What’s in a Name?

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What is a bear?

Do a quick Internet search and you’ll find a number of definitions. Which one is right? Ais there a definition? Should there even be one?

Wikipedia will tell you that a bear is a heavyset man with body hair who projects an image of rugged masculinity in his grooming. Is that it; is it as simple as a particular body type?

Richard Bulger coined the term ‘bear’ in the 80s with the advent of Bear magazine, a publication dedicated to the men who didn’t fit the previously ubiquitous bill of the gay man – thin, smooth, and young.

This must have been a great time for all those husky and furry men out there who didn’t want to subscribe to being outcast by the larger gay community.

But the bear community was – and is – about more than just a preference for beefy, hairy men. The original bear movement was a haven for men who felt different to their heterosexual counterparts only in sexual preference. Up until this point, there was no formalised way for ‘outcast’ to meet ‘outcast’. The bear of the past was tall, short, fat, stocky, muscular, hairy, thin and hairy – whatever. The unifying feature of a bear was that he felt different to other gay men – he was masculine, and grass-roots humble.

In a lot of ways, this is still true today. There is more disparity in the community – muscle bears versus chubs? – but by and large it is still a culture of acceptance and love. The love of fur and masculinity.

To me, a bear doesn’t have to be a particular shape, though I’m completely turned on by the thicker men, both muscular and otherwise. What means more to me is the masculinity – not forced and contrived, but genuine. A bear is kind and accepting, but rugged. He’s a real man, and he doesn’t need to prove how ‘manly’ he is.

What’s a bear to you?

Cub. Xo.

Symptomatic

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Working in sexual health is challenging for anyone. Let’s face it, asking a stranger to come into a clinic and confess all of their sexual exploits is a difficult thing. Of course, it’s harder for the patient, but there can still be awkwardness on the part of the clinician as they leave no stone unturned with their probing questions. It definitely requires a flexible attitude and there is no place for judgement. you have to be able to deal with transgender issues, drug abuse, unsafe practices sexual abuse, prostitution and even reckless endangerment. Not to mention infidelity.

Despite this, there are many rewards, including earning trust in a situation where individuals allow themselves to be completely vulnerable.

One of the challenges for me is being a gay man in sexual health. If you are able to ignore it in the real world, there is no denying that homosexual men comprise a large proportion of the client base. There are a lot of mixed feelings for me when I see gay patients, particularly the large number of HIV+ men that come through the clinic.

A lot of the literature regarding HIV in the clinic is aimed towards gay men. There are sometimes pamphlets with a lot of sexy images in them, as well as language better suited to gay erotica. It seems as though a large percentage of the literature is written in lingo, and while this is obviously used to connect with the members of the gay community, it can sometimes leave me with a sour taste. Sometimes, it’s almost offensive. Still, the fact remains that homosexual men are the most prevalent group affected by HIV. It is a group within the population that struggles with recreational drug use and unsafe sexual practices, from unprotected sex, to multiple casual partners to sex-on-premises and even sexual assault.

My discomfort that sometimes arises around these cases does not stem from my desire to separate myself from the gay community, but because I am a part of this community, and I feel like – in general – we’re just not getting the message.

Discussions in the clinical meetings about people’s understanding of post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) and when and how to utilise it are just depressing. PEP is essentially the morning after pill for people who believe or know they have been exposed to HIV. It is a one-month course of combined HIV meds, and must be started within the first 72 hours from contact. I have seen people present a week after exposure seeking PEP, only to be turned down because it’s too late. These guys have to wait weeks and weeks until they get tested, while knowing there’s nothing they can do in the mean-time.

There are the patients who think their risk is low because they were not the bottom. They think their risk is low because they didn’t cum in their partner. They get high on weed or poppers and just don’t bother with a condom, and their anxiety over their practices when they’ve come clean depresses them. The didn’t ask the guy they met in the park if he was positive; they just assumed he was, but the guy in the park assumed he was positive because he didn’t ask.

PEP costs approximately $1,200 for the 1 month course. A years’ worth of HIV medication costs about 10 times that. But none of that compares to the price you can pay.

Why are we so prone to HIV infection? I don’t believe it’s because we are somehow sluttier
than our heterosexual counterparts. If women were as sexually preoccupied as men, we’d have a much larger problem on our hands. Heterosexual women are the fastest growing group of people infected with HIV each year.

I believe that the past rejection and persecution of homosexuality forced the underground gay sex scene. The bath-houses, the cruising parks, the sex clubs. While all of that is unnecessary now, it has become part of the gay culture to some extent. There is still a large group of closeted men who leave their wives and seek the intimacy of other men in all the wrong places.

I believe that the prevalence of HIV in the gay community is symptomatic of the history of homosexuality, a product of the underground sex culture. We need to throw off the self-loathing of the past and embrace the normality and natural aspects of our sexuality. We need to stop the shame, stop hitting the self-destruct button, and learn to love who and what we are.

We’re gay. Bisexual. Lesbian. Transgendered. Queer. Intersex.

We’re beautiful.
Cub. XO.

Un-Bear-Able

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Original site for these images.

Most men have a physical type that attracts them sexually. I understand the same is true for women, but there is no denying that an emotional connection is what they really find sexy. There is also no denying that this is true for some men.

What I find interesting about the gay world is the interplay between how we perceive ourselves, how we want to be, and who we find attractive. For many gay men, their ideal man (physically) is someone they want to be, and it follows that he is also someone they want to be with.

Personally, I don’t really have a type. I love all men, from tall to short, pale and tan, sexy to sweet. Instead of a type, I do have preferences. For me, thin and hairless doesn’t grab my attention, nor does it inspire lust. Perfectly muscled with a chiseled jaw also does nothing for me. I believe the beauty of a man lies in his imperfections.

Over the years I have discovered that men with dark hair draw me in most effectively. Ditto a round face, straight and thick eyebrows, and at least some semblance of facial hair. I do like masculine, but not the faux hyper-masculinity the gay world seems obsessed with. I like my men gay, not ‘straight-acting’.

Boys with a solid build definitely catch my eye. Think muscular with a thin layer of fat on it to soften the edges and you’re getting warmer. Add some body hair, because to me it seems natural for a man to have some fur.

Aside from physicality, I like the strong and silent type, but to me that means confident, positive, and comfortable with silence.

Cubby has a lot of these qualities, but not all. The truth is, I don’t need a man who ticks all these boxes. There is a section of the criteria that isn’t definable, and whatever it is, Cubby has it.

Though I have body image issues, none of them are huge. On the whole, I feel blessed to have what I have. I would (and do) find it attractive in another man, but for myself I’d like to make some improvements.

What I find the most interesting is the gay man who identifies with a physical sub-culture that he doesn’t belong to. For example, consider an effeminate young man, slender with little body hair. I have nothin against these men personally, but there is a large proportion of the gay world that shuns them. Imagine if his ideal man was a bear. Transgendered men and women have worked hard to lessen the stigma attached to them through awareness, but can the same be said for the bear trapped in a twink’s body, or the twink trapped in a bear’s body?

Imagine that he himself feels like a bear on the inside. Imagine how hard that would be. How unbearable.

All of you are beautiful, and I love you.

Cub. Xo.

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iCub

This is just unashamed Apple fanboyism and total geekery, but I don’t care.  The Cubhouse is on the iPad!

If you want to view my blog in an even more beautiful way than the very beauty WordPress offers, load up my URL and in Safari click ‘add to home screen’, which will add an app button on your iPad.

When you load it up, it looks like a journal, and you even have to swipe it open to view the posts.  The above image is what you’ll see when you load it up, and the image below is after you swipe the blog open.

For those of you with an iPad, I’m now making it mandatory that you read me from your iPad! 

That is all!

I love you all.
Cub. xo.

Thunder

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The first thing I heard was the thunder, gentle in the distance.  A lazy, soft rain fell on the trees outside the open window, tapping and rustling the leaves.  Slowly, I knew where I was, and smiled.

Saturday morning, in bed with Cubby.

When I opened my eyes, the light was flat and grey.  It was early – 6am or so – and the storm was keeping things dark.  Cubby was lying on his back staring out the window, and the cat was for once not destroying something, and was curled up tightly by our feet.

It was a nice way to wake up.

The rest of the morning was spent lying in bed smoking and watching the storm as it intensified.  We talked, and did things that didn’t require talking.  It was our first free weekend in months, and it was nice to enjoy it.

After leaving the bed sometime in the afternoon, Cubby and I grabbed a late lunch and decided to drive up a mountain, which was particularly hair-raising at night, and with Cubby’s desire to corner at 80km/hr.  We survived, though, and we had fun.  How sad is that?

Now I’m looking out the window at work, and there’s another storm.  Only this one isn’t beautiful, and it certainly isn’t convenient.  You see, I’ve finished work, but my car is several kilometres away.  Oh well, I guess I stay put for now and listen to the thunder.  Ride out the storm, so I can go home to my Cubby.

I love you all. 
Cub. xo.

Sorry!

Original site for this image.

Firstly, let me apologise for leaving you hanging.  I wish I could tell you I was off doing something exciting and noble in Africa, but the truth of the matter is I simply forgot how to log-in to this WordPress account.

Pretty lame?  Yes, I agree.

I’m also trying to think of something exciting to tell you – after all, it’s been a long time since we spoke.  In all honesty, there’s not much going on.  Except the security guard across the room is kinda hot and he keeps smiling at me.  It’s rather distracting.

One bit of news is that my Cubby has decided to go and get himself a tertiary education.  I’m very happy about this, because he hates his job so much at the moment it puts a strain on our relationship.  He doesn’t realise that he brings his moods home with him and I have to play dodgeball with them.  Of course he has reservations about us becoming a single-income family (so do I, actually), but there are more important things to me than getting ahead quickly.  Like his happiness, and his fulfillment as a person, which I think is something he’s going to discover at university.

Though, it is going to make it hard next year for us to buy the 27-inch iMac, 15-inch MacBook Pro and the iPad that are on our wish lists.  Hm…

Stay happy, stay in touch.  I love you all.
xo cub.