something I don’t think is all that cool. While I appreciate that some of you will not agree with this post – I do feel it has to be said as well.

If you get laid, have sex, fuck or get fucked, suck or get sucked – however, you want to label it- you are at risk for an STD. As uncomfortable as it may sound, it’s the way it is. This resurgence of the word “clean” as a way to describe ourselves in profiles and CL postings is not only inaccurate, it implies that being sexual makes us "dirty." And, it builds on the fear and ignorance that gets in our way of developing a confident sexual self-identity.

A few thoughts for those who use the word “clean” in your profile: Don’t fool yourself. Most guys with an STD don’t even know they have one, and they are not out to infect you intentionally. The only sure way to know you don’t have anything requires work, honesty and a lot of attention to your own sexual awareness. Being tested is a great start, but is not a guarantee.

Yup that’s right. Testing alone isn’t a guarantee you are not going to have (or get) something. If you don’t want to be exposed to an STD, your options are solo play or sex only with men, who are only having sex with you exclusively AND who have been tested in sequence with you (tested when you first meet, tested 3 months later, etc.) to...

Read more
Duke Greenhill
January 26, 2010
Category: Health

I've been a professional male model for over a decade, and although I'm still waiting on that Time's Square 2xist billboard, I have made a decent career as the "guy next door." I was recently interviewed for a magazine about cutting-edge training techniques, and the journalist remarked, "The modeling and fitness industries say you're marketable because you're neither the "juiced-up" bodybuilder, nor the sinewy eighteen year old. You look like a farmer's son with a body hewn from hard, functional labor; an all-American boy next door.

Though I take issue with being called a boy, I appreciate the observation, and find it wonderfully ironic that during an interview about cutting-edge workout routines, I would be called-out for my physique, which is purely the result of centuries-old exercise fundamentals.

It's not coincidence that gladiators, sailors, blue-collars and cowboys hold a special place in the gay fantasy canon. The idea that "natural," functionally derived bodies hold a certain kind of beauty is nothing new. Walt Whitman notes this in his poem, "I Sing the Body Electric:"

The swimmer naked in the swimming-bath, seen as he swims through
the transparent green-shine, or lies with his face up and rolls
silently to and from the heave of the water,
The bending forward and backward of rowers in row-boats, the
horse-man in his saddle,
The group of laborers seated at noon-time with their open
dinner-kettles,
The young fellow hosing corn, the sleigh-driver driving his six
horses through the crowd...

Read more
Duke Greenhill
November 24, 2009
Category: Health

As you know, I write a great deal of material for fitness magazines like Men's Health, Men's Fitness, Exercise for Men, and others. In over a decade of writing for such "rags," I am chagrined that their pages speak (almost) exclusively to the 35-and-under crowd, with little content relaying the scientific and physiological discoveries pertaining to more mature men. I am currently working on my first book, "The Secrets of People Who Never Get Sick," with a dear friend of mine, New York Times bestselling non-fiction author, Gene Stone, who happens to be over 40. In our discussions about fitness over 40, I discovered the dearth of information on weightlifting and the forty-plus man. I want to ameliorate that here, so I turned to a colleague, Dave Draper, who is a 40-plus professional bodybuilder, and together we formulated this sample of FAQ's… fitness and the man over 40.

Q. Is it true that men over 40 lose the ability to pack on mass? I want to get bigger. Can I?

A. Two truths should be revisited and underscored at this point: we all age, and as we do, our bodies respond to exercise less efficiently. A third truth can be added: 40 to 50 are still very good years for growth. Our smaller muscle groups -- rear delts, calves, obliques and the like -- that have not been overtrained in the previous 40 years still hold tremendous potential for growth. At the end of the day, everyone is different, and genetics will play an integral role in your ability to add mass. The most important thing: the over 40 lifter must be careful not to be dominated or...

Read more
Duke Greenhill
November 24, 2009
Category: Health

As you know, I write a great deal of material for fitness magazines like Men's Health, Men's Fitness, Exercise for Men, and others. In over a decade of writing for such "rags," I am chagrined that their pages speak (almost) exclusively to the 35-and-under crowd, with little content relaying the scientific and physiological discoveries pertaining to more mature men. I am currently working on my first book, "The Secrets of People Who Never Get Sick," with a dear friend of mine, New York Times bestselling non-fiction author, Gene Stone, who happens to be over 40. In our discussions about fitness over 40, I discovered the dearth of information on weightlifting and the forty-plus man. I want to ameliorate that here, so I turned to a colleague, Dave Draper, who is a 40-plus professional bodybuilder, and together we formulated this sample of FAQ's… fitness and the man over 40.

Q. Is it true that men over 40 lose the ability to pack on mass? I want to get bigger. Can I?

A. Two truths should be revisited and underscored at this point: we all age, and as we do, our bodies respond to exercise less efficiently. A third truth can be added: 40 to 50 are still very good years for growth. Our smaller muscle groups -- rear delts, calves, obliques and the like -- that have not been overtrained in the previous 40 years still hold tremendous potential for growth. At the end of the day, everyone is different, and genetics will play an integral role in your ability to add mass. The most important thing: the over 40 lifter must be careful not to be dominated or...

Read more
Jim Arnold
November 7, 2009
Category: Health

Caveat: I’m not a doctor, and I don’t even play one on TV. This is all my opinion.

When that phone rang one dreary gray morning back in 2001, and it was my urologist calling with test results, I fully expected to be exonerated once again from a medical malady, as I’d always slipped by before, no matter what the test, usually with passing grades and a smile.

Not this time. The news as cloudy as the weather, the apologetic voice said that the biopsy results were positive for prostate cancer, and we needed to make an appointment to discuss what to do next.

I was in shock. Only 46 that year, my lucky personal experience with disease was limited to increasingly infrequent colds and flus, a broken collarbone at 6, and a nasty bout with Hep A. For me, the gold standard around which all health issues revolved was the yearly HIV test, and as long as I could keep passing that, nothing else would even come close.

As I did my research and discussed the options with the doctors, the more it occurred to me that prostate cancer (PC) was a numbers game. There was a number for the PSA (prostate specific antigen), a blood test you take, which when elevated, can be an indicator of PC. There was your age, also a number, a higher number (say, 75 vs. 46) being indicative of both the kind of treatment that would be recommended and the likelihood of surviving PC and dying of something else. Finally, there was the Gleason score, which was a numbering system indicating the aggressiveness of the cancer cells, a higher number being worse...

Read more
Duke Greenhill
October 8, 2009
Category: Health

John Fitzgerald Kennedy said, "Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity."  Though not Jack's most eloquent moment (perhaps he had Marilyn or missiles on the brain), I know exactly what he means.  After I modeled for the new Daddyhunt campaign, they asked me if I would be interested in writing a health and fitness blog.  I accepted with a self-imposed mandate to approach writing about fitness in a JFK-approved fashion:  from a cerebral and not a body-centric perspective, from a scientific and not superficial one.  Thinking such a task might prove painless at worst (I have countless bylines in all of the major fitness publications) I set to reviewing the blog entries and member comments that had come before me, and discovered painless it was not.

 

One entry ("Daddy, You're Gonna Carry That Weight") seemed at first as innocuous as a leather studded harness in the Castro, but when I investigated the consequent member discourse, I discovered evidence that a great schism of Episcopalian proportions may exist in the gay community: on one side are those...

Read more
Duke Greenhill
October 8, 2009
Category: Health

John Fitzgerald Kennedy said, "Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity."  Though not Jack's most eloquent moment (perhaps he had Marilyn or missiles on the brain), I know exactly what he means.  After I modeled for the new Daddyhunt campaign, they asked me if I would be interested in writing a health and fitness blog.  I accepted with a self-imposed mandate to approach writing about fitness in a JFK-approved fashion:  from a cerebral and not a body-centric perspective, from a scientific and not superficial one.  Thinking such a task might prove painless at worst (I have countless bylines in all of the major fitness publications) I set to reviewing the blog entries and member comments that had come before me, and discovered painless it was not.

 

One entry ("Daddy, You're Gonna Carry That Weight") seemed at first as innocuous as a leather studded harness in the Castro, but when I investigated the consequent member discourse, I discovered evidence that a great schism of Episcopalian proportions may exist in the gay community: on one side are those...

Read more
Kirk Read
May 27, 2009
Category: Health

Dear Kirk,
I have been dating an HIV+ man for about 2 months. We've had sex twice and the sex was great. Careful always, and  I've never found putting on a condom so erotic. He really knows how to make it sexy.  What I want to know is, I love to rim. This man has a GORGEOUS, hairy ass, and all I can think about is burying my face in it. How dangerous is this, and is there any way to do it safely? I'd like to know if it's considered low risk, high risk, or whatever, but I'd really also like to know if it CAN be done safely. I've heard that Saran Wrap, or something like it, can be used, but are these water soluble, or permeable, or whatever they call it. Please let me know, because I'm SO HUNGRY!!!

Dear Hungry Jack,

What’s more primal than sticking your nose up a guy’s butt? We really ARE dogs.

I’m not a doctor, but I spent a number of years as an HIV/STD test counselor in a small community-based clinic for sex workers. When you get safer sex information, you have to consider the source. Whether you’re shopping for a flat screen TV or learning about syphilis, I think it’s always good to gather information from multiple sources, then use your own judgment to determine what makes sense to you. In counseling sessions, I have spent a lot of time talking terrified people down from trees. Public health agencies have done such a good job scaring the hell out of us that many people have received simplistic and incorrect information about STD and HIV risk. By lumping everything together (oral sex, rimming...

Read more
Frank Strona
April 27, 2009
Category: Health

Hey Guys

Every year in April, we recognize STD awareness month. In San Francisco we hold community screenings as well as do local presentations on the prevention and treatment of STDs. But as we wrap up the month, I want to remind you guys that STD awareness should be a part of routine sexual health year round. So here are some thoughts and tips on STDs that I find useful.

STDs: The gifts that keep on giving.

Make sure you don’t get a one gift that you can’t casually get rid of as the months change. Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) are on the increase. So, when you are thinking about keeping yourself and your partner safe always remember to include BOTH HIV and STD in your thoughts.

Some common STD’s  include: Chancroid, Chlamydia, Cytomegalovirus (CMV), Genital Warts, Gonorrhea, Hepatitis, Herpes, HIV, Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), Syphilis, Molluscum Contagiosum,...

Read more