February 23, 2009
Category: Relationships

LoveThere are many different kinds of love and many different ways to say “I LOVE YOU”.  But in my experience in relationships I’ve learned that it’s important to say what you mean and mean what you say.  Especially when it comes to the “L” word.

Love may be universal but how and when we feel love is entirely individual and personal. Some people are so in touch with their feelings of love (for themselves, for Mother Earth, for the checkout boy at Safeway) that they experience love on a daily basis. Others can only feel love in rare, fleeting moments. There is no right or wrong way of feeling love. But one thing is certain: you either feel it or you don’t.

So I try my best to never say “I love you” to a partner, boyfriend or trick unless I really feel it, in that moment. But when I do feel it and am aware of it, I also make a point to share it with the object of my affection (even if he is miles away).

And I never expect him to say “I love you” back.

Because “I. Love. You.” Is all about ME.

In fact, there’s nothing in these three magic words that refers to the feelings of the other person.

And as much as I may want to hear him say “I love you” back, I’ve learned that it’s neither fair (nor realistic) to expect him to feel towards me exactly as I...

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February 23, 2009
Category: Relationships

LoveThere are many different kinds of love and many different ways to say “I LOVE YOU”.  But in my experience in relationships I’ve learned that it’s important to say what you mean and mean what you say.  Especially when it comes to the “L” word.

Love may be universal but how and when we feel love is entirely individual and personal. Some people are so in touch with their feelings of love (for themselves, for Mother Earth, for the checkout boy at Safeway) that they experience love on a daily basis. Others can only feel love in rare, fleeting moments. There is no right or wrong way of feeling love. But one thing is certain: you either feel it or you don’t.

So I try my best to never say “I love you” to a partner, boyfriend or trick unless I really feel it, in that moment. But when I do feel it and am aware of it, I also make a point to share it with the object of my affection (even if he is miles away).

And I never expect him to say “I love you” back.

Because “I. Love. You.” Is all about ME.

In fact, there’s nothing in these three magic words that refers to the feelings of the other person.

And as much as I may want to hear him say “I love you” back, I’ve learned that it’s neither fair (nor realistic) to expect him to feel towards me exactly as I...

Read more
Kirk Read
February 13, 2009
Category: Dating

Dear Kirk,

So, we connected on the internet and decided to meet for drinks. Fifteen minutes after meeting (well, it really only took about 5) I realized this guy was not someone that I was interested in AT ALL! Truthfully, I was flattered when he emailed and I found out he was fifteen years younger than I am. Trying to keep a conversation going with someone whose only interests are going to Renaissance fairs, playing video games, and watching reruns of old TV shows on the Sci-Fi channel was difficult, to say the least. Especially since he never asked me one question about myself. I couldn’t call him to say I wasn’t interested because we didn’t exchange phone numbers. So, the next morning I sent a short email that I had enjoyed meeting him but didn't feel a connection and didn't think we had anything in common. Well, I got a diatribe back stating that you can't judge anyone on one conversation. So, what did I do that was so wrong?

Just Not That Into Him

Dear JNTIH:

I think you did your duty here. There are lots of guys who wouldn’t have contacted him at all, so I appreciate that you were honest with him. More and more, I find, people are using the internet to simply ignore one another. Especially with Valentine’s Day approaching, where people are looking for someone to love, it’s a good time to sharpen your dating game!

I’m curious about what sort of emails you exchanged in order to set up the date. It doesn’t seem like any of his hobbies came up in either his...

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January 30, 2009
Category: Relationships

Any gay man who has ever dared give his heart to another man in a loving relationship has likely had his heart broken at one time or another. Breaking up with a lover has been one of the most painful experiences of my adult life. As I have aged (I'm now 55) the experience seems to get more painful each time. In this article I want to share one method of emotional healing a friend shared with me when I was in the throes of breakup blues.

One feature of suffering is morbid rumination about what you have lost. Grief can become paralyzing, sapping your energy and draining the pleasure from activities that you used to enjoy. You might isolate yourself, sleep or eat more or less than usual, become fearful of loving again, resort to alcohol or other drugs, engage in emotionally empty casual sex, and perhaps even entertain thoughts of suicide.

When I was nearly immobilized with grief after the breakup of a fifteen-month relationship, an Internet friend mailed me his well-worn copy of a book entitled Water Bears No Scars, by David K. Reynolds, Ph.D. The book describes a form of psychotherapy developed by a Japanese psychologist named Morita combining some features of Western psychotherapy with principles of Zen Buddhism. As in many Western therapies Morita Therapy encourages clients to be aware of their feelings. The key difference in Morita Therapy from many Western modalities is using feelings as indicators of constructive action rather than as ends in themselves. An essential principle in this therapeutic model is that when you mindfully engage in constructive...

Read more
January 30, 2009
Category: Relationships

Any gay man who has ever dared give his heart to another man in a loving relationship has likely had his heart broken at one time or another. Breaking up with a lover has been one of the most painful experiences of my adult life. As I have aged (I'm now 55) the experience seems to get more painful each time. In this article I want to share one method of emotional healing a friend shared with me when I was in the throes of breakup blues.

One feature of suffering is morbid rumination about what you have lost. Grief can become paralyzing, sapping your energy and draining the pleasure from activities that you used to enjoy. You might isolate yourself, sleep or eat more or less than usual, become fearful of loving again, resort to alcohol or other drugs, engage in emotionally empty casual sex, and perhaps even entertain thoughts of suicide.

When I was nearly immobilized with grief after the breakup of a fifteen-month relationship, an Internet friend mailed me his well-worn copy of a book entitled Water Bears No Scars, by David K. Reynolds, Ph.D. The book describes a form of psychotherapy developed by a Japanese psychologist named Morita combining some features of Western psychotherapy with principles of Zen Buddhism. As in many Western therapies Morita Therapy encourages clients to be aware of their feelings. The key difference in Morita Therapy from many Western modalities is using feelings as indicators of constructive action rather than as ends in themselves. An essential principle in this therapeutic model is that when you mindfully engage in constructive...

Read more
Kirk Read
January 19, 2009
Category: Dating

Kirk,

I have always had to envision a scene from a porn flick in my head to get off, with every guy I've ever been with. I've talked to therapists about why I can't get off just on the present situation and the person I'm with.

A lot of times, I'm with someone who isn't physically attractive to me, but some aspect of their personality, or their voice, or their touch turns me on. So I watch a hot scene I've pulled up while we're having sex to get off. I thought it would be helpful to have porn going while having sex with someone- not to distract me from the sex I'm having, but more of a focusing tool, (a little ADD here,) and a mood setter. But I'm always afraid to ask for fear of insulting a sex partner.

Sadly, I've barely had the opportunity to be with a guy with whom I find really physically hot. This would be the bodybuilder, muscle boy types, And while I am muscular, and attractive and hot to many non-muscle types -  the muscle men I like don't find me attractive. There's probably some esteem issues mixed in there to.

Any advice? Is it OK to be fantasizing about porn while I'm having sex with a guy. Would you be insulted if I turned on porn while we were having sex?
 
Dear Porno King,

Sorry to start off with a crass, potentially offensive generalization, but my experience of therapists is that when it comes to sexual advice, you’re often better off asking a hooker. So you’ve knocked on the right door.

Lots of gay men are neck-deep in porn, so...

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Kirk Read
January 12, 2009
Category: Dating

Dear Kirk,

I’m an older, average-looking bear who’s attracted to young, beautiful muscle studs. I haven’t had sex in a long time, because there just aren’t any guys that turn me on that are into me. I wish my standards weren’t so high, but I just can’t bring myself to be more attracted to other types of men. I had a sweet, decent looking skinny young guy come onto me recently and I really wanted to try and pick him up, but I was afraid that it just wouldn’t work for me. How can I open up my attraction to younger men that are just average, like me?

Dear Average Joe,

You have the kind of cooties that a lot of people have. Not just gay men, either. Tons of people are fixated on unrealistic standards of beauty. You’re not alone in this. There’s no harm in being attracted to muscled young hunks, but if it’s to the exclusion of everyone else, you’re writing yourself a prescription for misery.

I think we are disturbing our capacity for sexual attraction by constantly immersing ourselves in porn that features only guys with the kinds of bodies that we find exhilarating. Whether our trip is hairy bodies, masculine guys, muscle guys, skinny twinks, blondes, Asian men, African American men, Latino men…it’s great to have things we like. It’s not so great to be confined by our narrow checklists.

You say you haven’t had sex in a while because you can’t find a guy you’re attracted to who fits your...

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Kirk Read
December 30, 2008
Category: Relationships

Dear Kirk,

My boyfriend and I have been seeing each other for 6 months and we’re talking about opening up the relationship so that we could have a three way.  We’re both a little jealous, but I’m more jealous than he is. I’m twenty years younger than him and the three way thing was his idea, which makes me wonder if he’s losing his attraction to me. I’m scared he’s going to be more attracted to some younger, hotter guy. Plus, we’re attracted to totally different guys. How could we possibly settle on a single guy? Do we take our ideal ages and average them together?

Do 3 Bees Make Sweeter Honey?

Dear Reluctant Swinger,

OK, I’m going to risk pissing off the entire gay movement here by saying that this whole business of marriage and monogamy is contrary to our nature. While being gay is genetic, having a single mate for the rest of your life, or even for a certain period of time, is a choice. That’s not to say it’s a bad thing to be monogamous. Monogamy can be a great way to bond with someone or a container wherein you can increase intimacy. I support monogamy when it’s a conscious choice, but I resist it when it’s the expected default setting.

We grow up surrounded by guilt and shame when we are attracted to people outside of a primary relationship. Read the book “...

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Kirk Read
December 22, 2008
Category: Relationships

Dear Kirk,

My husband and I are getting ready for another Christmas. We’ve been together 5 years and we’ve never had a good Christmas. He always gets depressed during the holidays thinking about his first lover, who died  in 1987 when I was in middle school. I feel like he hasn’t let go of  him. I grew up in a house where Christmas was a happy time. I want my husband to wear a Santa suit and get into the spirit of it all.

Dear Santa's Neglected Elf:

I’m sure your hubby would look hot in that Santa suit, but Christmas is a complicated time of year. The sunlight has disappeared and people are chemically depressed. It’s a good time to take an amino acid supplement to help your brain. Drink a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar each day to balance out all the holiday sugar. An 85 year-old friend taught me about vinegar. It works.

You and I are part of a younger generation who barely missed the ravages of the AIDS epidemic. We’ll never know what it was like to have a mysterious plague come in and wipe out loved ones. It was a holocaust. There are times I get overwhelmed by my partner’s nostalgia and memories. But I’d much prefer that he keep these loved ones alive in his heart – he’s a deeper and kinder man because of the epidemic.

It actually makes sense to be reflective during the holidays. There’s a somber quality to most winter traditions, whether it’s the Christian story of a poor pregnant woman being turned away from inns or the...

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Kirk Read
December 8, 2008
Category: Relationships

Dear Kirk,

I have always been attracted to older guys. Even in high school I always hung out with seniors, even when I was a freshman! Now I have graduated from college and started a professional life in a big city, and I have gotten into a relationship with an older man. He is 42, and I am 27.

We’re totally in love, and the sex is wild and great. We’ve been together for eight months now, spending basically every night together.

The problem is that we always stay at his house because I have roommates, and now he wants me to move in with him. I understand completely why he doesn’t want to stay at my place with my roommates hanging around. But I also feel weird about moving in because I don’t want to be someone who takes advantage of the fact that he’s farther along in his career and has more money and even owns his own house. I’ve known some guys who were “kept” by older (or just richer) men, and I don’t want to be one of those.

This guy is really wonderful and I don’t want to lose him or appear ungrateful or push him away, but I just don’t know what to do.

 Dear Real Estate Victim,

Not to minimize your concerns, which is an actionable violation of the laws of Social Work 101. but hey, there are worse problems to have! You’re fresh out of college and you’re in love with a man you’re having great sex with. Rejoice, first of all.

I feel you about not wanting to...

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