Posts Tagged advice
When you’re a gay man who came out at the age of 25, you look back and realize how abruptly you were faced with so many new things. Where most people experimented in their formidable years, I was sitting on the sidelines waiting for my day to shine. It’s a wonder I’m not curled up in the corner in the fetal position rocking back-and-forth. It took me some time to get comfortable in the sack, and once I felt comfortable in my own skin, there was no turning back. Or at least I thought so.
Turns out experience can’t erase all your hangups, and when you need help, you need to turn to the sexperts. Astroglide’s Sexual Wellness Ambassador Dr. Yvonne Fulbright is came to my aid to help conquer my sexual shyness in the new year.
Astroglide’s asked me to share some of my experiences with my readers in this sponsored post.
Although I generally try to stay in shape, this holiday season, I morphed into a different kind of shape — Round. I would never let myself go so far as to let my gut get in the way of sex physically, but mentally, that’s another story. It’s hard to feel sexy and intimate between the sheets (even with the lights out) when you don’t feel sexy in the mirror. Even with my boyfriend’s advances and reassurances, I wasn’t feeling sexy. Dr. Yvonne suggests a tip: “Boost your body image. For some, the biggest challenge to getting in a sexy state of mind and letting that be known is how you feel about your body. This also goes for those who seemingly have the “best” bodies. You can start feeling better about your form with regular exercise (as this has mental health perks as well), eating healthy meals, avoiding toxins, and shutting down negative self-talk. Do things that make you feel good about the skin you’re in.” I am already experiencing results physically and mentally through following this new prescription.
I also came across some good advice I feel I’ve absorbed along the way but never put into practice. Dr. Yvonne advises: “Get to know yourself. It’s hard to express yourself or let a lover know your likes and what you want unless you take the time for self-exploration first. So take the time to masturbate. Experiment with different sexual enhancements. Read erotica for inspiration re: scenarios. Flirt with different ways to get turned on, to seduce, and begin the process of foreplay. You will feel more self-assured in providing instruction, even if it’s non-verbal.” I’m not sure I need to explore myself more often, but I should probably explore more of myself to increase the pleasure when I’m not alone.
Looking for advice for your own sexual shyness? You can submit your questions to Dr. Yvonne via the form on Astroglide’s site. And, ensure better sex in 2013 with Astroglide’s free samples! Your sex-life will thank you come next New Year’s.
Sorry for the late post… Had a very busy morning at work…
Since that fateful night on December 31st, 2011, I’ve had my eye on a certain someone. He was also attending the party I went to on New Year’s Eve.
Throughout the night, I talked to him a fair amount. He seemed like a really nice guy. For a solid twenty minutes, he and I were the only ones in the living room until more guests arrived. We got to know each other fairly well. My original thought on him was he was too young, but the more I got to know him, the more I learned how mature he was. Obviously age had nothing to do with maturity. I learned that the hard way with Smiles. I wasn’t going to rule him out just because he was 22. It also helped he was very attractive. He had both the jock look and the intelligent look about him. It was very sexy.
I didn’t want to jump the gun however. I somewhat embarrassed myself that night, and I wasn’t sure if he took notice. I decided to wait until the dust settled, especially since he knew Smiles though a mutual connection, the party’s host. Before my trip to San Francisco, I laid the groundwork. I informed him of my breakup with Smiles on Facebook. He sent his condolences.
Now that I was home, I was ready to dive in and see if I could ask him out on a date. I sent him a Facebook message that Tuesday: “Hey dude. I know this kinda comes out of left field, but I thought you were a pretty down-to-earth guy when I talked to you on NYE. I was wondering if you’d be interested in grabbing a drink sometime…?” I don’t know why, but I felt very vulnerable doing this. It’s crazy. He’s five years younger than me. Why was I so intimidated? All I could do was wait for an answer.
That night, he finally responded: “I am flattered, but I am kinda seeing someone. Happened right after New Years actually. Doesn’t mean we can’t chill as friends.” My hopes were dashed. I’d been plotting and planning this whole thing out over time to find out I missed the boat. I was kicking myself, but there was nothing I could do. It is what it is.
I needed to graciously respond, and secretly hoped I could meet him as friends, and he would realize how much of a catch I am. Maybe he’d let things fizzle out with the other guy. The door wasn’t closed, even though it was beginning to shut. There was still a glimmer of light — A glimmer of hope.
“All the good ones are… haha… but yes.. Chill as friends works for me too. Always lookin’ for friends as well. Shoot me your #, and maybe we can find a time to hang/grab a drink…” I responded.
Sadly, I wouldn’t hear back from him again. Three weeks later, I tried to see if he would be interested in meeting up, but I got no response. If he was truly interested, he would have responded. I was learning to stop pursuing men who didn’t return an interest in me. It never worked out in my favor, and it just caused me greater frustration. If there were interested, they’d be as excited as I was to message/call/text. It wouldn’t matter about waiting two days before calling. If someone is interested, they won’t care about any of that. They’ll just be thrilled you connected at all.
I was beginning to feel very disappointed and lonely. I had no promising prospects on the horizon. As time goes on, this dating thing is getting harder and harder. Everyone thinks gay dating in New York City is a cinch but far from it. It is so incredibly hard to date in this city. The gay men here certainly don’t do anything to make it any easier.
Warning: The following may be too graphic for some. In the meantime, I was back on local Grindr. I found a guy who lived very close to my apartment who wanted to be dominated and wanted to muscle worship me. I hardly think I’m the muscle worship worthy type, but if that was what he wanted, why not give it to him. I went over to his apartment. He was a bit awkward, but I wasn’t there to find love. I was simply there to satisfy a primal need. I thought I would be able to play the part. I thought I could say all the things a dominant top would say, but in the end, I think I sounded ridiculous. It’s not who I am. It wasn’t awful, but I don’t think either of us were getting out of it what we thought we would. It took me a long time to finish with him, as usual, which didn’t exactly make for a smooth evening. When I did, it was worth his wait. However, because of the nature of my climaxes, he had to run to the kitchen and grab a bottle of Resolve and a paper towel to clean up a spot on the carpet when I overshot his chest.
He came back to the bed and we laid next to each other chatting a bit. I learned he knew the other awkward hookup I had in the same building. Apparently they were friends. I specifically asked him not to mention me, which of course spurred a whole new line of questions. I knew this was going to come back to bite me in the a$s. It was only a matter of time before the 40 year-old started messaging me again.
With that, I got dressed and made my way home on my walk of shame. Luckily it was cold out and it helped me clear my head. What was I doing? This isn’t me. This isn’t what I’m looking for. Why am I doing this? Yes, we all have needs, but I should be putting more energy into finding the right guy instead of Mr. Right Now.
I thought about all the other guys floating around out there on my roster. Was it even worth it to revisit with long-time online friend after our failed date? Maybe the southern boy I was chatting with would finally find the time to meet up. The guy who came back on the roster after almost a year was still a possibility. I needed to plan drinks with him. My Asian neighbor friend from Grindr was still asking me to grab dinner sometime, but he doesn’t drink, so I didn’t see us being very compatible. There was the very sexy, very compatible guy I found on Adam, but he wasn’t responding to any of my messages anymore. I needed to cut him from the list.
I needed to get back in shape and concentrate on building a better me. Ironically enough, I was hitting the gym regularly again. For so unknown reason, I was looking for N there every time I went. I don’t know why, but something inside me wanted to see him there, even though I wanted nothing to do with him. I needed not only to close that chapter, but also to toss the book to someone else and forget about it.
I was spinning my wheels. I was constantly Grindring, and it was getting me nowhere. I was still feeling a little angry for letting Smiles take advantage of me. I thought back to all my relationships and realized how each of them let me down. N, San Francisco, Smiles… I didn’t need any of them anymore. They brought nothing positive to my life. It was time to drop that baggage. The only one I wanted to keep around was Broadway. Since we’ve broken up, we’ve managed to remain friends. I turn to him for advice, and he is always there for me. He’s a good friend and I truly appreciate him. I can’t understand why they all couldn’t be that way. I’m thrilled we’re still friends and want that with all my exs, but if they weren’t going to make that possible, so be it.
I needed to get to a better place. I wasn’t in a dark place, but I was certainly stuck in this constant gray area. I was walking around in a cloud. I was wasting my life away searching for a guy in all the wrong places. If I wasn’t happy, I wasn’t going to find anyone. I just needed to figure out how to change things. It wasn’t going to be easy…Follow @onegayatatime
I told him I was heading home for the night and was about to leave work. However, I was pleasantly surprised to get the text, “Meet me for a drink at Extra Virgin. I haven’t heard from [my friend] confirming dinner yet, so I’m guessing it will be closer to 8:00 or he will flake.” I wasn’t thrilled with being second choice/fall-back, but I knew this was a friend he hadn’t seen in years who was in the city from L.A., so I was understanding.
I agreed to meet him and texted him when I arrived at the restaurant. “Oh goodness. I’ll be there in 10. Btw, I forgot I have a call from 6:00 – 6:30. My life is a pain-in-the-ass sometimes,” was the response I received. It didn’t help I was already feeling like an afterthought. Now I was learning the little time I had to spend with him was going to be interrupted by a half hour phone call.
I’d already been waiting for him for 15 minutes before he arrived. We exchanged a quick peck and a hug, and he suggested I could go inside while he made the call. I told him I could occupy myself outside while he took care of business.
While he talked with his movie team about next steps with their film, I sat on my phone playing with every app I could think of to pass the time. I checked my WordPress stats. I answered emails. I read everyone’s Twitter post that day. Anything I could do to keep busy.
When he finished his call, we grabbed a seat at the bar. The bartender was struggling to harvest a pomegranate, so I offered to help her. Smiles pointed out my culinary experience and told her she was in for a real treat. She was all too happy to receive my advice, as this was one chore she abhorred. After running to the restroom to wash my hands, I demonstrated for her how she could save herself some time and energy. She was very appreciative of my advice and thanked me.
Smiles and I placed our drink orders. We chatted over drinks on the spinning stools. I made it a point to turn my stool so I was facing him and our legs were interlocked. I heard all about his holiday on Long Island and the craziness he went through upon his return with his client. I told him about my relaxing trip home, my dysfunctional family, my Black Friday adventures, and my slow day at work.
At one point he had my his arms extended with his hands on my thighs rubbing them. He flippantly made the comment, “I love your big manly legs.” This was the first time he’d ever complimented my physically, so I took notice. He continued to rub them and massage them, and I continued to melt inside.
At that moment, he checked his phone and learned his friend wouldn’t be able to do dinner that evening, so they agreed upon breakfast the following morning.
With that, he turned to me and asked if I’d like to get dinner somewhere. Surprised, I told him, “Well. We’re already here. Why don’t we just eat here.” I was expecting to get the boot at any moment throughout the course of the evening, but instead I was extended a dinner invitation. Once again, I was happy to get to spend time with him.
We quickly placed our dinner orders and continued our conversation. Our dinner was very pleasant, and our meals were excellent. After we finished eating, we split the bill and began to walk down the street.
As per usual, when we reached the crossroad between his place and the PATH, we said goodbye. And, as per usual, it was said with a simple kiss and a gentle squeeze. I pulled him back in for another kiss and made it more than a peck. He smiled, and we said goodbye.
When I got back to Hoboken, on my walk to my apartment, I texted, “Mmmmmmm. I like you. You make me happy… Just felt the need to say that…” He responded twenty minutes later, “Awwww. 🙂 Thank you.” Clearly, he didn’t feel confident to reciprocate the sentiment just yet, which stung slightly, but then again, I already knew I was ready to move faster than was…Follow @onegayatatime
One of them, a guy who happened to go to the same college as me, responded informing me Wednesdays were the only day during the week that really worked for him. He was taking graduate courses, so he was quite busy.
The other guy texted me back to explain he was most likely available to meet for a drink when he finished work, but was unsure when that would be. He is a financial planner, so his hours are somewhat sporadic. We planned to touch base again at 5:00 the next day.
I had a lot of regret after setting up this date, but I tried to proceed with an open mind. All my friends encouraged me to date more people and not put all my eggs in one basket. I was finally following their advice. Smiles wasn’t exactly being the warmest towards me, so no harm, no foul.
When 5:00 arrived, the regret came flooding in. I didn’t want to meet up for drinks. I felt like I was cheating on Smiles. The planner sent me a text explaining he would be working late. He asked if I could meet for coffee at 9:30. I agreed, and sat with my guilt. It was already bothering me, and I didn’t even go out for the drinks yet. What if he tried to kiss me? What if he really liked me? What if I really liked him? This just goes to show you shouldn’t make quick irrational decisions.
As it got later, I got more nervous about the date. Not because of the date, but because of what it would mean for Smiles and I. I didn’t want to betray him. We hadn’t talked about exclusivity yet, but I was hoping we were moving in that direction.
I received a text that calmed my nerves completely. He had to cancel because he got called back into work. I was off the hook. I’m very grateful he cancelled on me, because the guilt would have really gotten to me. It’s just who I am.
I began to examine my relationship with Smiles. There were times he was completely affectionate and a total sweetheart. He really made me happy during those times. Probably far more than he realizes. I really enjoyed spending time with him, no matter what we were doing. On the other hand, when he would ignore me or not take me into consideration, I felt like such a small man. It really hurt to feel he wasn’t feeling about me the same way I was feeling about him. I wanted him to adore me the way I adored him at times. I felt like he always kept me at a safe distance. Not so far that I leave him, but not too close that I could ever hurt him. If we were going to proceed together, he was going to have to make himself more vulnerable and let me in.
I felt like I was part of his second life. He had his friends and acted one way with them, but when he was with me, he was different. He never integrated the two lives. Always separate. This is the reason I broke up with Broadway.
All this also helped me realize I needed Boston back in my life to talk me out of these crazy ideas. He is my sanity. I let my mind run wild after one bad date. He was always someone who could put me back on track and give me a strong dose of reality, not what my mind was conjuring up. However, he isn’t the easiest to get ahold of since he’s in he final year of school.
Smiles wasn’t talking to me much, so I would wait until he felt the need to talk to me. I didn’t go on the date, but I wasn’t exactly running back into Smiles’ arms. I was going to play hard to get a little bit…Follow @onegayatatime
Yet another video I’d like to share. This one is a music video for one of my new favorite groups, Duck Sauce. Great song and love the sexual connotations, but may not be safe for work depending on what you do. Enjoy!
On with the story…
Every Tuesday in Hoboken is free movie night if you have Cablevision’s triple play. I do not, but I have some very generous friends who do, and they lend me their card when they’re not using it.
I asked Smiles if he wanted to catch a movie and dinner. He told me he could possibly do dinner, but there was no way he could do the movie. He had to be up at 6:30 the following morning for a work meeting, so spending the night in my bed was off the table.
While I was finishing up work, he was moving his final boxes into his storage unit from Harlem. I agreed to help him when I arrived downtown, but when I got there, he was already finished.
I walked him back to his apartment. We talked about his day on the walk. I waited while he showered and changed after loading and unloading all those boxes to go to dinner.
While he was moving the boxes, both his parents called, separately. He was a little worried, so on the way to the restaurant, he dialed his mother. Smiles said he needed to walk a while, so we kinda just went for a stroll. We talked a little about work and how he got to where he is today. We stopped in a few stores on the way. We were walking for over a half hour before we settled on a spot to grab some grub.
We settled on Peels. When he returned to the table after washing his hands, the conversation was very dry. There were many long awkward pauses throughout the night. I struggled to think about anything we could to talk about. Nothing. I didn’t know what to do. We continued to eat in silence. It was incredibly awkward. I was so worried we’d hit that point already where we had nothing to talk about. I was petrified.
Was he distracted by the phone calls? Did something happen? Who knows?
When we finished eating, we paid the bill and began walking back toward his place and the PATH. We ran into a friend along the way, and Smiles chatted with him for a short while after barely introducing me. After we left the friend, he explained who he was and how close a friend he is. I was a little surprised. If he was such a good friend, then why was he so casual when introducing me. Maybe I didn’t mean as much to him as he did to me. Maybe I was putting too much of myself out there too soon. We’d been dating for a month and a half. I thought we’d be closer knit at this point, but maybe I was wrong. Maybe I had different expectations.
As we walked, he told me he was tired and a bit out of it. This wasn’t news to me after the awkward dinner we just had. He walked me to a crossroad and said goodbye. When I went in for a kiss, I barely received anything in return. It was almost like a child begrudgingly accepting a kiss from a grandparent. I felt like a piece of sh*t.
As I walked by myself to the PATH, I wondered if this thing had run its course. How much longer were we going to go before he fully opened up to me? — Before I didn’t have to wonder where I stood with him? I was tired of the uncertainty. It was dragging me down.
I needed to talk to someone, so I called Boston. No answer as usual. College always gets in the way of our friendship!
Next, I called LES to see what he was up to. No answer, so I left a message.
Then I texted the Principal just to say hi and see how he was doing. When I came above ground on the other side of the Hudson River, I received a response from him. We texted back-n-forth for the remainder of my walk home. When I got to my apartment, I immediately climbed into bed. I was depressed. This relationship was looking pretty bleak. Silence at dinner and an awkward kiss goodnight. Once again, maybe he just wasn’t into me.
The Principal and I continued to text over the next hour while I watched some TV. I explained to him I still had some feelings for him, however, the distance thing just wouldn’t work out for me. Apparently, I opened up a can of worms there. He really did miss me. I’m not sure why I felt the need to reach out to the Prinicpal that night. I thought I passed that chapter in the story. I think I did it for selfish reasons because I needed to feel wanted again. I knew the Principal would provide that for me. Looking back, I never should have done that.
In my mode of depression, I also responded to one of the guys who had hit me up on OKCupid. I asked him if he wanted to grab a drink sometime. I was taking my friends’ advice. I wasn’t going to put all my eggs in one basket. The guy responded, and we scheduled a date for the following night…Follow @onegayatatime
After our night galavanting around the village taking in the Halloween sights, I felt like I made a half step closer to Smiles. We hadn’t completely closed the gap, but seeing him two days in a row was a good step. We finally added sex to the mix again, and I was watching him slowly open up to me. Maybe this relationship did have potential. Maybe I just needed to be more patient.
When it comes to relationships, my major downfall is over-thinking. Luckily, I have friends. And, I have you, my faithful readers. (Oops! Did I just address the audience?) Anyway, even though I don’t have a therapist, and at times I think I need one, I have my friends.
One of the guys I swam with in college, “J,” is a dedicated reader. So much so he harasses me when I don’t post on time. You can all thank him for keeping me on schedule. We’ve been through a lot together. He was almost one of the first people I told I was gay. On my ride back from telling my parents, I met him for lunch. I planned to tell him, but at the last minute I chickened out. I was waiting until I saw him again to tell him the news, but that didn’t happen until a few months later. I am constantly reaching out to him for advice and using him as my sound board. He’s more of a help to me than he realizes.
I have a wide array of friends and different reactions I can expect from them. Some I turn to for sex advice, like my friend who knew all about my philandering on Martha’s Vineyard, even when I was trying to cover it up. Some I turn to when I’m suspicious, like A, however some of those make me unnecessarily more suspicious. Some I turn to who I know will support whatever I’m saying, like D and K. J always gives me a fair and balanced viewpoint of the situation. Boston always gives me the harsh reality dose I need sometimes. Even Broadway weighs in sometimes for advice. And nothing makes me happier than when I get advice from my readers/newly found cheerleaders.
I take everything they all say, put it through my own filter to make decisions on how to proceed. They’re all great and I appreciate them all.
Many times Smiles would tell me about conversations he had with his ex to keep him centered and sane. He was finally reaching out to me to fulfill this role, and I was thrilled!
He sent me an email asking me to call because he didn’t have my phone number. I called, and he explained how he got a replacement phone from Verizon and it was defective. I joked it was the user and not the device that was a problem. He was using a very old clamshell phone he’d used years ago.
He also told me he was in the middle of a breakdown. He had a lot of frustrations, many of which stemmed from work. Luckily, this was something he was opening up about to me recently, so I was able to give him some educated advice. He has a problem seeing things in the small picture. Too many times he looks at the big picture too soon and gets overwhelmed. I did my best to calm him down, and I think I did a fair job. Apparently, others were giving him contradictory advice to my position, but I stood my ground once again. I asked him what he really wanted. If there were no restrictions, what would make him happy. I questioned why he was settling for things just because he thought it was what he was supposed to be doing. It seemed like he was taking my advice to heart.
He told me he was going out to get ice cream instead of going for the run he planned on to exert his frustrations. As he read aloud the flavors in the cooler, I encouraged him to pick something indulgent and go home and have at it. He was stressing a lot and needed to take the time to relax. Sometimes I wonder if he forgets to step back and have fun.
When he got back to his apartment, he was feeling better and was ready to dive into his pint of Ben and Jerry’s. He thanked me for the pep talk and said goodnight.
I went back to watching TV on the couch, but I had a smile on my face. He turned to me in a time of need. I finally felt needed and appreciated. I wanted to be more integrated into his life, and this was a step in that direction. I sat there thrilled a the new development.
Was this the foundation of a relationship?Follow @onegayatatime