Friday, December 19, 2008

HO!HO!HO! Merry Xmas to everyone

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.
May Daddy Santa bring you everything you desire: love, peace and joy.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Wishing Everyone a Happy, Hunky and Safe Halloween

Have a Happy and Safe Halloween. BOO!!!!

Friday, September 12, 2008

We Are What We Are. The Biology of Gayness

Born that gay
Do recent neurological studies prove once and for all that homosexuality is biological?
By Robert Burton

See what you think after reading this latest scientific study about why we are gay.

Sept. 12, 2008 As the accuracy and resolution of brain imaging improve, we can expect virtually all behavior to be shown to be associated with demonstrable brain changes. It shouldn't come as a surprise that imaging studies of sexual orientation are increasingly revealing anatomic and functional differences between "straight" and "gay" brains. But demonstrating such changes doesn't answer the age-old question of how much our sexual preferences are innate and how much they are fueled by environmental exposure, cultural norms and conscious personal choices.
One way to distinguish the effects of nature from nurture would be to look at brain regions believed by neuro-anatomists to be fully formed at birth and impervious to subsequent environmental effects, both physical and psychological. Focusing on such brain regions, a research team at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, headed by neuroscientist Ivanka Savic, obtained MRIs for 90 adult volunteers -- 25 straight men, 25 straight women, 20 gay men and 20 lesbians. Using the latest quantitative techniques for assessing cerebral symmetry and functional connections between various areas of brain, Savic was able to demonstrate highly statistically significant differences between straight and gay brains. Gay and lesbian brains more closely resembled the brains of straight volunteers of the opposite sex than the brains of heterosexual members of the same sex.

In their study, reported in the June 16, 2008, issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Savic said, "This is the most robust measure so far of cerebral differences between homosexual and heterosexual subjects." Although Savic admits that her study cannot distinguish between genetic or prenatal intrauterine environmental changes, such as relative differences in sex hormone levels, her studies do suggest that our sexual preferences are, at least in large part, determined by the time of birth.

Not long after reading the study, the author got a call from neurologist Jerome Goldstein, M.D., 67, once a fellow resident in the UCSF neurology training program. This fall, Goldstein, an internationally respected headache researcher and sometimes controversial gay activist, is giving a series of lectures on the innate biology of gayness. He was phoning to ask if I had seen the study and if I might write about the latest scientific evidence supporting the biology of gayness. I decided to interview him instead. Goldstein is compact, rapid-talking and constantly on the verge of impatience. Yet during our conversations he was subdued, confessional in tone, with frequent pauses to gather his thoughts; the seriousness of his concerns was palpable.

Jerry, you've been an outspoken gay activist for 40-plus years. Why the sudden interest in the biology of sexual orientation?

I was aware that I was attracted to men by age 8, even though I did not have any gay sexual experiences until I was 19. Meanwhile, despite having no sex or even a clear understanding of what homosexuality meant, virtually everyone that I encountered, including my dear parents, made a point of telling me that homosexuality was dirty, sinful and a phase that would pass.
Beginning my sophomore year in college, and before my first gay experience, I began the endless rounds of psychiatrists and counselors. I even tried to modify my behavior to make it acceptable. Sadly, even though I now know better, and am fully aware of the overwhelming evidence as to the underlying neurobiologic predisposition to gayness, I have never been able to entirely shake this feeling of guilt and wrongdoing. Future generations should be spared. Right now, I'm interested in seeing that good science prevails over outdated, misguided psychology and false-headed thinking that homosexuality is a conscious choice.

Do you think people accept that homosexuality arises out of biological predispositions?

Only on the surface. Down deep, there's a lingering suspicion that, even if the cause is biological, there is something intrinsically wrong with being gay. It has been 35 years since homosexuality was removed from a psychiatric diagnostic category and we [still] don't see the changes in the way people think. Sadly, even our major neurological societies haven't taken a serious look at the biology of sexual orientation. For example, when was the last time that you saw the American Academy of Neurology even address the subject? And the general public? Just listen to right-wing talk show hosts offering to pray for my sins. Or look at the damage caused by the religious right and its "conversion therapy," which attempts to alter an inborn characteristic of human behavior. I don't want pity and sympathy, I want scientific understanding based on logic and reason.

Could you give me a brief rundown of what you think is the most compelling evidence supporting the biology of gayness?

Keep in mind that sexual orientation is exceedingly complex and not reducible to a single gene or hormonal aberration, or explained by demonstrable anatomic brain differences. But by examining multiple lines of evidence, you can begin to connect the dots as to how biology influences sexual preferences. With these caveats in mind, let's look at the history leading up to the present functional imaging studies.

In 1991, Simon LeVay, formerly a professor of neuroscience at Harvard and the Salk Biological Institute, claimed to have discovered specific anatomic differences between gay and straight brains, primarily in a region of the hypothalamus believed to have a major influence on sexual behavior. By the way, this region's fetal development is greatly influenced by the levels of intrauterine testosterone, a major reason why intrauterine shifts of sex hormone levels are thought by some researchers to contribute to sexual preference.

But LeVay's work was considered controversial, nonreproducible, and part of a gay political agenda. The real take-away was the promise that neuroscience might one day offer better insights into the origins of homosexuality.

At the same time, there were a variety of quasi-scientific studies claiming to uncover markers for "gay tendencies." One suggested that you could tell whether or not you're gay by whether your hair whorl -- that patch of hair on the crown of your head -- curled clockwise or counterclockwise. Another suggested that you could tell by the relative symmetry of your second and fourth digits. Those studies weren't exactly good science and certainly didn't make the biology of sexual orientation an attractive area for basic research funding.

Early genetic studies also ran into major criticisms. In the early '90s, Dean Hamer of the National Cancer Institute raised the possibility of "a gay gene." His studies met the same criticisms asserting that that single genes don't cause complex behavior. On a YouTube video, Hamer denies the idea of a single gene for gayness.

But what has emerged from the genetic approach is incontrovertible evidence that sexual preference runs in families. Several independent large-scale studies show that a man with a gay identical twin brother will have between a 33 and 52 percent chance of being gay -- a rate far higher than is seen in the general population. But even here, one could argue that half to two-thirds of genetically similar twins will not have the same sexual orientation. Naysayers have used this fact as evidence that, even in the face of similar genetics, each of us retains the ability to consciously choose and control our sexual preferences.

Of course, this is a ridiculous argument. Genes can be variably expressed, depending upon environmental factors. And no one is saying that genes are the sole cause of sexual behavior; nongenetic factors are likely to also play a major role. It's entirely conceivable that identical twins with a similar genetic predisposition for homosexuality but exposed to different intrauterine testosterone levels will end up with different sexual orientations.

Let's talk about your take on the new brain-imaging studies.

Begin with Dr. Savic's work on pheromones. It's fairly common knowledge that, throughout the animal kingdom, sniffing chemicals secreted by other members of the same species -- pheromones -- can invoke innate behaviors such as a flight response in aphids, aggression in bees, trail marking in ants. We forgive our pet cat for marking our favorite couch as "her territory." All of these are basic survival techniques with clear evolutionary benefits. Ditto for chemicals involved in "being in heat."

What's fascinating about Savic and her colleagues' study was their ability to test the role of pheromones in identifying human sexual orientation.
Functional imaging studies or PET scans of heterosexual controls were compared with a group of gay and lesbian volunteers. All subjects were asked to sniff gender-specific sex-hormone-like compounds: AND for the androgen-like pheromones secreted by males and EST for the estrogen-like pheromones secreted by females.

To enhance normal reproduction, you'd expect that males would be attracted to EST and females to AND. But Savic found that these self-declared gays and lesbians process these pheromones differently than their heterosexual counterparts.
When exposed to the male pheromone AND, homosexual men tended to respond similarly to heterosexual women, both in brain location and degree of activation. On the other hand, gay women responded to EST similarly to straight men.
In short, it looks as though straight men and gay women processed similarly while the converse is true for straight women and gay men.

But her pheromone study still doesn't answer the nature-nurture question. These PET scan differences could reflect the consequences of a behavior rather than necessarily being indicative of the cause of the behavior.

But that's what makes her study so important, and allows her to draw the most important conclusion -- that sexual orientation is determined prior to exposure to life's environmental influences. Savic has assured me that these findings aren't "learned" but rather reflect either genetic or intrauterine developmental differences. And, unlike some of the early researchers, Savic can't be accused of having a gay political agenda or bias. Her field was originally epilepsy research. She inadvertently stumbled onto the pheromone sex differences while studying how smells might trigger temporal lobe epilepsy.

You've seen the studies. How impressive are the differences?

There are obvious-to-the-naked-eye differences in cerebral symmetry and in the functional connections in various portions of the limbic system, including the differing degrees of connectivity between amygdala and other brain regions critical for emotional responsiveness. It's as though you can actually see the brain changes that most gays have always suspected; and, believe me, it's a great relief to realize that these findings are clearly present at birth and aren't anyone's "fault." They simply are [present] in the same way that one has blue eyes or red hair.

No more and no less.

In thinking about sexual orientation as a choice, isn't there also the problem of how unconscious biological traits affect conscious decisions?

Of course. In a way, choosing a sex partner is like choosing what you eat; it might feel like a choice, but biology plays a major, though unconscious, role.

I presume that you are alluding to the recent studies of the genetics of taste?

Yes. Take our ability to taste bitterness. A single gene, isolated in 2003, determines whether or not foods such as Brussels sprouts are experienced as bitter. Remember how our parents insisted that we could learn to like Brussels sprouts; if we didn't, we were accused of being finicky eaters, or worse. Now, we would be sent for genetic testing.

Are you equating homosexuality with a taste for Brussels sprouts?

Very interesting and funny. But sex is much more complex and emotionally charged as a point of discussion than taste. But yes, in a larger sense, genetics helps determine the shape of desire.

Are you suggesting that outside influences -- parental, peer group and general cultural -- aren't important in determining our sexual preferences?

Not entirely. I'm saying that these influences are far less potent than the biological. Certainly there are a variety of strictly environmental circumstances, such as long-term prison incarceration, that might trigger homosexual behavior. But then you run into the reverse argument. Given that lots of men are confined to prison, only some end up with homosexual behavior. Perhaps these circumstances still reflect a combination of biology and environment. Right now, all bets are off.

There is the additional problem that you discussed at length in your recent book, "On Being Certain," namely, how conscious decisions can be affected by unconscious biological mechanisms. The same biology that affects our sexual desires may also affect how we consciously think about these desires.

In a separate study (PDF), Savic has shown that differential responses to pheromones even affect how we determine the relative masculinity or femininity of facial images. Savic presented male volunteers with a series of facial images and asked them to rate the faces on a scale of masculine to feminine. When inhaling a masculine pheromone, the volunteers perceived the faces to be more masculine than when they were exposed to estrogen-like pheromones.

What's so intriguing about this study is that it shows how simple chemicals can actually affect our visual perception of gender. It's not a great leap of imagination to see how these same chemicals might influence whether an adolescent male chooses to read a muscle magazine or Playboy.

Do you think these studies can help counter fundamentalist arguments that homosexuality is evil?

Accepting sexual preference as an innate characteristic is an essential first step. But this sidesteps the more deep-seated gut sense that homosexuality isn't natural and goes against the laws of nature. This argument can be partially defused by recognizing how ubiquitous homosexual behavior is in the animal kingdom -- starting with the lowliest fruit fly. I'm sure you're aware that there is a single gene, which, in the fruit fly, can turn on and off homosexual behavior.

But in the end, I suspect that real acceptance will only come about when we have a much more comprehensive view of how the mind works, including how we make conscious choices versus how much of our apparent willfulness arises out of involuntary biological mechanisms.

Let's all pay homage to the fruit fly by grabbing your snuggle buddy and giving him "Mega Hairy Muscle hugs". And forget the mind games, after all, we are what we are.

So remember to eat your brussel sprouts. And throw in some spinach for good measure.

Your musclebear Popeye may be closer than you think. WOOF.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Love Your Body, And All of Your Body Parts, But Make Sure It is the Best Body It Can Be.

The following is from the current issue of the Advocate.

See what you think.

The Naked Truth

Twenty-two people of all shapes and sizes strip down, pose, and spill their guts about what they love and hate about their bodies.

Click the byline to view more stories by this author.Photography by Eric Schwabel
A shorter version of this story appeared in The Advocate September 23, 2008

They say you can see a person’s soul if you stare into his eyes—but perhaps the quickest way to really know someone is to have him take off his clothes. That’s why we asked 22 people to undress and bare their insecurities. Some of their hang-ups are unexpected (Really? Too big!?), others are heart-wrenching. All of them will have you looking at yourself differently the next time you’re naked. Click on the links below for profiles, photos, and video for each of the participants.

Jim Andre, 60San Luis Obispo, Calif.Likes: arms, chest Dislikes: waistline
Gustavo Marzolla, 32Belo Horizonte, Brazil Likes: face, chest Dislikes: legs
Willam Belli, 24Philadelphia Likes: nose, torso Dislikes: scarred left leg
Dasha Snyder, 38Baltimore Likes: brain and feet—“because they get me where I’m going”Dislikes: scarred abdomen
Patrick Henry, 40Taos, N.M.Likes: chest hair and muscle Dislikes: weight—too skinny
Chad Darnell, 35Atlanta Likes: hands Dislikes: stomach
Trevor Wayne, 30All over the Midwest Likes: everything that’s tattooed Dislikes: forehead
Mark Hersh, 39Newport Beach, Calif.Likes: chest, eyes Dislikes: abs, buttocks
Sean Ching, (age undisclosed)Hawaii Likes: his muscles Dislikes: he sometimes feels fat
Jim Morris, 73New York City Likes: body Dislikes: face
Rodrigo Toledo, 32Rio de Janeiro Likes: hands, chest Dislikes: that he breaks out
Jeff Lukomski, 44Detroit Likes: smile, eyes Dislikes: penis -- too big
Calpernia Addams, 37Nashville Likes: eyes Dislikes: “I’m too tall and too big”
Shawnee Harkins, 26Dallas Likes: arms, shoulders, triceps, rear Dislikes: abs

Corey Saucier, 31Los Angeles Likes: masculine frame Dislikes: stomach
J.T. Chestnut, 19Rock Ridge–Wilson, N.C.Likes: legs Dislikes: belly button, nose
Jim Howley, 33Hilliard, Ohio Likes: heart, eyes Dislikes: “I love all of myself”
Alex LiMandri, 30Metz, France Likes: chest Dislikes: legs
Carlos Fierros, 23Oakley, Calif.Likes: face, legs Dislikes: stomach
Profiles by Neal Broverman, Kyle Buchanan, Japhy Grant

Be happy with your body, but strive to make it the best body it can be.

There is no such thing as the Adonis look. Male Beauty is definitely in the eye of the beholder.

Some parts we can never really appreciate about ourselves, because we never see them in the right light. So graciously accept any and all comments about your strong back, shoulders, and butt cheeks.

As I have stated earlier, I can find at least something positive, great, erotic, about every male body. So check out your assets, work on what's great about your body, accentuate the positive, and go for it.

I challenge you to a 60 day hunky bod workout. Let me know how it goes.

Giving you mega hairy muscle hugs of encouragement. You got the bod, now make it happen.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Gaydar by the numbers. Just How Accurate Is It?

Gay-dar, Quantified

How long does it take to decide if a man is gay?

It turns out that people make their decisions within 50 milliseconds of seeing someone, and that first instinct is accurate the majority of the time, according to research by Nick Rule and Nalini Ambady of Tufts University who have a study in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.
Via BPS Research Digest

Twenty-two male and sixty-eight female undergrads were presented with photos of 90 men's faces (half were homosexual) .

The anonymous photos were taken from an internet dating site where posters stated their sexual orientation.

Any photos featuring facial hair, glasses or jewelery were not used. (Now that sucks. All bears with facial hair ere excluded f rom the process)

At a quick glance, the presentation was too quick for the students to consciously 'see' the faces and, perhaps unsurprisingly, their ability to determine the men's sexuality was no better than if they were simply guessing.

However, at a slightly longer glance - just long enough for the faces to be consciously seen - the students' accuracy grew to 57 per cent, which is significantly better than chance performance.

Accuracy didn't increase with the longer exposure times, suggesting that all the relevant information for making the judgment had already been extracted after a quick glance.

In a second study, the researchers guarded against the possibility that the men in the dating photographs had deliberately accentuated their sexuality. This time photos were taken from the social website Facebook, where they had been posted by people other than the subjects of the photos (so deliberate accentuation of sexuality was less likely). Again, from just a glance exposure to men's faces, the 15 undergraduate participants were able to recognise the men's sexual orientation with an accuracy better than chance.

But that 57 percent success rate means that almost half of the guys initially perceived to be gay aren't.

I don't think this really proves anything. But it's a fun topic to banter around during your next cookout.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Gay Soldiers Are True Soldiers. Their Manhood Must Never Be Questioned

Both the Washington Post in today's editorial, June 11, 2008 and this AP wire story confirm that gay men have the same capabilities to fight side by side with straight soldiers.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Congress should repeal the "don't ask, don't tell" law because the presence of gays in the military is unlikely to undermine the ability to fight and win, according to a new study released by a California-based research center.

Protests in 2007 against a high ranking military official's comments that being gay is "immoral."

The study was conducted by four retired military officers, including the three-star Air Force lieutenant general who in early 1993 was tasked with implementing President Clinton's policy that the military stop questioning recruits on their sexual orientation.

"Evidence shows that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly is unlikely to pose any significant risk to morale, good order, discipline or cohesion," the officers states.
To support its contention, the panel points to the British and Israeli militaries, where it says gay people serve openly without hurting the effectiveness of combat operations.

Undermining unit cohesion was a determining factor when Congress passed the 1993 law, intended to keep the military from asking recruits their sexual orientation. In turn, service members can't say they are gay or bisexual, engage in homosexual activity or marry a member of the same sex.

Supporters of the ban contend there is still no empirical evidence that allowing gays to serve openly won't hurt combat effectiveness. BULLSHIT!!!!

"The issue is trust and confidence" among members of a unit, said Lt. Col. Robert Maginnis, who retired in 1993 after working on the issue for the Army. When some people with a different sexual orientation are "in a close combat environment, it results in a lack of trust," he said.
The study was sponsored by the Michael D. Palm Center at the University of California at Santa Barbara, which said it picked the panel members to portray a bipartisan representation of the different service branches.

According to its Web site, the Palm Center "is committed to keeping researchers, journalists and the general public informed of the latest developments in the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy debate."
Two of the officers on the panel have endorsed Democratic candidates since leaving the military -- Army Lt. Gen. Robert Gard, who supports Barack Obama, and Marine Corps Gen. Hugh Aitken, who backed Clinton in 1996.

Air Force Lt. Gen. Robert Minter Alexander, a Republican, was assigned in 1993 to a high-level panel established by the Defense Department to examine the issue of gays in the military. At one point, he signed an order that prohibited the military from asking a recruit's sexual orientation.
Alexander said at the time he was simply trying to carry out the president's orders and not take a position. But he now believes the law should be repealed because it assumes the existence of gays in the military is disruptive to units even though cultural attitudes are changing.

Further, the Defense Department and not Congress should be in charge of regulating sexual misconduct within the military, he said.

"Who else can better judge whether it's a threat to good order and discipline?" Alexander asked.
Navy Vice Adm. Jack Shanahan said he had no opinion on the issue when he joined the panel, having never confronted it in his 35-year military career. A self-described Republican who opposes the Bush administration's handling of the Iraq war, Shanahan said he was struck by the loss of personal integrity required by individuals to carry out "don't ask, don't tell."

"Everyone was living a big lie -- the homosexuals were trying to hide their sexual orientation and the commanders were looking the other way because they didn't want to disrupt operations by trying to enforce the law," he said.
DON'T ASK DON'T TELL SUCKS!!!!! It was more like Don't Ask, DO TELL.
The sooner this ban is lifted, the better our fighting military capability will be.
Mega hairy muscle hugs encouraging this nation's military and legislative leadership to correct a serious wrong, and strike down this most grievous kind of discrimination.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Taking the Risky Out of Being Frisky

Guys seem to feel that they don't have to be risky just to be frisky.

Is being tame, lame? You guys decide after reading this timely article.

The End of Public Sex
Why isn't anyone fucking anymore?
by Steve Weinstein
June 17th, 2008 12:00 AM

On the night before Memorial Day last month, several hundred men were packed into the top floor of a building in the meatpacking district. A DJ spun in a corner while bartenders frantically poured vodka into paper cups. A few of the men—most of them older—had checked their clothes, but the younger ones were keeping theirs on. In a few darkened corners, there were a few guys giving blowjobs and some ass play; overall, however, the scene could have passed for a typical holiday weekend at any East Village gay bar.

What was most notable about this party wasn't that a few people were—somewhat desultorily—playing around. Rather, it's how many didn't seem to evince the slightest interest in a hookup of any kind. Despite the heat (no fans, let alone air conditioning), the naked go-go boys and the alcohol people seemed content to make chitchat. And whatever little sex was going on, most seemed oblivious to it.

In 2002, I wrote the Voice's cover story for the Pride issue on "The Return of Public Sex." I chronicled the explosion in sex venues, from clubs to private parties to backroom bars: "After years of AIDS anxiety and government repression, gay public sex is bigger and better than ever," I wrote.
What a difference six years make.

The city has shut down all but two bathhouses and every known sex club in Manhattan, as well as citing bars, clubs, and private parties where inspectors find any men-on-men action. The few entrepreneurs still out there complain about apathy and different priorities among younger gay men.

Daniel Nardicio, the promoter who put on the Memorial Day–eve event, sees himself as a veteran of the battle to bring sleaze to the masses. He's perhaps best known for TigerBeat—underwear parties held at the Slide on the Bowery, where everyone had to check his (or, occasionally, her) clothes. The city shut down TigerBeat in 2004 by orders from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, citing complaints about sexual activity.

Since then, Nardicio has been a nomad, exploring various venues. He's had bathing-suit parties at a Turkish sauna on Wall Street; organized a road trip to Atlantic City; and tried out a Chinatown photo studio, other Lower East Side bars, and, most recently, the meatpacking-district loft space. His themes always brush the far end of good taste: For Memorial Day, he gave out Fleet Enemas. So he doesn't blame the authorities for the lack of sexual license as much as a fundamental change in the attitudes of gay men themselves.

"These things are ending because people don't want them anymore," he says. "People are spoiled, petulant, uninteresting. I've been throwing outrageous parties again and again for years, but the only time I was busted was at the Slide."

Like everyone else these days, Nardicio blames the Internet for the lack of public engagement. Even so, he adds: "If people wanted dirty, raunchy parties in New York, it would happen. But people don't want it."

If there's a generational shift between post-Stonewall gay men and their younger counterparts, it's that the latter are more interested in fashionista kiss-kiss cocktail soirees like Hiro at the Maritime Hotel and Beige at B Bar: "People are so obsessed about how they look," Nardicio complains. "Everyone wants to pretend they're an A&F model."

For some, this new attitude may mark a healthy and normal progression—from the generation that had to fight for its right to party to a new breed fighting for the right to marry and serve openly in the military. Today, it's easier than ever to come out, and people are doing it in high school or even before. Coming out so early in life, they don't feel as alienated from straight women—or, increasingly, men. Rather than facing discrimination and alienation, they can look forward to marriage and children: "They're not feeling as marginalized," Nardicio says. "Young guys are not as interested in a gay-only scene."

Even on the Internet, young guys are at least as interested in social- networking sites like MySpace as hooking up on Manhunt. "The 21-year-olds are interested in dating," Nardicio notes. "There's a lot less self-hatred."

Still, there's no question that Mayor Bloomberg's administration hasn't exactly been sex-positive. Rumblings about the city's policy came to a boil in January, when a reporter at the local newspaper Gay City News obtained a copy of an internal memo recommending that the city's health commissioner move aggressively to monitor sex clubs more closely or shut them down altogether.

Since the memo was leaked, city officials have been talking out of both sides of their mouths. On the one hand, public faces for the administration like Dr. Monica Sweeney—a top official working on AIDS prevention and services—have been attending public forums where, in Sweeney's case, she patiently explains over and over that there is no organized pogrom against public sex: "There have been no plans at all in the Department of Health to close commercial sex venues," she stated at a heated meeting at the LGBT Center in February.

The city's actions, however, tell a very different story. Manhattan's three best-known sex clubs—El Mirage, the Studio, and the Comfort Zone—have all been shuttered: El Mirage two years ago, the other two much more recently. The Wall Street Sauna was closed in 2004, leaving the city with two bathhouses, the East Side Club and the West Side Club. Bars like the Cock, the Eagle, the Slide, and Boysroom have been cited for various violations. Mr. Black, perhaps the most popular hangout for the city's younger gay set, was shut down last year for alleged drug dealing on the premises.

One of the last remaining owners of a Manhattan sex club tried to play ball with the city: He contracted with Positive Health Project, a local AIDS-information service known for its outreach, to give safe-sex demonstrations, lectures, and offer HIV testing. Condoms in bowls were everywhere, as were safer-sex messages. None of that satisfied city inspectors, who then raided the club for alleged building-code violations.

All of this leaves a few vocal gay men outraged—most of them older. Eric Rofes, the California academic who wrote extensively on the positive aspects of gay sex before his death in 2006, spoke passionately at the LGBT Center two years ago about the need for random interactions and meeting places in the age of the Internet. He decried the "disappearance or diminution of sex-site premises," such as gay bookstores (where men can have sex in semi-private stalls), and the "privatization of sexual cultures," such as the leather and S&M scenes—all dismissed as tired or played out by the next generation of gay men.

The site of Nardicio's party was emblematic of the fundamental changes that have taken place in the city: Much of Cruising, the infamous Hollywood version of rampant gay sex in the '70s, was filmed there. Portraying a man dying of AIDS in The Hours, actor Ed Harris threw himself out of one of its windows. This is where the Hellfire Club once hosted S&M parties for straights, gays, and everything in between; now, moneyed Europeans and Wall Street traders dine on raw meat of a very different kind.

To be sure, people are still having sex. But compared to the bad old days of 2002, it's a movable feast and ever more underground. A recent issue of HX, a local gay-party weekly, listed 24 private clubs, from the New York Bondage Club to Foot Friends (foot fetishists), Golden Showers of America (water sports—i.e., piss), Bear Hunt NYC (fans of the heavy-set and hirsute), and Thugs4Thugs (exclusively blacks and Latinos). And those are only the ones listed; other clubs, such as New York by Night, which meets monthly in a Hell's Kitchen apartment, and NYC Jock Party, in Brooklyn, limit themselves to e-mail lists and references.

Those who defend such parties point to isolation and fear as the prime causes of HIV infection. Shutting down places where people can have sex, they argue, is like shutting down bars because people get drunk. Prohibition proved that didn't work, and neither will pretending that all gay men will go to California to get hitched if they're denied group sex. Perry Halkitis, a professor of psychology at NYU, compares such attempts to the arcade game Whack-a-Mole: "You hit the mole, others pop up," he said at a public forum earlier this year.

Others, however, just stay down. On a nondescript side street in southern Hell's Kitchen a few weeks ago, a former sex club held an unusual "yard sale." Items like an industrial-strength sling, leather outfits, and sex toys were being sold by the owner (who asked that his name not be used). He says that he provided condoms and lube for his patrons but couldn't—and wouldn't—turn his staff into sex police. "If you go to a club and there are condoms supplied for free, isn't that better than going to someone's home where there are no condoms available?" he asks. "People take a handful when they leave. When we close down, these people will still be having sex with each other. They'll just have to look harder."

New York, he sighs, has fallen behind other world cities: "Everywhere is more sexually happening," he complains. "I love New York—I can't live anywhere else. The problem is, it's so unmotivated, so uptight right now."

Mike Peyton, a promoter active in the fetish scene, believes that there's still a desire for hot sex, whether in public, in private, or online. "We pioneered it; we rivaled everybody," he says. "It's not just sex—it's erotic expression. When the meatpacking district was in full swing, there were tranny hookers, clubs like the Mine Shaft, the trucks. It's sad to see that go. New York was once the bastion of freewheeling sex. Now it's lost."

Definitely food for thought no matter where you live. Be sexy, be safe. And remember to spread those Mega Hairy Muscle Hugs around. Hoping everyone is enjoying Gay Pride Month.

Friday, June 06, 2008


My annual listing of Gay Pride Events locally and regionally. I can't vouch for its accuracy.

United States of America - 2008 Interpride Partial List: Upcoming EventsLocationDate

Tulsa, OK5/31/2008
New Brunswick, New Jersey6/1/2008
Charleston, WV6/1/2008
Detroit, MI6/1/2008
Jackson Heights (Queens), New York6/1/2008
Boston, MA6/6/2008Los Angeles, CA6/6/2008
Milwaukee, WI6/6/2008Wantagh, NY6/7/2008Springfield, MA6/7/2008Syracuse, New York6/7/2008Hartford, CT6/7/2008Fresno, CA6/7/2008Boston , MA6/7/2008
Athens, 6/7/
Philadelphia, PA6/8/2008Huntington Village, Long Island, NY6/8/2008Los Angeles, CA6/8/2008
Albuquerque, NM6/13/2008Spokane Valley, WA6/13/2008Edmonton, Alberta6/13/2008Brooklyn, NY6/14/2008Indianapolis, IN6/14/2008Memphis, TN6/14/2008Spokane, WA6/14/2008Cincinnati, Ohio6/14/2008Des Moines, Iowa6/14/2008
Durham Region, ON6/14/2008San Antonio, TX6/14/2008Indianapolis, IN6/14/2008Cincinnati, Ohio6/15/2008Cincinnati, Ohio6/15/2008Boston , MA6/15/2008Boston , MA6/15/2008Ft Lauderdale, FL6/16/2008Oslo, 6/20/2008Flagstaff, AZ6/20/2008Toronto, Ontario6/20/2008Louisville, KY6/20/2008Omaha, NE6/20/2008Santa Fe, NM6/20/2008Minneapolis, MN6/20/2008Minneapolis, MN6/21/2008Oldenburg, 6/21/2008Olympia, WA6/21/2008Pittsburgh, PA6/21/2008Grand Rapids, MI6/21/2008Providence, RI6/21/2008Conway, ARKANSAS6/22/2008New York, New York6/22/2008
Minneapolis, MN6/22/2008Lansing, Michigan6/27/2008Vancouver, British Columbia6/28/2008St. Petersburg, FL6/28/2008San Francisco, California6/28/2008Erie, PA6/28/2008Vancouver, British Columbia6/28/2008
Houston, TX6/28/2008St. Louis, MO6/28/2008Tiel, 6/29/2008Chicago, IL6/29/2008Colombo, 6/29/2008Erie, PA6/29/2008Prince George, BC7/4/2008Atlanta, GA7/4/2008Prince George, BC7/5/2008Prince George, BC7/5/2008Marseille, 7/5/2008Aberdeen, 7/5/2008
More: This is a partial listing.There are more events that are not on this list.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Everything You Ever Needed to Know About Safer Sex.

The following is from this week's column, Savage Love by Dan Savage. The question the 16 year old gay guy asks is relevent for gay men at any age.

Savage Love
Sexpert Advice

I'm 16 and gay. I recently got into an argument with my parents over whether HIV is spread by saliva or if you can be infected during oral sex. I thought that you were safe kissing and that it's okay to have oral sex, but that you need to use condoms for anal sex. My parents disagree and I found mixed answers searching online. I trust you, though—what do you say?
Good Gay Boy

You trust me, GGB, but your parents probably wouldn't. So I'm going to step aside and let some HIV prevention pros have a crack at your questions. Think of this column as a sex-ed gangbang I've arranged just for you—but, um, don't describe it to your parents that way.

"To be exposed to HIV, you would have to come in contact with someone who is HIV-positive and a fluid—semen, vaginal secretions, blood—that can transmit HIV," says Krishna Stone, assistant director of community relations at Gay Men's Health Crisis in New York City. "And there would also need to be a point of entry—unprotected vaginal or anal sex without condoms," that would bring the virus into contact with mucous membranes that could absorb it.

Stone makes a great point: You can't be exposed to HIV unless you're having sex with someone who has HIV. The AIDS virus isn't fire and gay men aren't twigs; it doesn't matter how vigorously you rub us against each other, we're not going to suddenly burst into HIV. If you're having sex—safe sex—with someone who's HIV-negative like you, GGB, you have nothing to worry about on the HIV front. Well, except for your boyfriend's truthfulness and any changes to his HIV status since his last test—which is why you should be having safe sex regardless, even if you think you're both negative.

But let's say you're not with just one guy. Let's say you're running around having sex—safe sex—with random guys (not that I'm saying you should). Some of these guys are likely to be HIV-positive. So are you at risk of contracting HIV when you kiss poz guys?

"Kissing carries no risk of HIV transmission according to the Canadian AIDS Society's HIV transmission guidelines," says Rui Pires, gay men's community education coordinator for the AIDS Committee of Toronto, "[because] saliva doesn't transmit HIV."
So has anyone ever been infected via kissing?

"There has been a documented case of HIV transmitted through 'deep kissing,' [and the infection] occurred because both of those involved had current gum disease and had bleeding gums," says Beau Gratzer, director of HIV/STD prevention at Howard Brown in Chicago. "Generally speaking, blood must be visible in the saliva in order to pose a risk of HIV transmission."

So promise your parents, GGB, that there'll be no deep kissing after you and your boyfriend go get your wisdom teeth pulled together, okay?

What about oral sex? What kind of risks are there when you're blowing guys who could be positive?

"Oral sex is very low risk for transmitting HIV," says Hunter Hargraves, community initiatives coordinator at the STOP AIDS Project in San Francisco. Low risk does not mean no risk—some men have been infected giving head. "But even though oral sex is very low risk for HIV," adds Hargraves, "other STDs like gonorrhea and chlamydia can still be transmitted via oral sex," giving and receiving, "and having an STD increases the potential for HIV transmission."

What can you do to minimize the already low risk of contracting HIV when performing oral sex?
"HIV transmission is possible only if you have a cut or abrasion in your mouth or throat through which the virus can enter your bloodstream," says Pires. So don't go down on anyone if you have a cut or abrasion. To avoid creating one, "no flossing or brushing 45 minutes before you go down on somebody," says Hargraves.

You can also minimize your risks, says Howard Brown's Gratzer, "[by] not getting semen/come in your mouth, reducing your number of oral sex partners, and using a [condom] while engaging in oral sex."

I'd like to add to this list: Don't sleep with total sleazefags, don't be a total sleazefag yourself, and don't allow anyone to pressure you into doing anything you don't want to do.

Definitely words to the wise gay man compliments of Dan. He has the pulse on healthy gay sex. These do's and don't's point that the best way to a healthy sex life is by practicing safer sex, and using a condom. Use your imagination, some steamy foreplay, wrap yours and your partners love machine snugly into separate condoms, and have great sex. Dan says so. I say so, therefore, it must be true.

Friday, May 02, 2008

SURVEY SAYS: We're Not As Smart Or As Politically Aware As We Think We Are

Survey shows gays ‘ignorant’ of basic rights issuesMajority of respondents flunk test on U.S. laws
By JOSHUA LYNSEN, Washington Blade May 1, 3:57 PM

Few gay Americans understand their basic rights, according to an analysis released this week.Based on the responses of 768 gays, lesbians and bisexuals to a national poll given in November, the analysis found that most respondents could not correctly answer four questions regarding their state and federal rights.“I think ‘ignorant’ is the right word, unfortunately,” said Pat Egan, an assistant professor of politics at New York University who is gay and helped write the analysis.

The poll by City University of New York’s Hunter College asked whether same-sex marriages were legal in the respondent’s state, if the U.S. Constitution bans same-sex marriage, whether gays can serve openly in the U.S. military and if there’s a federal law barring the firing of workers based on their sexual orientation.Egan said only 38 percent of poll respondents answered all four questions correctly.“On one hand, that doesn’t surprise us,” he said. “On the other, we would have liked to see these numbers a little higher.”

According to the analysis, 94 percent of respondents knew whether same-sex marriage was legal in their state, 78 percent knew the U.S. Constitution does not ban same-sex marriage, 82 percent knew they could not serve openly in the military and 59 percent knew there’s no federal law that bars workers from being fired based on their sexual orientation.“So only six in 10 lesbians, gays and bisexuals know there is no national law protecting them from employment discrimination,” he said. “Considering this has been the top priority for advocates in Washington for the past 20 years, that is pretty astounding and disappointing.”

Marty Rouse, national field director for Human Rights Campaign, said he was “discouraged” by the finding and that it demonstrated the need for further education.The findings come despite information that shows gay, lesbian and bisexual Americans are more politically active than the general population.Egan said 33 percent of the poll’s gay, lesbian and bisexual respondents indicated they were “very interested” in politics, compared to 22 percent in the general population.

The poll’s respondents were likelier than people in the general population to have engaged in some kind of political activity during the preceeding year.According to the analysis, gays, lesbians and bisexuals were 7.6 percent likelier to have contacted a government official, 6.9 percent likelier to have attended a protest or rally and 3.6 percent likelier to give money to a campaign.

Egan said the increased political participation could be attributed at least partly to the coming out process, which the poll showed greatly changed many gays, lesbians and bisexuals who responded.“There’s something politically transformative about this period that people have long suspected,” he said. “Now we’re nailing down the changes that are happening during this period.”

That period was defined in the poll as the time between a respondent’s earliest coming-out experience, often when the individual first thought he or she might be gay, and the latest such experience, usually when the person first told someone he or she is gay.

According to the analysis, respondents tended to become less religious, more liberal and more interested in politics during this time, although many reported no change.

The analysis, released Wednesday, came about through ongoing review of the Hunter College poll conducted in November. It was authored by Egan; Ken Sherrill, a Hunter College political science professor; and Murray Edelman, a Rutgers College scholar and former editorial director of Voter News Service.

Other new findings from the poll, which was funded by HRC and controlled by Hunter College, showed the respondents’ priorities for gay civil rights issues.According to the analysis, gay, lesbian and bisexual respondents generally placed laws regarding workplace discrimination hate crimes as their top issues.

Efforts toward ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and securing rights for transgender people scored the lowest.Respondents 18-25 years old indicated that marriage and adoption rights were the top issues, while respondents 65 years and older noted laws regarding hate crimes and workplace discrimination were most important.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Being Green is HOT!!!

The following is a celebration of Earth Day, April 22, 2008. Be green by recycling your outgrown jocks, leathers, so that all hot men can enjoy them. After all, that's really what Craig's List is all about.

By Dave White
From The Advocate May 6, 2008

I read a lot of magazines. I know that’s not very green. But I have to know what’s going on. And I feel gross bringing my laptop into the bathroom. I especially read a lot of magazines about awesome (and usually expensive) furniture.

I used to love the design magazine Nest because the people in there would do stuff like wrap their staircases in electrical tape and then be all proud of it. It was a magazine less about being crazy-rich than being simply plain old crazy.

Anyway, Nest is long gone. So now I like Domino. It seems aimed at 23-year-old women, but I like it anyway. I especially like its feature about eco-people and their green lives, written as a daily timetable (“11 a.m.: Jet to Paris. To offset my carbon footprint I log on to a website that plants trees in your name and have Oregon personally reforested. Slide on Hermès sleep mask and slumber righteously.”). Here’s my own green day:

6 a.m.: Be kissed awake by the roar of garbage trucks. They say RECYCLING on the side, but I think they don’t mean it since it seems they dump all the recycling bin stuff right in with the other trash. Smell their exhaust through my open bedroom window. We have no air-conditioning. This already makes me way greener than almost all of you. How will you catch up to Eco-Me?

6:20 a.m.: Stand on my apartment balcony drinking green tea. I’d buy the fair-trade kind, but it doesn’t taste as good. And none of it tastes as good as grape soda. But that’s a sacrifice I make for the planet.

7 a.m.: Wash dishes from night before. Scrub the sink with environmentally friendly yet useless powder that is not as good as Comet. Feel despair over white enamel slowly turning brown.

8:30 a.m.: Morning walk with my husband/partner/whatever. My eco-suit = threadbare sweatpants, T-shirt my friend Lydia made for me that reads R. KELLY IS MAGIC, and most progressively, New Balance shoes that are not from Nike and therefore not glued together by child slaves. You’re welcome, child slaves.

10 a.m.: Commute to work—from the kitchen to my desk. Don’t hate me because I figured out a way to get paid for sitting around at home in my pajamas and never having to drive anywhere except to the grocery store that’s three blocks away.

11:30 a.m.: Drive to that grocery store. Bring own bags. While driving home think about how Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster is better than An Inconvenient Truth.
Noon: Eat lunch. Toss orange peel into the wrong trash can. Get berated by husband/partner/whatever. When he demands that I retrieve the peels, inform him I’ve already washed my hands and that to stick them into trash would mean rewashing them, and doesn’t he care about water, Mother Earth’s most precious resource? Watch as he sticks his own hands into the trash.

2:30 p.m.: Writer’s block. Need a snack. Organically harvested goji berries are gnarly, no matter how many antioxidants they have. Go to my local fancy bakery for some of those French macarons, like the kind Kirsten Dunst ate in Marie Antoinette. There’s nothing green about this except the color of the pistachio-flavored ones.

3:15 p.m.: Watch Oprah. She’s got a bunch of Dumpster-diving “freegans” on her show. Enjoy pausing TiVo each time she makes the “eww” face. Pay bills online while watching the show. Get tiny thrill at how superior and futuristic I am for not using paper or stamps.

5 p.m.: Go to a home store and spend a lot of money on one-of-a-kind shelves made from reclaimed wood. Bring them home and stack old issues of magazines on them.

Other than being dumpster freegans, there are some great ideas to live the "green" life in one's own way.

Gay men have been pioneers in recycling such items as used jock straps, leather, saliva and other stuff. So we don't have to buy the latest toy, trash stuff just because it isn't in style, follow the A gay crowd.

It is HOT to recycle. And I give my Mega Hairy Muscle Hug seal of approval to every guy who does so.

Friday, April 11, 2008

We Constantly Are Getting Screwed by "The Man" Whether We Like It or Not

Gay Couples Face Extra Financial Challenges
April 08, 2008 02:21 PM ET Kimberly Palmer

It may pay to get married, but not everyone has that option. The Human Rights Campaign, a civil rights organization for people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered, launched a campaign this week to bring attention to the financial challenges that same-sex couples are forced to deal with. The group points out that gay and lesbian couples lack the protection and benefits conferred by over 1,000 different federal provisions.

Among the disadvantages that gay couples face compared with legally married ones:
Unmarried couples often cannot include each other on employer-based health plans without paying tax penalties.

They often lack job protection when taking time off to care for their partner.
They can not give Social Security survivor benefits to their partner.
The campaign offers more information and tips for dealing with such challenges.

Yep as April 15th approaches, the hard, fast truth prevails. We pay far more taxes if we are a unmarried couple than our straight married couple counterparts do. It ain't fair, and it sucks.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Lurking Behind Those Hopeful Statistics About New HIV Cases Was A False Positive. Revised Stats Show, NEW HIV Cases Had Been Greatly Underestimated

CDC announces sharp increase in U.S. HIV cases Agency says spike due to enhanced reporting; critics argue it shows prevention failures

By RYAN LEE, Southern Voice Mar 28, 12:45 PM

The number of people in the United States reported to have HIV increased by about 50 percent from 2005 to 2006, according to data released this week by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.

In 2006, at least 52,878 Americans were reported having HIV, compared to 35,537 in 2005, according to the CDC's annual HIV/AIDS surveillance report. Experts said that part of the increase is due to large states like California and Illinois being included in the CDC's estimate for the first time, as well as increases in risky sexual behavior that are also being borne out in rising STD rates.

"The numbers are far higher than what's previously been reported," said Michael Weinstein, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation in Los Angeles, in a teleconference Friday. "This means many more infections now and as far as the eye can see."

CDC officials were emphatic that the higher number of HIV cases reported "do not represent an increase in the epidemic."

"Instead, it's more about our surveillance system than any increase," CDC spokesperson Jennifer Ruth said Friday.

The CDC only recently tied HIV reporting to the amount of money states receive to fight HIV, meaning new numbers are beginning to come in as more states report HIV cases in compliance with CDC standards. In 2005, the CDC's HIV/AIDS surveillance report included data from 38 states and territories, compared to the 50 states and areas that contributed data to the 2006 surveillance report.

Georgia, which was one of the last states to conform to CDC's confidential name-based system for reporting HIV cases, ranked eighth in the number of HIV cases reported in 2006, according to the surveillance report.

The full scope of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Georgia is still unavailable due to the lag in reporting numbers, and it will be years until data trickles in from states to give CDC the most accurate picture of the epidemic in America, said Whitney Engeran, director of the public health division at AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

"We just don't know where this will end," Engeran said. "We could be seeing more and more numbers coming in from the CDC as more states come online, and, of course, that means more and more people being infected."

The increase in cases is occurring in the total number of HIV infections states report to the CDC, but other data suggests the actual prevalence of HIV is not rising, Ruth said.

"When you look at diagnoses by year, they remain stable for the last few years," Ruth said.
But the higher number of total cases is a "catastrophe" that reveals the misguided strategies of the government's HIV-prevention efforts, and the lack of CDC's leadership in marshaling a response to the epidemic, Weinstein said.

"The CDC has essentially hidden this information," said Weinstein, who believes that the dramatic increase in annual HIV infections will prompt a paradigm shift in how researchers view the disease's domestic impact.

"What are the implications of [the new higher estimate] in terms of human cost, financial cost and in terms of having an effective prevention campaign?" Weinstein said.

With all this finger pointing, it seems that valuable time has been lost in fighting the spread of HIV. Young gay men are most at risk, and it is a shame that due to a lack of better outreach, the old abstinence message has failed. Instead, there should be graphic instruction, using posters, erotic comics, soft porn, anything realistic that teaches them that it is sexy and indeed safer, to fuck with a condom hugging their erection. Safer sex using condoms is the ONLY way to fuck. NO ANDS, IFS OR BARE BACK BUTT FUCKS!!!!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

A Flick To Keep In Mind for a Future Rainy Day Afternoon and Other Nuggets

Howdy guys. Something to recommend as a coming attraction in your Netflix queue. A good flick, according to the review, for a cuddle buddy rainy afternoon.

By the way, I wish all of you an enjoyable Easter weekend. Hoping that the Hunky Easter Bunny hops by your house with an Easter basket filled of creamy treats to enjoy.

Relax, It's Just Sex

It’s what comes after that should make you a little nervous.
By Kyle Buchanan

From The Advocate April 8, 2008

A Four Letter WordDirected by Casper AndreasStarring Jesse Archer, Charlie David, and Cory GrantEmbrem Entertainment

For an inveterate party boy like A Four Letter Word’s Luke, sex is all-consuming -- at least until it’s over. Better at remembering body parts than faces, Luke (Jesse Archer) spends every New York minute on the prowl until he has a transformative encounter with a mysterious hunk named Stephen (Charlie David).

Something about this sex was different, Luke insists: “I think we even looked each other in the eyes.” A drama queen who speaks exclusively in bons mots, Luke can deflect any oncoming relationship with a well-placed quip -- but for Stephen, is he willing to make an exception?

Straight romantic comedies tend to save their kiss for the final reel, but the modern gay rom-com is a different breed. In these films the leads have moved well beyond kissing by act 2, and “I love you” is an obstacle, not a goal. Love isn’t just a four-letter word, it’s a test -- and one that many gay men, including Luke, keep putting off. After all, why should they work at a relationship when casual encounters come so easily?

Director Casper Andreas knows this terrain well, as you might expect from someone whose previous film was called Slutty Summer. What you might not expect is the level of wit in this modest production, which is so familiar and confident with its characters that it feels like the third season of a lost Logo series.

Archer and David are both appealing, but Cory Grant makes the strongest impression as Zeke, an activist who works with Luke and challenges him to justify his reputation as a “gay cliché.” Luke doesn’t pretend to have all the answers, but by the time things wrap up he’s matured just enough. He may not have passed the test yet, but at least he’s been studying.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Sexually Transmitted Diseases Among Gay Men Go Underreported since sexually active Gay Men Skip Being Tested Annually

From the article below, all the more reason to play safe and stay healthy.

Sex Diseases in Many Gay Men Go Unfound, Experts Say
'Many cases of sexually transmitted diseases are escaping detection because gay men are not being tested each year as advised, federal health officials said Wednesday.'

Published: March 13, 2008
Many cases of sexually transmitted diseases are escaping detection because gay men are not being tested each year as advised, federal health officials said Wednesday. And if the men do show up, the officials added, many doctors and clinics are not following screening recommendations.

But more cases could be detected if the government approved new ways to use a type of DNA test that is already on the market, the officials and researchers said in a news conference at a scientific meeting in Chicago.

They said the test, used in new ways, could detect twice as many cases of gonorrhea and chlamydia as standard tests.
Those diseases, along with syphilis, whose incidence continues to increase, are “a major threat to gay and bisexual men’s health,” said Dr. Kevin Fenton, a top official of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Fenton noted that such diseases increased the risk of contracting and spreading H.I.V., the virus that causes AIDS.

Screening for sexually transmitted infections is a critical part of medical care for sexually active men. The C.D.C. recommends annual blood tests for H.I.V. and syphilis, and other tests for gonorrhea and chlamydia.

Gonorrhea tests should include specimens from all potential sites of exposure — throat, genitals and rectum — because identifying and treating all such infections is essential for preventing spread of the disease.

“There are circumstances where the recommendations are not being followed,” said Dr. John M. Douglas Jr., who directs the Division of S.T.D. Prevention at the disease control centers.
Dr. Douglas added that some doctors did not recognize the problem while others seemed to think “that maybe the guidelines do not apply to my patient population.”

Supporting evidence came from C.D.C. researchers, who reported three studies at the meeting showing that the screening rates were too low.

Dr. Kristen Mahle’s study found that among gay men who showed no symptoms of gonorrhea, more than a third of rectal infections with the disease, and more than a quarter of throat infections, were missed because many were not tested at all anatomical sites of recent exposure.

Dr. Eric Tai’s study surveyed non-H.I.V.-positive gay men in 15 cities from 2003 to 2005 and found that only 39 percent reported having been tested for syphilis, and only 36 percent for gonorrhea.

Dr. Karen Hoover found that while doctors tested 82 percent of H.I.V.-positive gay men in eight cities for syphilis in 2005, they tested 22 percent or fewer for gonorrhea and chlamydia.
One problem is that public health departments that run sexual disease clinics do not have adequate staffs and budgets to do comprehensive testing.

“Let’s be honest, resources are a challenge at a federal, state and local level,” said Dr. Douglas, of the disease control centers. “We are trying to be as innovative as we can with public health resources,” but “we need help from others.”

Another problem is that newer tests are not being used as much as they should be, Dr. Douglas said.

The DNA test that Dr. Douglas and others described as promising is called NAAT, for nucleic acid amplification test. It is generally more accurate and easier to use, and it can detect at least twice as many gonorrhea and chlamydia infections in the throat and rectum, according to studies by Dr. Julius Schachter of the University of California, San Francisco, and others. Moreover, it is faster than the traditional bacterial culture tests.

The Food and Drug Administration has approved three NAATs to screen for gonorrhea and chlamydia in the genitalia, but not the throat or rectum.

Dr. Schachter’s team, which included the San Francisco Department of Public Health, sought to determine whether the marketed NAATs were also effective in throat and rectal screening.
The C.D.C. is working with the food and drug agency and with test manufacturers to gather, analyze and coordinate the submission of data for federal approval of NAATs for use in the throat and rectum.

The San Francisco Department of Public Health has conducted a study that met F.D.A. requirements for such use. Now the health department uses NAATs to test for chlamydia and gonorrhea at all three anatomic sites.

So guys, for all of our sakes, fuck with a condom, have plenty of foreplay, and love your partner as much as you love yourself. Enjoy each other for years to come.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

The Launch of Gay Hotels with ATTITUDE and other travel tips.

Zurich) LGBT travelers who for years have complained there is a wide spectrum of quality among gay hotels may soon find a sign atop some that attest to high standards.

Attitude Hotels launched this week with the goal of providing travelers with a way a telling if a hotel is up to snuff.

Founder Pedro Castro, a Portuguese-born lawyer and travel marketer based in Zurich says the company would not own the hotels but license its name if the facility met its requirements.
Attitude would inspect the hotels and do annual follow-ups to assure the standards are being met.

Already some two dozen hotels that market to the LGBT community have been approved.
So far only two of the hotels are in the US - The Royal Palms and the Flamingo Inn, both in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. UK properties include London's Myhotel, Bloomsbury and Legends hotel in Brighton.

Castro said that the Attitude sign would guarantee the hotel is "the place to stay for discerning gay and lesbian travelers."

He said he expects to increase the number of hotels to about 100 and the Attitude Web site would allow people to see details of the properties, their location relative to LGBT neighborhoods, and the chance to book reservations online.

"In the short term, Attitude Hotels hopes to increase its selection of hotels, first in France, Italy, Greece and Spain," said Castro. "Thereafter, we will concentrate on providing a wider variety of travel possibilities in North America."

Hotels would be listed as Premium, Comfort, or Value, depending on price and amenities.
Castro said he came up with the idea for Attitude after discovering it was difficult to find good LGBT hotels and becoming disillusioned with the "gay-friendly" approach of many major hotel chains.
Surveys indicate that in the US alone LGBT spending power tops $65 billion a year.

Whether these accommodations will be too froo froo or within the tastes and standards of most of us remains to be seen.

But here's someplace where I think we could all hang our hats and enjoy ourselves.

In Texas, a Gay Bar's Patrons Toast Wednesday, March 5, 2008; C01GUN BARREL CITY, Tex., March 4 --

We Shoot Straight With You" is the slogan of this small, quiet, conservative town of 5,000 about 50 miles southeast of Dallas.

Which puts a wry, sardonic smile on the faces of the patrons of Friends, known throughout this lakeside area as the "friendliest gay bar in Texas."Defiant is one way to describe the joint. Gay bars usually hang a rainbow flag to signal that, well, this is a gay bar. At Friends, right off Gun Barrel Lane and situated across from the cemetery, the flag doesn't fly. It's not mere cloth. Instead, it's painted on a piece of wood nailed to the building -- which, by the way, is bright turquoise.

The Lone Star State has a sizable gay population, many of them concentrated in Austin, Houston and Dallas. But Friends is a more laid-back, welcoming place full of older, middle-class and mostly coupled-up patrons. Kind of like "Cheers," where everyone knows your name, except they're wearing T-shirts that read "I love Cowboys" and baseball caps from Budweiser with a small rainbow flag. Jokes Bobbie Aldridge, 67, a retired teacher: "This is like a community center. Or a retirement home."

Drag shows at Friends, with entertainers named Momma, D'Aundra and Sable Alexander, draw a crowd, mostly gay but also straight. (D'Aundra and Momma, a.k.a. Scott Denny, 36, and Gaylon Maddox, 52, are longtime partners. They're both nurses.)

Musical productions presented by the club's acting troupe, Friends Players, are renowned, too. Choreographed and directed by Jim Gribben, who's been coming to the club since it opened 18 years ago, the shows bring in money, which the club donates to charities for abused children and other causes. Gribben and Co. are now working on "Grease: The Later Years." Next comes their version of "Hee Haw."

Last October, Out magazine named Friends one of the 50 greatest gay clubs in the world.

Maybe next time anyone of us is in the area, we might want to check it out and share our own observations of this great gay watering hole. Sounds like a place I'd want to stop by and sit a spell.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Fat Chance That You'll Ever Want To Meet Up With Mr. Phoney Baloney

The following sounds extreme, but it has happened and will happen in our cyberworld.

Sometimes a make-believe relationship is better than the real thing.
By Q. Allan Brocka

From The Advocate March 11, 2008

I knew my new boyfriend was fake right from the start. It was obvious: He had unbelievably sexy pictures, a modeling career, obscenely rich parents, an Ivy League education, and a brand-new record deal at a Big Label -- all at the age of 26. OK, maybe I could buy all that. But add the fact that he wanted to be with me and it was too good to be true.

Our romance began with an online message. He said something snarky. I said I liked his moxie. My jaw dropped at his too-hot-to-be-real JPEGs. Our one-liners continued as he sent a wide-enough range of pictures to convince me he was an actual person. Not that it mattered, with him in New York and me in Los Angeles.

HIM: This sucks, let’s talk on the phone.
ME: If you mean phone sex, not my thing.
HIM: Don’t be retarded.

He had me at retarded. He was charming, funny, and had a sexy voice and impressive vocabulary. I lay in bed and we talked for the next three hours. His name was Josh Alexander.* (*not his real name) (**not that he used his real name) (But it could have been Buzz or Bolt)

Josh spent seven years traveling the world as a fashion model. He’d invested his earnings well, and with his inheritance he was set for life. He had a knack for songwriting and sometimes performed at friends’ parties. (THE BULLSHIT IS PILING UP AT THIS POINT) (BUT WAIT,THERE'S MORE)

That’s where he was discovered by a music exec from Big Label, which was throwing tons of money behind him and his debut album. In fact, Big Label’s chairman was personally grooming him to be a rock star.

He enjoyed the fuss but ultimately didn’t give a shit about fame or the music business. His real dream was to open a Cuban-style catering company in Northern California. He wanted kids, a house, a giant kitchen, and me.

When we finally hung up, I was buzzing with that incredible high you can only get from a really good conversation. I smiled and thought, He’s totally fake.

The next day we chatted for two more hours. It became a nightly ritual. Over the next two months we shared every detail of our lives, the exciting to the mundane.

His stories ranged from his first runway job when he had no idea what the hell he was doing (as Giorgio Armani himself stitched him into a suit) to the time LL Cool J propositioned him in Paris. I knew how his parents met, about his father’s affair, his immigrant grandfather who built their fortune from nothing. I knew about his childhood, his brothers, and each of his ex-boyfriends. I knew more about Josh than most of my friends.

I decided, as long I didn’t spend money and wasn’t turning down actual dates, I had nothing to lose. When I’d tell him he was fake, he’d laugh and list attributes that made me seem too good to be true. I told you he was charming. Sometimes I’d ask random questions to test him. He always gave an impromptu but riveting answer. Then he’d bust me: “There, now do you think I’m real?”

One night he announced, “Guess who you’re having dinner with in three weeks?” Josh was finally coming to L.A.!

A week later he stopped calling and his online profile disappeared.

I called and e-mailed repeatedly. No response. I thought our finale would be more dramatic. Maybe I’d find proof he was fake or we’d have a disastrous first date.

But he simply vanished. When a friend randomly mentions he’s buddies with the founder of Big Label, I tell him my story and he offers to look into it. Turns out there is indeed a Josh Alexander, some guy in Florida who once submitted a demo to them. That’s it.

My friend suggests that Josh Alexander isn’t my fake boyfriend in New York. My fake boyfriend is likely someone who’s obsessed with Josh Alexander, because psychotic con artists tend to appropriate other people’s identities. And now that he knows all about my life, there’s a distinct possibility he’s pretending to be me with someone else.

It’s crazy, but despite the big fat lie part, my connection with my fake boyfriend still feels more substantial than most of my real relationships. Maybe it’s because I gave him chances that are hard to give when you’re looking someone in the eye. Maybe I finally heard the things I wanted someone to say. Or maybe I’m just into psychopaths, because, sad as it is, if my fake boyfriend called, I’d probably take him back.

NOT!!! Guys you are too smart to fall for such a set up. When a guy seems too good to be true, then maybe it's a sign to stand back. Hell, all of us have met this type of guy. Some of them are so transparent. Others are merely pathetic.

So just don't fall for the sweet talk and the pretty face. Like the commercial used to say, "Always Rely on Genuine GM Parts from Mr. GoodWrench". A guy that is handy with his toolbox is a guy to keep around. WOOF. Mega hairy muscle hugs and Happy March.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Latest On the Harvey Milk Film, Scriptwriter, Dustin Lance Black

The following is an article from the Bay Area Reporter on the screenwriter who is currently involved in the big screen pic about the life, loves and sad ending of the first modern day gay leader, Harvey Milk.

Castro couch-surfing with 'Milk' screenwriter Dustin Lanceby David Lamble It's late on a sunny Thursday morning in the Castro when a slim and radiantly beautiful young man, someone who would not seem out of place on the set of a Harry Potter movie, climbs the stairs of my Market Street flat, plops himself down on the worn, black couch, and explains why he's spent nearly half his life pursuing a dream to turn the life of a martyred gay politician into a film.

Dustin Lance Black is a polite and focused young man, a multi-talented writer/filmmaker who's spent the decade since college finding a creative platform to exorcise the demons of a complicated childhood spent boomeranging between military installations in the Central Valley and a Texas city that's home to the Alamo and his Mormon parents.

For the last couple of years, Black has been leading a kind of double life: by day, a staff writer for the wickedly funny HBO series Big Love, a witty satire on the cultural baggage shared by Utah's surviving polygamist families and the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints.

Weekends have found Black shooting up I-5, listening to a stack of opera CDs favored by his hero Harvey Milk, on a mission to track down every surviving member of Milk's political clan.For nearly a quarter century, the desire to fashion a fictional template for the slain gay politician's achingly brief career has tempted and ultimately frustrated talents from fabled director Oliver Stone to Milk biographer Randy Shilts.

To Black, the core of the problem has always been to locate the emotional heartbeat of the story, the elusive but vital role Milk has played in the imaginations of generations of queer kids looking for a father figure in the miasma of myth that has grown up around him.

"It was tough. It was clearly, in my mind, a gay movie. I wasn't so interested in the politics, I wasn't so interested in Dan White; I was interested in this man who, to me at least, was a father figure to his people to people who lost their fathers, their parents and their families because of their sexuality. Here was this father figure, and it was something I craved!"

Boy crushChildhood for Lance Black meant growing up in San Antonio, Texas, surrounded by military bases. "I had my first crushes on a boy neighbor when I was like six, seven. I knew what was going on, I knew I liked him, but what Texas did and what the culture of growing up Mormon, growing up military [reinforced], was, the very second thought I had, 'I really like that boy, and it's not just as a friend,' the very second thought was, 'I'm sick, I'm wrong, I'm going to hell. And if I ever admit it, I'll be hurt, and I'll be brought down.'"

It wasn't until college and he was well on his way to fulfilling his dreams that Black discovered an alternative to the mantras of guilt and silence, of duty and obedience promoted by the army and the church. He discovered his father figure; fittingly, for a boy yearning to be a filmmaker, he found him at the movies.

It was in the mid-90s that Black first saw Rob Epstein's Oscar-winning documentary, The Times of Harvey Milk. "When I was in high school, we moved from Texas to Salinas, California. My stepdad had been transferred to Fort Ord. I started getting into theatre and acting, working at The Western Stage down in the Salinas-Monterey area, coming up here for TV auditions, and getting to know, for the first time in my life, out gay men."It was the late 80s, early 90s, it wasn't a hopeful time in San Francisco. The one story of hope you did hear was about Harvey Milk, this one man who accomplished so much in a short period of time, and was really the charismatic leader that people were looking for when I was here.

"In college, when I first saw a copy of the documentary, I remember just breaking down into tears. I thought, 'I just want to do something with this, why hasn't someone done something with this?'"The key to the puzzle, to separating fact from fiction about Milk, lay in a chance introduction to the late supervisor's former aide and disciple Cleve Jones. Jones brought Black into the circle of Milk's political family: photographer Danny Nicoletta, Milk's one-time City Hall assistant and leather-jacketed friend Anne Kronenberg, and members of the Democratic Party machine whose grip on election success frustrated Milk's ambitions.Black admits to suffering from the professional screenwriter's greatest curse: the sprawling script that attempts to cover every possible facet of a hopelessly complex story. "You learn to kill your babies, whole scenes and chapters" must fall out of the script. In effect, "you're killing real people," excising colorful moments in Milk's life involving his eventual successor, Harry Britt; his 1976 race for an a state assembly seat in the Castro (lost to Art Agnos); and much of the vital battle to defeat the anti-gay-schoolteacher ballot initiative sponsored by right-wing state senator John Briggs.

For Black, one of the hardest tasks was not to oversimplify Milk's often tortured emotional journey. He pruned more than a dozen boyfriends down to two indispensable lovers: Scott Smith, perhaps the one true love (played in the film by Indiewood heartthrob James Franco); and one of Harvey's last flames, the mercurial Jack Lira (Mexican filmmaking sensation Diego Luna), the boyfriend who stood arm-in-arm with Milk as the newly elected "Mayor of Castro Street" joined his friends and neighbors in a joyful stroll down Market Street to an outdoor swearing-in ceremony. As Milk once quipped, "Sex entered into it, on the front page of The Examiner, there's Supervisor Harvey Milk with his lover."

Through the travail of draft after draft, as the Milk script was winnowed down to the core beats about the man, Black never forgot the little boy from San Antonio whose Texas childhood shadowed his dreams. "Texas kept me very quiet. I became intensely shy, I had thoughts of suicide. I was a pretty dark kid, because I had an acute awareness of my sexuality, and was absolutely convinced that I was wrong.

In his Hope Speech, Harvey Milk says, 'There's that kid in San Antonio, and he heard tonight that a gay man was elected to public office, and that will give him hope.' And when I first heard that speech, it really did that. It really, really gave me hope, for the first time."

I've been waiting for this big screen adaptation of Harvey Milk's life for a long time.

I hope none of us will be disappointed. Since Harvey's death, there has never been a "national" gay leader to take his place. Maybe this movie will inspire that special person to become a national gay leader and help win the right of LGBT to marry in every state in the Union.

We can only be so hopeful.