Category: News

Sexual Health For Gay and Bisexual Men

Sexual Health For Gay and Bisexual Men

Having unprotected penetrative sex is the most likely way to pass on a sexually transmitted infection (STI).

Using a condom helps protect against HIV and lowers the risk of getting many other STIs.

A survey of gay and bisexual men by Stonewall revealed that 1 in 3 men had never had an HIV test, and 1 in 4 had never been tested for any STI.

Men who have sex with men (MSM) should have a check-up at least every 6 months at a sexual health or genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic. This is important, as some STIs do not cause any symptoms.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a liver infection that’s spread by a virus in poo.

The infection is usually spread in contaminated food or drink, or by poor hand-washing. However you can also get hepatitis A through sex, including oral-anal sex (“rimming”) and giving oral sex after anal sex. MSM with multiple partners are particularly at risk.

Symptoms of hepatitis A can appear up to 8 weeks after sex and include tiredness and feeling sick (nausea).

Hepatitis A is not usually life-threatening and most people make a full recovery within a couple of months.

MSM can avoid getting hepatitis A by:

  • washing hands after sex (bottom, groin and penis too by taking a shower, if you can)
  • changing condoms between anal and oral sex
  • using a barrier (such as a condom cut into a square) for rimming
  • using latex or non-latex gloves for fingering or fisting
  • not sharing sex toys
  • asking about the hepatitis A vaccine at a sexual health or GUM clinic

If you think you might have hepatitis A, or have any questions, visit a sexual health or GUM clinic. The hepatitis A vaccine is available for people travelling to countries where the disease is common.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a viral infection that causes inflammation of the liver. It does not usually cause obvious symptoms and may pass in a few months without treatment. However in some cases the infection can persist and cause serious liver disease, including cirrhosis and liver cancer.

Hepatitis B is spread through contact with the blood or body fluids of an infected person. MSM are at risk of hepatitis B but they can be protected by the hepatitis B vaccination.

Vaccination for MSM is available from sexual health clinics, genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinics or from GPs.

Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is a viral infection that causes inflammation of the liver. It often does not cause any obvious symptoms at first, but it can lead to serious liver disease if left untreated.

It is spread through contact with the blood of an infected person. Men who are concerned they are at risk should consult their doctor or sexual health clinic.

Hepatitis C can be treated and is curable in many cases. Find your local hepatitis C support service.

Gonorrhoea

This bacterial infection causes stinging when you pee, or the feeling that you want to pee but are unable to. It’s passed on through anal, oral or vaginal sex with an infected person.

Gonorrhoea is treated with antibiotics.

Non-specific urethritis (NSU)

This is inflammation of the urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the body) caused by bacteria. It is also called non-gonococcal urethritis (NGU) when the condition is not caused by gonorrhoea.

NSU is passed on in the same way as gonorrhoea and often has similar symptoms. It can also be caused by having lots of sex or masturbating a lot, which can make the urethra inflamed.

It can be treated with antibiotics.

Chlamydia

This is a bacterial infection of the urethra or bottom (rectum). It can also affect the throat, but this is less common. Chlamydia may cause a discharge, pain when you pee, or pain in the testicles. However, not everyone has symptoms.

It can be passed on during sex with an infected person in the same way as gonorrhoea. It’s treated with antibiotics.

Shigella

This is a bacterial infection of the intestine that causes severe diarrhoea and stomach cramps. It is often mistaken for food poisoning.

It can be passed on during sex, including anal-oral sex (“rimming”) and giving oral sex after anal sex. It is spread very easily – all it takes is a tiny amount of infected poo getting into your mouth.

A person with shigella can be infectious for up to a month. It can be treated with antibiotics. Men who suspect they have shigella should visit a sexual health clinic or their GP to get tested.

Men can avoid getting shigella by washing their hands after sex (bottom, groin and penis too by taking a shower, if you can), and changing condoms between anal and oral sex.

Using latex or non-latex gloves for fingering or fisting offers protection. And do not share sex toys or douching equipment.

Genital herpes

Genital herpes is a viral infection. Symptoms can include painful blisters and ulcers on or around the penis or bottom (anus), although some men have no symptoms.

The virus stays in the body and can cause outbreaks of blisters.

Genital herpes can be passed on through oral sex with someone who has a cold sore around or in their mouth, or by skin-to-skin genital contact with someone who has genital herpes.

Antiviral tablets and creams from a GP or sexual health clinic can help the symptoms.

Syphilis

Syphilis is a bacterial infection that causes a painless ulcer, usually in the genital area. The ulcer will disappear on its own but other symptoms may appear, such as a rash on the body and swollen glands.

In its early stages, syphilis is very infectious and can be passed on by close skin contact during sex. If you do not treat it, the infection can eventually spread to the brain or other parts of the body and cause serious, long-term problems.

Treatment is with antibiotic injections or tablets.

Genital warts

This is a common viral infection caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). It appears a few weeks or months after sex with an infected person. It can cause pinhead-size growths, mostly on or around the head of the penis but also in and around the bottom (anus).

The sooner warts are treated, the easier they are to manage. You cannot treat genital warts with the same type of cream you use for warts on other parts of your body. A doctor will freeze them or prescribe a cream to remove them.

You can reduce your risk of getting genital warts by getting the HPV vaccine.

MSM up to and including the age of 45 become eligible for free HPV vaccination on the NHS when they visit a sexual health or HIV clinic in England.

Pubic lice

Public lice (also known as “crabs”) are small, parasitic insects that live in body hair.

They are very small (only 2mm), so they can be difficult to see, although their tiny dark eggs can be seen stuck to hair.

Pubic lice prefer the pubic hair around your testicles and bottom but may also be found in body hair. They are not found on your scalp.

The lice are spread through close bodily contact with an infected person. They can also be spread by sharing clothes, towels or bedding, but this is rare. Symptoms include itching or a rash.

Treatment can be done at home with lotions or creams bought from a pharmacy (no prescription is needed).

Scabies

This is an infection caused by tiny mites that burrow under the skin. It causes intense itching for most people (though some hardly notice it).

Itching usually starts 2 or more weeks after sex with an infected person. You can also get scabies from sharing beds and towels, but this is less common.

Treatment is similar to treating pubic lice, although you may continue to itch for a few weeks after the mites have been removed.

Get tested

If you have any of the symptoms above or are worried you may have an STI, speak to your GP or visit a sexual health or GUM clinic.

Getting tested regularly is a good way to ensure you have a healthy sex life. NHS services are free.

The Gay Man’s Good Sex Guide

The Gay Man’s Good Sex Guide

I’m scared of bottoming

Most gay men will consider bottoming at some time. However, the thought of doing it for the first time can be scary. Don’t let that put you off.

You may prefer to douche before bottoming, especially if indulging in deep arse play like fisting or with large dicks/toys. Use plain, clean water, preferably at body temperature. Avoid using shower attachments – the water pressure can be dangerous. You can get douche bulbs online or from any good sex shop. Try not to go overboard and irritate the lining of your arse, as this can make you more vulnerable to STIs.

Get yourself relaxed with lots of foreplay like rimming or fingering. Some men do use amyl nitrate (poppers) to relax the muscles around their arse but there are two major health warnings. Poppers:

  • have been linked with an increased risk of HIV transmission
  • don’t mix with erection drugs like Viagra and may cause a heart attack.

Deep breathing is far safer, helps you to relax and relaxes the arse too.

Find a position that suits the size, angle and curvature of your partner’s dick. Any position where your knees are bent and drawn into your chest, whether you are kneeling, lying on your back or on your side, will probably lead to more comfortable sex, or will be a good position to start from.

There’s no such thing as too much lube. It just makes everything more slippery, which isn’t a bad thing. Use water- or silicone-based lubricants if you’re using latex condoms. Avoid any lube with nonoxynol-9. It irritates the lining of the arse, may make sex more painful and also increases your risk of HIV.

Look after your arse. You can’t get a new one. So know your limits. With time you may be able to take larger objects but there’s always a maximum size: about 4-5 inches diameter (the width of your pelvic opening).

How can I be a great top?

Take your time and listen to your partner. This is as much about the emotional as the physical side. If he’s nervous, he might want reassuring that you’re not going to hurt him and that he’s in control.

Find out what he likes. For some guys, topping is about being dominant (and some bottoms like that), but for others, it’s a two-way street. Ask him how he likes it. Listen to his reactions too. If he’s making noises that suggest he’s in pain, ease up a bit.

The first time you top, you may be a little anxious. This may make your erection less hard than usual. Relax – you’re both there to enjoy yourselves. If you have erection problems, concentrate on something else like kissing for a while. (If getting or staying hard is a regular problem, see our section on ED on page 6.)

Our advice above on lubes and position apply as much to tops as to bottoms. Lube is essential when topping. If you have a bigger than average cock, any position where the cheeks of his arse can provide a buffer to your length (like him lying face down) will be a good bet until he’s used to it.

Remember: It’s not only bottoms at risk of HIV. Tops are at risk too, although it’s statistically less likely. Anal mucus can carry high concentrations of HIV, and the membrane just inside the tip of your cock and the foreskin can absorb that directly into the bloodstream if you fuck a guy’s arse without a condom. You know the solution. Rubber up.

What is the Male G-Spot?

Some gay men call the prostate the ‘male G-spot’ as it is responsible for a lot of the pleasure you feel when getting fucked. Substances like steroids can also cause the prostate to enlarge. But there’s no evidence gay men are more or less likely to get prostate problems than straight men.

I’m going cruising

Don’t put sex before safety. Trust your instinct about where and what isn’t safe. Carry condoms and lube. (If bottoming, you might want to put the condom on the top yourself.)

Don’t flash cash and make sure you know where the exits are.

What about HIV?

Men who have sex with men account for over half of HIV diagnoses in the UK.

It’s possible to have HIV without knowing it. Most men experience some symptoms around two to six weeks after infection (such as a sore throat, fever, body aches or rash). These symptoms are common to other illnesses and many people do not realise they could be a sign of HIV infection.

It’s estimated that 16% of HIV-positive gay men don’t know they have the virus.

If left untreated, HIV attacks the body’s immune system, leaving it vulnerable to infections we would normally fight off. There is no cure but, if you are diagnosed with HIV and treated, you should have a normal life expectancy.

HIV lives in the blood and in some body fluids. To get HIV, one of these fluids from someone with HIV has to get into your blood:

  • cum and precum
  • anal mucus (found inside your arse)
  • blood.

Sex without condoms is the most likely way for gay men to become infected with HIV.

HIV can also be found in vaginal fluids, including menstrual blood, and breast milk.

You can’t get HIV from:

  • kissing
  • spitting
  • being bitten
  • contact with unbroken, healthy skin
  • being sneezed on
  • sharing baths, towels or cutlery
  • using the same toilets and swimming pools
  • mouth-to-mouth resuscitation
  • animals or insects like mosquitoes.

The more HIV someone has in their bodily fluids, the more infectious they are, and the more likely they are to have serious health problems. HIV treatment lowers the levels of HIV in the body and can make the carrier less infectious, but it won’t get rid of the virus completely.

Men who have sex with men should get tested roughly every six months for HIV. You can get tested at any sexual health clinic. A lot of places do one-hour testing or even quicker. It just involves a finger prick, so no worries about needles. You can also get home testing kits by post.

If you think you’ve been exposed to HIV, go to your local sexual health clinic or A&E as soon as possible, preferably within 48 hours. They will be able to prescribe you with a 28-day course of anti-HIV medication called post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), which may prevent you from becoming infected with HIV.

HIV isn’t a death sentence, and many people with HIV live long and healthy lives with the right care. But that doesn’t mean it’s trivial. GMFA provides information and advice for gay men living with HIV on their website.

What is hepatitis?

Like HIV, the only signs of hepatitis — a blood-borne liver disease — may be a short flu-like illness. There are three sexually-transmitted forms of hepatitis (hep): A, B and C.

There are vaccines for Hep A and B. These will usually clear up on their own (although you should seek advice just in case yours doesn’t).

Less common but potentially more serious is Hep C. There is no vaccine and it won’t clear up on its own.

All of these activities can transmit hepatitis:

  • unprotected sex
  • rimming
  • fingering
  • sharing toys
  • fisting
  • group sex
  • sex without condoms
  • sharing needles or drug straws.
New Trends in Gay Male Relationships

New Trends in Gay Male Relationships

What are the relationships of young gay men like today? It can be surprisingly difficult to answer this question with confidence. Little research is being done on gay male couples—how they build and sustain their relationships, what they think about monogamy and marriage, what they believe about the attitudes of their peers.

We did a self-funded study in 2010 called Beyond Monogamy. We wanted to know more about the experiences of long-term non-monogamous male couples. Because we were examining long-term relationships, we had, by definition, an older cohort participate in the study. But we’d been hearing that younger gay men had some different perspectives. This year, we completed our study, which focused on gay men ages 18-40 and explored attitudes and practices about monogamy and marriage.

We discovered a lot of interesting things. Younger gay men do value monogamy more than their older counterparts. They also believe in marriage. Some are applying a practice we call “being monogamish”—not exactly monogamous, but not wide open. Virtually all of our respondents believe that communicating with partners about their sexual lives is a vital part of having a successful relationship.

Our study also affirmed the wonderful and creative diversity found in male couples. I think this is useful information for anyone working with gay men, and for young gay men themselves. These men have found many ways to build strong, healthy and loving relationships—strategies we believe would be useful for all populations.

Monogamy and Marriage Are Very Popular

Even though we had heard anecdotally that younger men were interested in monogamy, we were surprised at how widespread this was. Eighty-six percent of couples described their relationships as monogamous—compared with 30-50% of couples among older generations. Among single respondents in our survey, 90% were actively seeking monogamous relationships.

We also heard that marriage is definitely becoming the norm. Among couples, 77% were either married, in domestic partnerships or planning to marry. Among single men, 92% expected to marry. Among all respondents, 62% said most of their couple friends are married or likely to marry.

Marriage was just as common among non-monogamous couples as monogamous.

Monogamy is a Conscious and Deliberate Choice

Before we looked at our survey results, we had some notion that monogamy had become a sort of “default” choice for a lot of younger gay men. We thought perhaps this was a consequence of assimilation—being more integrated into the general population fueled a tendency to mimic traditional heterosexual models, including the expectation that couples would be monogamous.

We found, though, that monogamous couples (76% of our respondents) were fully conscious about making that choice. There was nothing “default” about it. They were aware of other options and norms and were choosing to be monogamous. The men also brought considerable attention to strategies that would keep their relationship strong within a monogamous model.

These included the importance of communicating honestly and regularly about such things as acknowledging attractions, how to cope with temptations to stray, and keeping their sex lives together active and satisfying over time. This commitment to ongoing communication brought a lot of depth to these relationships.

Perceived benefits of being monogamous included that it encourages trust, security and closeness, that it “feels right,” and that it minimizes conflict and jealousy. A few respondents mentioned greater acceptance by family or greater respect from friends or the community at large.

The Monogamish Option

In the quantitative part of this survey (which we conducted first), a small but significant number of couples described themselves as monogamous even though they had occasional three-ways or sex with people outside the relationship. We were curious about this.

We conducted a second, qualitative survey in order to explore this. In this survey, we asked respondents to self-identify as (1) monogamous, (2) non-monogamous, or (3) monogamous but held “loosely”—monogamish. Gay columnist Dan Savage first coined the term “monogamish” (Savage calls it “mostly monogamous with a little squish around the edges”).

Among self-described monogamish individuals (18% of our respondents), 75% always “played together” as a couple when engaged with a third person, whether at a party, a bathhouse or home. Twenty-five percent mostly played together and very occasionally saw other partners separately. Once again, communication was frequently cited as an essential element of making the monogamish approach successful.

Respondents had a variety of reasons monogamish relationships worked for them. These included the opportunity to accommodate differences in sexual interests or libidos, and the chance to compensate for limitations related to health or disability. Many enjoyed the added fun and excitement it brought to their sex lives. Others liked the way it kept their relationships fresh.

Choosing Non-Monogamy

A smaller set of respondents (6%) identified as non-monogamous. More than half of these relationships started out as monogamous, then opened their relationships after some period of time. This was a trend we also saw in our earlier study of long-term non-monogamous couples. Half of those longer-term couples (average relationship length 20 years) started out monogamous and then opened their relationships later. On average, the longer-term couples began to consider themselves non-monogamous about seven years into the relationship.

Ways to approach non-monogamy are as varied as the couples themselves. Most follow norms and rules that develop over time. Common agreements include honesty, limited emotional involvement with others, and putting the primary relationship first (e.g., “Don’t cancel on me to do something more exciting with someone else”). Many also establish rules about safe sex.

Perceived advantages of non-monogamy included having a variety of partners, the chance to have new or different experiences and addressing differences in libido and sexual interests. Fifteen percent of these couples described their sex together as very limited or non-existent. However, they fully valued their home-life, felt very loving toward each other, and saw non-monogamy as a way to keep what was best about their relationship (love, companionship and creating a life together).

Data Busts Up Some Myths

There are some persistent myths gay men hear about their relationships. The first is that it is impossible for gay men to stay true to a monogamous commitment. The second is that non-monogamous relationships don’t last.

A lot of the data in our studies counters these myths. We found that both monogamous and non-monogamous couples can have enduring, healthy and happy relationships. We also found that it was the norm for long-term couples, both monogamous and non-monogamous, to have enduring, satisfying sex lives within their primary relationships.

We fully expected that non-monogamous couples would cite the need to actively choose their relationship style and communicate regularly about it. But we were surprised to hear monogamous couples use the same kind of language to describe their efforts: seeing monogamy as a choice, making sure both partners embrace the concept, avoiding assumptions and discussing often.

Both camps also complained equally about the lack of support they receive in the gay community for their choices. We think this comes back to the fact that gay men’s relationships are not “discussable.” People both inside and outside the community make assumptions about these relationships without having a lot of data or information about what’s actually going on.

There is tremendous interest in this kind of information about gay men’s relationships and a good deal of wisdom to be discovered from our respondents. Even now, six years after posting our original study, we get 200 hits a day at our website, and the report on that study is being downloaded 250 times a month.

Some Conclusions

Gay men’s relationships play a role in many different aspects of community health, including the transmission of HIV and other STDs. A number of our respondents mentioned feeling safer within a monogamous relationship because of this, but it was never the sole reason for making the choice.

They enjoyed the payoffs—“I don’t have to use condoms;” “I don’t need to take PrEP”—but they chose monogamy for other reasons. There is nothing in this study that would lead us to conclude that preaching monogamy would be an effective HIV prevention strategy.

We do think, however, that we have opportunities to provide more meaningful support to gay men’s relationships by doing the following:

  • Emphasize that it’s a conscious choice. Affirm that couples actively choose relationship styles. Help them recognize the value of communication and the importance of both partners being on the same page in terms of agreements and rules. We had a few respondents say, “Monogamy wouldn’t be my first choice, but having an open relationship was a show-stopper for my partner. So I chose monogamy.” Others said, “I told my new partner that I had learned from my first relationship that I couldn’t be in a monogamous relationship, and that I wanted a non-monogamous relationship where we were honest and open about our experiences.”
  • Provide support and skill-building for communication. This includes acknowledging attractions and feelings of jealousy. Expect that issues of self-esteem will emerge. Interestingly, feeling attracted to others, feeling jealous, and feeling insecure were as common in monogamous relationships as non-monogamous ones.
  • Expect communication to be iterative. Encourage couples to revisit choices and agreements periodically.

Every couple is unique. We are all fluid beings, and our relationships will change over time. If you’re working with gay men, we hope you’ll consider referring them to the study to learn more about the range of relationship experiences gay men are having and the creative approaches they are bringing to their relationships.

11 Types of Sexualities and Their Meanings

11 Types of Sexualities and Their Meanings

There’s a wide array of sexual orientations that someone may identify with.

Sexual identity, or orientation, is the “gender that you are attracted to, or if you are interested in sex at all,” Jamie LeClaire, a sexuality educator, writer, and consultant, told Business Insider.

In the United States, the LGBT population — and the mainstream acceptance of this community — is only growing. Gallup estimated that the percentage of Americans who identify as LGBT was 4.5% in 2017, while 8.1% of millennials self-identified as LGBT.

In June, the Supreme Court decided that antidiscrimination employment protections apply to those within the LGBT umbrella — meaning that your employer cannot discriminate against you for your sexual identity.

More recently, as NPR reports, Supreme Court Justices Thomas Alito and Clarence Thomas “issued a broadside against the high court’s 2015 same-sex marriage decision,” which caused worry among some members of the LGBT community.

This rising awareness, coupled with the reach of social media and ever-increasing visibility, has led to more mainstream recognition of different sexual identities outside of just “gay” or “straight.” But even within those categories, there’s a variety of different terms people identify with.

The historical concept of sexual identities is relatively new.

“The sexual identity in and of itself is a more recent phenomenon, so terms like heterosexual and homosexual came about in the late 1800s,” Dr. Brandon Robinson, an assistant professor of gender and sexuality studies at the University of California, Riverside, told Business Insider. “Identity is a more recent notion of who we are.”

There has also been pushback to the creation of sexual identity markers, Robinson noted. In particular, scholar Michel Foucault viewed the rise of identity markers as “a way for science to be like, ‘heterosexuality is right,’ and we’re gonna label all these other sexual identities as well, as deviant sexualities.”

Yet, sexual identity — and finding one to identify with — can also help build community and allow individuals to understand their own desires. Much of this community building takes place online.

“I think social media has really transformed sexual identity, especially for sexual minorities, because often before social media, the only place you could find other LGBTQ people were gay bars,” Robinson said. “Of course, those have an age limit. Normally you have to be 21 to get in. And so I think social media has allowed much younger people to find community.”

For those navigating their own sexual identity, looking to learn more, or who are simply curious, Business Insider has compiled a list of more commonly known and used terms. Some people may find multiple identities resonate with them, while others may choose not to identify with any defined terms.

Lesbian

Broadly and historically speaking, “lesbian” has been defined as a woman who is attracted to other women. However, LeClaire notes that people who don’t identify as female will still use the label.

“I know plenty of nonbinary people who identify as lesbian,” LeClaire said.

The GLAAD Media Reference Guide defines nonbinary as a term ” … used by some people who experience their gender identity and/or gender expression as falling outside the categories of man and woman. They may define their gender as falling somewhere in between man and woman, or they may define it as wholly different from these terms.”

For PinkNews, Amy Ashenden interviewed three individuals who identify as both nonbinary and lesbian.

“I think it’s sort of disingenuous to claim that you can’t be both nonbinary and lesbian because you can definitely have an authentic lesbian experience as a nonbinary person,” one participant, H, told Ashenden.

Bisexual

LeClaire defines bisexuality as an attraction to more than one gender.

While the prefix “bi” means two, LeClaire said that modern understanding of bisexuality encompasses attraction to more than just two genders.

LeClaire points to the Bisexual Manifesto of 1990, originally published in the now-shuttered Bay Area Bisexual Network’s publication Anything That Moves, as a key document in defining the current usage of bisexual.

“Bisexuality is a whole, fluid identity … In fact, don’t assume that there are only two genders,” the manifesto says. “Do not mistake our fluidity for confusion, irresponsibility, or an inability to commit. Do not equate promiscuity, infidelity, or unsafe sexual behavior with bisexuality.”

Pansexual

Pansexuality and bisexuality can often be used interchangeably. Merriam-Webster defines pansexuality as “of, relating to, or characterized by sexual desire or attraction that is not limited to people of a particular gender identity or sexual orientation.”

Identifying as pansexual can sometimes be due to a generational difference, according to LeClaire, particularly for individuals who began to identify themselves with liking more than two genders before the more modern definition of bisexuality.

“Some people also like to differentiate pansexuality as meaning that you don’t really see gender or that doesn’t even play even as a slight role in your sexual attraction,” LeClaire said. “I think everyone kind of defines that for themselves, really.”

Gay

Historically, gay is used for men who are attracted to men. LeClaire notes that this term is sometimes used interchangeably with lesbian.

GLAAD’s media resource glossary says that gay is “used to describe people whose enduring physical, romantic, and/or emotional attractions are to people of the same sex (e.g., gay man, gay people).”

The GLAAD guide notes that it is often preferable to call people gay rather than homosexual, which is “an outdated term.”

Asexual

The term “asexual” broadly refers to someone who doesn’t experience sexual attraction or desire for sex. But asexuality itself is, according to LeClaire, a spectrum.

Under the catchall umbrella of asexuality is graysexual, which refers to someone who falls “between the lines of sexual and asexual,” according to LeClaire. Someone who is graysexual may have conditional sex, or have it depend upon the person.

Another identity within the asexual umbrella is demisexual, which also refers to conditional sexual attraction, generally to someone the individual knows very well.

“You have developed a rapport with them, you’ve developed maybe like a loving friendship and you tend to only feel sexual attraction under those conditions,” LeClaire said.

Allosexual

Allosexuality is the converse of asexuality; it means you have sexual attraction and desire sex, according to LeClaire.

As Claire Lampen reported in Women’s Health Magazine, the usage of the term allosexual is rooted in the asexual community. It’s meant to reframe an assumption of attraction.

“The term ‘allosexual’ helps eliminate the idea that being ‘asexual’ is abnormal,” Lampen writes.

Heterosexual

Heterosexuality is often known as being “straight.” The LGBTQIA Resource Center at UC Davis defines heterosexuality as a “sexual orientation in which a person feels physically and emotionally attracted to people of a gender other than their own.”

Around 90.1% of regular characters on prime-time scripted broadcasts in the 2018-2019 season were heterosexual, according to GLAAD Media Institute’s report “Where We Are on TV.”

Homosexual

Homosexuality broadly refers to gay and lesbian people. However, the LGBTQIA Resource Center at UC Davis calls it an “outdated term.

“Historically, [homosexuality] was a term used to pathologize gay and lesbian people.”

The GLAAD Media Reference Guide highlights “homosexual” as a term to avoid.

“Because of the clinical history of the word ‘homosexual,’ it is aggressively used by anti-gay extremists to suggest that gay people are somehow diseased or psychologically/emotionally disordered — notions discredited by the American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association in the 1970s,” the guide says.

Monosexual

Monosexuality is attraction to one gender. Lesbian or gay can fall under this category, according to LeClaire.

People who identify as exclusively heterosexual can also be considered monosexual, as they are attracted to one gender.

Polysexual

Polysexuality means to be attracted to many different types of genders, but not all genders, according to Robinson.

Actor Ezra Miller has not identified himself as polysexual, but has discussed being in what he calls a “polycule,” a group of sexual partners of different genders.

“I’m trying to find queer beings who understand me as a queer being off the bat, who I make almost a familial connection with, and I feel like I’m married to them 25 lifetimes ago from the moment we meet,” Miller told Ryan Gajewski in a Playboy interview.

Queer

Queer is a catchall term that encompasses any identity outside of cisgender (someone who does not identify as transgender), heterosexual, or allosexual, according to LeClaire.

LeClaire said that the usage of queer, however, is very dependent on the person; not everyone will refer to themselves as queer.

The hesitation to use the term queer may be due, in part, to the age of the person using it.

“Identity categories are also very generational,” Robinson said.

Historically, queer has been used as a derogatory word for those within the LGBTQIA community. WNYC’s Nancy — self-described by its hosts as a queer podcast — devoted a whole episode to the linguistic evolution of the word “queer” from slur to tentative term of empowerment. In 1990, the group Queer Nation was founded by AIDS activists; the usage of the term, historian Amy Sueyoshi told WNYC, was meant as a form of reclamation.

The stylebook for NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists, acknowledges the legacy and modern usage of the term:

“Originally a pejorative term for gay, now being reclaimed by some gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and non-heterosexual people as a self-affirming umbrella term. Some people may identify their sexual orientation as queer because they find the other labels inaccurate or overly restrictive. Some straight people who identify with LGBTQ culture, such as children of queer parents, call themselves ‘culturally queer.’ Queer is still offensive as an epithet to many.”

Thin Dildos: It’s Simple But Does The Job Well!

Thin Dildos: It’s Simple But Does The Job Well!

Dildos are surely great funs, if used in the correct way. And if you’re a beginner to dildos, you must consider thin dildos to start with. They are simple but using them will never give you the chance to regret. This post explores almost everything about thin dildos. Keep reading!

The Origin

Masturbation is an extremely healthy activity that, in my opinion, brings a woman closer to her sexuality. Besides, it allows her to get to know her body better and with this, she knows how to better guide her partner to provide the desired pleasure to her.

Today, dildos are part of the sex toy kit of almost all women. However, when it was invented in the 19th century, it was actually used to treat women who had symptoms of anxiety and melancholy. The story is very funny and if you want to know more , watch out the  film Hysteria, by Tanya Wexler.

Now, let’s get back to the specific type of dildo- the thin one! Despite different sizes and shapes, these have the basic function of stimulating the intimate region. They can be made of silicone, elastane, acrylic or cyber skin.

A Few Words of Greater Significance!!

Thin dildos are devices that can be magical for many women, especially when they can’t reach orgasm just by penetration. To keep them safe and healthy, it is important to have some special care of them.

Some materials like latex can cause allergic reactions. If you have any type of allergy, stick to the manufacturer’s information and the stamps of the National Health Surveillance Agency.

Another important precaution is cleaning. Yes, vibrators have to be cleaned! After use, wash them with antibacterial soap and let them dry well. The batteries and all electrical parts must be removed before washing.

One more thing, like the other varieties, thin dildos are also non-transferable items. So, due to the possibility of passing diseases like candidacies or herpes, it is not a good idea to share your thin dildo with others.

Is It Possible to Have Sex With A Thin Dildo?

I don’t even have to answer, right! As I already showed, thin dildos are very interesting to be used together with a partner. But you can also innovate and use it dildo while being penetrated or at the time of foreplay.

But it is important to talk to your partner first. Although it is an excellent way to get sex out of the routine and try new experiences, many men are intimidated with the use of

dildos or other sexual objects.

Now, Some Great Tips that Can Help You in Getting the Most out of the Use

Let’s get in to the topic directly!!

Plan Your Budget

There are thin dildos out there for all kinds of budgets. You can buy a very cheap basic one or you can get a better one with a better budget. You can even find dildos that you can control from the mobile phone, with multiple speed and functions. They are great to play distance with your partner!

Determine the Size  

The size of the thin dildos really matters. How to choose the size of your erotic toy? Before buying your thin dildo, be sure to check its insertable dimensions. You won’t believe how many people buy one of those and then send it back after seeing it’s size. So, make sure to carefully read the descriptions of the product just like how these products’ descriptions are written.

The Preparation

Wash your thin dildo before using it for the first time. Then find a comfortable and quiet place where you are not disturbed so you can focus on enjoying it. Remember, some dildos are louder than others. So, if you share a flat with other people, first, consider checking the noise of the same first and judge whether closing a door will work or not. As a rule, low-priced dildos are louder and those of better price are quieter.

Get To Point Up

Once everything is ready, apply some lubricant to your toy.  Thin dildos are not very good at preliminary games, so even women need some lubricant to get started. Experts always recommend the use of water-based lubricants since they are good for the materials of your toy, ensuring the durability of the same.

Enjoy!

It is usually best to start slowly when you are using a new thin dildo. Touch and play with your dildo, before focusing on your pleasure points. After getting used to the toy, you can increase the pace and go ahead calmly.

How to Clean Thin Dildos?
Cleaning a dildo is not as bad as cleaning the garage or washing the car!! Here are three easy tips that can make the cleaning and caring for your dildo even easier. Let’s check them out now!!

Clean It Before and After Each Use

The easiest way to do this is to spray an antibacterial sex toy cleaner on it and then clean it with a lint-free towel. If you have a vibrating thin dildo, you don’t have to worry about damaging the engine by cleaning it in this way.

Water Based Lubricants

Water-based lubricants are completely safe to use with all types of dildos, as well as preservatives. Other lubricants can cause chemical reactions with some materials such as silicone or rubber.

So, now when you know almost everything about thin dildos, what’s stopping you?? Order the best thin dildo for you today!! Trust me; it will help you in loving yourself in a much sensible way. Moreover, you will enjoy the acts of making yourself happy like never before!!

Gay Men in a Relationship

Gay Men in a Relationship

Us guys in relationships make up around 60% of the gay community. We also make up around 25% of new HIV infections which sends a clear message that HIV can affect us all, whether we’re coupled up or not. We all need to be proactive in ending HIV, no matter what type of relationship we are in – monogamous, open, poz/neg, neg/neg or poz/poz.  Find out more at The Guardian.

How can we do this? Well, we need to ensure neg guys and those of us who aren’t sure of our status test often, that poz guys treat early, and all of us continue to stay safe. You should know that gay relationships are more than just using dildos on holidays. Much more than that.

IT ALL STARTS WITH TESTING

If either you and/or your boo are negative, your part in ending HIV begins with testing.

A lot of cases of HIV transmission are from guys who think they are neg, but actually have HIV and don’t know it. That’s why regular and frequent testing is so important; even if you are in a relationship, and even more so if you are in an open relationship.

If you’re a neg guy, you should be testing at least twice a year, four times a year if you are in an open relationship with plenty of action and each time you think you may have been exposed to HIV.

With rapid HIV testing, results are back within 30 minutes, so it’s easier than ever. Find your nearest test site in NSW here, alternatively if you are in Sydney you can also visit a[TEST] which is free and requires no Medicare card.

KEEP ONE ANOTHER SAFE

HIV prevention strategies have evolved over the last few years. Condoms and lube still provide great protection against HIV and other STIs but now we also have PrEP and UVL added to the mix. This means that we now have a range of options available to us so we can have as hot a time as we like, all while keeping ourselves and our partner/s safe.

MONOGAMOUS?

If you’re both negative you may have agreed to fuck each other exclusively and therefore may want to stop using condoms. If so, you need to test and be sure of your status before you throw a farewell party for your rubbers. Talk, Test, Test, Trust is a useful strategy when deciding not to use condoms any more when you’re both negative.

OPEN?

Being in an open relationship where you’re both neg means that regular testing for both of you is the best way to always know your status and keep one another safe. Opening things up adds a level of complexity to your relationship. You should have an honest conversation about the rules and expectations and consider whether PrEP fits into the equation.

POZ AND NEG?

Gay couple is having fun in the woods with their dog. Carrying a dog in a backpack on his back. They are happy and joyful. Enjoying a beautiful autumn day in the mountain forest.

If one of you is poz and the other neg, then testing is still important for both of you. It keeps the neg partner’s HIV status in check, keeps track of the positive partner’s viral load, and if either of you contract an STI, you can get on to treatment sooner than later.

For the poz guy, getting on treatment to achieve a UVL is a sure way to prevent HIV transmission to the neg partner. In the case where a UVL cannot be achieved, using condoms and/or the neg partner taking PrEP are effective alternatives.

BOTH POZ?

If you’re both poz and plan to not use condoms, this is considered a safe sex practice against HIV transmission. However, the risk of STI transmission is significantly increased if you don’t use condoms, so as a couple, make sure you take that into consideration. If you can’t help it though, you can always use erotic butt plugs for gay partners you have.

Everyone has a part to play in ending HIV by 2020. You, your boo and the guys you play with too.

Understanding the Difference Between Sexual Identity, Preference, and Fantasy

Understanding the Difference Between Sexual Identity, Preference, and Fantasy

Paul, a slim, attractive, 29-year-old white man who owns a landscaping company, was referred to me by his therapist (with whom he was making no progress) shortly after he attempted suicide. He told me that eight months previously, Julie, his fiancée, had discovered that he’d been having unprotected anal sex with men. When she confronted him, he denied it, but soon broke down and confessed. Devastated and angry, she broke off their engagement, accusing him of being duplicitous (she believed they were monogamous) and secretive. Worst of all, she felt frightened that he’d put her at risk for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.

Paul loved Julie and said he knew she was the woman for him. They’d dated for three years and been engaged for one. But Julie had rebuffed all his desperate and obsessive attempts to win her back. Ultimately, she’d had a restraining order issued against him. Shortly after this, Paul engaged in a binge of sexual acting-out with both men and women, culminating in the suicide attempt that brought him to my office.

The truth is that many men who have sex with men aren’t gay or bisexual. Although their confused mental and emotional state resembles that of the initial stages of coming out, gay men go on to develop a gay identity, whereas these men don’t.

Therapists who treat such men need to realize that just because a client is sexual with the same gender doesn’t necessarily reflect his sexual or romantic orientation. While we may believe we’ve accurately assessed whether a client is gay, it isn’t up to us as therapists to make this judgment.

Understanding Straight Men Who Have Sex with Men

There’s growing evidence that many men who have sex with men aren’t all gay or bisexual. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 3 million men who self-identify as straight secretly have sex with other men—putting their wives or girlfriends at risk for HIV infection and other sexually transmitted infections.

To best treat these men, therapists and clients need to be able to differentiate four terms that are often confused: sexual identity and orientation; sexual preferences; sexual fantasies; and sexual behavior. Contrary to common usage, they aren’t always in alignment.

Sexual identity and orientation encompasses one’s sexual and romantic identity, in which thoughts, fantasies, and behaviors work together in concert. It’s the alignment of affectional, romantic, psychological, spiritual, and sexual feelings and desires for those of the same or opposite gender. Sexual orientation doesn’t change over time. One’s sexual behaviors and preferences might change, but like one’s temperament, one’s orientation remains mostly stable. The term also refers to how someone self-identifies, not how others may categorize him or her. Some people self-identify as straight, while others self-identify as gay or lesbian, bisexual, or questioning. It’s important as therapists to ask your clients how they self-identify, regardless of with whom they have sex.

Sexual preferences refer to sexual acts, positions, and erotic scenarios that someone prefers to have while engaging in sexual activity. The term takes into account what individuals like to do and get into sexually, not necessarily with whom they like to do it. Preferences and erotic interests can change over time, as one becomes more open or closed to certain thoughts and behaviors.

Sexual fantasies are any thoughts that one finds arousing. They can encompass anything—sexual positions, romantic encounters, body parts, clothing and shoe fetishes, even rape. Sexual fantasies aren’t necessarily acted out. In fact, in many cases, they aren’t.

Sexual behavior is any behavior intended to pleasure oneself and/or one’s sexual partner. It doesn’t necessarily reflect one’s orientation. For example, men who are imprisoned engage in sexual behaviors with other men, but do so out of sexual necessity, not because of erotic interest in another man. They desire the behavior and the sexual release it achieves, and the gender of the partner is secondary.

Why Men Have Sex with Men

For straight men who have sex with men, same-sex encounters aren’t about romance or sexual attraction and desire, but about sexual and physiological arousal—”getting off” with another who’s male and accessible. They don’t sexually desire or get aroused by looking at other men, only by the sexual act. But if they don’t actively desire other men, how do they get to the point of having sex with them? These men typically want to bond with and get affection from other men. Their behavior may reflect a desire to experiment, to engage in something that’s taboo, or to express inner psychological conflicts involving their sexual feelings and desires that have nothing to do with having a gay or bisexual identity.

Straight men who have sex with men do so for a variety of reasons. Some have been sexually abused and are compulsively reenacting childhood sexual trauma by male perpetrators; some find sexual release with another man more accessible; some have sex with men because it’s easier and requires fewer social skills than those required to have sex with women; some are “gay for pay” and get financial rewards; some like the attention they receive from other men; some like anal sex, which they’re otherwise too ashamed to talk about or engage in with their female partners.

When I learn that a straight client is having sex with men, I ask a series of questions: What is your interest in men? Do you prefer one type over another? Do you feel drawn and compelled to satisfy your sexual urges with men? Do you care about the physical appearance of the man? Do women play any role in the fantasy? Is it different for you if they aren’t? I also try to listen for the themes running through their sexual interests and fantasies, which often decode aspects of their personal identity and histories.

I used this approach with Paul. When I asked him to describe his situation, he told me he was sexually aroused only by women, and that his fantasies mostly were about women and brought him to orgasm. I asked him what the men who were occasionally included in his fantasies looked like, and he told me that they were faceless; even their physiques didn’t matter to him. Paul also told me that he always had sexual fantasies about men “controlling him” by telling him to please them. His most common and peak erotic fantasies included being “hypnotized or drugged” by the man whose spell he was under.

Links with the Past

In subsequent sessions, I asked Paul about sexual abuse because it can lead to homosexual behavior (not homosexual orientation), but he denied it. His father, he told me, was an alcoholic who frequently physically abused and humiliated him. Because Paul wasn’t good at sports, his father taunted him, calling him a “girly” man. To test his mettle as a fighter, his father once initiated a fist fight that left Paul bruised and bleeding from his mouth. He longed to have his father’s love and acceptance, but didn’t know how to get it. His mother never intervened; instead, she’d comfort her son after these abusive episodes.

Paul was sympathetic to his mother. He saw how his father humiliated and intimidated her. Although she was never beaten, she lived under the threat of violence. He recalled that, as a child, he hated his father and wished him dead, so that he and his mother could have a nice life together.

I consider sexual fantasies and erotic interests—whether expressed in healthy or unhealthy ways—as inseparable extensions of our core identity. They’re clues to the past. Often they’re unsuccessful attempts to resolve problems from childhood that are somehow eased in the erotic realm.

I began to see Paul’s sexual contacts with men as an attempt to resolve the conflictual relationship with his father. As he attempted, unconsciously, to master the abuse and humiliation he received from his father as a child, he placed himself in sexual situations where he was at risk and felt humiliated all over again. With the other man in control, Paul was “helpless.” He was under the spell of the other man, who was intoxicated, just as his father had been.

Paul soon began to understand that he was “returning to the scene of the crime” for several reasons. First, he realized that he was not only angry at his father, but also “hungry” for the father he’d never had. He’d sought sex with men as a way of finding the nurturance and male acceptance he never received from his father. He tried to talk to his father about all the anger he’d accumulated since his childhood, but his father—still an active drinker—just laughed and called him weak.

Fortunately, he was able to feel my empathy for him and my sorrow for what he’d been through. He allowed me to “father” him in appropriate therapeutic ways. For example, he didn’t have a lot of money, so he couldn’t come more than once weekly, but I thought he needed more frequent sessions. So I allowed him to call me outside the therapy hour on my cell phone if he felt like going out and having sex with a man, so I could help him withstand the urge. He needed to feel that I was there for him when he experienced anxiety and traumatic feelings, and was overwhelmed with what he felt was my sincere interest in being available to him. His calls never lasted more than 15 minutes and were never more frequent than twice weekly for several months. He brought in his journal and left it with me to read, and I didn’t charge him for my time.

Ultimately, Paul was able to hold his mother and father accountable for their negative behavior toward him in childhood. Having had an abusive father and neglectful mother, he came into treatment letting them off the hook and reenacting the trauma by displacing the anger and shame on himself and his fiancée.  He needed a safe place to explore his sexual behavior without being labeled gay, bisexual, or even questioning. At that time, he was searching chastity device online for him to get disciplined. This wasn’t a case that revolved around whether he was gay, but rather what his original trauma was and how it could be resolved. Had Paul not been heterosexual, his gay identity would have surfaced during treatment.

Coming Out Straight

Therapists who work with this population have to follow their clients’ leads. The work is as much about education as psychotherapy. It’s crucial to give each man who has sex with men information about homosexuality and the coming-out process, sexual abuse, sexual addiction, family-of-origin issues, and mood disorders that could contribute to the desire to have sex with males. However, as the work evolves, it’s up to the client himself to decide if this is the beginning of the coming-out process, a sign of early sexual abuse, a sexual addiction, or some other form of acting out. It could also just be that once-in-a-while sex with men is something that a man might want, and means nothing more than that. As Freud is often said to have remarked, “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar!”

Fleshlight: The optimum tool for your pleasure!

Fleshlight: The optimum tool for your pleasure!

Pink Lady Fleshlight is the perfect tool for your pleasure! The original: It is made of pink soft-touch material for the widest sense of authenticity. Heat the Pink Lady to body temperature, lubricate it with an aqueous lubricant and then it is ready for use. Pink Lady is easy to keep clean and with proper nursing, she becomes a faithful sex friend for many years to come. Pink Lady Fleshlight is one of the world’s most popular welding rods, not least because it’s easy to carry, and with its discreet flashlight look it passes unnoticed in most situations. Depth 23 cm. Live with lubricants.

Count Cockula is a compact release page in true Fleshlight spirit. Count Cockula is as easy to clean as a normal sized Fleshlight, but takes less space and has a completely different type of exterior. In contrast, the inside is full of big “knots” in the Fang texture, in a slightly smaller format that is unique to this Fleshlight.

This fleshlight lace page is made of patented material that gives an incredible sense of authenticity. No other manufacturer has succeeded in imitating the authenticity of this material, making it unique in the market. So caring for your fleshlight is also equally important.

Tips for the best feeling

Put the soft vagina in warm water so that it gets body temperature. Then apply a fair amount of lubricant. Feel free to try different temperatures. Even the amount of lubricant can be varied so you’ll find a slip and a wetness that suits you.

Care instructions

Pick apart your sex toy and rinse it with warm water. Never clean your Fleshlight with soap. You risk then wiping the material so that it loses its sense of authenticity. For best results when cleaning, use Fleshlight – Fleshwash. It’s a special solution for fleshlight the same content as used in silicone chastity devices after sex.

When rinsing your Fleshlight it is important that you allow it to dry properly. Allow it to dry in an airy space and do not screw on the lid while it is still moist.

Stylish and portable Fleshlight with the eye in the eye

Six in a can O’Doyle’s is just what it sounds like, a fleshlight that looks like a classic O’Doyle’s jar on the outside, but inside it hides something else that also has age limit. On the label of the cane it is “Backdoor Stout Irish Style”, which is a word-writer playing Irish’s love for anal games. Inside the can is a sleeve in the shape of an anus and made in a super soft and natural material called Real Feel Super Skin. The sleeve is skin-colored and has an inner structure called “Mini-Forbidden”, this is an extra tight and beautiful variant of the original “forbidden”. “Mini-Forbidden” is about 5 cm shorter and much harder, the opening has only a diameter of 1 cm and then opens up and becomes 1.2-1.4 cm in diameter.

Perfect gift for the beer lover with the eye in the eye

Fleshlight can also be heated to make it feel more natural. You only place it in warm water until the desired temperature has been obtained. Because it is water resistant, the fleshlight is also easy to clean after finishing up, which gives a long life and many nice moments. Fits men with normal size to short penis, your penis is longer than 17 cm, there are other options. Because it is water resistant, the fleshlight is also easy to clean after finishing up, which gives a long life and many nice moments. Fits men with normal size to short penis, your penis is longer than 17 cm, there are other options. Because it is water resistant, the fleshlight is also easy to clean after finishing up, which gives a long life and many nice moments. Fits men with normal size to short penis, your penis is longer than 17 cm, there are other options.

Fleshlight is one of the world’s largest sex toys manufacturers and it’s easy to understand why Toys have long been something for vaginal and anal stimulation, but with a fleshlight, men can also enjoy. It’s perfect for use by yourself or with your partner. It’s an erotic spice in the foreplay or a good finish. The possibilities are endless, a fleshlight is easy to bring and does not take up much space in the bag and therefore it’s perfect for anyone who wants to enjoy even when the partner is not present. The fleshlight comes in a discreet package and is simple and easy to clean and bring along.

Whether your partner loves beer or not, Fleshlight is six in a can O’Doyle’s donate both this and is very enjoyable. The fleshlight can be used as a mood razor together or on its own. It’s easy to store is very discreet because the surface looks like an ordinary beer can, but inside hiding something at least as exciting. The super soft material along with the possibility of warming the fleshlight gives a natural and exciting experience that goes beyond the usual. Used with a water-based lubricant for extra enjoyment and when done, wash the flesh light easily in warm water.

Fleshlight – Stamina Training Unit – Multi-Set

Fleshlight – The Stamina Training Unit is a soft, realistic and even tighter, unanimous product with unique features. It is made of Fleshlights patented Real Super Skin® material with a truly textured inside that helps you improve your sexual endurance and technology. It not only increases the stamina but also recreates the feeling experienced at six. Using the Fleshlight STU (Stamina Training Unit) increases your stamina twice in a true sexual intercourse. This means that if you manage to use Fleshlight – STU for 10 minutes, your sexual endurance increases to 20 minutes. Use – Before and after we recommend water-based lubricants when using your Fleshlight. Preserve your durability and true feel by treating your Fleshlight with body pads after cleansing.

This set includes:

  • A Fleshlight Stamina Sex Toy
  • Fleshlight renewing powder 100ml
  • Fleshwash Toy Cleaner 100ml
  • Fleshlube Water 100ml
  • Shower holder
  • Flight Adapter for shower mount

Gay Men in Open Relationships: What Works?

Gay Men in Open Relationships: What Works?

Hint:  It will take a lot of work.

As a couples counselor working with gay men I am often asked my opinion on monogamy and open gay relationships. What works for men in long-term relationships? First, the research.

Several research studies show that about 50% of gay male couples are monogamous and about 50% allow for sex outside of the relationship.  The research finds no difference in the level of happiness or stability among these groups.

Next, my opinions and advice, based on my therapy practice.

Talk About It Openly With Your Partner

If you and your partner want to have a close relationship and have additional sex partners, be prepared for a lot of talking. And I’m not just referring to discussions about when, where and with whom. I mean talking about feelings, what we therapists call “processing.”

If that kind of conversation makes you squirm, I understand. Most men are not socialized to embrace the sharing of intimate and vulnerable emotions. However, if you aren’t willing to experiment with processing then I suspect the closeness of your relationship may be limited, and you guys could be headed for trouble. See Mindbodygreen.

Remember Why You Want a Long Term Partner

Here’s why learning to talk about feelings is extra important in the context of an open relationship. Most of us enter into long-term relationships because we want to feel special to another person. We want that experience of being number one in the eyes of our partner. We want the comfort, satisfaction, support and meaning that can come from spending our lives committed to another individual.

Additional sex partners can be perceived as a threat to the safety we long for in our long-term relationships. Some of us may not feel threatened on a conscious level, but I believe most of us do feel it unconsciously. And in some manly circles, it is not cool to admit that.

So if you want the experience of an open relationship that works, you will need to continually tell each other how much you love each other, how deeply committed you are to the partnership, and how glad you are to see him. Lots of hugs and kisses will need to be exchanged.

Listen (For Real)

You will need to listen without getting defensive while your partner tells you about their moments of insecurity when you have sex with others. You will need to encourage this kind of sharing from him and to push yourself to express any of your own feelings of insecurity, vulnerability or jealousy when he plays with others.

You are not responsible for changing your partner’s emotions but you are responsible for listening to them and for making sure that your partner feels heard by you. Repeat back to him what you heard him say about his feelings so you both know if you really listened.

Define Your Terms and Stick to Them

Beyond feelings, couples must also agree on the guidelines of sex outside of the relationship. They need to talk about what kind of sex is acceptable and what is not okay. These rules will require negotiation. Again, lots more talking. A good book on this subject is called The Ethical Slut, written by Dossie Easton and Catherine Liszt.

The core actions of a successful open relationship are identical to those of a successful monogamous relationship: shower your partner with attention and positive regard, offer lots of physical touch, share your more vulnerable feelings, and listen well when he does the same.

These principles are easier to say than to do. They take practice and risk, with lots of missteps along the way. Monogamous couples can sometimes get away with avoiding this work and do okay. Not great, but okay. But couples in open relationships won’t do well in an autopilot relationship. To be successful in working through the inevitable hurt feelings, these couples need to lead the way on relationships based on intentional communication.