Old Soulful Asks: I've recently hit it off with a guy I met on Tinder. He's 50 and I'm 32. Any advice to help thaw me out?

So I’ve recently hit it off with a guy I met on Tinder. There seems to be some serious chemistry between us, both sexually and in regards to having a lot in common and a solid foundation for a deep rapport. Something that’s giving me a bit of pause about the road ahead is that he’s 50 and I’m 32.

I’ve always considered myself an old soul, and I’m just as attracted to older guys as I am guys my age (but I usually vibe more with older men), but now that I’m faced with the solid possibility of being in a great relationship with an older guy, I’m freezing. Any advice to help thaw me out?
— Old Soulful

Dear Old Soulful,

From the way you wrote your question, I have no doubt that you do have a sense of maturity (and wit) of an old soul.  My partner is fourteen years older than me, so I've had a bit of experience with this. The conclusion I've come to is that, at times, age difference can matter.  But it doesn't have to matter a lot.

One of the more difficult things about getting into a new relationship with an older man is that when he recalls his fun anecdotal stories from ten years ago or something, it's a reminder that you haven't yet reached his "ten years ago" at your current age.  And you won't reach it for a while.

It's a reminder that you have a lot of living to do... while he has already done a lot of living.  To me, this is the biggest obstacle to face.  You may still want to get out and do tons of things while he has "been there, done that" and would rather stay home.

The best way to resolve this is to respect each others differences and allow each other to be individuals.  Neither person should try to push the other to be more like them.

Studies have shown that when any couple makes each other their entire world (and must do ALL activities together), then they run the risk of losing their sense of individual identities.  This can then cause either person to rebel against the relationship (i.e. cheat) even if the relationship is on good terms.  This applies to all couples really.  But is especially important for a couple with a big age difference.  

 Thus if your idea of a good time is to go out to a bar, and his is to go out for a nice dinner, then learn to do those things separately.  Let your friends be the outlet for your different interests.  But keep in mind, it's also good to occasionally float on over to the other person's interests.  Occasionally go with him to a nice dinner while every now and then he joins you at a bar.  Occasionally.  

Otherwise, figure out your mutual interests and spend your relationship energy on those activities.  It's all a balancing act really.  If done well, then you can really help balance each other out.  You can help him gain a sense of youthful energy while he helps bring out even more of your maturity... all while be conscientious of maintaining your sense of individual identity.  

This is how my partner and I approach it.  We have 14 years between us and he is an introvert while I am an extrovert.  Two or three nights a week, I go off and do the things I enjoy, and he does the same for himself.  For the rest of our time, we spend our energy doing what works for us together as a team.  We have been together for 10 years and still going strong.

In the end... communication, honesty, and humility are key. Fortunately, these are easier to achieve with an older guy who has gained some wisdom over his years.  When you respect your relationship, your relationship will respect you.  

Best of luck,

Scott
Bare InkSlinger

 

Daniel Asks: I've never heard domestic violence among gay men discussed openly. What would you recommend to someone who is trying to help someone who is being currently being abused?

My buddy was severely beaten by his partner during an argument. I told him to report his partner to the police, but he refused and he asked me not to say anything to anyone. Being out for almost twenty years, I have never heard domestic violence among gay men discussed openly. Why do you think this is? Is it a silent epidemic in our community, or is it rare occurrence? What would you recommend to someone who is trying to help someone is being currently being abused?
— Daniel J.

Dear Daniel,

What an incredible question.  I'm actually turning this one over to my partner, Luke, to answer.  He's a bit of an expert in these things as it is a big part of his work.  Here was his answer:


You are correct, domestic violence is a silent epidemic, but not just in our community. The statistics are roughly the same for gay/straight relationships, roughly 1 in 4 people are in, or have been in, a relationship involving domestic violence.

It is not a surprise that your friend didn't want to report anything and asked you not to say anything to anyone. DV victims are highly motivated by shame and embarrassment. I don't know specifically about your friend's situation, but most abusers have worked very hard to isolate their victim and destroy their self esteem through not just physical, but also emotional, verbal, sexual, and financial abuse. 

This is why it is important to empower your friend in every way that you can.  When we try to tell them what to do (i.e. "you have to report/leave/fight back, etc") it takes away their power, which is already a struggle for them.  

Instead, be direct and supportive. You can say things like "I am worried about you and your safety" and remind them that, without intervention, abuse tends to get worse. Always remind them that there are people that can help them. Look into local Domestic Violence resources to give him and if you want to, you can go so far as to call them yourself and ask them how to talk to your friend. But above all else, as frustrating as it is, please do not walk away from your friend, even if they choose to stay with their abusive partner.

You described him as 'severely beaten,' and if it was so visible on the exterior, try to visualize how hurt they are inside and how important it will be for them to have at least one person who can be a life-line and a hope for change.  As far as not telling anybody, hopefully your friend knows you as somebody who does not tell other people's stories, but that does not mean you will ever cover for them or excuse the behavior. If you worry about their safety, be very clear that you will.

http://www.thehotline.org/  1-800-799-7233 is a helpful resource you can give him.  And if this issue has caused a stir in you, you can even throw some money in their direction to help with their programming.  There is also a link there for how friends and family can help.  

Remember that you cannot rescue him. And remember to take care of yourself in this situation, whether you know it or not, it has impacted/hurt you as well.


See why I love this man?  Hopefully Luke's words have offered some help.  Take care of yourself.

Sincerely,

Scott
The Bare InkSlinger

Drew Asks: I’m very nervous to try bottoming for the first time. What should I do about finally letting my partner and I explore this?

Hi Drew,

Bottoming for the first time is super fucking scary.  If done well, it can be awesome.  If done poorly, it can be a nightmare.  Here is the key to doing any and all things well:  PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE

First, practice the art of sticking something inside you.
Having something go inside you is always a shock to the body at first (most often painful).  So it's good to experience it first on your own so you can truly go at your own pace and take your time getting comfortable.  Thus, I suggest practicing with an appropriate size dildo - nothing gigantic or anything fancy that has ridges.

As you insert it, your body's natural response is to tense up and hold your breath.  You actually want to avoid this as it will increase the pain.  Remember to breath and relax.  This is a big goal of your practice: relaxing while something goes inside you.  If the pain is too much at first, that is okay.  Pull it out, re-collect yourself, and try again when ready.  By round two or three, you should be feeling more comfortable.

Definitely watch porn while doing it.  Allow yourself to feel turned on both mentally and physically during the process.  It will feel way more exciting when you can watch guys doing it on screen while doing it to yourself.  It will help connect the sensation to the act.

Second, practice the art of douching.
There is so much varying advice on douching, it can get confusing.  First, you have to decide if it is even right for you.  Here is a great article from vice.com that argues against douching (but don't let is scare you - just do it safely).  However, I personally overthink everything and want to be certain that I am as fully clean as possible.  So I opt for the douche!

Here are a couple articles on the varying ways to clean out and how to do it safely from betablog.com and bestlubezone.com.  There's the enema bulb for normal tap water (beginner).  There's the saline enema, such as Fleet (intermediate).  And a shower hose device (advanced).

I prefer the saline enema as it really works it's way inside you to yank "stuff" out.  It works quickly and your body will tell when it is ready expel the water.  I wrote a more detailed explanation on this in a different question here.  In order to remain safe about douching, don't do it too frequently (as stated in the articles) - no more than a couple times a week.

Third, practice the art of actually doing it.
Since you have a partner who, I assume, is loving and supportive in taking it slow, then you have an advantage.  It's often said that the most "relaxed position" to start in is by laying on your side, with your knees up and your partner behind you (like spooning while you're somewhat in fetal position).  However, I've found that this means going at your partner's pace and having to do lots of communication about what is happening.

Thus, I recommend another position.  While your partner is lying on his back, straddle him while on your knees.  Take his erect penis (I like to use correct terminology for these kinds of answers) and begin slowly sitting down on it.  This allows your to go at your own pace.  Remember to relax and breath.  Just like when using the dildo, if it hurts too much go ahead and hop off of it, re-collect yourself, and try again.  Again, by the second or third try, you should be more comfortable and ready to go.  

Once you are down on it, pause for a moment, settle into the sensation, and slowly start riding.  As things get MORE comfortable, start going faster.  Once that is good, go ahead and start trying different positions - him on top of you with your legs in the air, doggy style, standing, etc.).  They do all feel different so practice which ones feel best to you.

The more you try, the better it will get.

Hope this helps!

Cheers,

Scott
The Bare InkSlinger

lisbonrickey Asks: How did you meet your partner? Has anyone ever made a homophobic comment to you and caught you off guard?

Hello it’s lisbonrickey. So asking anything. How did you meet your partner? I had all these questions but I think I’m ready to ask. I’m still in a period of self discovery and it seems even as I live my truth as a gay professional and a gay beard bro becoming i still experience people not ready for my truth that is my view. I’m single now but a recent experience caused growth. Has anyone ever made a homophobic comment to you and caught you off guard? I’ll start with that😊 love hair dryer hAir
— lisbonrickey

Hi lisbonrickey,

Wow this started and ended with two very different questions.

First one: I met my partner on-line on a website that no longer exists. It was called "Connexion" and functioned like a gay Facebook.  The story from meeting to dating to relationship is a long and complicated one that I am saving for the future.  But trust me, it's good. 

Second one: Yes, many times - all the way from high school til adulthood.  My partner and I are not afraid to show affection in public.  We often walk down the street holding hands.  In our ten years of being together, a couple cars have driven by and screamed "faggots" out the window.  Another time, while my partner was leaving the bar, a guy riding by on his bicycle spit on him.  It was awful.

These things do not happen often when you live in a major city.  But when they do, it is totally jarring.  It feels violating and fills you up with so much rage.  And since there is no way to express that rage back at the offender (because they have already sped off), it can easily just sit inside and eat at you.  That's not a good thing.

The best way I handle it is to take lots of deep breaths, think about how this is a rare occurrence and therefore MOST people in the world are decent and would not do this (at least in this country), and talk about it openly with others.  Bringing awareness to our peers helps us vent and reminds them that things like this still do happen.  Plus they can express their rage along with you which feels comforting.  

Like all traumatic experiences, time slowly takes away the pain and frustration and you can look back on it feeling like the better person.  

Cheers,

Scott
The Bare InkSlinger

James Asks: Do you have issues with being gay? Do you think sleeping with women makes you a real man? Or are you too scared to admit there's this weird thing called bisexuality?

Do you have issues with being gay? Do you think sleeping with women makes you a real man? Or are you too scared to admit there’s this weird thing called bisexuality?
— James

Dear James,

These questions feel so random yet so deliberate.  I am going to go out on a limb here and assume this might have come after reading my essay "Gold Star Be Gone"  where I write about being curious of having sex with a woman (and the time it almost happened).

Do you have issues with being gay?  No.  I have no issues with being gay.  I love being a gay man.  I feel so lucky to get to experience what having sex with my same gender is like.  I feel so fortunate to be able to understand what it's like to be in this unique minority group.

Do you think sleeping with women makes you a real man?  No.  I don't think that sleeping with women vs men differentiates men in their manhood.  I do not believe that there is any such thing as a "real man" vs a "not real man."  I do not believe there are any defining qualities that could possible distinguish such gender labels.  

Are you too scared to admit there's this weird thing called bisexuality?  I've never thought that bisexuality didn't exist, nor did I think it was weird.  Why would I?  Who has the time or energy to concern themselves with such things?  I do believe in the Kinsey Scale and that there can be varying degrees of attraction to either sexes.  If a guy is a 1 and he doesn't identify as gay or bisexual, then that's fine.  If a girl is a 4 and she does identify as bisexual, then that's fine too.

Screen Shot 2017-11-05 at 8.30.54 PM.png

Who are we to decide what labels other people should choose for themselves?  It is nobodies job to label themselves a certain way so that we may feel comfortable with them.  And visa versa, it is not my job to label myself in a way so that others may feel comfortable with me.  

I am comfortable with my sexuality.  I am comfortable with my gender.  And I am comfortable with my label.  And if a time comes when that is not the case, then the only person who should give it any concern... is me.

Cheers,

Scott
The Bare InkSlinger

Madness Asks: I suffer from many mental disorders that landed me in legal trouble and the loss of the one man I truly love. I want him back.  How do I get him to understand? 

I suffer from many mental disorders from PTSD to having bipolar disorder, social anxiety, paranoia, anger issues,etc. that landed me in legal trouble and the loss of the one man I truly love. Help! Its so bad we dont even acknowledge each orher when we do rarely see one another. How do I get him to understand? We had a severe fight because of my problems that, like I stated, landed me in legal trouble. I want him back. I just dont know how to remain friendly and living when i am so hurt. I truly love him, but he doesnt love me any more. How do I deal with unrequited love along with all the mental problems that have kept me chained too someone that wont happen?
— Madness

Dear Madness,

Eep!  I don't think you are going to like my answer on this one.  But trust me, it is coming from someone who has had their fair share of mental health issues.  And I believe the best advice is rarely the most convenient advice.

The short answer: let this man go.

Why?  Because if he keeps coming back into your life, you will most likely not learn the lesson that you are meant to here in this situation.  One of the many mantras I live by is that "until we learn the lesson, we are doomed to repeat our mistake."  (There has been many variations on this - the original quote came from George Santayana)

What I am saying is that, when the people in our lives perpetually forgive us and come back (after the damage we do from our struggles with mental health), then they are perhaps enabling us to NOT do what it truly takes to fix our mental health (or whatever it is we are doing wrong).  

Unfortunately, pain and loss are our greatest teachers.  They are often the only things powerful enough to teach us the lessons we need in order to make the necessary changes in our lives.  If those we love always come back and forgive us, then we are relieved of that pain and loss and, chances are, we lose that opportunity to truly learn and grow from it.  Thus, in some form or another, we will hurt our loved one again.  It's a vicious cycle and creates a horribly tumultuous relationship.

So my advice is to let go of this man.  Feel that pain deeply and whole heartedly.  Let it push you to make the change needed so that things like this (and the legal troubles) stop. If you're not in treatment, let it motivate you to find a therapist and a psychiatrist and figure out the right medications.  If you are in treatment, let it motivate you to find better therapists or psychiatrists (because if the problems are still happening, then something is not working). 

Use therapy as a tool to hone in on how your behaviors affected the situation and the various ways you can reframe your brain so that these behaviors do not interfere with future relationships.  Because there WILL be future relationships.  There will be other men who you fall dearly in love with.  And if you really take the time and energy to learn from this current experience, you won't have to worry about happening again.

Cheers,

Scott
The Bare Inkslinger

Joel Davis Asks: After opening up to my best friend about my boyfriend's HIV status, he seems extremely judgmental and rude to him now.  How do I get my friend on the same page?

I’m new to your blog and I must say I love it! I’m currently dating someone who is hiv + and I myself am hiv -. He’s an amazing guy inside out! He takes care of himself and is undetectable. I recently opened up to a friend about his status which sparked a huge debate about my own safety. I’m on prep and we still use condom but my friend (best friend) seems extremely judgmental towards him now, and completely rude when around him. What is your stance on this and how do I get my friend on the same page? I know the risks involved (personally I feel they are highly low) but some people seem stuck in this stigma about hiv without full knowledge. Help.... I don’t want my bestfriend to not get along with my my new love interest or vice versa.
— Joel Davis

Dear Joel,

Ten years ago, when I started dating my partner right after my own HIV diagnosis, we got a lot of judgment on both sides.  I would think that a decade later, there would be enough education and knowledge to reduce such stigma.

You are right.  Him being undetectable keeps you safe.  You being on PrEP keeps you safe.  And using a condom keeps you safe.  You have a trifecta of safety here and I could not imagine a more appropriate scenario to label as "absolutely NO risk" (assuming condoms don't break and you both take your meds appropriately).

As so many of us have learned, being in a serodiscordant relationship is no biggie.  But our friends don't always understand that.  While they are trying to protect us, their actions can actually harm us.  Their heart is in the right place.  But part of being a good friend is moving beyond our own ego and supporting the decisions of the ones we love.  

There's only so much you can do on your part.  I suggest that, when you talk to your friend next about this, start off by complimenting him - saying how much you appreciate their love and concern (do not give any criticisms to their behavior as this will only make them more defensive on their stance).  Then lay out the facts: 1) poz people with an undetectable viral load have no risk of transmitting HIV (as confirmed by the CDC). 2) PrEP is 99% effective against HIV transmission (when taken daily). 3) Condoms are 99% effective against HIV transmission.

If your friend doesn't come around, then there might be something else at play here - perhaps some other reason that he doesn't like your boyfriend and is using the HIV as an excuse (and a terrible one at that).  Or maybe your friend is a bit of a drama queen and enjoys having something to be riled up about.  

Either way, you might have to accept that, in the end, it will be okay if they don't get along.  It won't be ideal, but it will be okay.  Not everything in life will work out the way we want it and sometimes, it's better just to let it be than trying to force it.  I learned many years ago that trying to force people to get along brings on a whole new bout of unnecessary drama.

In this case, you may just need to hang out with them separately.  If there is a special event (like your birthday), where they may come together, let them know that you expect them to be amicable for just that evening.  If your friend cannot do that for you, then he may not be the friend you thought he was.  Such actions do speak louder than words.  Someone cannot tell you they love you while simultaneously hurting you.

Cheers,

Scott
The Bare InkSlinger

Greyson: How do/did you measure your penis?

Hey there! Love your blog!! This may be a useless question because I don’t think we are all truthful about the size anyways but how do/did you measure your penis? I currently don’t give a number in inches but by hands. I want to be accurate when I come across a size queen. Thanks!
— Greyson

Hi Greyson,

Funny you should ask.  Recently I was hanging out with a nudist friend and we got to talking about this.  Although the hangout was platonic, we decided to bust out a ruler and help each other figure it out.  

Somehow he gave me an extra three-quarters of an inch more than when I measured myself many many years ago.  This totally confused me.  Then I learned there are two ways to measure the length.  While holding your erect penis outward (perpendicular to your body):

1. Measure along the top of your shaft with the ruler pressed in where the shaft meets the abdomen.  Press firmly but not so hard that you're jabbing yourself trying to overcompensate.

2. Measure along the side of your shaft pressing the ruler in where the side of the shaft meets the pelvis.  Same thing... don't over press.  

The second version gives the extra length that the first version doesn't.  That's the way my buddy measured.  

I did some research online to see if either version is correct.  People differ on it.  No one appears to get argumentative about it.  So it seems like something not really worth worrying about.

If you opt for the larger measurement, I'd say that's totally logical and you'd be fine.  If you want to play it safe, go with the smallest measurement.  Then when you have sex with someone, they might be pleasantly surprised that it seems bigger than what they imagined.  Or if you are a middle-of-the-road kind of guy, then take the two numbers and get an average.

Truthfully though, if you are going for precision to please a picky size queen who actually gives THAT much concern over accuracy, then really, I'd say to just put your clothes on and leave.  As you can see, it's all relative and being a quarter inch off of whatever size is not going to make a difference as to how you actually have sex.  Your dick is your dick and it's going to do the same job regardless of it's most accurate measurement.  And if someone thinks otherwise, then they are not worth your time.

Cheers,

Scott
The Bare InkSlinger

RC Asks: You mentioned sober flirting a couple times. Do you have any pointers that have worked for you? Are there things that made the transition easier?

I was reading you blog about Folsom Street, which congrats on being able to experience such a great moment in human acceptance. That’s really special.

I was curious, you mentioned sober flirting a couple times in your blog. I was wondering if you have any pointers or tips on things that have worked for you, and how sobriety has impacted your sexual practice. Specifically, if there are things that made the transition easier for you, or complicated?

Personally, it’s something I am working on and as a single gay man, it seems to be difficult to stay away from the world of extensive party or the infamous bar world.
— RC

Hi RC,

It is a bit hard to be sober in gay world, isn't it?  I don't hold any judgment to those who aren't sober.  It was just a personal choice after my life in bartending.  And it has certainly been tough. 

First I want to clarify that I don't identify as to having an addiction.  I'm just a guy who REALLY REALLY likes alcohol and it wasn't serving me well.  But beyond that, I wasn't exhibiting any other signs of addiction (i.e. hiding it, disrupting family or work life, etc).  So for those who do identify as addicts, what I am about to say is not intended to replace AA meetings.  Those are a valuable support so keep at it!

Alcohol dulls our fears and therefore drinkers get to let their guards down.  Since we sober folks don't have that advantage, we somehow end up on the other side of the spectrum... all tense and self-conscious.  But really, it's just a matter of perception that we have to work through.  Here's some of the ways I do it:

1. I remind myself to settle into the discomfort rather than run away from it: If you've read much of my stuff, you may know that this is how I approach almost everything.  Getting out of our comfort zones really teaches us how to adapt to situations.  Being at bars can be uncomfortable.  So I see that as an opportunity for growth.  Thus I see the night through, reflect on it afterwards... and maybe figure out what I could do differently next time to have a better experience.  

2. I remind myself of the reality: Like I said above, people who drink get to dull themselves.  They care less about what they do or how they do it.  The reality is that this means they ALSO care less about what I am doing or how I am doing it.  Remembering this helps me feel less self-conscious about my social surroundings.    

3. I feed off the energy of those who are drinking: In a big social group, no one really cares if you're not drinking.  They just want you to have a good time like they are.  So when they are nice and relaxed, I give myself permission to be nice and relaxed too.  When they get all giggly, I give myself permission to get all giggly too.  When they act fun and flirty, I give myself permission to act fun and flirty too.

4. I constantly remind myself of the benefits of not drinking:  Even though I might not be as totally unguarded as my drunken counterparts, I remind myself of all the great things that come with not drinking. I don't hurt or wanna vomit the next day.  I'm not feeling sad or depressed (alcohol really does this to me).  I'm not regretting who I might have made out with or had sex with that night.  I didn't spend waaaay too much money.  And the day after, I will have the ability to have a really fun, productive day. 

Now when it comes to flirting, well... I am not a great flirter to begin with (as noted in the Folsom piece).  But if the situation comes where I catch a guys' eye enough to strike up a conversation... I keep a couple more things in mind.

1.  If he drinks, then his guards will be down.  So mine can be down too.
2. I am awesome.  There is no one out there like me and I am a valuable person in a lot of great ways.  I remind myself of that.  We all have something to offer.  Hold on to the things that make you great and let those things boost your confidence (rather than the alcohol doing that for you).  
3. I shouldn't feel awkward about being sober.  In fact, doing something this tough makes me a bad ass. I should feel proud.  If and when your "not drinking" does come up with your new flirty friend, have a standard statement that playfully brushes it off.  I say something like "I prefer to run off of pure moxie."  Most guys laugh.  Some don't know what "moxie" means.  Whatever.

When it comes to this stuff, it's a "practice makes perfect" kind of thing.  It may not all work on the first try.  But the more you do it, the more it will click. 

Hope this helps.

Cheers,

Scott
The Bare InkSlinger

Pearl C. Clutcher Asks: Why does it seem that gays are so broken and shallow these days?

Why does it seem that gays are so broken and shallow these days? They all have their own segments of a shattered community... we can be hateful, and mean, and of course act as though we’re spreading love... like, I want to be part of my community - but damn, I can’t quit trying to be a productive adult to live with all the crazy and all the drama... why? And why is loving/tender sex so passé - everyone is violent and seems like a cutter but using sex to feel... wtf? Any understanding or insight?
— Pearl C. Clutcher

Dear Pearl C. Clutcher,

First of all I love your Pseudonym.  Great job on that one.  And this is a great subject worth talking about.

Honestly, I feel like all people, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, are susceptible to these elements of being broken and shallow and hateful towards others.  Our communities just all have different versions of it.  When it happens so much around us, it's easy to get jaded and think our particular community, as a whole, is totally fucked.

I think a big part of this comes from being in industrialized nations.  I often bring up the Buddhist idea that our desire/attachment leads to our suffering.  The more we chase things (especially material things), the more we stigmatize ourselves.  And gays have particular unique way of both chasing things AND stigmatizing ourselves.  Unfortunately a regular defense mechanism is to put others down in our efforts to build ourselves up.  Obviously that doesn't work very well and, if anything, creates a vicious cycle of suffering and lashing out.  

But I don't believe that all people, nor all gays, are like this.  I know first hand that there are tons of wonderful, kind, and supportive gay men out there who aren't broken, shallow or hateful.  So the way we feel or encounter this negativity often just boils down to the company we keep. 

With our industrialized tendency towards desire/attachment, we can easily (and unknowingly) befriend people for the wrong reasons - whether they are attractive or hilarious or successful or etc.  I've been guilty of this many times.  I have a tendency to gravitate towards people who make me laugh.  But a good sense of humor doesn't equal a good human being.  And because we can unconsciously conjoin the two, it becomes a bit of a confusing mind-fuck.  

I imagine it has probably worsened over time because, as we have gotten more human rights, we have less to band together to fight for.  Having a common enemy creates strong social cohesion.  Plus the internet doesn't help us be all that kinder to one another either.  

When it comes to drama, here is how I personally resolve it: I take full responsibility for 99% of the drama that happens in my life.  When I hold myself accountable like this, I do a better job of objectively observing the situation and finding a path to resolution.  If I were to blame someone else, then there isn't anything for me to resolve and thus I repeat the mistake over again.  

So when I have troubles with other people, I ask myself how my own actions are contributing to the negativity I am feeling (even if this negativity wasn't perpetuated by me or even involved me) and how I can resolve my part (instead of expecting the solution solely the responsibility of the other person).  Did I handle it well?  Did I behave in a way that I would or wouldn't want someone to behave towards me?  And what could I have done differently to make the situation less stressful or less dramatic? How could I have offered the other person the same kind of empathy I craved from them?

When it comes to drama with the the company I keep, I have often discovered that I was guilty of befriending those for superficial reasons and when they didn't meet my expectations via their behaviors, the drama emerged.  It's up to me to alter my own expectations of what others can give and how I react to it.  If that isn't effective, I maybe realize I am befriending these people for the wrong reasons and it is up to me to find others who exhibit behaviors of kindness, support, and respect - who don't tear others down to build themselves up.  Although it's important to emphasize that this doesn't ever get me off the hook with my own behaviors.  

As I have experimented with this, I discovered that when I take 99% responsibility for the drama, the drama drops so dramatically that it hardly ever rears its ugly head.  I don't always do it perfectly.  But when I can return to this notion, I find my life filled with lots of love and respect rather than feeling so troubled and jaded.  I hardly encounter much of any brokenness, shallowness, or hate.

We can surround ourselves with a good gay community.  But it is up to us to cultivate it.  

Cheers,

Scott
The Bare InkSlinger 

A Very Confused Man Asks: I am currently in a relationship with a woman but have dreams of having sex with a man and one guy at my gym gets me flustered. What should I do? Also how do I ask him out?

I am 32 male. I would say I am bi, i am very attracted to men but also love women. I currently am in a relationship with a women and dont want to ruin that. However, i have these dreams of having sex with a man for the first time... There is one that goes to my gym that gets me flustered.. One time while we were in the sana i sucked on his dick but only for a couple seconds as we were walked in on..

I dont know what i am doing.. I am happy where I am but I want so badly to also try and have sex with this man..

I am also terified of trying sex and walking away with some STD..

What should i do? Also if I should try it how do i ask him out?
— A Very Confused Man

Hi Confused Man,

Aren't saunas a great outlet for this kind of thing?  But yeah you are definitely in a tough situation.  Though it's not hopeless.  Before I dive into some potential thoughts, I want us to consider two things:

1.  If you try any sexual activity (other than watching each other wank in the sauna), you could always potentially bring home an STI (aka STD).  This will destroy your relationship with your girlfriend far more tragically than if you were to just be honest with her.  So proceed with caution.

2.  This attraction to men will never go away.  Once you do have sex with a guy, you will not suddenly be satiated and be able to move on from it.  It will always exist and therefore always be in the back of your head.  That's not a particularly wonderful way to live your life and could potentially be really torturous for you.

From what you said, it sounds like you have a good thing going with this girl and don't want it to end.  Yet if you keep it a secret and try your best not to act on it, then your relationship, after a while, will not end up being such a good thing after all.  It will become stressful for you in some form or another.

So this leads me to really only two options: either find a way to talk about it with her and take the risk that she might walk away... or go ahead and end the relationship yourself in hopes that you will find a new woman who can understand and support this side of you.  Both options are tough and have their drawbacks.  But they offer a solution.  Personally, I'm a bigger fan of the first option.  You never know if you could get the best of both worlds unless you try.

If you go for the first option, you could sit her down and be direct about it - telling her about this side of you.  Maybe at first just tell her that you have an attraction to men, but have never done anything about it (even if that is a small fib) and just wanter her to know.  That will give her time to adjust to the news before asking her (later) to be given the freedom to explore it.  

You could also figure out how to slowly introduce it to her - perhaps together with her.  For instance you could suggest that you two try some new sexually adventurous things - use toys, try role play, or whatever might actually turn you on.  Assuming this all goes well, then at some point ask how she would feel about a threesome with another girl.  If she is opposed to it, then ask how she would feel about it with another guy (and that you'd be comfortable with that too).  Or if she is down for it with another girl, try that once or twice and then later, it will be easier to suggest trying it with another guy. Then you can go from there.  

I know these ideas are all probably terrifying.  But as I often say, you won't get the change you need by staying in your comfort zone.  "Courage is feeling the fear and doing it anyway."

Alright, so as for asking the guy out, I'm assuming you mean for sex - not to date.  The good news is that's the easier part.  We can already safely assume that he's attracted to you.  Otherwise he wouldn't have been so willing to play in the sauna.  So the hard part is over.  I suggest that the next time you see him, be it on the weight room floor or in the sauna, introduce yourself.  Make small chit chat for a second if you need to.  But then just let him know that you've been having fun with him in the sauna and that you were wondering if he'd be interested in getting together outside of there so you could do more.  

If he's down, then let him know about your situation - that you have a girlfriend and that you'd like to be discreet about this.  Hooking up with a straight guy has a tendency to be a big turn on for gay dudes.  I've never met a guy who turned this down.  But that doesn't mean that doesn't exist.  So if he does say no, then just remember that he was not the right guy for your first experience.  There will be plenty of options for you ahead.

Hope this helps.

Cheers,

Scott
The Bare InkSlinger

Pavel Asks: What technology and websites are the most effective now for meeting friends or sexual partners?

What technology and websites are the most effective now for meeting friends or sexual partners? I find the ever so short remarks on Grindr to be off putting, and I long for a more detailed initial exchange. I have a profile on Real Jock, but it just seems to attract out of state members to my inbox. Adam4adam is better, but a lot of people start a decent conversation, but don’t commit to a meeting time or place. They (and me sometimes) walk to the edge and don’t take the leap. Haven’t tried Tinder or Gay Cupid or any of the others you find when you search “gay male dating sites” Thanks, and have a wonderful time at Folsom. You’ll get an eyeful and more.
— Pavel

Hi Pavel,

Thanks for the well wishes on Folsom.  My dust is still settling from it all.  It's funny you mention Real Jock.  I haven't touched my account on there in years!  Was a fun site.  Though I know what you mean about everyone being out of state.

Truly, I have not tried all of the apps and websites.  But I think it is good to keep in mind that you can't necessarily get everything off of one thing.  Apps like Grindr do make it confusing whether it is for sex, dating or friendship.  When it tries to act like it's for all three, everyone just ends up seemingly confused and frustrated.

In my experience, it seems like Grindr is predominantly for sex.  So keep this in your sexual arsenal (along with Adam4Adam, Craigslist, etc) for when you are looking for a hookup.  And yeah, you're right, there isn't a lot of follow through on these.  I imagine when folks just want to get off, it is such a superficial desire that there is no real level of commitment.  So when they get flakey, take it with a grain of salt and don't personalize it.  

For romance or dating, I wouldn't advise Tinder.  The whole "swipe left, swipe right" thing also gives it too much of a superficial edge.  I've never met anyone who has made a relationship off of Tinder.  But I have met a lot of folks who have off of OkCupid.  I've never heard of GayCupid but that might work too.  A lot of the other major dating sites, like match.com, are open to LGBTQ as well.

For friendships, I am always a big backer of Facebook (which is ironic because I don't use Facebook much myself).  Facebook gives friend suggestions and new ways to connect that are not necessarily superficial.  You get to see who you have in common, learn about them from their wall, and any other info that lends itself to good friendly (and not necessarily sexual) conversation.  The messenger makes it easy to go from introduction to chatting to suggestions of grabbing a beer.  Though some guys may just be there to connect with the friends they already have rather than make new friends.  So again, if someone isn't responsive, take it with a grain of salt and do not personalize it.  Simply move on.

With all that being said, I will say that in my time on social websites and apps, the one I did find that seemed to work well with friendship, dating, AND sex was Scruff.  It's worth experimenting with to see how you think it works best for you.

Hope this helps.

Cheers,

Scott
The Bare InkSlinger

Michael Asks: I am a poz gay man who still barebacks. I don't hear a lot of "flack" until I discuss with people my sexual preference. What is your feedback on this?

First I want to say I love your blog. Great! My questions is, I am a poz gay man who still barebacks. I only bareback with other poz men. I truly being a poz bareback man and I don’t hear a lot of “flack” until I discuss with people my sexual preference. What is your feedback on this?
— Michael

Dear Michael,

Barebacking is an odd subject in the gay world right now.  With PrEP, it has made a  huge comeback, and, in a way, I'd say it has even become a bit normalized again.  And yet it is fairly controversial still.  

Just this week, the CDC finally made their official statement that HIV cannot be transmitted when someone's viral load is undetectable.  You can read about it here on hivplusmag.com.  This is awesome news when it comes to bareback sex.  And yet, with this new wave of barebacking assurance for HIV, there has been a huge increase in other STI's.  Even a new strain of antibiotic resistant gonorrhea has emerged in London.

In the end, barebacking has it's benefits and it has it's drawbacks.  If we are all going to be perfectly honest with ourselves, we need to own up to the fact that there are totally two sides to this coin. This makes it an extremely personal choice that not everyone is going to see eye-to-eye on.  So there will always be some kind of conflict between the two opinions, and that's okay.

Truly, you do not owe anyone an explanation for the way you choose to have sex with your consenting partners.  However if someone is giving you "flack," and you would like to respond, this is what I suggest:

First step is to keep this "two sides to the coin" mentality when dealing with people who are throwing judgment at you for your right to choose.  It'll keep you level headed instead of riled up.  Second, explain that you understand the opposing viewpoints, the risks involved and why it is bothersome to some people.  It'll show that you are informed.  Third step is to let them know that you take responsibilities in your choice to bareback (i.e. sexual partners have suppressed viral loads or are on PrEP, sexual partners have all the info and are fully consenting, getting STI testing more regularly, etc).  It'll show that you are conscientious.

In the end, give your critic the same kind of compassion and understanding that you want from them.  You may never be able to agree on the subject matter.  But being able to discuss it with a level of empathy for the other side should keep it so that this controversial topic and can be discussed maturely without getting out of hand.  

Cheers,

Scott
The Bare InkSlinger

jb_lha Asks: What is your favorite part of your body?

Dear jb_lha,

This is SUCH a fantastic ASK that I have entirely struggled with answering it.  I think even though the question sounds simple, it is entirely complicated (as it would be for any of us if we were to answer it honestly).

So with that being said, this will be answered in the form of a blog post at some point.  It will be a good reason to strip down for said blog post too.  So stay tuned.  

Cheers,

Scott
The Bare InkSlinger

Paul Asks: How would you break into those groups of 5 guys at the bar talking away?

I’m a combination of introvert/extrovert. I find I can turn on the latter in some meetup events and small neighborhood bars. But I find the numerous groups of friends huddled together at larger bars or events hard to break into. I never know how to 1) interject myself and 2) be interesting. While I’m proud of my pushing myself to meet people and have met some good guys, there is always the question of are they to be friends or sex partners? If I’m not interested in them physically, will they read my pursuit of a friendship as a signal I want to have sex? I also struggle with not knowing if I’m interesting conversationally or how to fill those conversational gaps.

How would you break into those groups of 5 guys at the bar talking away? How would you want to be approached by someone who you weren’t interested in physically but who you might value as a friend?
— Paul

Hi Paul,

Whew, this is a lot!  But I am ready to help ya tackle it.  Let's start with the last questions first since that those were the questions you ended your ASK with.

How would I break into those group of guys huddled in conversation at the bar?  Hopefully the answer doesn't disappoint you, but in truth, I simply wouldn't.  Here's why: the world of "making friends" has totally changed with technology.  Guys mostly now tend to strike up conversations online first and then actually meet later.

The reason I emphasis this point of technology is because I think it has changed the reasons why people go to bars.  They don't necessarily go to meet new people, but more so to hang out with the people they already know (depends the bar though).  While some are open to meeting new folks, others are closed off to it (which is perfectly acceptable).  It's hard to tell so I'd opt just to leave those groups be. They're most likely trying to connect with their established friends and not talk with strangers.

However, if someone in a group is giving you regular looks that seem inviting (aka flirting), then I think it is fair to say that you have some kind of invitation to come over and introduce yourself.  Choose a simple and complimentary talking point to start (an outfit, etc) and begin your introduction by apologizing for interrupting.  Then see if whatever conversation they were having continues in your presence.  If they seem like they're struggling to get back on topic, it might be best to bow out.

But really, with this new technological era, just be cautious of trying to do things the old fashioned way and understand that it may throw off people and their reactions may come off as aloof or unfriendly. 

For the other part... if you meet new friends and you aren't interested in any sexual activity with them, I think you just have to be frank about it.  You can say something like "I am really just focused on finding friends rather than friends with benefits right now."  This type of thing can be said whether they are just hinting about some fellow fun or if they are being right up front about it.

If stating this causes them to withdraw from a friendship with you, then just know they were most likely not trying to really be friends in the first place.  Getting into your pants was more important than getting into a good friendship.  In that case, don't dwell on it and move on to the next potential friend.

Hope this helps!

Cheers,

Scott
The Bare InkSlinger

Curious Joe Asks: Where can we see you in your FULL birthday suit?

Dear Curious Joe,

Well you can see it right here on this blog, of course!  It's funny... I must receive a dozen messages on Instagram each week from people saying they couldn't find any full frontal content on the blog.  I so badly want to say "then you're not paying attention."  

You didn't ask for advice, but here is some anyway: slow down.  The faster you move through life, the more things you will miss.  This blog is much the same way.  Take your time with it and you will find what you are looking for.  But impatiently rush through to the "good stuff" and that exact stuff will fly right over your head.

In the spirit of this advice, I am not going to tell you where to find the full frontal content on the blog.  I promise you, it's there.  And maybe if you take your time to find it, you will accidentally read a thing or two and like it.  I also promise that I am a halfway decent writer.

Cheers,

Scott
The Bare InkSlinger

MrNicolaButtini Asks: Is it normal that everytime I look at your pic at the end of your "ballin like a blogger" article I feel the need to hug you? From 1 to 10 how creepy is this?

Hi MrNicolaButtini,

I owe you a "thank you" for making me laugh on this one.  I don't know if it is "normal" but I will say that I really enjoy the thought.  When it comes to my more "bare" photos, hugs aren't the first thing that get offered.  I am sure one can easily imagine the kind of messages I often get.  

But when I get a message like this, it actually makes me feel like "baring it all" is quite worth it.  A hug is awesome - especially a naked hug.  Who doesn't love naked hugs?!  Well, probably nuns.  

Either way, on a scale from 1 to 10, I find the creepiness of this at 0 (depending on how you like to hug).  It's very sweet.  If I ever find myself in Italy, let's make an in-person hug happen as a thank you for submitting this ASK.

Thanks for reading!

Cheers,

Scott
The Bare InkSlinger

Riley Asks: I'm in a long term triad but the sex seems kind of boring. Is there hope of rebuilding it back into a healthy relationship?

This is kinda of a relationship advice ask. I’m currently in a long term relationship with 2 guys. We’re a triad which has been going on 4 years.

Lately, things have been a struggle for us in the romantic section of our lives, as I’ve been dealing with depression and being suicidal.

Me and my longest partner, appear to have fallen into a rut of basically having no sex until all 3 of us are involved. Though when all 3 of us do have sex, it all just seems kind of boring. Playing with the nipples and basically jerking each other off. Me and our bf will have sex maybe every month. But other than that I will sleep alone.

I ‘ve brought up my concerns to them when my depression was really bad, but nothing seems to have changed. It appears that we’re all stuck.

Do you think we’re entering a point of our sex life dying? Or is there hope of rebuilding it back into a healthy relationship?
— Riley

Hola Riley,

My apologies for the delay on this.  I was doped up on Percocet for a little while and this was no easy ask.

Once, I asked a friend in a triad what it was like.  Was it less work since more people were putting forth the effort?  Or was it more work since there were more people to tend to?  He stopped like a dear in headlights, took a deep breath, and just let out one solid YES!

Whether it's a duo or a trio, I think it's important to look at relationship in a holistic way.  There are lots of little working components that create one big functioning unit.  And when one of those components are out of whack, the whole unit can either slow down, suffer, or sometimes stop entirely.  With that being said, I think there are two areas that could help your relationship turn around.  

First... as someone who deals with depression and is in a long term relationship, I can absolutely attest that depression is a major component in that functioning unit.  It will jack it up big time.  Relationships should be built to lift us up and make us thrive by supporting one another.  When it constantly feels like you are looking at the world through a filter made of shit, it is hard to lift up the ones we love, much less feel lifted up by them.  And when we aren't feeling lifted up, we are feeling dragged down.  That isn't aspiring or sexy.  It causes the relationship to be in a rut.

That being said, work on your depression.  I mean REALLY WORK ON IT!  Start therapy, get on meds.  If the meds don't work, try different meds.  Go to yoga.  Try meditation.  Use affirmations.  Whatever works for you... just do it for the sake of the ones you love.  My own relationship kept flopping around until I got balanced out on Lamictal and so I know the difference it can make.

Second... stating the problems of the relationship openly and honestly is a fantastic start, but it alone will not drive the change for improvement. Everyone involved HAS to be an active participant after that - problems will not just passively solve themselves.  In a standard two person relationship, if one person is trying to actively work on the problems while the other is being passive about it, then the relationship will not build itself back to a healthy place.  It takes two to row a boat, otherwise the boat will just go in circles.  And I imagine this is the same for a triad. If even one person does't pull their weight, nothing will change.

So here's what I recommend.  Get back together to intentionally talk about the problems at hand.  Establish it as a judgment free zone so that each person can speak honestly without risk of backlash.  Let each person take a turn listing what they think might be off about the relationship.  Write it all down.  

Then have a discussion of which items are most relevant.  In order to prevent this from getting turned into a heated argument, allow only one person to talk at a time.  However they should be limited to talking for only twenty seconds and should give no more than two pieces of information at a time.  This helps maintain active listening and everybody's chance to absorb the information.  

Once you are done generating your list, then rank them starting with the most important.  Again, some discussion and consensus will be needed so stick to the twenty second talking rule.  Then once you have that done, list the actions each of you can take in order to resolve this part - whether everyone does the same action or each person can do something differently.  With all of this written down, each person should then sign it with a signature at the bottom.  There's some odd psychological effect where signing something keeps people more committed to it.  It's very effective for suicide prevention.

From there, it's up to each of you on whether you will actually do it or not.  If someone is failing to do their part, then that will give you more information on your relationship that you didn't have before.

So there you have it, work on your mental health and work on your relationship as an active participant.  NONE OF THIS IS COMFORTABLE.  If it was comfortable, it wouldn't challenge you.  And if it didn't challenge you, nothing would change.  

I hope this helps.

Cheers,

Scott
The Bare InkSlinger 

Michael Asks: What kind of workout routine do you do?

Hello, I am a new reader of your blog and I’ve seen your body. 1, congrats! Bet you put a lot of work into it! 2, just wondering what kind of routine do you do? I am watching diet and do some weight training and such but looking at flattering my stomach and yours is kinda my goal.
— Michael

Hi Michael,

Well unfortunately for the last two weeks I have had NO workout routine because of this damn surgery... which is also the cause of the delay for answering your ask.  Thank you for your patience.

You are right.  I have put A LOT of work into my body.  And if you want to do the same, then get ready.  The sip of water you just asked for is about to turn into a fire hose.

Before I get into routine, let me preface it with a couple of things. First thing's first, you can't build muscle and lose fat at the same time.  You have to focus on one or the other.  I often tell folks to focus on building muscle first for two reasons.  One: fat burns faster in the presence of muscle.  So when you gain the muscle, it's easier to burn the fat later.  Two: people don't even care if you have a belly if you are stacked with muscle.  Have you seen the widespread popularity of muscle bears?  If you got the arms and/or pecs, the rest will follow.

So this is what I did.  Once I gained the muscle, the belly fat just kind of naturally went away after.   I do not do any cardio.  I strictly weight lift.  And I weight lift hard.  I left heavy (and safely) enough to get my heart rate up and break a sweat.  But A HUGE chunk of this comes with diet.  So I will split this into two parts: workout routine and diet routine.  Both are equally important.

Work out routine:
Like any good weight lifter, you have to switch it up.  But this is my favorite split and the current one I am doing:
Day one: Chest and Biceps
Day two: Core/abs
Day three: Back and Triceps
Day four: Legs and Shoulders

I won't take more than two days off in a week, so this routine should rotate slightly faster than one muscle group per week. I do about 5-6 exercises per body part, or until I feel total muscle fatigue or exhaustion.  I do 4 sets per exercise with a goal of 6-8reps each.  I do the reps until total failure - meaning I seriously cannot lift the weight one more time in that set.  A big mistake I see people make is lifting the weight until they feel discomfort or tiredness.  You have to lift until failure.  In weight lifting there is a saying: "failure is success."  

If I can do more than 10 reps, I increase the weight.  If I struggle to get to 6, I decrease the weight.  I also decrease the weight if my form is sloppy.  I wait about 60-90 seconds between sets.  This whole thing lasts about 60-90 minutes in the gym.

Diet routine
If you want to start with building muscle, you have to eat a surplus of calories rather than a deficit.  Muscles need nourishment.  The more you want your muscles to grow, the more you need to eat - especially protein.  

For my diet routine, I do what they call a "40/30/30 diet."  That means 40% of my calories come from protein, 30% comes from carbs, and 30% come from fats.  1 gram protein = 4 calories, 1 gram carb = 4 calories, and 1 gram fat = 9 calories.  The math is easy.  Determine the total amount of calories you want to eat in a day, then multiply that by the percentage of the nutrient (protein, carb, or fat) you want to eat in a day.  Then take that number and divide it by the amount of calories in that particular nutrient.  So I eat a 3,000 calorie per day diet, thus it looks like this:

Protein:  3,000 calories x .4 = 1,200 calories   (and)   1,200 calories ÷ 4 = 300g of protein per day.

Carbs :  3,000 calories x .3 = 900   (and)   900 calories ÷ 4 = 225g of carbohydrates per day.

Fats:  3,000 calories x .3 = 900    (and)    900 calories ÷ 9 = 100g of fats per day.  

I eat this over 6 meals a day (one of these includes my post workout protein) at about 500 calories per meal (give or take).  I also tend to do my carbs in the early part of the day and do my fats in the later part of the day.  And of course you want your carbs and fats to be from good sources - whole grains and avocados or raw oils.  No sugars or fried foods.

If this is all overwhelming to you, then I recommend just starting with getting your protein on board.  When weight lifting, its best two eat 2g of protein per pound of body weight.  So if you are 150 lbs, you should eat 300g of protein per day.  This can also seem overwhelming.  Start reading tons of labels.  Some of my favorite sources include chicken breast, lean steak, eggs (I eat six eggs a day), tuna, and greek yoghurt.  

Animal based proteins nourish the muscle best.  Plant proteins just aren't as bioavailable.  You can use a whey protein supplement, but do not get more than 50% of your protein from a supplement in a day.  It can make your stomach feel wonky.  YOU MUST DO A POST WORKOUT PROTEIN.  It is essential and I recommend 40-50g.

There is a reason they call fitness a "lifestyle."  It's a way of living.  When I go to a restaurant, I don't look for the most tastiest item on the menu, I look for the most protein.  Once you get used to reading labels, you will get used to knowing firsthand how much protein is in what.  Take it slow.  No one starts off an expert.  Do what you can each day and improve over time.

Hope this helps!

Cheers,

Scott