Robert Asks: I'm feeling as if I've lost my joy for everything. Did you ever feel that way, and how can I overcome this dark place?

In reading your blog, I’m impressed with how you transformed from living in fear to becoming the fearless man you are today. Recently, I’m feeling as if I’ve lost my joy for everything. Did you ever feel that way, and how can I overcome this dark place?
— Robert

Hi Robert,

Thank you so much for the kind words. I always try to make the distinction that I am still filled with tons of fear. I just no longer run away from it.

Sorry to hear about your loss of joy in life. I do very much know what this is like. Around 6 years ago, I fell into a horrible deep dark depression. I haven’t written much about it because it’d be better in a book rather than blog posts (though it won’t be in the upcoming book).

Doctors tried to heavily medicate me but it only made things worse. I had to figure out how to pull myself out of this and find my way back to joy. It was as if my brain somehow re-wired itself for darkness. I weened myself off the medications and asked me therapist to help me figure actual action I could take to stop this horrific negative thinking. What she suggested absolutely helped.

First I am going to suggest a product but I want to emphasize that I have not been paid to endorse this product. I speak of this product as a testimonial to its success of when I used. It’s going to sound a little strange. But it worked. And this product is a subliminal messaging program.

The philosophy behind it was that daily affirmations are not effective in healing the brain because when our brain consciously hears the affirmation, it can easily negatively reject (even if we don’t mean to). With subliminal messaging, you listen to music and the affirmations are implanted into the music. Because you cannot actively hear the affirmations, your negative brain cannot hear them and refute them. It slips its way into the unconscious mind which will then receive the affirmations.

When we have a thought (or in this case when the brain interprets the message), it fires off a neural pathway. The more we can create these neural pathways, the more permanent they become in the brain and our positive thinking can slowly return. It’s interesting stuff and I swear it worked for me. I found joy in life again. The drawback is that it is a bit of a commitment.

The product I used was called “Positive Thinking” by Brain Sync. With this program, you get two audio tracks. One is an “anytime” track that you can listen in the background anywhere while you do something (I.e. driving, working, etc). The second one is the “headphones” track. Both tracks are about 30 minutes long. But with the headphones track, you have to put headphones in (obviously) and NOT do anything else. You sit back and close your eyes and absorb the music - basically a style of meditation.

You have to do this EVERYDAY for six weeks for the program to be effective. So, like I said, it is a commitment. But there’s also something said if you cannot take a half hour a day for yourself to heal yourself (my therapist told me that). Again, this really worked for me - better than any pill I had taken.

Another thing that really worked for me was doing a gratitude journal. I’ve mentioned this several times before but it always warrants repeating. Before bed and after I wake up, I would list ten things I was grateful for (the same things can be repeated from entry to entry). At first it was tough coming up with ten things. But after doing it for a while, I would start to come up with like fifteen things. It became so easy and was such a lovely exercise. But with that it helped me maintain thought of the things I love and that bring me joy in life.

Let me know if you try any of these methods. I’ll be curious as to if they help you as well.

Cheers,

Scott
Bare InkSlinger

Dominick Asks: What are some of your go to albums, that aren’t mainstream, that people should give a spin?

Hey Dominick,

You just made me cream my pants with this question. If you’ve been subscribing to the newsletter, you’ve seen the “Music Video of the Week” result in some very non-mainstream stuff. I don’t hate mainstream stuff. I just think there are so many other artists doing so many other exciting and creative things.

I have given up on trying to show people new music because it’s obvious that this makes my taste in music a little “weird.” The stuff I like is still fairly poppy, it’s just not anything you’d hear from Top 40 artists. So if you love the top 40, the following will not be for you. If you are a bit more adventurous, then please continue.

  1. “Massseduction” by St. Vincent. - St. Vincent is one of those artists who have just gotten progressively better with each album. “Massseduction” came out last year and it is still in the top album in my current rotation. This is true “art pop" perfection as it is incredibly fun and weird. It kicks off with a lovely textured ballad, slips into a speedy electro jingle about pills, and then moves into pop and dance tracks that are very addicting, but nothing predictable. There is such a variety of tracks on this album and yet ebbs and flows so perfectly well. Things get a little dark at the end but it’s a perfect way to leave the listener wanting more. If you want more St. Vincent, I recommend working backwards through the albums. Earlier albums tend to sound like Disney Princess music on acid (which I also really appreciated). Check out video “Los Ageless

  2. “Not Your Kind of People” by Garbage - Anyone who knows me knows that Garbage is my all time favorite band. Their multi-genre infused rock sound revolutionized my taste in music. And their 2012 comeback album “Not Your Kind of People” really demonstrated how they set themselves apart from other rock artists. The lead single “Blood For Poppies” is like a Frankenstein song of five other tracks - mixed with heavy guitar riffs into an upbeat poppy chorus, and funky lyrical structure for the verses. This sense the tone for the variety of tracks you will get on the album. Check out song “Blood For Poppies

  3. “Master of My Make Believe” by Santigold - I love everything Santigold does. And it’s almost impossible to describe her music. There’s a heavy influence from other black genres such as African tribal sounds, Jamaican dance hall, and even a little rap (just a little). Yet she ties it up in a bow of electronica filled with synths and percussion that sound wildly original and fun. The album “Master of My Make Believe” is, to me, her best work. Every track is consistently phenomenal through out. Check out song “GO!

  4. “Amen & Goodbye” by Yeasayer - New York based Yeasayer consist of three guys who create this alt-rock-pop hybrid that is artsy but cool at the same time. Like St. Vincent, their album just got progressively better over time. Their last one “Amen & Goodbye” had the most perfect ebb and flow of any album I have ever heard. It’s weird and creative and fun and addicting. And I fear it will be their last. Their previous album “Fragrant World” is also one of my tops. Check out video "I Am Chemistry”

  5. “The Family Jewels” by Marina and The Diamonds - Marina Diamante is actually a one woman pop artist. There are no diamonds. On the surface, this is straight up PURE pop music. But if you listen to the phenomenal lyrics, you discover that there is something super dark here. To me, it speaks painfully of mental illness. Yet it is so funny and boppy and danceable. This weird dichotomy has gotten Marina a myriad of fans, but alas didn’t allow her top 40 success. So, she remains a cult pop treasure. Check out video “Mowgli’s Road”

  6. “Plunge” by Fever Ray - Fever Ray is true musical experimentation at its finest. If you want weird, THIS IS WEIRD. Her last album Plunge was far different than her first self titled album and many fans were unhappy about this. But to me, it showed an excited side of her that we haven’t seen before. The album is split between upbeatly frustrated or sexual synth driven tracks and more lovely downtempo electro ballads filled with incredible textures. The split between the too does cause for a disjointed sound that turned off listeners as well. But I enjoyed that we got to see multiple sides of this incredibly artistic electronic musician. Check out song “Wanna Sip”

  7. “Fever Ray” by Fever Ray - Okay, I am a big Fever Ray fan so I recommend both albums. This was the debut album which actually won the award for best electronic album at the Swedish music awards. Unlike the second album, the entire thing is downtempo. But it does it in a way that no other artist has. The songs are eerily dark but curiously beautiful. There’s lots of vocal tweaking that at times make it sound like you are listening to a ghost. Check out video “Triangle Walks”

  8. “Doom Abuse” by The Faint - Omaha based band The Faint blends rock and dance in a way that often feels super inspired by 80s new wave. It’s loud and brash but fun with wicked lyrical arrangements. Their top albums are “Danse Macabre” and “Wet From Birth.” Their last album “Doom Abuse” offered up more of a “garage rock” sound mixed in with some spastically dance dance tracks. It’s wild and is not for those who don’t like rock music. Check out video “Help In The Head”

  9. “Daughter in the Choir & “Make A Shadow” by Meg Myers - Meg Myers recently came out with her second album “Take Me To The Disco” and it is excellent. She does a great blend of angry alternative rock and pop melodies that totally get stuck in your head. But when it comes to Meg, my favorites will always be here two earlier EPs known as “Daughter in the Choir” and “Make A Shadow.” Together, they make a full sized album and feature some of her most interesting work. Check out videos Curbstomp, Desire, and Go. “

  10. “Backspace Unwind” by Lamb - Lamb is one of those bands that I’ve been with since their beginning. At first they got known for blending downtempo music with drum and bass which was a unique sound. The second album even brought in some blues/jazz elements which paired with the lead vocalists’ raspy vocals so nicely. After that, things got a lot softer and a lot sweeter and it spoke to my soul in ways other artists couldn’t. Like Garbage, they got fed up with record labels and quite only to then come back years later independently with incredible new music. Their last album “Backspace Unwind” had them experimenting with more traditional dance beats which turn out excellent. And it still provided some lovely melodic ballad tracks that are like poetry for the heart. Check out song “We Fall In Love.

Here are artist that have too many good albums to mention: Goldfrapp (pop or downtempo - depends the album), Peaches, Amanda Palmer (and also her earlier band “The Dresden Dolls”), Garbage (of course), The Knife (Fever Ray’s original band), and Bjork.

Other weird artists include: Brazilian girls, The Present, Royksopp, LCD Soundsystem, Chicks on Speed, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, ADULT., and jeepers so many more.

Hope you find something you like.

Cheers,

Scott
Bare InkSlinger

Matt R. Asks: Do you believe in New Year resolutions? If so, can you share some of your past ones?

Hi Matt,

I think resolutions can be good. It’s great to set goals for ourselves. But it’s only great if we really take them seriously. If people are only making resolutions just for the sake of making them…then, eh, best of luck.

But if people are really wanting to make resolution from something lacking in their life, then it has to be an active process and not a passive one. Making change for ourselves is not easy. So, by all means, yes, make resolutions. But if you are not making a game plan to do it with in the first couple of weeks, then the likelihood of success is nil.

For me, I have made three resolutions. Here they are and my game plan for them.

  1. Have a social life again. This last year was really lonely for me. I worked really hard and I traveled a lot which didn’t leave me much time for friends locally. I also lost a good friend over the last year (future blog post material). But my game plan is to do a better job connecting with other people I do know. Reach out to these folks on a regular basis. Find local events and invite them to join. Or just go to a dinner.

  2. Fixing my posture. I’ve always had bad posture and it makes me really self-conscious. I think I am more prone to it because I have an extended sternum which could contribute to pulling my chest muscles forward. No doubt being on my phone all the time makes it worse. My game plan is to pursue both chiropractic and physical therapy to correct this. I might get one of those monitors you stick on your back and it alerts you when you slouch. But they’re pricey. I did already buy one of those braces that pull your shoulders back, but I’m not loving it.

  3. Publish my book. Getting this book done and in the hands of you all was my goal for 2018. I didn’t make it happen. Writing a book is such a hard journey - especially while writing a blog and finding ways to stream in income. But I am in a good place with this project. I have a shit ton more to do on it, so it will take time and lots of hard-work still. But my game plan is to buckle down on the editing and get three chapters edited a week (there will be 18 or 19 chapters - depending if I cut one). Hopefully my amazing volunteer editors can keep up but we shall see.

If anyone else wants to share their ideas for their New Year’s resolutions, feel free to comment below! Maybe we can help each other develop game plans.

Cheers,

Scott
Bare InkSlinger

Juan Asks: Are we definitely a shallow community? Or have I built a wrong mindset or ideal about body image on our community?

I have been struggling with accepting my body for a long time. I’m a short and slim body type guy, people always ask me if I’m eating enough or if I’m feeling well. I have normal eating habits and do exercise. At the same time, I feel that our gay community focuses on your body type and apperience. I feel out of place in our gay community. I’m not strong or gym body type, don’t have a bubbly butt or a big dick. Have I built a wrong mindset or ideal about body image on our community? Or are we definitely a shallow community?
— Juan

Hey Juan,

In my quest to defeat my own body dysmorphia, this is a question I have given A LOT of thought. In my most honest, honest, honest, most honest, objective opinion possible, my answer is ‘no,’ I do not think we are a shallow community.

I do think there are some human beings who are very shallow. And being shallow is not about gender or sexual orientation or race or any of it. Being shallow is a human trait, not a gay trait. Now, that being said, I also have to honor the fact that we, as gay men, can experience it a little more.

I totally believe that we do have the whole ‘peter pan’ syndrome thing. We don’t have the same social expectations as straight men to settle down, get married, and have kids. Thus, we get to have a more youthful approach to life for way longer (and for some…always).

This is a double edged sword. I love that we get to have youthful mentalities and enjoy the more entertaining side of life. But with youth comes immaturity. And with immaturity comes some silly things like vanity and superficial focuses. So, yes, there could definitely be more people behaving shallow in our community.

But here’s why I do NOT think we are a shallow community. Those shallow people? They are the minority. They are a small fraction of our community. The rest of us are normal people with normal bodies and normal insecurities that built the wrong mindset or ideal about body image in our community. So, why?

A large part of it is due to marketing, Hollywood, and pornography. These are the same things that make women feel self-conscious. Society at large is mirroring images of ‘perfect bodies’ which then make us feel like we are ‘less than.’ Combine this with those assholes on the gay apps, and suddenly we feel a grandeur experience of what is otherwise the minority in our community.

Then, take this and combine it with our own psychology. I am going to break this one down into two parts:

  1. The Looking Glass Self. I just got done writing about this in my book but I might cut it because it’s super heady (what? me? no. never.). The Looking Glass Self basically says that we see ourselves the way we imagine others seeing us. So, if we have already stigmatized our own bodies, then we project that onto the other people’s perception of us, which then erroneously affirms what we already thought - that we are not worthy. It is negative cycle of the psyche.

  2. Cognitive Distortions. Cognitive distortions are the ways our brain can negatively filter information. At some point, yes, some bitchy gay guy is gonna say something shitty to us. It is hurtful and makes us feel fucking lousy. But in our hurt, we filter this as “all of them do it” or “this always happens to me,” which is really NOT accurate for the most of us. This could fall under the distortions of “all or none thinking” or “overgeneralization.”

You might be saying “But Scott, then why do we all salivate over ‘perfect bodies’ and not ‘average bodies?” First of all, it’s a distortion that we ALL salivate over a body ideal and not over average bodies. I know plenty of guys who salivate over non-muscled. I have been rejected many times by guys saying that I was ‘too in-shape.’ And these were sexy dudes.

Second, we don’t encounter ‘perfect bodies’ much in our day-to-day lives. When something is rare, we are fascinated with it. When something is more common (I.e. a normal body), we don’t pay attention as much. Combine that with the marketing/Hollywood/pornography thing, suddenly we forget that is rare and that it is the norm and that WE are abnormal (which couldn’t be further from the truth).

I truly, whole-heartedly believe that if we want to heal our body-image-issues, we have to start with our own psychology and learn how to move beyond all of this. Because here is a bigger issue: the more we label our community as “shallow,” the more we are stigmatizing our own community. We end up doing just as much damage as we think those shallow folks are doing to us.

Also, we cannot heal ourselves this way: pointing fingers at those who are behaving badly. We cannot create positive change for ourselves through negative energy (and calling others ‘shallow’ is certainly negative). Blaming others who make us feel shitty is WAY easier than working on ourselves. If working on ourselves was easier, then everyone would do it. But seriously, if you don’t like your body, who is going to change that? Them? Or you?

And here’s one last thing that people REALLY need to know: all those shallow guys who have muscle bodies? They are hurting deep inside just like the rest of us. Trust me on this one. A confident person doesn’t put others down. And a confident person definitely doesn’t jab a needle full of black market chemicals in their ass just so they can have muscles.

So, when that guy is a dick to you on Grindr, remember… that is only one person, not everyone. And feel sorry for him! Happy people don’t need to be shitty to others. They are obviously miserable in their own lives (remember those black market chemicals).

Know in your heart that you are better than him (assuming you do not do the same to others). And the more you love your body, the more others will love it too. The more you hate it, the more others will sense that too.

Cheers,

Scott
Bare InkSlinger

Gary Asks: I am wondering how you came about this site and your blog.

Hi Gary,

This blog was not my plan for being a writer. But I regret not having done it sooner. Originally, all I wanted to do was write books. But then a publisher said that a blog would build a bigger audience so that I would have a better chance at selling books. This was brilliant advice that I wanted to shove in the trash.

I started the blog anyway and it has completely derailed my ability to finish writing my first book (it’ll finally come out in the spring). But honestly, it was the best thing that ever happened to me. I wrote for many years for other publications and I hated having limited word count and also that I had to watch my dirty fuckin mouth.

I wanted to do something totally independent so that I could create whatever I wanted as a writer. As much as I wanted to do that with books (and still will), creating this blog has really given me that space. I didn’t set out to be a blogger, but I am so happy I am now. I thank that publisher for giving me the advice to create one. Ironically, now that I have done all this myself (along with a team of rag tag genius friends), I don’t feel the need to have a publisher. So, yay!

Thanks for the thoughtful question. Hopefully that’s what you meant.

Cheers,

Scott
Bare InkSlinger

Hani Asks: When you love someone, how do you show him you love him without scaring him away?

Hey Hani,

Without knowing your exact situation, it’s hard to say. Is this a friend who you have fallen in love with? Or is it someone you are newly dating?

In either case, when it comes to love, the trick is to balance your emotional heart with your rational mind. Letting our feelings dictate our actions is always highly risky and oftentimes doesn’t work out the way we fantasize. This is not always a bad thing as long as you can sit back and reflect on what rational thinking you may not have taken into account and use it as a learning lesson for the future.

If this is a scenario with a friend, then I would say to tell him rather than “show” him. Don’t be passive about it as that might make the situation more confusing for the both of you. He may not understand what all the gestures mean and the miscommunication might leave you frustrated. The word “love” can be very strong, so it might be wise to say that you care about him more than a friend. If you don’t get the response you want, use the experience to learn and grow.

If this is a scenario with someone you are newly dating, then “showing” love with gestures would be more appropriate. But again, don’t let your heart take you too far down the rabbit hole. Put yourself into his shoes and do only things that you’d feel comfortable with someone doing for you. Again, don’t make the goal to confess love, but more so make it a “deep sense of caring” that you'd like to take further.

Best of luck,

Scott
Bare InkSlinger

Bill Asks: I lost my Mom Oct 22nd. I've gone through various mourning periods but I don't feel like it is over. In fact, I'm afraid of it ending.

I noticed your fb page hasn’t had anything since Oct 30th. Is that still being used?

Lastly, I lost my Mom Oct 22nd. I’ve gone through various mourning periods but I don’t feel like it is over. In fact, I’m afraid of it ending, because then that means I’m over losing her. I don’t want that.

Not sure if these are questions or just sharing.
— Bill

Hello Bill,

Wow! Thanks for noticing that on my FB page. I didn’t think much of anyone paid attention there. Yeah I skipped posting an essay on it during that time (but there had been one on the blog). I do not use Facebook much as it wants you to pay in order for it to show your posts to the audience who already follows you. It’s very frustrating. Also, it won’t even promote a lot of my stuff because it considers it “adult content” (even when the story doesn’t contain any nudity or sexual topics). So, that’s why I love it when folks subscribe to the blog. You’ll always get it (unless it goes into your junk box, then I’m just screwed).

Anyway, on to your second and more important question/statement. I actually commissioned my partner Luke to answer this one. He is a brilliant therapist who has worked with grief a lot and even experienced it first hand. Hope you find some solace in his beautiful words below.

______________________

Hi Bill,

Luke here, Scott's partner. First of all, many thanks to you for being so vulnerable.  Loss is hard, grieving is hard, and it takes a lot of courage to say that out loud and ask questions about it. Our society does all it can to cover/mask or deny the reality of death and loss and I am always thankful for an honest approach such as yours.  I am so sorry for your suffering right now, and at the same time I am thankful that you had a relationship with your mother that warrants that grief.

Grieving anybody in our lives can be complicated, but losing a parent definitely amplifies the experience and emotion. That being said, I want you to know that there is no ‘right’ way to grieve. There are many who will identify ‘the stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance),’ and these certainly can be many common denominators for people, but the way we experience loss can vary greatly.

It's interesting that you say you have had various mourning periods, because I often think of grief as a tsunami…. It comes in, overwhelms our lives, and feels like all is lost. Then it recedes. But right when we are starting to feel some sense of normalcy, it returns; again taking us to our knees. This can happen repeatedly, but each time the waves become smaller and smaller until eventually we are no longer knocked down. But we are changed.

I would hope that in your mourning, you allow yourself to feel the sadness and loss, but that you are equally able to grow and strengthen all of the qualities and gifts you have gained from your mother.   Also, know that you are not alone, and often telling stories, sharing pains, and hearing from others can be helpful. There are several grieving resources that could be helpful, if you are interested.

Please continue in your honest appraisal of your grief. The holidays can be especially hard, and it might be important to surround yourself not just with friends and family, but a grieving support system as well. And, if your pain continually impedes on your ability to work, has negative impacts on your relationships, or you start sensing depression, please seek further supports.

Be good to yourself this season.

https://www.griefshare.org/findagroup

https://sparkoflife.org/

https://www.promises.com/therapies/grief-counseling/

Sincerely,

Scott & Luke

John Asks: How do you find love?

Hi Scott, my name is John. I’m 24 years old living in Georgia with a couple of questions to ask. For right know I’m just going to do a really simple one, love. I now love isn’t a simple question to ask but here goes nothing. My question for you is how do you find love? I want to find a guy to be with but I have no idea how. I fear the idea of going online to a site or join one of those hookup apps. I’m not a very confident person because of my body and personality, also I’ve never had a boyfriend or a real crush with anyone. I just don’t know what to do, any advice would be appreciated
— John

Hola John,

That is a tough one to answer as we are all different in what we want and how we pursue it. I am sure you’re tired of the predictable response of “You’re young! You have so much time!” Blah blah.

Here is what I have come to know about those who are in high search for love: a watched pot never boils. The harder you search for it, the harder it is to find it. I believe there is wisdom in being happy with where you are in this moment. Pursue it as it comes up, but don’t force it. In the meantime, enjoy being single and use it as an opportunity to learn and grow.

I highly recommending growing your confidence. Since you mentioned that, it’s important to address it. People have different types they go for, but the ONE thing that is universally sexy is confidence. The way you feel about yourself sends a message as to how others should feel about you. If you don't believe in yourself, guys will sense that energy and also not believe in you. But if you believe you are worthy and like who you are, then guys will most likely see you as worthy and like you as well. Confidence is key. If you don’t have it, work on it.

Another important key to finding love is to let go of what you think you want. A lot of the things we look for in a mate are more superficial than we realize: good looking, good job, similar interests, makes us laugh… a lot of that doesn’t help sustain a good relationship as much as we think. Be sure to look for the more humanistic qualities such as kindness, compassionate, understanding, communicative, empathetic. Without these, love is not as lovely as it sounds.

And one last thing, I have come to see that when people are desperately looking for love, they often times end up in bad relationships. This is not how it always happens of course. But often times, when we want something bad enough, we will go with the first thing that marginally fits the bill. Thus, we can end up with guys who were never that great of a fit to begin with. The honeymoon period can fool us easily. Have open eyes just as much as an open heart.

Cheers,

Scott
Bare InkSlinger

Anonymous Asks: How did you and Luke meet? Did the status affect the relationship dynamics?

How did you and Luke meet? Did the status affect the relationship dynamics? If so, how did you guys manage to navigate that? Sorry if these all have been answered before.
— Anonymous

Hey there Anonymous!

Never worry if a question has been asked. Oddly enough, in my two years of blogging, it has rarely happened.

The story of Luke and I getting together is so incredibly bizarre and complicated, that it could warrant a whole chapter in a book… which I plan to do in my second book (which should hopefully go faster than my first book). Here is the mini version:

I had not yet been diagnosed with HIV when he and I met at the beginning of summer. We went on a date and immediately wrote each other off. Luke thought I was too wild and I thought he was too reserved. But we liked each other enough to remain friends (which of course meant friends with benefits). Over the summer, we came to really appreciate a lot of the things we saw in each other.

Then in September, I got my diagnosis. It completely shattered me. Even though he was scared and didn’t understand it, he didn’t run away or make it about himself. Luke was the most kind and giving and caring person in the world . He gave me far more hope than any of my friends did (who were so freaked out they could hardly talk about it). I realized that I would be incredibly lucky to end up with a man like him. And in all of my brokenness, he somehow saw someone he would want to be with as well. In the midst of my crisis, we fell in love.

Then shit just got weird from there (CLIFFHANGER!).

Eleven years later, I still love him so much and truly can’t imagine myself with anyone else. This is why I constantly give the dating advice of: date who you don’t think you’d want. Luke was not the guy I imagined myself with and I couldn’t be more grateful that it worked out this way.

Cheers,

Scott
Bare InkSlinger

Anonymous Asks: Are you currently in a relationship? If so, what's one piece of advice you would give for a good relationship?

Hi Anonymous,

It’s funny that you ask that because I feel like I talk about my relationship with my partner, Luke, on here constantly. But hey, maybe you only read one blog post that didn’t involve him. No worries. But, yes, Luke and I have been together for over 11 years now and I couldn’t be more thankful for it.

This relationship has taught me more about what makes for a good relationship above any other I’ve had (including family, friends, etc). It’s hard to give just ONE piece of advice. There are lots of advices I’d give. But if I could only give one, it would be this:

HAVE HUMILITY. It sounds simple but it is incredibly tough. As humans, we don’t like being the one who is wrong or having made a mistake. It makes us feel bad and so we try to avoid it via defending ourselves. But proving yourself right is not what will fix the situation. Listening to your partner and owning your shit will.

Luke and I had a friend who was a handsome and VERY intelligent man who made a great living. The thing he wanted more than anything was a good relationship. But anytime he got serious with a guy, it usually ended in a year or less (even though he was so great on paper). I have no doubt that it was due to this friend NEVER being able to be wrong. If you even remotely disagreed with him, he’d debate you to the death of it. Bottom line: people don’t want to be with people who can’t be wrong.

When I think about relationship, I think about the phrase “To error is human.” If being human means to fuck up, then relationship means being two people who will fuck up together. So it’s okay to be wrong. When you have humility, your partner feels validated, loved and honored. When they have humility with you, you will understand and appreciate this incredible component of a healthy relationship.

Okay… one last piece of advice (just for fun): that whole “never go to bed angry” thing is the WORST piece of advice for relationships!!!! Anytime someone tells you this, slap them… hard! When a fight gets heated, we get stuck in an emotional state of mind which then stops our ability to have any sense of rational thinking (which is necessary to solve problems). Plus, as we stay up late, we get tired which can make us even more cranky on top of that emotional state of mind.

The best thing to do is sleep on it. Resting can help bring back that rational state of mind by giving you time to calm down and reflect on what has been said and done. So, go to bed, give yourself more time if you need, and come back to the table when you (you guessed it) can your own shit.

Cheers,

Scott
Bare InkSlinger

Jay Asks: My password is not working. Do u have it?

Dear Jay,

Why am I answering this on the Q&A? Because Q&A is anonymous and this has happened a few times. If you are asking me something like this, I do not have an email for you to write back. So for questions like these, feel free to email me at scott@bareinkslinger.com or you can just go to the contact section of the website.

Now, on to this password business. My blog is not as advanced as it looks. People do not have individual passwords to access it. Instead there is one password we all use like a family. Sometimes I find this better because we are expected to make up these crazy passwords for so many different websites that it gets pretty bonkers.

For that reason, I have made this community password the most painstakingly easy password I could possibly think of. Most readers remember it. Some don’t. I probably wouldn’t myself. I have the memory of a goat these days. So I am not bothered if people forget it.

Anytime there is an NSFW post, there is a password reminder in the following week’s newsletter that corresponds with that blog post. If you aren’t sure and don’t want to wait for the newsletter (your impatience is flattering I assure you), then feel free to email and I’ll give ya a reminder.

Cheers,

Scott
Bare InkSlinger

Josh Asks: Do you have any guidance to give to someone who wants to start lifting?

I am wondering if you have any guidance to give to someone who wants to start lifting? You have a great body, and I’d like to look as good!
— Josh

Hey Josh,

First of all thank you.  I do have lots of guidance I can offer people.  The tough part is how I can offer it in just one post.  There’s a reason people write entire books, have entire websites, or devote entire blogs to this stuff.  So, here I can give some quick insights to give you an idea of what to expect and keep in mind in order to start this journey.

  1. Figure out a goal. A common mistake is that people simply approach it with “I wanna be fit.”  It doesn’t quite work like that.  Typically, the human body cannot simultaneously build muscle and burn fat at the same time.  These two aspects require different approaches.  So, pick one to start.  I always suggest building muscle first because fat burns more in the presence of muscle.

  2. Research the hell out of it.  When I started getting into fitness, I spent hours upon hours reading stuff online about it (exercises, routines, nutrition, theories, etc).  Nowadays, there’s SO MUCH info out there that googling it can be like taking a sip of water from a fire hose.  But the more you research, the more well-rounded view you will get of proper weight lifting.  Also, by doing this research yourself, you are further investing yourself on this journey.  That’s where something like personal training can hinder you - the trainer is doing the guess work for you.  The more you learn on your own, the more committed you will be.

  3. Figure out a game plan.  Based on what you have researched, figure out a lifting schedule (ie. how many days a week you will be lifting and which body parts and exercises you will be doing on each day).  One of the top reasons people fail in the gym is because they don’t have any plan when they walk in the door.  If you have done the research and still haven’t figured out some kind of routine, then there are many websites that offer routines that you can follow (mostly for sale).  Back when I started, I read two books called “From Scrawny To Brawny” and “Gaining Mass.”  These helped me a lot.  Since books are a thing of the past, I think these have become website subscription programs. I have also heard good things about Jim Stoppani programs. He has one for beginners but you have to pay. Also, be cautious that a big part of his marketing is supplements. We will get to that in a sec.

  4. Lift to failure. Once you’re in the door and doing your game plan or program, be sure to “lift to failure.”  This means that, in each set of each exercise, you should lift the weight until you absolutely cannot lift it a single time more.  Lots of people just lift until they tire out - mistaking it for failure.  But this does not properly fatigue the muscle.  So make sure you truly struggle on that last rep.  If you are able to get more than 12 reps in a set, the time has come to increase the weight (I generally lift heavy enough to fail by the 8th rep - give or take 2 reps).

  5. Nutrition nutrition nutrition. Enough can’t be said for nutrition. Again, it takes a lot of research. Here is what I find to be the most important part. Unlike dieting to lose weight, you need to eat MORE calories in order to gain muscle. For instance, I eat about 3,000 calories a day just to maintain my current mass. Each person is different though. So I say start here and tweak it based on the results you see after a few months. Also, this has to be calories from healthy food. You can’t just start eating cake all the time. ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT: you need to aim to eat 1-2g protein per lb of body weight per day. I weigh about 165lbs and aim to get at least 300g of protein a day. In addition to this, eat lots of fruits and veggies for the micro nutrients. 

  6. Eating schedule. Eating that much protein sounds tough but it’s easy when you break these meals down to six meals per day eating approx every 2-3 hours. Great protein sources include chicken breast, tuna, eggs, non-fat Greek yoghurt, etc. Start reading labels and you’ll figure out your staples. If you are the kind of person who gets sick of eating the same thing every day, this will be tough for you. With the exception of one meal (the awesome dinner my partner cooks), I eat the same things each day because I know it works for me. Put these meals on a schedule. For me, I do a breakfast, a lunch (then go workout 1-2 hours after), a post workout shake, a post workout meal (one hour after the shake), dinner, and a bedtime meal. This is just my version. There are lots of ways to do this.

  7. Supplements. When eager to get in shape, it’s easy to go crazy with supplements and load up on pre-workouts and creatine and all sorts of stuff. These can be useful, but aren’t necessarily necessary. Lots of online sites will try to market weightlifting supplements that promise wild results. They usually come with hefty price tag. For instance, that Jim Stoppani guy sells a line called Jym Supplement Science. If what he says about his protein product is true, it could be wonderful. Or it could be crap. The FDA doesn’t have any regulation on these so there isn’t always a lot of transparency on these products. The marketing is so good that it’s easy to get excited and throw down money on it. I did this a lot when I first started but found that they never made much of a difference in my workout.

    All I use is a quality whey protein product (I like the brand Gold Standard) and DIM (DIM is an estrogen suppressor and is only necessary for men over the age of 30). That’s it. I don’t mess with pre-workouts or creatine or any of that. I’m a hippie and opt for whole body wellness. So, I avoid artificial flavors, colors, and sugars which tends to come with those kinds of supplements. If I need a little more energy for a workout, I might drink some coffee beforehand. If you don’t care about such things and don’t mind dropping the money, then you can experiment with those other kinds of supplements.

    IMPORTANT: when it comes to whey protein, it is okay to get up to 50% of your daily protein intake from whey. I use it in my smoothie in the morning, in my post workout, and in bed time snack (though casein protein would be better for this as it digests slower). If you start using whey more than that, it can upset your tummy.  

  8. Post workout. After your workout your body is fatigued and is in a catabolic state. You have a 20 minute window to nourish it. Use 40-50g of whey protein for this (don’t premix it before the gym as once you add water, it’s only good for about 10 minutes). If you want to go the extra mile, you can also drink a post workout sugar before the protein. This will spike your insulin which will aid in absorbing the protein better. Again, I am a hippie so for my post workout sugar, I prepare a drink with one lemon, one lime, 1-2tbsp of agave nectar and water and ice. I also add dulse flakes (a form of seaweed) for bonus nutrients. It actually tastes really delicious. If someone wants to lose weight, I would avoid this step. Otherwise it works for me.

  9. Get lots of rest. Your muscles don’t grow in the gym, they grows while you are resting. Getting lots of good sleep really helps your muscle utilize the energy it needs to rebuild itself and come back stronger. Going out and partying a lot will put additional stress on the body that will prevent the muscle from getting the energy it needs for regrowth. Try your best to get nine hours of sleep each night and don’t have more than 2 - 3 alcoholic drinks a week. 

  10. Monitoring and Patience. Before you begin, take your measurements (waist, chest, shoulders, arms). There are youtube videos on how to do this. Also take lots of photos. In three months, do it all again. BE PATIENT! This kind of thing takes time. So if you aren’t ripped in those three months, don’t freak out. In fact, in those first three months you shouldn’t make too much progress because it will mostly be about getting your bearings and getting into the groove. So it might take even up to six months. If you aren’t seeing any results by then, then something is wrong and you’ll need to go back to the drawing board (which is why doing all that research is so helpful).

Whew! See why this is tough to explain in such little time? But this info should give you an idea of what to expect and where to go from here. Best of luck on your fitness journey.

Cheers,

Scott
Bare InkSlinger

Big Country Asks: How do you ask a business to sponsor you for a contest? And would you let novice photographers take pictures of you?

Hi Big Country,

For the first question… hell if I know. I am so not a business man. But I will have to learn soon because, in order for the blog to survive, I will have to eventually get sponsors. From what I have tried to learn, it seems very daunting.

I am sure it is different for someone who wants to get sponsored for a contest and might be a little more simpler in your case. Here’s my advice: pick one of the companies you’d want to get sponsored by. Call them up and say something like “I was curious if your company does any sponsorships for [xyz] type of contests.” If they say no, move on to the next company. If they say yes, then say, “Great. I am new to asking for this kind of sponsorship. Who can I talk to or what do I need to do in order to get the ball rolling?” I would imagine they’d help guide you from there.

It’s okay if you feel nervous about doing this. Remember, getting out of your comfort zone is what helps us grow and learn new things. “Courage is feeling the fear and doing it anyway.”

As for your second question, yes, I am absolutely happy to pose for novice or aspiring photographers. But I do charge for this. That might sound off-putting. But for a blogger who has no current revenue for his work (basically giving it all away for free), this is the kind of thing I need to do in order to keep this blog afloat and not bankrupt myself. If you are interested, please message me privately.

Cheers,

Scott
Bare InkSlinger

RJS Asks: Why is it so hard to locate a group that enjoys men doing what every man enjoys?

Why is it so hard to locate a group that enjoys men doing what every man enjoys, masturbating? Other cities have several groups where men from all walks just enjoy sitting around, comparing with others and enjoying a good game of edging. Why does Denver not see the value of such gathering?
— RJS

Dear RJS,

With Craigslist eliminating the personals section, and with the stigma of sexuality making it difficult to discuss such groups publicly, this gets tricky. But just because you haven’t found it does not mean it doesn’t exist. I have seen such groups pop up in Denver, though I don’t know how long they last or whether they are still around.

If you want to find such groups, you are going to have be more transparent and start asking around about it openly. If your shyness prevents you from talking about it, then you will never find the community your searching for (if it currently exists).

But here’s the thing I learned about community several years ago. Whether you want a social networking group for LGBT professionals or a group where you can just sit around jerkin’ it, community is a DIY project.

By this I mean you can either sit idly by - wishing it would happen, or you can get off your butt and create it yourself. If you want something bad enough, you will put the work into it. And if you build it, they will come (pun intended).

So, start up a secret facebook group. Get the word out. And see what comes of it (argh, more puns!).

Cheers,

Scott
Bare InkSlinger

Anonymous Asks: Is it normal in a relationship for one party to grow to like the other party more than is being reciprocated?

Is it normal in a relationship for one party to grow to like the other party more than is being reciprocated? I feel like my bf of almost two years is way more into me than I am into him. I love the guy but is this just me being bored as we are no longer in our ‘honeymoon’ phase of a relationship? Or do I need to reasess and think about parting ways?
— Anonymous

Hey Anonymous,

I don’t know if I would describe this as “normal,” but I would definitely say this happens enough that you aren’t abnormal.

The honeymoon phase is a tricky little fucker. It’s almost like it sets people up for failure - a promise of a newfound relationship that will eventually not be quite like that. When it comes to that particular transition in a relationship, we ALL have to ask the question, “Okay, who are we now?”

If you aren’t feeling as satisfied as you think he might be, then it’s best to look inward instead of outward… meaning: don’t ask “what is it about him that’s leaving me unfulfilled?” but rather “what is it about ME that’s leaving me unfulfilled?”

Instead of trying to figure out whether or not he is providing a, b, or c, try to figure out if you’re really even needing a, b, or c, or if you are an x, y, z, kind of guy, and whether there is a random r or a k in there. Get to know yourself better to understand what you need from relationship, why you need it, and if it’s even realistic? When you ask yourself these questions, write them down along with your answers. Pen-to-paper gives it a stronger hold in our brain.

Here’s the kicker though: often what we think we want is not necessarily what sustains a great relationship. You can say you want a guy with a good job who is adventurous and makes you laugh. But that doesn’t mean he will be a good communicator or empathetic to YOUR needs. So, as you ask yourself those questions, be as brutally honest with yourself as possible. Would you rather have the nice guy who is kinda blah, or the wild guy who is kind of a dick? Since all of us are different, there’s technically no wrong answer.

To me, the true sign of when a relationship has gotten so stale that it is worth walking away is when you feel like roommates rather than a couple. This is when the relationship is basically void of all intimacy. Some people think this is when the sex stops but I disagree with that. There is so much more intimacy that’s shared in a relationship than just sex. There are so many other things you’d do with a partner than you’d do with a roommate.

If you see things headed in this direction, either try and be the partner you’d like to have, or figure out how things can come to an end so you don’t waste each other’s time.

Best of luck,

Scott
Bare InkSlinger

Dennis Asks: Were you always comfortable being naked? If not, why?

I grew up Catholic, gay and what my mom used to call “husky” which I knew meant fat. So because of all that I had tremendous body shame until my 20s. Now like you can’t keep my clothes on. Question: were you always comfortable being naked? If not why? And do you differentiate between nude and naked?
— Dennis

Hi Dennis,

So glad you were able to overcome body shame and shed your clothes.  That's awesome.

Was I always comfortable being naked?  The answer is no.  In fact, I am still not always comfortable being naked now.  It just depends the scenario.  Sometimes it's easy for me.  Sometimes it's very difficult.  

Like you, I grew up with a lot of body shame.  Though, it may be different from yours as it wasn't due to any kind of religious or conservative thinking.  More so, I grew up in a house of women and it's the norm (unfortunately) for women to dislike their bodies.  So it wasn't that my family members shamed each other, my family members shamed themselves and I absorbed that mentality.

With that, I grew up with a deep rooted sense of body dysmorphia.  And for me, it will never truly go away.  I feel fortunate that I have over come 80% of  it.  But that 20% can still nag at me.  This is why I continue to strip down openly in front of the world... to help fight off that 20%, to not let it grow up to 50%.  The best way to overcome fear is to face it.

As for your last question of whether I differentiate between nude or naked, I don't think I have ever thought about it.  So, at this time, I use the terms interchangeably.  But something tells me you might differentiate (seeing as how you asked the question).  If that's the case, then I'd love it if you (or any of you reading this) would comment on this response and explain it.  I think it'd be fascinating.

Cheers,

Scott
Bare InkSlinger

Mike in DC Asks: How do you feel about social nudity? Regular activities, just done naked.

How do you feel about social nudity? Regular activities, just done naked. DC has naked yoga, naked happy hour(s), naked spas (not those kind), and even nearby naked campgrounds. I like it because I feel like a lot of social barriers (which we have in abundance) break down when you are literally laid bare. But is it something you have tried/enjoy?
— Mike in DC

Hola Mike in DC,

Oh my gosh, have I not done a good enough job at showing my love of social nudity? *insert laughing emoji with tears*  If I have not, then let me say that social platonic nudity is MY FAVORITE THING IN THE WORLD (aside from my partner and my dog).

Naked yoga, naked hiking, naked spas, and naked house parties are just some of the ways I have gotten to enjoy social nudism.  At one point, I even organized games of naked dodgeball (not as dangerous as it sounds), and naked water polo (or a dumbed down version of water polo).  I haven't done a naked happy hour though - at least not at a bar.  That would be a blast.

Nudism has been a really big blessing (I hate that word) in my life.  It is the root of what caused me to open up and live transparently.  The pure physical freedom eventually went to my brain and gave me the desire for pure emotional freedom.

And based off what you have written, I need to get my naked ass to DC ASAP.

Thanks for writing!

Cheers,

Scott
Bare InkSlinger

 

Brad C. Asks: how do you deal with uneducated people, the ones that want to shame you and run for being positive?

I just love your blog. I really enjoy how you live your life so authentically, owning who you are.

My question is how do you deal with uneducated people, the ones that want to shame you and run for being positive? I meet more guys than I can count that are down for having a “good time”, right up until I tell them my status.

Trying to educate them doesn’t seem to work, so what is the best way to handle this? Not disclosing isn’t an option.
— Brad C.

Hi Brad C.,

First of all, I love that you consider "not disclosing" as "not an option."  With so many poz guys being undetectable and so many negative guys being on PrEP, some folks don't consider it necessary to disclose anymore.  I have a theory that when we stop talking about things, miseducation and stigma prevails.

I am not on the apps these days, unfortunately I am too busy for it.  But yes, I did encounter those kinds of guys who would potentially run away.  And yes, I did have a method on how to approach it.  It was a two prong approach where I combined empathy with one powerful fact that would draw them into actually discussing it - giving me that opportunity to educate them.

Empathy is so important when having disjunctures with others.  I mean... haven't we all misunderstood something and therefore misjudged it?  And when we have done so, how would we have wanted others to talk to us about it?  So when someone shoots me down for my status, I start off with saying something like "I understand it sounds freaky," or "I understand why you feel hesitant" - something like that.

If you follow that up with TOO much education, then the person is most likely to check out and run.  That's why I do the "one big powerful fact."   Everyone may have a different opinion on what might be the best fact to pitch.  For me, I would follow up my empathy statement with something like: "But for your safety, just know that you are actually at a higher risk of contracting HIV by trying to avoid poz guys."

This usually bated most guys into the discussion.  Sometimes it didn't.  But it made me feel better knowing that I could implant that fact into their brain and hopefully change the trajectory of their sex practices.  

If they ran away before I could say anything, then I cope with it by reminding myself that if they were THIS uneducated (and too scared to get educated), then what's the chances that they are getting tested regularly and keeping others safe?  They could unknowingly be harboring STIs that could pass on to me.  Plus that kind of attitude isn't sexy to me.  They did me a favor by not letting me accidentally have sex with a douche bucket.

Cheers,

Scott
Bare InkSlinger

 

Riley Asks: Have you ever been to a bath house and what was it like for you?

Have you ever been to a bath house and what was it like for you if so?
Can you just watch and do more of a “solo” rather than “mess” with other people if you don’t feel comfortable?
Regarding the last question, what was your first experience with a guy like?(Hope that’s ok to ask) I’m 22 and still a virgin and it feels like everyone had sex years ago and feel like I’m caught between social pressure/hormones and wanting to find someone I feel comfortable with and can take it slow and enjoy even the silly moments the come along with it. Definitely feel like I’m in between a rock and a hard place especially with all these dating apps and people are only on for what seems to be a hook up and not a genuine relationship :/. Would appreciate any advice :)
— Riley

Hi Riley,

Whew this is a lot of questions all in one.

First off, yes I have been to bath houses many times.  In the end, they aren't quite my thing.  That's not a judgmental statement as I do still occasionally go - maybe like once or twice a year.  For me, I like sex to brew naturally - either from sexual tension with a friend or spontaneously and unexpected.  To me, going to bath houses or hook up off apps often times feels forced.  It also feels like I am on a mission and if that mission fails then I am SUPER disappointed.

Most people in bath houses tend to go to private rooms rather than play out in the open.  But if they do play in the open, you can certainly watch.  I just recommend not trying to join in unless given an obvious signal to do so.  I have a bit of an exhibitionist side (shocker, I know) and I enjoy it when people watch.  But when they just decide to reach a hand in there without my consent, it's very frustrating.

So know that if you decide to go just have fun solo with yourself, at some point, someone may feel like it is an invitation when it really isn't.  Therefore it is a good idea to have something in mind - a blanket statement - that you can say if they try to randomly join in your fun.

As for my first experience with a guy, well that is an incredibly long story that I don't have time to tell here.  Also, I kind of would like to save it for a book chapter down the road.  This isn't me avoiding transparency.  It just isn't the right time or space for it.  But I will say that it was a spontaneous brief encounter in a public place and it was a wonderful experience for me.  I didn't know the guy and I never saw him again.  But I will always be grateful to him for providing my first experience which helped me ensure my attraction to men.

When it comes to your being a virgin, don't do anything if you aren't sure about it.  When having sex, your hormones change dramatically after it's done.  This post hormonal shift can contribute to feelings like guilt.  So chances are, if you weren't sure to begin with, chances are you might regret it being your first experience afterwards.

My best recommendation is to NOT do a hookup over the apps as your first experience.  App hookups are weird.  Like I said above, it can easily feel forced which, to me, isn't as fun if it comes naturally.  And frequently the person you meet isn't quite how you imagined them from the profile.  That can make the energy wonky too.

If you are using the apps, then use them to make a new friend - someone you can feel comfortable with and take it slow with and enjoy silly moments.  I don't think it necessarily means it has to be a boyfriend.  But let it be someone you appreciate and who appreciates you back.  My first time being a spontaneous adventure isn't the right route for everyone.  Based on how you phrased everything in your question, doing it this other way sounds like the right speed for you.

Cheers,

Scott
Bare InkSlinger

 

Bill I Am Asks: how did our current generations come to find hiv as desirable like a membership to an exclusive club? Is this something you have seen?

Back in the 80’s and 90’s I was witnessing the slaughter of people through the Aids crisis. I was a young tween when I saw the first news article on 60 minutes. The intro stated “a new fatal disease striking gay men”. I watched what I could and of course was frightened to death. Here I was just barely dipping my toes into the waters of rainbow land when misinformation was smeared in my gullible face. I will admit that aids was a big reason why I stayed in the closet alot longer. Then as we know, druggies and hookers were thrown into our overflowing test tube as the cause of this horrible disease. Then as life went on, I started meeting people with hiv. Then came the time where I encountered men who touted their status as they would a medal. I, myself lost an Uncle to aids as well as a former love. I have some friends who are positive and I learned very fast that they do not want sympathy as if it is a death sentence. Simply because it no longer is.

After all of that being said, how has it become a percieved prize for non positive people to seek out and some positive people be willing to infect others? I myself found my path heading down the road of being “knocked up” or “pozzed” during some very rough years in my life. I don’t know if I had survivors guilt or what. But my question is, how did our current generations come to find hiv as desirable like a membership to an exclusive club? Is this something you have seen?
— Bill I Am

Hola Bill I Am!

I have indeed encountered a few "bug chasers" in my time and, with each one, it was very hard on me psychologically.  How can this person want the very thing that completely shattered my life? These requests often left me feeling hurt and confused.  But in my hunt for a more transparent and empathetic life, I set out and tried my best to understand it from their point of view.

Of course, the idea of intentionally seeking HIV infection has got to be something so utterly personal, that it's hard to throw blanket reasons over this minor trend.  I can only list a couple ideas that I've come to learn, but I can't cover all of it.  Therefore if any bug chasers read this, I would love it if they commented below to help others understand it even better.

I've often heard people chase because they feel it is an inevitable part of their journey - perhaps as a gay man and/or as someone who absolutely cannot do condoms.  So, they seek it out as a way to get it over with and also have some sense of control in the matter.  They feel they will already contract HIV at some point, so they might as well get to be the one to decide when, where, how and with whom they get infected.  This way they have some say rather than always wondering when it happened and who it happened with.

Another reason I've come to understand is that there is a strong sense of community or brotherhood behind being positive. Guys who have an internal desire to be a part of a very specific community might chase HIV in order to obtain that sense of community.  I have to admit, anytime I meet someone else who is positive, I do feel a unique connection with them as though we understand a little part of each other in a unique way.  It does feel communal.  So, for some, getting HIV can bridge that connection to community.

A third reason I've heard (and have been approached for) is more the "gifting" idea - a specific way to have someone special always be a part of you.  The person who approached me from this point of view again felt their diagnosis would be inevitable.  They also found the risquéness of it to be erotic - like the taboo of any fetish.  But in the end, they held me in a high regard and wanted to have a piece of me be with them for always.  And they wanted me to do this via passing on my virus to them.

Again, psychologically this wouldn't have been a great experience for me.  I would have also needed to gone off of my meds and let my suppressed virus come back.  That would put me at a small risk of my virus mutating to my medication.  So, in the end, I told them 'no.'  

Hope this provides a little insight

Cheers,

Scott
Bare InkSlinger