Kirk Read
August 19, 2009
Category: Relationships

Dear Kirk,

My Name is Larry and I'm 19. I have been with my boyfriend for over 2 years now and he is 37. Like most relationships we've had our ups and downs. We've argued and we've made up. He can be really sweet sometimes, leaving me little notes everywhere...he likes to surprise me with little gifts, no matter how small. But he also can be a complete ass. He has this amazing gift of saying the wrong thing at the absolute worst time for it. Like "I don't understand why you're stressing over exams...they're not important."

I've also just realized how controlling he is, when he'd ask me every day to go upstairs and get his laptop for him, or get him a drink etc. If i ask anything of him he tells me to "get it myself and stop being so lazy.”

We'll be in bed, having a nice hug when he grabs my cock. So I'm guessing it wouldn't be wrong for me to assume he...

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Kirk Read
July 30, 2009
Category: Relationships

Dear Kirk,

The guy I fell for this summer turned out to be an absolute disaster. For starters he is uncut and due to horrific past experiences of gay men who did not value cleanliness or had a fear of water, I vowed NEVER to be with someone who is uncut. This guy turns out to be one of the cleanest guys I have been with - cut or uncut for that matter. I kept forgetting how sensitive uncut men are and how fragile the loose skin can be. I am not sure if he felt I was being rough intentially or insensative to his needs. Not only did I feel like his trick every single time, but he made sure I did not perform any sensual acts of affection thus stating that he hates being tickled and that he finds it irritating. I was afraid to touch him let alone attempt to give him a blow job.

When I massaged him for the first time he lectured me on how to give a proper massage (I massage for a living). At times I made the mistake of asking him if he was ready for me to top him and his response would be, "Don't ask me - JUST TAKE IT !”

Needless to say we argued incessantly in the brief 2 months we were together that seemed like 5 years. I took care of him fiscally and he had the luxury of getting high, sleeping a lot, and being miserable. One of the main arguments is that he never felt the need to respond to any of my text messages or voice mails. He sucked at communication. I valued communication and he valued sex and porn. We partied hard with Tina and GHB.

I guess my question to you is when does one know when to get out of a relationship when things...

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Kirk Read
July 30, 2009
Category: Relationships

Dear Kirk,

The guy I fell for this summer turned out to be an absolute disaster. For starters he is uncut and due to horrific past experiences of gay men who did not value cleanliness or had a fear of water, I vowed NEVER to be with someone who is uncut. This guy turns out to be one of the cleanest guys I have been with - cut or uncut for that matter. I kept forgetting how sensitive uncut men are and how fragile the loose skin can be. I am not sure if he felt I was being rough intentially or insensative to his needs. Not only did I feel like his trick every single time, but he made sure I did not perform any sensual acts of affection thus stating that he hates being tickled and that he finds it irritating. I was afraid to touch him let alone attempt to give him a blow job.

When I massaged him for the first time he lectured me on how to give a proper massage (I massage for a living). At times I made the mistake of asking him if he was ready for me to top him and his response would be, "Don't ask me - JUST TAKE IT !”

Needless to say we argued incessantly in the brief 2 months we were together that seemed like 5 years. I took care of him fiscally and he had the luxury of getting high, sleeping a lot, and being miserable. One of the main arguments is that he never felt the need to respond to any of my text messages or voice mails. He sucked at communication. I valued communication and he valued sex and porn. We partied hard with Tina and GHB.

I guess my question to you is when does one know when to get out of a relationship when things...

Read more
June 26, 2009
Category: Relationships

….And when I thought how my dear friend my lover was
    on his way coming,  O then I was happy,
O then each breath tasted sweeter, and all that day my food
    nourish’d me more, and the beautiful day pass’d well,
And the next came with equal joy, and with the
    next at evening came my friend,
And that night while all was still I heard the waters roll
    slowly continually up the shores,
I heard the hissing rustle of the liquid and sands as
    directed to me whispering to congratulate me,
For the one I love most lay sleeping by me under the same
    cover in the cool night,
In the stillness in the autumn moonbeams his face was
    inclined toward me,
And his arm lay lightly around my breast—and that night
    I was happy.
    —Walt Whitman

Excerpt from “When I Heard at the Close of Day” from Leaves of Grass
 

I met my first lover the day I arrived in New Delhi in 1972. I had just turned nineteen, and I had come to India alone on pilgrimage, having been a student of traditional Hindu Tantra for nearly four years by that time. He was standing in a small group of fellow monks, all of them clad in ochre robes, but he stood out from the others, built solid like a wrestler with a boxer’s flattened nose and fierce gaze. When our eyes met briefly, a spark seemed to...

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June 26, 2009
Category: Relationships

….And when I thought how my dear friend my lover was
    on his way coming,  O then I was happy,
O then each breath tasted sweeter, and all that day my food
    nourish’d me more, and the beautiful day pass’d well,
And the next came with equal joy, and with the
    next at evening came my friend,
And that night while all was still I heard the waters roll
    slowly continually up the shores,
I heard the hissing rustle of the liquid and sands as
    directed to me whispering to congratulate me,
For the one I love most lay sleeping by me under the same
    cover in the cool night,
In the stillness in the autumn moonbeams his face was
    inclined toward me,
And his arm lay lightly around my breast—and that night
    I was happy.
    —Walt Whitman

Excerpt from “When I Heard at the Close of Day” from Leaves of Grass
 

I met my first lover the day I arrived in New Delhi in 1972. I had just turned nineteen, and I had come to India alone on pilgrimage, having been a student of traditional Hindu Tantra for nearly four years by that time. He was standing in a small group of fellow monks, all of them clad in ochre robes, but he stood out from the others, built solid like a wrestler with a boxer’s flattened nose and fierce gaze. When our eyes met briefly, a spark seemed to...

Read more
June 1, 2009
Category: Wellness

I have worked as a mental health counselor for gay men for 24 years both in private practice and in public clinical settings. For the past twelve years I have offered pastoral counseling as part of my role as spiritual director of Ashram West, a gay spiritual community based in traditional Hindu Tantra. What follows is a distillation of decades of experience both personal and professional, during which time I have corresponded with gay men all over the world from whom I have heard essentially the same lament expressed in numerous variations: Why can’t I find a man serious about forming an intimate relationship? I write this with the full understanding that casual sex has been and continues to be a norm in gay society, so I expect some readers will disagree with my characterization of casual sex as a curse. I admit I have participated in this aspect of our gay culture from my very first sexual experience 34 years ago, though always with reservations, if not always with restraint.  I believe my considerable experience over the past decades qualifies me to share my observations and judgments about what I have found to be the net negative aspects of casual sex despite the inherent pleasures of sex, about which there is nearly universal agreement. I ask only that the reader consider my points carefully before forming any conclusions.

First off, I think that sex, which is an inherently intimate act, can never be entirely casual. By this I mean that sex involves a comingling of physical, emotional, and...

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May 12, 2009
Category: Relationships

One of the special advantages a gay identity confers is kinship with other gay-identified persons all over the world. I consider ours a spiritual kinship because it transcends biological, national, ethnic, and socio-economic boundaries. As Homo sapiens we are all distantly related, of course, but we normally trace our biological kinship only as far back as familial memory or historical records permit. While some of us may lament the lack of biological offspring as a common consequence of choosing to honor our same-sex attractions, many more may celebrate our freedom from the financial and emotional costs of rearing children. Not only can we choose to remain free from the burdens of biological family, but we are also free to form our own intentional families, including sons or dads, if desired, by choosing relationships with individuals based on genuinely shared values, interests, and aspirations.

Any gay man who has traveled to other countries, even to those that may seem utterly remote culturally and geographically, will quickly discover with minimal effort members of our far-flung gay family eager to welcome foreign brothers into their world. I lived for two-and-a-half years in India in my late teens and early twenties, and I remember being surprised and amused to find gay men in parks from Banaras to New Delhi easy to detect using my American gaydar. Although gay men in traditional cultures such as in South Asia or in the Middle East typically experience irresistible pressure from their parents to marry, and therefore conduct their same-sex relationships...

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May 12, 2009
Category: Relationships

One of the special advantages a gay identity confers is kinship with other gay-identified persons all over the world. I consider ours a spiritual kinship because it transcends biological, national, ethnic, and socio-economic boundaries. As Homo sapiens we are all distantly related, of course, but we normally trace our biological kinship only as far back as familial memory or historical records permit. While some of us may lament the lack of biological offspring as a common consequence of choosing to honor our same-sex attractions, many more may celebrate our freedom from the financial and emotional costs of rearing children. Not only can we choose to remain free from the burdens of biological family, but we are also free to form our own intentional families, including sons or dads, if desired, by choosing relationships with individuals based on genuinely shared values, interests, and aspirations.

Any gay man who has traveled to other countries, even to those that may seem utterly remote culturally and geographically, will quickly discover with minimal effort members of our far-flung gay family eager to welcome foreign brothers into their world. I lived for two-and-a-half years in India in my late teens and early twenties, and I remember being surprised and amused to find gay men in parks from Banaras to New Delhi easy to detect using my American gaydar. Although gay men in traditional cultures such as in South Asia or in the Middle East typically experience irresistible pressure from their parents to marry, and therefore conduct their same-sex relationships...

Read more
April 14, 2009
Category: Dating

I saw a photo of a particularly attractive young man on a gay dating site, and I sent him a brief message saying I found his photos attractive and his profile appealing. He responded in a polite, friendly manner, and after some exchanged messages, he agreed to join me for dinner. Before we hung up he informed me that I am “much too old” for him to consider dating me, but he was interested in me for other reasons. When he arrived we discovered that we share the same alma mater, although he had only just graduated from UC Berkeley, and I graduated in 1975, several years before he was born as it happened, and we also had other common interests. After some polite conversation I felt obligated to inform the youngster that men my age (55) don't consider themselves much too old for anything.  He barely remembered the remark he had made on the phone and seemed embarrassed to have it repeated while sitting in my presence, and I gently told him that I was not much offended, and that young men frequently say insensitive things without even realizing they might be giving offense.

For example, I enjoy a compliment as much as anyone, and when a younger man tells me I'm “hot” or “in great shape,“ I feel a warm glow inside. However, when the young man adds the qualifier, “for your age,” I feel somewhat less complimented. For you youngsters out there who want to make your daddy smile, do, indeed, tell him he looks hot or attractive, but never, ever add the qualifier “for your age.” A man is either hot or not, so...

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Frank Strona
March 23, 2009
Category: Relationships

Let’s face it, sometimes we all put our “foot in it” and say the wrong thing. But the real skill I figured out is how to recognize what was said and then work to reduce the times we say it…

A pal of mine and I were grabbing coffee the other day and we brainstormed our top 10 – communication pitfalls.

  1. Asking your lover, pal or family a question when you aren’t truly interested in hearing them respond.
  2. Being afraid to tell someone “ I just want to be heard – can you listen without trying to give me an answer”. If more of us did this, I think we would actually find ourselves in a healthier place of trusting ourselves to seek our own answers…
  3. Asking questions that are a “lose”-“lose” game – you know this one, “Honey is my ass too big in these jeans”.
  4. Saying “ok” to a comment or statement when you really mean “ I hear what you are saying but am not in agreement”
  5. Omitting information because you don’t want to engage in a challenging conversation about it – Omission of the truth is only a shade different than an outright lie in my opinion and while it may make you feel better avoiding conversation – I find it always comes back to bite you on the ass in the end.
  6. Forgetting that a conversation is a dialogue between two or more people. That means someone’s speaks and another responds until a natural conclusion is reached – I like the old adage “if you...
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