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FS114_COVER:FS 10/09/2009 22:59 Page 2

Yorkshire & North East


Open wide

Do open relationship work?

Johnny be good

Don’t let condoms let you down

Defend yourself

How to stay safe on the streets


WAYS TO UPGRADE YOUR LIFE find them all inside…



Funded by the Pan-London HIV Prevention Programme Terrence Higgins Trust is a registered charity in England & Wales (no.288527) and in Scotland (no.SC039986).

If you’ve had sex without a condom and show three or more of these symptoms within six weeks, it’s possible you’ve now got HIV. In some cases there are no symptoms, but you may still be infected. For information on HIV and HIV testing, visit or call

FS113_P03_INTRO:FS 10/09/2009 22:56 Page 3




Calling all HIV positive guys!

We have had a great response so far and we are still looking for more HIV-positive guys of all ages to share their experiences of living with the virus. As the number of people with HIV increases, more and more gay guys are reporting that they don’t know anyone who is HIV-positive. This feature will tackle the issues of HIV invisibility, stigma, and the role HIV plays in our community today. If you agree to take part, there will be a short interview and if you are willing, a quick photo shoot. Are you up for it? If so, email to let us know you are interested. Meanwhile, enjoy this issue!


Cary James x Editor Find us on Myspace at or join our fan page on Facebook by searching for FS magazine. Come on... do it now!

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Page 32

FS114_P05_Upfront:FS 10/09/2009 12:59 Page 5

Upfront You’ve got to role with it

If you want to inject some fun into your sex life, but you’ve already shagged in every room in the house, why not try a bit of role play. Here are some of our faves... Policemen interrogating criminal Handcuffs, uniform, your gran’s video-gram, you get the idea.

In the changing room after the match You’re spoilt for choice with this one: tight rugby shorts, high socks, football boots, jocks, wrestler’s one-piece, boxing shorts and boots. The possibilities are endless.

Driver picking up a hitchhiker If you have a car, you can do the Full Monty. Otherwise a rucksack, trekking boots and a nice hot cup of tea when you get him home is a good way to start.

Plumber coming to clear your u-bend Or any other workman-type situation. Give him a box of tools and some loose trackies, so you can see his bum cleavage, and show him what you need fitted.

GP’s surgery Yes it’s time for your annual check-up, so take off your clothes, hop up on the table and relax while the doc gives you a once over. A surgical mask and gown can help set the scene and a rubber glove, and some KY jelly may come in handy for the more intimate examinations.

Chav lads on a housing estate Trackies, Reebok classics, baseball caps... you meet on the stairs, invite him in for a can and a smoke. Put on some straight porn and away you go.

Army lads in the barracks All you need are some boots (some boot polish if that floats your boat), combats, white vests and the feeling that you haven’t had sex in months. Add to that a big bag of potatoes to be peeled and a big pot of soup and you have your own French porn film.

WIN! WIN! WIN! Want to know more about gay health? Gay Sex Gay Health is a new book by Dr Alex Vass. It’s a virtual encyclopaedia of the health information gay men need to know. There are also sections on sex, drugs, coming out, relationships and more, so he really has all the bases covered. It is out now on Vermillion books, and those nice people at the publishers are offering 25 percent off to all FS readers, just go to and use offer code GMFA09. And if that wasn’t enough, we also have 5 copies to give away! All you have to do is answer this simple question:

When you tell someone you are gay for the first time, you are? A. B. C.

Coming and going Coming home Coming out

Email your answer, along with your name, address and contact phone number to: or post it to the address at the back of this mag. Good luck.


FS114_PAGE 6:FS 10/09/2009 13:09 Page 6

Page six

Six ways

to keep condoms frombreaking


One in eight of us have had a condom fail during sex in the last year. To lessen the chance of you being the unlucky one, here’s what you can do...

ight r e h t e s U f it o s t o l d n lube a

re lubes a -based nything e n o ic nd sil ms. A tex ater- a condo Only w e with latex way at the la quick a s a t u e a k o e m li OK t will ay see really il in it with o eaker. Spit m spit dries up sing crea , but g it w makin y alternative ne dry and in tudies S o s . b a k e a u e d o r y an lb f leaving om wil lenty o quickly ce the cond s who use p the n y p a the ch own that gu ndom and u ve o h d, ha have s oth on the c g fucke lube, b the man bein breakages m f condo arse o lube fewer st use h c ju u o m h w e s n y u lo . than g e condom a h t n o


Just use one condom at a time

Two of anyth in right? So usin g is better than one, give you twic g two condoms will wrong! Two co e as much protection – causes frictio ndoms rubbing together nw likely to break hich makes them more . Yo condoms if yo u can get extra-thick studies have u want them, but sho more effectiv wn they are no e than ones. It’s up to regular you.

FS114_PAGE 6:FS 10/09/2009 13:09 Page 7


Use the right size condom

When it com es to condom that’s too sm s, size does m all fo atte one that is to r your cock makes it more r. Using a condom o likely to brea bi g m ay mak come in a rang k. Using e of sizes so yo e it more likely to slip off. Condoms A lot of GUM u can find on e which is rig clinics have a ht for you. selection of fr sizes, so you ee condoms can try before in different you buy. Whe n yo check-up, just ask them wha u go for your next t they have av ailable.

Change t he con Just lik dom after ey 30


minu tes


out aft ou, condom e s Condo r fucking for can get wor a n ms bec break t ome m while. you arehe longer yo ore likely to horny going at it u use them, every hbunnies, takelike a couple so if of alf hou a breat cond ra he wouldnom. A cup of nd put on a nr tea ew ’t go am iss eith probably er.


Store your condoms in a safe place

Roll it, don’t stretch it

Remember your mum telling you not to stretch out the neck of your jumper when you were a kid because it would ruin it? Well, it’s kind of the same deal with condoms. Rolling the condom down from the tip puts a lot less stress on the condom, meaning it stays stronger while you’re fucking. Roll the condom all the way down to the very base of your cock to limit the chance that it will come off during sex.

You wouldn’t keep your Ipod in the r freezer, so make sure you keep you condoms somewhere appropriate as well. Condoms need to be kept away from damp, hot places and out of direct sunlight to stay at or their best. So a box on the radiator ck Che out. is sill ow left on the wind s go the use-by date as well. Condom le shab peri r othe or off, just like milk h stuff. An out-of-date condom is muc nice a than k brea more likely to fresh one.

For more information on safer sex and how to make condoms work for you visit You can buy brand-name condoms at discount prices online at If you think you may have been exposed to HIV because of a condom breaking during sex, PEP is a treatment that can help prevent you catching HIV if you begin taking it within 72 hours. To find out more visit


The free, fast, flexible, confidential and convenient way for you to get an HIV test in Leeds.


Testing Times is a fast, free and confidential service every Thursday evening in a City Centre location on c e Hepatitis B VACcination service from 6 – 7.45pms e r v i AC for Gay from Yorkshire MESMAC for Gay For more information about Testing Times and Bisexual Men


call: 0113 244 4209 or 07980 176 746



8pm, In a scene venue from 6 – 8pm,

details. please ask a member of staff for details.

Time for a PEP talk? PEP (Post Exposure Prophylaxis) is a combination of drugs that may prevent HIV infection after possible HIV exposure

• P EP must be taken within 72 hours of possible HIV exposure • The faster you start PEP the more effective it is • P EP should be available from sexual health clinics and A&E departments • On occasion people do experience side effects • P EP is not a cure for HIV and there is no guarantee that it will prevent HIV transmission • Condoms and water based lubricant used correctly are the most effective way of preventing HIV transmission during sex For further information or advice contact: Yorkshire MESMAC The Brunswick Centre NHS Direct National Sexual Health Helpline

01132 444 209 01422 341 764 0845 46 47 0800 567 123 and follow the links to the PEP pages

Yorkshire MESMAC can offer Gay affirmative counselling throughout the whole of West and North Yorkshire for: Gay, Bisexual and homosexually active men

Yorkshire MESMAC can offer Gay affirmative counselling throughFemale partners of men who are attracted to men out the whole of West and North Yorkshire for: Lesbians and Bisexual women in Bradford and Airedale

Gay, Bisexual and homosexually active men

This counselling is free if you are living in these areas and on a low income.

Female partners of men who are attracted to men

We can offer counselling for individuals and couples.

Lesbians and Bisexual women in Bradford and Airedale For information please call 07771 931 327

This counselling is free ifCharity you are in these areas and on a no:living 1040407 low income. We can offer counselling for individuals and couples.

FS114_P09_Adam:FS 10/09/2009 13:25 Page 9


My name is Adam I’m 23, gay, and HIV-positive. This is my life... Working Nine to Five We all take time out to visit the dentist, doctor and sometimes if you’re feeling crafty a sneaky haircut on work time. Living with HIV means more appointments and more time off work. The morning I was diagnosed I remember heading back to the office, sitting on the tube with the news “you’re positive and have been for at least six months”. I wondered if I should tell my boss, but it’s not exactly something to announce when you’re having your yearly appraisal. I didn’t get round to telling him until my final week of employment. I had to take a day off work for something entirely unrelated to HIV but requiring a visit to my GP. He decided that perhaps I should just take the time off and not get paid for it. I immediately contested and threw about my status and a couple of clauses from the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA). He soon backed down; I got a week off work and a little extra cash in my final pay. Hush money? Oh well... result! I’ve learnt a lesson since then though; your status isn’t something to bandy about and expect more favourable treatment from your employer. But at least know your rights as the DDA was amended in 2005 and now ensures that people with HIV are covered from the point of diagnosis, rather than from the point when the condition has some adverse effect on your ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. Some of the more useful rights under the DDA include altering your working

hours if you’re taking medication. So certainly hasn’t stopped me from if you experience side effects in progressing in my chosen the morning, your career. What annoyed me employer should allow a few months back was In order to you to start later in a friend who used his support you the day. They also status to his , have to allow employer ne your advantage, but not ed reasonable time desirable way. know why y s to inHeawas off to attend frequently o u ’re appointments taking the ti taking time off me and counselling work, claiming he and that me off sessions. couldn’t cope with a n s telling them However, in order the stress of being ab to support you, your condit out diagnosed, yet he ion. your employer needs spent Friday and to know why you’re Saturday nights hitting taking the time off and that the clubs. He would work means telling them about your out at the gym all day just to condition. Your human resource destroy his body with drugs and department is the best place to start, drink. He had a great time, until he and anything you tell them was caught out in true Gossip Girl should remain confidential. style via photo evidence from a If you’re ever in the camera phone. His employment was position where your terminated leaving him with a big performance at work hole in his CV and his wallet. Jetting isn’t 100 percent and you off halfway around the world with his haven’t had the tell all inheritance seemed like a good idea conversation with at the time, but he’s coming back to HR they’re unlikely the UK during the recession and very to be able to little hope of finding employment. make any I guess I’ll be supporting him both as allowances for a friend and through my taxes. you. You could The reality is after the initial shock, find yourself most newly diagnosed people are slowly being likely to be able to work and support managed out of themselves, but it’s good to know your employment if that my employer has made sure if your performance I end up in hospital, or become so ill doesn’t improve, and I can’t work, the company’s health that might lead to your insurance will cover me and protect health being damaged my salary. Not many companies even further through would be so supportive. There are stress and anxiety. nightmare stories where employers I’ve been lucky. My have discriminated, bullied and previous three generally made people’s lives a employers were very misery and if you’re in that position, understanding. I’ve get out and take action. never used my status For more information on as an excuse not to HIV and work visit: crack on with my work and it



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Cover story


Make the most of your mates

It’s important to have reliable and trustworthy friends in your life to provide you with a good support structure. “Research

ways to upgrade your life

Does your life need a boost? Check out these great ways to turn your life from good to great!


shows that people who do not have such a structure are more likely to experience mental health issues, over use recreational drugs and alcohol, and also make decisions around their sexual lives that they later regret,” says GMFA Groupwork Project Manager, Barrie Dwyer. Make sure you have a level sharing of the load in your friendships and give your friends as much support as you get from them. “The number one thing guys say they want in friendships is honesty, with the second one being shared interests. So build on those two things and you will be building longlasting friendships,” says Dwyer. If you’re looking to find new friends, make sure you go out socialising to find like-minded people. This doesn’t only have to be bars and clubs - you can also try activity and sports groups to meet people. Check out theguide for a list of sports and social groups in London. GMFA are running ‘The Friendship Course’ around the country in October. For more information visit:


Sort out your finances If you haven’t changed your bank account since school, you’re probably losing out because if it. Finance expert Martin Lewis says that “most people earn pitiful incredit interest, or get screwed by huge overdraft charges.” It’s easy to change your bank account. Sometimes the bank will pay you for switching, give you an interest free overdraft or pay you up to six

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Cover story

our y e v Gi ds as frien support h t muc you ge . as them m fro

offers a free debt advice service. To find your nearest office go to For a wealth of information to health-check your finances, from budget planners and banking guidance to debt advice, check out

3 Know your HIV status Going for an HIV test can be a stressful experience, but knowing your HIV status is very important to

looking after your health. If you have caught HIV, the sooner you know the better. Finding out early means that you can access treatment sooner, which means you are likely to have a longer and healthier life. Knowing if you have HIV or not also means that you can look after your health and the health of your partners. Most areas now offer a variety of HIV testing services including 1-hour testing. For more information on where you can get an HIV test, visit or see the listings at the back of the magazine.


percent in interest. Similarly, if you still own the same high street bank credit card you used for your first pair of Top Man jeans, there are plenty of interest-free credit cards available, so you can save lots of money by shopping around. If you’re in debt, it’s important to deal with the problem rather than burying your head in the sand. “I've never yet heard of someone with debts so bad there isn’t a path through them,” says Lewis, “and starting to deal with them will make you feel better and speed up the process.” The Citizens Advice Bureau


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4 Think positively If you really want a life you love, then stop focusing on what you don't want. Life coach Lou Clark says, “When we’re looking for happiness, one mistake we make is to focus on what we want to avoid rather than defining what we really want. The main reason we tend to do this is because what we really want feels too hard to achieve and we get bogged down in the negativity of not having it.”

5 Get the right job We spend over 100,000 hours at work during our lifetimes, yet over 40 percent of people are dissatisfied in their current jobs. “Those 100,000 hours are yours for the taking, so take some time to assess how satisfied you are in your current job,” says life coach Lou Clark. “Does it tick the box of appealing to your true motivators as well as challenging your knowledge, skills and experience?” Before leaping from job to job trying to find satisfaction, identify what you could change about your current job to make it work for you. If you can’t find anything to change or improve your current job, then it might be worth considering looking for a new one.

Job tips Start by asking yourself the see following questions to help you if you can make your job better for you. It might help to work with a friend if the task of doing this by yourself is a little daunting.

What is really working well for me in my job? What is not working so well in my job? What would need to change in my current job to make it work even better? What resources do I need to make this happen?


One way to overcome this is to start small, smaller changes rather than wishing you could become a world-famous pop star overnight. Start by writing down five things you really want to achieve or do over the next six months, and then jot down ways you might be able to achieve them. Keep them action-focussed and achievable. Ask a friend to check in with you every month to ensure you are still on track and keeping positive.

6 Exercise your brain The brain’s an amazing organ we use constantly for everything we do, so it’s important to look after it. By exercising your brain, you can ensure it’s up to scratch and performing at its best. Give yours a workout and teach it to be flexible by trying unfamiliar tasks such as switching hands when you brush your teeth, or holding a computer mouse in your other hand. You’ll probably feel your brain working to complete the tasks. You can give your brain a good workout by doing a crossword or a sudoku puzzle. According to Jeff Keow, management consultant and author of ‘Think out of the Block with Sudoku’, playing sudoku can develop your mental skills, creativity and attitude.

7 Take it easy on the drink and drugs A lot of us like a drink, all right lots of drinks, but cutting down can have many health benefits. Drinking too much alcohol can raise blood pressure, cause heart failure and lead to a stroke. It also contributes to obesity. Plus if you count all those days you waste being so hung over you can’t get off the sofa and the amount of money you spend on booze, the cost of too much drinking really mounts up. So take it easy.

Tips on drinking less Try a new tipple Try swapping your favourite tipple for a soft drink a few nights each week. It doesn’t have to be boring old orange juice. There are loads of high-end sodas and smoothies now, available from all supermarkets. You may discover something new, and your head will be clearer the next day.

Get hydrated Sometimes we drink faster and more because we are simply thirsty, so drink a pint of water before you start drinking to make sure you are hydrated from the start. Then try alternating your drinks so that you have water or juice in between the alcohol. Keeping yourself hydrated will leave you feeling a lot better.

Break the habit If you associate a certain activity, such as watching TV, with a drink, listen to your favourite album instead, or cook yourself a nicer meal with the money saved from the wine.

Try something new Tackle the link in your mind between alcohol and relaxation. If you reach for a pint after a day’s work, try having a steaming bath, going for a swift walk or taking a yoga class. Instead of going to the pub, go to the cinema instead, or plan to do things you enjoy during the day so you have an incentive not to get plastered at night.

Buy yourself something nice Keep track of how much money you have spent on alcohol in the previous week or month. Work out how much you could save by cutting back and choose a gift for yourself as an incentive.

Eat first Don’t drink on an empty stomach. Wait until you’ve started eating your evening meal before drinking your wine or beer, or have a few nibbles beforehand to slow down the effects of alcohol.

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Get off your bum

Go for yoga

Quit smoking

With autumn upon us, it’s easy to just settle down in front of the telly until the spring, but think again. Staying active and

Yoga is good for your mind, body and soul. Yoga lets you tune in,

exercising all year round has loads of benefits. Physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier and more relaxed than you were before you worked out. You'll also look better and feel better when you exercise regularly, which can boost your confidence and improve your selfesteem. Regular physical activity can even help prevent depression. Exercise gives you more energy. Physical activity delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues. In fact, regular physical activity helps your entire cardiovascular system - the circulation of blood through your heart and blood vessels - work more efficiently. Big deal? You bet! When your heart and lungs work more efficiently, you'll have more energy to do the things you enjoy. Physical activity is sometimes the key to better sleep. Regular physical activity can help you fall asleep faster and deepen your sleep. There's a caveat, however. If you exercise too close to bedtime, you may be too energised to fall asleep. If you're having trouble sleeping, you might want to exercise earlier in the day. Regular physical activity can leave you feeling energized and looking better, which may have a positive effect on your sex life. Men who exercise regularly are less likely to have problems with hard-ons than men who don't exercise. Plus it’s fun and there are lots of gay groups that are into all sorts of sports and activities, so it can be social too! Find a physical activity you enjoy, and go for it. If you get bored, try something new. If you're moving, it counts!

chill out, shape up – all at the same time. Research shows that yoga improves muscle tone, flexibility, strength and stamina, reduces stress and tension, boosts self esteem, improves concentration and creativity, lowers fat, stimulates the immune system; and creates a sense of well being and calm. What more could you ask for?

It’s getting colder outside, so smokers are going to have to make a choice between staying at home or freezing their nuts off outside. An

You'll lo better a ok nd feel bet ter whe n you ex regular ercise ly can boo , which st confide your nce.

estimated 12,000 gay men die each year as a result of smoking-related illness. You don’t really want to be one of them. There has never been a better time to quit. There are drugs that increase your chances of success, and stop smoking groups can make it ten times more likely you will never smoke again. For more information visit

Reasons to quit smoking You will reduce your risk of illness, disability or death caused by cancer, heart or lung disease. You will protect the health of those around you by not exposing them to secondhand smoke. You will improve your breathing and general fitness. You will enjoy the taste of food more. You will save money - as much as several hundred pounds a month if you're a heavy smoker. You will no longer smell of stale tobacco. The appearance of your skin and teeth will improve. As a non-smoker, you may even find you get approached more often by potential new friends and partners when out socialising. Your home will smell fresh and you will no longer be staining your walls with nicotine.





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Read a book

Learn a new language or skill

Magazines are great (obviously), but there is nothing like a good book. But despite that, half of men aged 16 to 24 haven’t read a book in the last year according to government statistics. And people like Victoria Beckham claim to have never read one at all! But why not? Books broaden our minds, stimulate our imaginations and can provide hours of entertainment. And there really is a book for everyone, from Harry Potter to Charles Dickens. There are loads of great books with gay characters and which talk about many of the issues that we can all identify with. Gay website has a list of the 50 best gay books ever, or check out the user-generated lists on

12 Commit to safer sex Whatever your HIV status, it's up to everyone to stop HIV from speading in our community. Stock up on condoms and lube, and be extra careful with yourself if you're feeling depressed, or under the influence of drink, drugs or love, because those are the times that you're most likely to slip up. The worry caused by taking risks can really put a damper on your life, so why not cut it out altogether? It’s simple enough to do - just use a condom.

13 Get a hobby Can’t think of anything to do? Well then, why not take up a hobby. There are hundreds of sports, special interest and social groups where gay men get together to share their love of whatever pastime floats their boat. To find a group near you, visit:


Learning doesn’t stop when you leave school, college or university. Taking an evening class or course can open up loads of new possibilities. Not only will it keep your mind sharp, but you may discover a love of something or a talent that will change your life... To find out more about courses on offer, visit

15 Let go of the past Although spring cleaning our houses and flats is designed to be an annual event, in reality we are clearing clutter more than once a year. Emotional clutter needs the same attention. “Are there things you are holding on to that might be blocking your openness to change, and choking the life out of your life?” asks life coach, Lou Clark. For example you may be in a relationship that should be longfinished. You might have a toxic friend that needs dealing with or an emotional conversation that needs to be forgotten. “On a monthly basis check in with yourself and analyse what emotional clutter is getting in your way,” says Clark. Once you’ve identified the emotional clutter, think about what the benefits are to you in holding on to it and work through what you need to do to be able to let it go.

16 Learn from your mistakes “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is insane,” says life coach Lou Clark. “It’s important to review what happened when something doesn’t go your way. This can help with anything in your life such as ending a relationship, arguing with a friend or spending your monthly budget in two weeks.”

This isn’t about giving yourself a hard time but will help you avoid the same mistake twice. Why not try asking yourself these questions the next time something doesn’t go your way? “What would the ideal outcome have been? How far short did the actual experience fall? What could I have done differently to change the outcome?” Once you’ve got the answers to these questions, you can learn from them.

17 Go to the clinic OK, so going to the GUM clinic does not rate highly on most guys lists of fun ways to spend an hour or two, but knowing that you’re in good sexual health is a great feeling. And since some STIs may not have any noticeable symptoms, getting checked out at the clinic is the only way to know for sure. It’s important to know because having an STI increases your vulnerability to HIV if you're HIV-negative and makes you more infectious if you're HIV-positive. Most other STIs are easier to catch than HIV and some you can catch even if you always use condoms, so it's worth having a regular check-up even if you only have safer sex. To find a GUM clinic near you, visit:

18 Try something you always secretly wanted to do Most of us have ideas about stuff we’ve always wanted to try but have never got round to. Why not make the decision to do one of those things now? It might be that you’ve always wanted to sign up for a writing course, or maybe you’ve been harbouring a desire to play an instrument from the moment you saw Madonna clutching her guitar. It might even be gambling in Vegas. Whatever it is, there’s no time like the present to get things moving. Get on to the internet and do your research. Then make a plan of what you’re going to do to achieve your goal, and execute that plan to make it happen.

FS114_Cover Story:FS 10/09/2009 13:35 Page 15


19 Learn to cook Ready meals and takeaways are OK once in a while, but eat them all the time and they can have a nasty effect on your health, your waistline and your wallet. Unless you are very careful about what you choose, they tend to be high in salt and fat. Cooking your own meals means that you can control what you are eating, including the amount of salt and fat you use. Plus, cooking can be fun, a great way to relax, and something you can do with friends. Start out with simple dishes like pasta with tomato sauce and work your way up to more complicated recipes.

20 Make a life plan Having a life plan is a great way of keeping yourself on track and focussed. “Ask yourself where you see yourself in five years’ time,” says life coach Lou Clark “This isn’t always easy, so break it down into chunks by focussing on specific areas, such as career, friendships, relationships, family, finances, health and fitness.” For each of these areas of your life, start by picturing what the ideal scenario would be, and with that in mind, create some achievable goals that will set you on a path to achieving the life you want over the next five years. It might help to break your plan down to year by year so that you have smaller steps in achieving your goal. Do whatever works best for you – but do make sure you make a plan.

21 Get over it  Life coach Lou Clark says, “It’s more important to focus on what you think about yourself than to obsess over what others think. If you tend to judge yourself by using other people’s criteria, now’s the time to stop.” So, it doesn’t matter what you look like or how many guys you are dating or fancy. The most important relationship is the one you have with yourself, and if that is in top condition, then everything else will really fall into place. Lou Clark is a life coach and the creator of Etre Coaching. Check out for more information.


FS114_Open Relationships:FS 10/09/2009 13:40 Page 16

Open season Life

Gay men seem to love the idea of open relationship, but they are tricky to get right. Stuart Haggas looks at what life is like when you want your cake and boyfriend too. Some gay men don’t want to conform to the stereotype of being either single and available, or married and off the market. Faced with all the options, some of us still want a bit of both. “I’ve often thought that as gay men we lack a roadmap to relationships,” says Chris Murchison, Counselling Officer at the Lesbian and Gay Foundation in Manchester. “We all grow up with the idea that heterosexual men will have a series of girlfriends, and in time find the right one, get engaged, marry, have children and live happily ever after. But for gay men the roadmap is less clear. One route that is often tried is the open relationship.” It does seem that conventional norms such as monogamy are not always a guaranteed part of a gay relationship or civil partnership. “Gay guys have more opportunities and less pressure to be monogamous,” confirms Dominic Davies, founder of Pink Therapy, which specialises in helping gay men and couples overcome psychological and relationship issues.

It’s not easy No relationship is easy, and an open relationship is definitely not the easy option. Having an open relationship isn’t simply about turning a blind eye to a partner occasionally having sex with other guys, or accepting that on your annual trip to Sitges or Ibiza you’ll both probably play away. For an open relationship to genuinely work it requires as much, if not more, effort than a monogamous one – because “open” doesn’t equate to both partners doing whatever they want. Mutually-agreed ground rules


must be established and kept to, and this takes honesty and commitment. As Dominic adds: “It's about understanding what you want, being able to communicate this fearlessly to your partner, then being able to have an honest discussion together about your emotional, relational, sexual and other needs.” Chris is more cautious, “There are emotional consequences to this type of relationship route. Within open relationships, negative emotions will surface including envy, jealousy,


Subhir, 29

Student from Vauxhall Have you ever been in an open relationship? No, I have never been in a long term relationship. Do you think an open relationship can be healthy?Yes, if both the partners are happy being in one, then why not? Having an open relationship does not mean that you love the person less or care less. The fact that you want to come home to your man in spite of being with others shows that you want to be with your man.

anger, frustration and mistrust. There’s the risk that you or your partner will prefer one of your casual encounters and end the relationship. None of this is conducive to a healthy long-term relationship. In an open relationship the core currency is sex. Sex within a relationship is important, but a relationship based primarily on sex will not develop beyond this. For a relationship to last it needs more. It needs a sense of love, intimacy, trust, support, and future planning.” Regarded American psychotherapist Michael Shernoff has written extensively on gay relationships. In “How To Be Nonmonogamous” he outlines how you might negotiate a safe and fulfilling open relationship. You and your boyfriend should begin by discussing all of your feelings as openly and honestly as possible. Neither of you should be forced into something you don’t want. “Neither of you should be coerced into trying an open relationship,” agrees Dominic. “Unless both parties are willing to open it up then it’s unlikely to work.”

The Sex Factor If you both agree, how this change will happen. Be careful and take nothing for granted, because changing the rules of how you have sex will definitely impact on your relationship. The kind of questions

FS114_Open Relationships:FS 10/09/2009 13:40 Page 17

For a relationship to last it n a sense of eloeds v intimacy, e, trust, suppo and futurert, planning

No matter e ’r whether you or HIV positive will u negative, yo about k need to thin if you this again ave decide to h ers other partn is the case, should either of you have any kind of risky sex outside the relationship, it’s vital to confess immediately. The only way to continue to be safe would be to start using condoms with each other as a precaution until you’ve both had new HIV tests to reassess your status. If you’re in any doubt as to whether you can handle this degree of honesty, it might be sensible and safer all round for you to always use condoms with each other and all other partners.

Is it right for you? Open relationships aren’t for everyone. For example, if your current relationship isn’t working, changing the rules to allow other partners is unlikely to strengthen or save your relationship – at best, it might mask the reasons why your relationship wasn’t working in the first place; at worst, it might terminate your relationship. “There is also one additional caution that is important to mention,” writes Michael Shernoff in How To Be Nonmonogamous. “Many couples choose to have sex with other guys as a way of adding some spice and excitement to a dwindling and increasingly less exciting sex life. For some male couples, what winds up happening is that the only really exciting sex they have is either with an outside partner or with each other only when a third person is present. Some couples cease having any sexual contact with each other at all,


Michael suggests you address include: Can you have sex with people you know or only with anonymous partners? Can you see a person more than once? Can you sleep over somewhere else? Can you have sex with a stranger in your home? Is anal sex permitted with strangers as long as a condom is used? What about oral sex? The sexual health implications of open relationships shouldn’t be ignored. It’s not uncommon for a couple in a monogamous relationship to have unprotected sex with each other. No matter whether you’re HIV positive or negative, you will need to think about this again if you decide to have other partners. As Michael states “What the rules will be regarding sexual risk taking outside the relationship must be agreed. This agreement has to be based complete honesty and trust.” You might continue having unprotected sex with each other, but recognise that all sex outside of your relationship must be safe sex. If this

FS114_Open Relationships:FS 10/09/2009 13:40 Page 18




Eddy, 32

Government worker from London Have you ever been in an open relationship? No. Why not? It’s just not in my character. I'm not jealous but it’s just not me. There’s no point calling it a relationship if it’s open. It’s not a relationship. If I want to sleep around I will, but not while I'm in a relationship. I don't think it’s dangerous sexually to sleep around, as long as you're careful, it’s just greedy. Why have a relationship at all? If I was in a relationship and after two years I realised I wanted sex with other people, I'd end the relationship.

but still think of themselves as life partners. If your goal is to keep having an exciting and interesting sex life with your partner, then it is important that you do not invest all of your sexual creativity and energy only in your outside liaisons.” One reason frequently given as to why many gay men seek sex outside of their relationship is that some don’t feel comfortable requesting some kinds of sex from their boyfriend. It seems that certain kinds of sex are best performed with strangers. If you fall into this category, then rather than exploring the notion of an open relationship with your boyfriend, first it might be worthwhile finding out whether he also has an unspoken desire to try something different. If he does, you can begin experimenting together. Not having a definitive relationship roadmap means that


Five steps... to a healthy and happy open relationship

Brady 28 Hairdresser from Hampshire Have you ever been in an open relationship?Yes. I am in one now. It’s been four and a half years so far. We opened it about two years into the relationship. Why did you decide to have one? We both decided to open the relationship, I think we were getting a bit bored with just each other. What were the main issues have you struggled with? I don't think we had any problems, nothing I can think of. We both felt secure in our relationship, which is the only way it can work. There’s a difference between sex and love, sometimes sex with another person is just like having a wank. Do you think an open relationship can be healthy? For the right people, the right couple, it can be healthy. It’s not for everyone -of course What do you think is the secret of a successful open relationship? Honesty, trust and only playing together, we never play apart. I'd be fine if he did want to play away but it’s not in his character.

some gay men get lost along the way, but it also means that there is no right or wrong way to be a samesex couple. It’s up to us to decide exactly how we want to live. You can’t get more open than that.

Edited extract from “How To Be Nonmonogamous” by Michael Shernoff. For more visit:

1) Once you’ve agreed in principal that opening your relationship to other partners is a change you want, do not rush into it. Take baby steps to see how you feel before you take the plunge. Go out to a bar or club and explicitly tell each other which men you are attracted to and why. At least the first time or two that you do this, make an agreement not to actively cruise anyone or take anyone home. 2) Once you decide that you are ready to officially open the relationship do so initially on a trial basis for a few weeks only. 3) Some couples find it an enormous turn on to hear about their partner's outside sexual escapades. Other couples, while accepting that each will play separately, have no desire at all to hear the gory details. 4) After a predetermined amount of time, sit down and honestly share with each other how you feel about the arrangement since having made this change. 5) It may become clear that, no matter what rules you have agreed upon, it is not a viable option. Or you might find that you have to revisit and fine tune some of the rules, or that the arrangement is working fine and enhancing the way you both feel about each other.








can be difficult to build friendships outside of the social





scenes we are involved in, and get support for ourselves.




IE N R F Friendships are important to everyone. As gay menDit S• • S





The Friendships Course is a one day course that will help


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We are running The Friendships Course in cities throughout England. All places on the course are free of charge. The course starts at 10am and finishes at 5pm.



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FS114_P21_Defence feat:FS 10/09/2009 13:43 Page 21


The best defense Reports of attacks on gay men have been on the rise recently. Although you can’t predict when trouble will happen, there are things you can do to reduce the chances of being attacked or abused by a stranger. LGBT community safety charity GALOP gives this advice on how to be safe on the streets and what to do if things go wrong. Be aware on the streets Take note of your surroundings, and of the people around you. If there are choices about where to walk, always choose well-lit, populated areas and stay near to main roads. Avoid lonely short-cuts at night. Move away from groups of people behaving in an erratic or provocative manner. Cross the street, change direction or grab a cab if you think there is danger. Try not to draw attention to yourself.

Appear confident Walk with your head up and in a determined manner. Look like you know where you are going, even if you don’t. If you feel nervous, or alone, tell yourself you can cope with any situation, and that you have as much right to be walking the streets as anyone else. Making eye contact with people as you go past them indicates you are not scared.

There i shames no in refusi n drinking or taking or tryi g to fight drugs, arrange to n away, g to get travel with friends. Avoid difficult or if the especially isolated journeys, odds a agains re either by staying with a t you. friend or by booking a cab beforehand. It’s safer

Stay with others When travelling at night, try to be with others for as much of your journey as possible. If you are left alone on top of a bus, or in an empty tube or train carriage, move as soon as you can to where there are other people, or get off if you feel it might be safer to do so. If you can afford it, get cabs for lonely journeys.

Alcohol or drugs make you more vulnerable If you are out of it, you are more vulnerable. If you know you will be

than getting into one of the many cars that hang around clubs that might not be genuine cabs.

Avoid conflict If a situation looks like it might turn violent, try not to engage or ‘fight your corner’ if you are outnumbered. Try to calm the situation down or look instead for ways of getting out of the situation. There is no shame in refusing to fight or trying to get away, especially if the odds are against you.

If you are attacked Hopefully this will never happen to you, but if you are attacked, you may decide to fight

back, but try to get help and attention. Shout to bring others to your assistance. Sometimes shouting ‘Fire!’ will bring people more quickly. If your attacker has a weapon, try to run. Get help as soon as you can.

The police can help The police take homophobic crimes very seriously, so if you are a victim do report it as soon as possible. This includes verbal abuse, name calling, harassment, vandalism or actual physical attack. The police can’t do anything to improve the situation unless they know it’s happening.

For more info or to report a homophobic attack in London visit, ring 020 7704 2040 or email Outside London contact local police as most constabularies now have dedicated LGBT liaison officers and hate crime units.


FS114_P20-21_Health:FS 10/09/2009 13:45 Page 22


What do you know about

swine flu? Rupert Grint, Susan Boyle and even a Big Brother contestant have all been reported as having had swine flu. Here’s everything you need to know...

What is it? It’s a new virus, a combination of human and swine flu, which has now spread worldwide. So far it has been mild in most people and only lasts a few days. Some people in the UK caught it over the summer and public health officials think there may be another wave of cases in the Autumn.

What are the symptoms? They are a high fever (of over 38C, making you very hot and sweaty) and some of the following:

cough tiredness, lack of energy sore throat running nose joint/muscle aching or pain headache diarrhoea or vomiting These symptoms come on very suddenly. You may not feel ill for a day or so after catching it, but in some cases symptoms can come on within ten to 30 minutes.

What should you do if you get it? Stay at home while you have symptoms and stay away from anyone with a lowered immune system. Rest, drink plenty of fluids

Althou gh there h been a asn’t li betwe en flu nk deaths and H I V , a nyone with a w e ake immu ne sys ned is at ri tem sk.



FS114_P20-21_Health:FS 10/09/2009 13:45 Page 23

Health (stay away from alcohol which can dehydrate you), eat well (plenty of fresh fruit and veg can help), take some painkillers like paracetamol or ibuprofen (these can help with symptoms, not just aching muscles). While you have symptoms you should not go into work, not go out on the scene and keep the people you see face-to-face to a minimum. You will be infectious until all your symptoms have gone.

Is there any need to worry? For most people the symptoms are mild and only last a few days. There’s often no need for treatment or Tamiflu. If your symptoms are severe (you feel so bad that you can barely get out of bed or you’re so breathless you can’t do normal things) then you may need Tamiflu. If your symptoms last more than seven days then you may need to see your GP. Don’t go to the surgery but telephone them instead. If you are obese or have asthma, diabetes, HIV or any condition that impairs your immune system, contact your GP or doctor as soon as you develop symptoms.

What about swine flu and HIV? People with HIV will be among those who receive flu jabs first. Although there hasn’t been a link between flu deaths and HIV, anyone with a weakened immune system is at risk. If you have HIV and aren’t on treatment you may have a higher risk than those men those who are on treatment. Men who have HIV and don’t know it are also at a higher risk as their immune system will almost always be weaker than men that are on treatment. If you have been at risk of HIV and haven’t had a test recently, testing could save your life if you have HIV and don’t know it.

Who’s your flu friend? A flu friend is someone who will help look after you if you catch swine flu. They can do things like your food shopping, looking after you and collecting your Tamiflu for you. So ask your partner, boyfriend or a friend now don’t wait until you’re ill to find one.

Where to get help The Department of Health has set up a website and telephone line (the National Pandemic Flu Service) where you can get your symptoms assessed and, if you need it, arrange to get Tamiflu.

Website: Telephone: 0800 1 513 100 NHS Direct (0845 46 47) can also give you advice but if you have symptoms telephone, don’t go to your GP. You could be infectious.

STI Corner The place to come for STIs (not literally of course)

This month:

Chlamydia How do you get it? Chlamydia is a bacterial infection most commonly passed on by fucking or getting fucked without a condom, but it can also be passed on by sucking cock or rimming. The most common places to catch it are your cock, throat and arse.

How do you know you’ve got it? After one to six weeks, it can cause a yellowy white pus to come from your cock or sometimes from your arse, or throat. It may hurt when you wee and you may feel the urge to piss more than usual. Many infected guys don't show any symptoms at all (especially if they have it in their throat or arse), but can give it to other sexual partners without knowing it. If left untreated, the infection can spread from the cock to the prostate gland, balls, and other parts of the body which can become tender and inflamed. LGV is a form of Chlamydia and is more common in HIV-positive guys.

How do you treat it? Chlamydia is usually treatable with antibiotics. Avoid sex until the treatment has taken effect.

How do you prevent it? Using condoms when fucking will prevent many cases of Chlamydia. If you wanted to reduce the risks further, you would have to use condoms for oral sex. Sucking cock carries a risk even if he doesn’t cum in your mouth. For more information on chlamydia and other STIs or to find a clinic near you, visit

Fast Fact

Most cases of HIV are completely avoidable. If you are a gay man in the UK, there are very few reasons why you should catch HIV. Most gay men catch HIV from fucking without condoms. If all gay men wore a condom for fucking every time, the number of gay men with HIV would be very small. To keep yourself or the men you have sex with safe, wear a condom.


FS113_P22_Doc:FS 10/09/2009 13:49 Page 24


Hey GMFA, I’ve got a problem! The team at GMFA answer questions from their website that you may be too shy to ask in the flesh...

Is it safe to stop using condoms? Is safe to have anal sex without a condom, if you are both are HIVnegative. My partner and I have been fucking for about four months. We were both tested at the same time and we were both clear of any infections, including HIV. Though I’m happy with everything and neither of us have had sex with anybody else since getting together, I feel I need to ask the question. If neither of you have HIV, or any other infections, you can’t catch them from each other, but there are a couple of things you do need to consider if you are going to stop using condoms. If you tested within three months of either of you having sex with someone else, maybe before you got together, then it's possible that one of you had an infection that it was too soon for the tests to detect. HIV takes up to three months for some HIV tests to detect, so if the tests you had were within three month’s of either of you having sex with someone else then you cannot be


absolutely sure one of you did not have HIV when you tested. If that is the case, go and get tested again, as long as it has now been longer than three months since either of you had sex with someone else. Secondly, are you both absolutely sure you have been monogamous since you got together and will remain so? If you have sex with someone outside your relationship, particularly unprotected sex, then you could pick up an infection such as HIV. If you then have sex with your partner without condoms you could pass the infection on. Even if you have no plans to have sex with other people sometimes it can happen, so you need to talk honestly with each other about what you'd do if it did.

room. Some of his precum got on my unbroken skin. I didn’t notice and it dried there. Can I get infected with HIV this way? HIV will not penetrate unbroken skin and so there is no risk of your being infected with HIV from your friend during this experience. You can find more information about how HIV is and is not transmitted at:

“We were both naked...” I have an HIV-positive friend and one night we were very close to each other and both naked in a

For more info about sex and sexual health or to ask a question visit:

How risky is… fucking Most gay men who have HIV caught it from getting fucked without a condom. As far as gay sex goes, getting fucked without a condom and having your partner cum inside you is the riskiest thing you can do.This is because the lining of the arse can absorb liquids directly into your bloodstream. If there’s HIV in his cum, and his cum goes up your arse, that will be absorbed too. Getting fucked without him cumming inside you is lower risk but, as there is HIV in precum too, there is still a risk of HIV. Fucking someone without a condom is less risky than getting fucked without a condom, but it is still one of the riskiest things you can do. If you are HIV-negative, fucking someone bareback is more likely to lead to infection than sucking cock. This is because the anal mucus that lines the arse contains a very high concentration of HIV if the person is HIVpositive. The skin just inside the tip of the penis can absorb liquids directly into the bloodstream. Besides HIV you can catch many other sexually transmitted infections when fucking without condoms including chlamydia, gonorrhoea, herpes, syphilis, genital warts and Hepatitis B. Using condoms is the best way to protect yourself against HIV and other STIs. For more info on sex and how to keep it safe, visit




Page 25

FS114_P26-27_Sortit:FS 10/09/2009 13:46 Page 26


Sort it out! FS readers and a trained counsellor give their advice on how to tackle one of life’s problems. This month’s problem The idea of having an HIV test makes me nervous. OK, very nervous. So nervous that I have never actually had one. Well, that’s not true, I did have one once, but I never went back for the result. If I do have HIV, I just reckon I don’t want to know until it’s absolutely necessary, like if I get sick or something. Why get all stressed about it before? Now I have read that the sooner you know the better, but I still can’t bring myself to do it. I see that you can get home testing kits on the internet. I wonder if that would be better for me? I just think that if I find out I have HIV I will be so depressed and it will totally screw up my life. What should I do?

Liam via email

Dear Liam,

I can understand your reasons for being nervous about finding out whether you are HIV-positive or negative, although whether you know or not will make no difference to the fact that you either have HIV or you don’t. What knowing will do is get rid of the fear, and allow you to make choices based on what you do know, not what you think you know. Think about the reasons that you are fearful about the result of the test. Are they about dying? Being sick and taking lots of pills? Never having a good sex life again? Those are pretty big fears and it sounds as if you are pretty stressed about them now. If you weren’t you’d be taking the test and going back for the result. What you have read is true. If you have HIV, the sooner you know the more you will be able to make choices about treatment. All the research shows that people who are diagnosed as positive when they get sick are more likely to have serious health problems. That is the thing to be fearful of, not the test itself. Get


tested. Ask if you can have one of the new 20-minute tests. Please don’t use a test you can get from the internet. You have no guarantee that you will get the correct result and you won’t get the support and advice that you will if you test at your clinic. Bigmouth via email

Dear Liam,

It sounds like you’re more afraid of the possibility of having HIV than the testing process itself. Why not take the test with a friend. Then you can support each other throughout the whole process. Clinic staff are usually very nice to ‘testing-phobes’ and offer support. In any case, I reckon going for an HIV test is something that should be done regularly if you’re sexually active. ‘Knowledge is Power’, as some old Greek fart said once. Whether you have HIV or not, it’s always important to know, for your own good and that of others. As for HIV screwing up your life? Well, it can mess you up but for me it was no more than a bad break-up, or a smoking habit. The

reality of gay men’s lives is that we have to test regularly - sad but true. I guess you wouldn’t need to test if you’re in a monogamous relationship with someone who is HIV negative and you know you can trust, although that’s a bit like finding a needle in a haystack while blindfolded. Jay via email

Dear Liam,

First of all, be assured that what you read is correct - if you are HIVpositive then waiting until you get sick will screw up your life much more than if you find out now. Because you are so anxious about the possibility of being HIV-positive, I suggest that before you test (at home or at a clinic) you find the support of people who know about living with HIV, and who, should you test positive, can give you the reassurance you need. As someone who is positive, I can start by telling you it's worth doing everything you possibly can to avoid becoming infected, but there's no need for you to be as anxious as you are about being diagnosed. Simon from Putney

A counsellor’s opinion Counsellor David Naylor of the GMI Partnership says:

Dear Liam,

Taking an HIV test, and getting the result could be one of the most difficult and important steps you will take to preserve your health. It is very natural for you to feel stressed or depressed before, during or after taking the test. You say that you don’t want to stress about your HIV status before getting sick. Although some

FS114_P26-27_Sortit:FS 10/09/2009 13:46 Page 27

might say that ignorance is bliss, that is not the case with HIV. What you have read about the sooner to know the better is correct and if you are diagnosed with HIV late (after the point at which treatment should have started), then you stand a ten times greater chance of dying within a year than if diagnosed before that point. It really is as clear and simple as that and this is why sexually active gay men are encouraged to take an HIV test every year. Let me reassure you that receiving an HIV-positive diagnosis is not the start of trouble. Although it’s not great news to get such a result, it will empower you to make good and informed choices about your health and to keep as many options open for your future as possible. The fact that you may have put yourself at risk of HIV exposure in the past, and did not stick around to get the results from your last test, means that I would not recommend you to take the home HIV test. Since you last tested there have been many changes to the way HIV tests are carried out and there are some which can give you a result in less than 20 minutes. You no longer need to go to a GUM clinic in a hospital for a test as there are community testing centres where you will be able to be seen, and receive your result, quickly

and confidentially. Going to a GUM or community testing clinic will allow you to receive one-on-one support that will help you get through the testing process this time, and should the result be positive you will be referred directly to the right people in an HIV clinic to start the process of assessing your health. Whatever the result, support is out there for you either in the form of newly diagnosed support groups or

counselling, group work and mentoring programmes to help you to practise safer sex.

If you think that you may want to see a counsellor, visit or go to page 28 for information on where you can get free counselling.

Next month’s problem... OK, here goes. If I am about to have sex with a guy and he tells me that he’s HIV-positive I really don’t know how to react. It does make me a bit nervous having sex with him, but I don’t want to make him feel bad, so I pretend like it doesn’t worry me at all. I have even taken risks that I normally wouldn’t, just to spare his feelings or in the hope that it will make him feel better in some way or to show just how ‘cool’ I am with the whole thing. I feel like a complete plonker afterwards, and even if I liked the guy, can’t face seeing him again. I know it sounds stupid, but it keeps happening. Jared – South London.

If you have some advice to give, or you have a problem that needs sorting, email it to: or search for ‘FS magazine’ on Facebook, become a fan, and post on the Sort It Out forums.


FS114_P28-29_listings NE2:FS 10/09/2009 14:10 Page 28

Listings Groups and support in Yorkshire and the North East... Advice and support Bradford Yorkshire MESMAC: support, information and advice for gay men, bisexual men and men who have sex with men. Phone: 01274 395815 or email:

County Durham The Gay and Bisexual Men’s Service: offers support, information, and advice to gay and bisexual men. Phone Colin Cowings on 01207 523614 or 07825 401987. Phone 0191 3744131 in Derwentside, Chester-le-Street, and Durham City. Phone Tim Holmes 01325 746141 or 07971 429235 in Darlington and the Dales.

Middlesbrough MESMAC NE: support, information and advice for gay and bisexual men. Phone: 01642 804400.

Newcastle MESMAC NE: support, information and advice for gay and bisexual men. Phone: 0191 233 1333.

Clinics Leeds


Darlington and Durham

MESMAC North East: 0191 233 1333.

G.A.D.D (Gay Advice Darlington and Durham): 01325 35 55 51. Monday to Friday 11am-4pm and also Monday and Friday 7-9pm.

Teesside MESMAC North East: 01642 804400.

Yorkshire Yorkshire MESMAC: offers one-to-one support in Leeds, Bradford, Wakefield and North Yorkshire.Phone: 07771 931 327 or email:

Drop-in centres Darlington The Gay Centre, 9 Duke Street, Darlington. Open House Tuesdays 2-5pm; Wednesdays and Thursdays 2-4pm. Men's social drop-in group on Fridays 7-9.30pm. For info ring: 01325 355 551.

Hartlepool Hart Gables: Monday to Friday 10am-3pm and Mondays 7-9pm at 31 South Road, Hartlepool.

Newcastle MESMAC North East: Monday to Thursday 1-5pm at 11 Nelson Street, Newcastle.


Fast testing for gay men: HIV-testing. chlamydia and gonorrhoea screening and Hepatitis B vaccinations. Thursdays 6-8pm and by appointment. For more info ring: 0113 244 4209.

Peterlee Open House: Mondays 1-3pm and Wednesdays 2-4pm in Room 7, 4th Floor Lee House, Upper Yoden Way, Peterlee. For info ring: 0191 586 9988.



One-hour testing for gay men:Tuesdays 12-6pm and by appointment. For more info phone: 01642 804400.

One-hour testing for gay men: for more info phone TPA 01642 254598.

SHOUT!: an information and support service for gay and bisexual men. It provides a space to discuss sexual health, relationships, coming out and self-esteem. Also offers a wide variety of activities and one to one support on request. Free access to condoms and lube Thursday evening 6.309.30pm. For more info phone: 0114 253 6767, email: or visit:



THT free sexual health clinic: Saturdays 11am-1pm at Unit 1, Kinsley and Fitzwilliam Community Resource Centre, Wakefield Rd, Kinsley. Phone 01977 614 120.

MESMAC NE: MondayFriday 1-5pm. 31-33 Albert Road, Middlesbrough.

Newcastle One-hour testing for gay men:Tuesdays 5-7pm. Phone MESMAC North East on 0191 233 1333.


Counselling Hartlepool Hart Gables: 01429 236790.


Helplines THT Direct: 0845 1221 200.

Bradford Bradford Friend: 01274 723 802.Monday and Wednesdays 6.30-8.45pm

and gay press. Meets Mondays from 7.30pm in central Gateshead. Phone Steve and Mark on 0191 490 1699.


MESMAC North East: 0191 233 1333. Monday to Friday 1-5pm.

MSM @ the Brunswick Centre: support group for gay and bi-sexual men on Thursdays 5.30-7.30pm. For more info phone: 01422 341 764. HAGG (Halifax Gay Group): weekly social for gay and bi-sexual men. For more info phone Paul: 01422 375 307 or email:



MESMAC NE: 01642 804400 Monday-Thursday 1-5pm.

MSM @ the Brunswick Centre: support group for gay and bi-sexual men on Thursdays 5.30-7.30pm. For more info phone: 01422 341 764. HUGG (Huddersfield Gay Group): weekly social for gay and bi-sexual men. For more info phone: 07773 588 628 or email:

Hartlepool Hart Gables: 01429 236790. Monday to Friday 10am-3pm.

Leeds Leeds LGB Switchboard: 0113 245 3588.


HIV-positive Bradford Our Project at Yorkshire MESMAC: service for people living with HIV including counselling, complementary therapies, advice and support. For more info phone: 01274 740548 or email:

Darlington GADD: closed drop-in and other services. For more info phone 01325 25 25 22.

Newcastle HIV+ Men’s Group: discreet service for HIV-positive gay and bisexual men offering support and social activities. Meets fortnightly in central Newcastle. For more info phone: 0191 233 1333 or email:

Support and social groups Bradford Older and Bolder: social group for gay and bisexual men over 60 (partners and carers of any age welcome). Runs once a fortnight on Monday afternoons at the Equity Centre in Bradford.For more info ring Jonathan on: 01274 395815 or email:

Darlington Friday men group: group for gay and bisexual men on Friday evenings 7-9.30pm. For info phone: 01325 35 55 51.

Gateshead Stag group: social activities away from the commercial gay scene, access to safer sex resources, plus a gay library

Leeds Iranian Gay Community Group: meets every last Wednesday of the month between 4-6pm at the Yorkshire MESMAC Leeds office. For more info phone: 0113 244 4209. Leeds Gay Community Group: social group for gay, bi-sexual and men who have sex with men. For info ring: 0113 255 9973 or visit:

Newcastle Gay Men Tyneside (GMT): offers social activities as an alternative to the commercial gay scene, and is open to gay/bisexual men who are 20 and over. Meets Wednesday evenings. For more info phone: MESMAC North East on 0191 233 1333 or visit:

North Yorkshire Gay Men Talking Northallerton: social group meeting on the first and third Tuesday of the month. For more info phone Gary on 01325 259084.

Sheffield Indigo: a support and social group for LGB people from a black minority background. Offering one-to-one support and information. Meets on the first Wednesday of the month 6.30-9.30pm. For more info

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Listings phone: 07974 199 230, email: or visit:

Teesside Teessides Out: social group for gay and bisexual men aged over 20. Every Thursday 7-9pm. For more info phone on 01642 804 400 or email:

Youth groups Bradford BLAGY: LGBTQ youth group for people aged 14 to 25. Wednesdays 6-8pm. For more info phone: 01274 395 815, email: or visit

County Durham Durham Young Gay People’s Network: Tuesday evenings 5.30-9pm. For more info phone: 0191 384 2785 (office hours only).

Darlington 16-25s group: group for LGBTQ people aged 16 to 25. Meets every Thursday from 47pm. For more info phone: 01325 35 55 51.

Hartlepool R2B (Right to Be): Hart Gables' group for young LGBT people up to 25. Meets every Tuesday from 5pm until 7pm. For more info phone: 01429 236 790 or email John on

Newcastle GAP (Young gay and bisexual men's group): open to all young men aged 16 to 25-year-olds who are (or think they may be) gay or bisexual. For more information phone: 0191 233 1333 and ask for Ian.

Northumberland Ashington LGBT Youth: A group for gay/lesbian and bisexual youth. For more info phone Janet on: 0191 233 1333.

Peterlee 16-25s group: a group for LGBT young people aged 16 to 25 on Wednesday from 5-7pm in Peterlee. For info ring: 0191 586 9988.

Scarborough Young Men’s Group: meets every Wednesdays 7-9pm. For more info phone Yorkshire MESMAC on 01904 620400.

Sheffield LGB Youth Initiative and Cafe Unique: offers one-toone support, advice, information and free condoms and lube for anyone aged 16 to 25-years-old. Saturdays 24pm. For more info phone:

0114 226 1750 or email: The Fruitbowl: offering support and information for LGB young people of secondary school age, up to 17. Fridays 5-7pm. Phone: 0114 226 1750/ 07974 825 318, email: or visit:

Teesside TGV (Tees Gay Valley): group for young gay and bisexual men aged 16-25. Tuesdays 7-9pm. For more infomation phone MESMAC Teesside on 01642 804400 or 07818496297 or email:

Wakefield Fruitbowl: LGBTQ youth group in Wakefield. For info hone: 01924 211116 or email:

Contact details Centre for HIV & Sexual Health 22 Collegiate Crescent Sheffield, S10 2BA. Phone: 0114 226 1900. Email: Website: Gay Advice Darlington and Durham The Gay Centre, 9 Duke Street, Darlington, DL3 7RX. Phone: 01325 35 55 51. Email: Website: Hart Gables 31 South Road, Hartlepool, TS26 9HD. Phone: 01429 236790. Email: Website: MESMAC North East 3rd Floor, 11 Nelson Street, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE1 5AN. Phone: 0191 233 1333. Minicom (0191) 233 2112. Website: Yorkshire MESMAC Leeds Office (Head Office), PO Box 417, Leeds LS1 5PN. Phone: 0113 244 4209. Email: Yorkshire MESMAC Bradford Office, PO Box 267, Bradford BD1 5XT. Phone: 01274 395815. Email: Yorkshire MESMAC North Yorkshire Office, PO Box 549, York YO30 7GX. Phone: 01904 620400. Email: Yorkshire MESMAC Wakefield Office Phone: 01924 211116. Email:

GUM clinics



St Lukes Hospital Sexual Health Department Trinity Road, Bradford, BD5. Male appointments: 01274 365231. Health advisors: 01274 365035. The Information Shop for Young People 12 Broadway, Bradford, BD1 1JF. Phone: 01274 432431 or 01274 432432. Walk in: Tuesday: 2-3.30pm Thursday: 2-3.30pm.

Skipton Hospital Clinic Keighley Road, Skipton BD23 2RJ. Phone: 01756 797021. Appointment times: Tuesday: 3.30-6.30pm.


Monkgate GUM Clinic 31 Monkgate, York YO31 7WA. Phone: 01904 725417.

Halifax Sexual Health Clinic Laura Mitchell Sexual Health Centre, Great Albion Street, Halifax, HX1 1YR. Phone: 01422 305553. Same day HIV-testing on Tuesdays 9.30am-12noon.

Harrogate Harrogate District Hospital Heatherdene, Lancaster Park Road, Harrogate HG2 7SX. Phone: 01423 553428.

Wakefield Josephine Butler Centre for Sexual Health Clayton Hospital GUM Department, Northgate, Wakefield WF1 3JS. Phone: 01924 214421


If your area is not listed, ring THT Direct on 0845 12 20 200 to find a GUM in your area. If you would like your group or organsation to be listed here, send your info to

Huddersfield Huddersfield Sexual Health Clinic Greenhead Road, Huddersfield, HD1 4EW. Phone: 01484 344311.

Keighley Keighley Health Centre Clinic Oakworth Road, Keighley, BD21 1SA. Phone: 01535 295615. Appointment times: Friday: 9-11.30am.

Leeds The Centre for Sexual Health Sunnybank Wing, Great George Street, Leeds, LS1 3EX Phone: 0113 392 6724 or 0113 392 6725. Health Advisors: 0113 392 6057.

Newcastle The New Croft Centre Market Street East, NE1 6ND. Phone: 0191 229 2999. Website:

North Tyneside One-to- One Centre Brenkly Avenue, Shiremoor NE27 0PR. Phone: 0191 297 0441.

Northallerton Friarage Hospital Outpatients Department Northallerton, North Yorkshire DL6 1JG. Phone: 01609 764209.

Scarborough Northway GU Clinic The Mulberry Unit, Northway, Scarborough. Phone: 01723 342785.

FS is edited by Cary James. The FS team for issue 114 was John Adams, Barrie Dwyer, Stuart Haggas, Matthew Hodson, Frankie McPolin, Drew Payne, Shemmy, Gavin Smith, James Stafford and Luke Tribe. Cover illustration by Shemmy. FS is part of the CHAPS Partnership. Appearance in FS is not an indication of an individual’s sexual orientation or HIV status. The views of our writers are not necessarily the views of FS, of the organisations mentioned, GMFA, or of the editor. You can subscribe to FS for just £7 per year. Contact Gavin Smith on 020 7738 6872 or email You can view the current issue and past issues of FS online at: Volunteers contribute to the planning, writing, editing and production of FS. To volunteer or donate, contact GMFA using the details below. Published by GMFA. Unit 43 Eurolink Centre, 49 Effra Road, London, SW2 1BZ Tel: 020 7738 6872 Email: Website: Charity number 1076854. ISSN 1750-7162

Sheffield Royal Hallamshire Hospital GUM Dept, Glossop Road, Sheffield S10 2JF Phone: 0114 276 6928.

Design and layout by


FS114_P30:FS 10/09/2009 14:05 Page 30


Last chance


In case you missed them, here are some things to remember from this issue...

one of the essential things in an open relationship.



g kyion Cneotho ing u

o to can learn to dolife . upgrade your

A CONDOM if you always use one for fucking,



chances are you won’t catch HIV.

who you should tell if you have been the victim of or have witnessed homophobic abuse.

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