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North West


ways to make new mates

sex guide for the clueless tHe fIt and sexy gay mag

Issue #117 sprIng 2010

Better together How to make your relationship the best

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the fIt and sexy gay mag Issue #117 sprIng 2010

Welcome / !-# (* ," %- % ++

fancy being a model in fs?

It’s that time of year again when we are on the lookout for boys to appear on the cover and inside pages of FS. We are ,, * ,(! ," * looking for guys of all different looks, shapes and sizes, so why not give it a go? All you have to do is send us a few current pictures including at least one clear face shot. Or you can just send us a link to one of your online profiles that has some pictures on it. You can email your info to or even better, join our fan page on Facebook and let us know you are interested on there! And please let us know what area of the country you live in as well. Photo shoots take place in London and we will cover your travel expenses. We can’t wait to see what you’ve got... (. ,( & $ 0(-* * % ,#('+"#) ,"



Cary James x Editor Join our fan page on Facebook by searching for FS magazine. Come on... do it now!

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Up the Amazon! Gay sexiness on internet shopping mega-site – who knew? There are loads of books for gayers on there, and we’re talking seriously sexy, and often hilarious, stuff. Here’s just a bit of what we found... The Gay Sex Deck is our favourite. It’s a deck of 52 cards, that are like sexy flashcards. Each has a saucy picture on one side and an explanation of the sexiness they are up to on the other. They include sexual positions like the ‘Reverse Bottom on Top’ (think about it) and stuff like ‘intimate shaving’. The cards are labelled as ‘Foreplay’, ‘Full Sex’ and ‘Sex Play’ as well as rated one to five on difficulty. They include lots of ways you can use the cards, like drawing one card from each section before getting down to it with your partner. We are currently working how we could play Gay Sex Top Trumps with them… we’ll let you know.

Also look out for: The Joy of Gay Sex was first published in 1977 and is now available in a new edition. The 1970s illustrations are unfortunately gone, but there’s loads of new and updated information that is still essential reading for gay boys everywhere. How to Get Laid – The gay man’s essential guide to hot sex by LA based author Jonathan Bass is a very American take on how to do the business.

The Gay Man’s Kama Sutra by Terry Sanderson is a real giggle. In one section it describes gay men’s physical types by giving them an animal name. So if you want to find out if you’re an antelope or snake, check it out. All are available on


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Page six

Six ways to improve your s (without hitting the bars)

Sing a song



Are you a karaoke king, or the best singer in your shower? Then use that love of singing to give a boost to your social life. As you may have seen on that telly programme, there are all sorts of choirs and choruses singing all sorts of music. Some are exclusively gay, and chances are the others will have a bunch of gayers in them as well. As well as meeting lots of new people, there will be performances, some go on tours, or you could even end up on the telly!

Join a social group There are gay social groups everywhere and for every age. They are great for meeting new friends, because well… that’s what they are there for. Most have social activities, outings and other fun things to do. So don’t be shy…


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ur social life Be a volunteer Doing things for others is a great way to boost your self-esteem and feel good about yourself. It’s also a great way to meet new people. People of all ages and different walks of life volunteer for charities and other organisations. So you will end up meeting people who you may have never bumped into before. Most organisations will have social events and activities for their volunteers. So you get to make new friends and help others as well – result.

Get out of the house Just getting off the sofa and into the big wide world is a great first step towards meeting people. Join the gym, go for a swim, or just take a walk either around town or in the country. Join a football team or a badminton group. There’s a million things to do if you just get out there and do it. Physical activity is proven to improve your mood and your self-esteem, so you’ll feel more confident and will make more friends. What are you waiting for?

Share your hobby Are you into gaming, or comic books, or writing or vintage cars? Why do it alone when there are loads of groups for just about every interest you can think of. And if you can’t find a group for your hobby in your area, why not start one? With the help of social networking websites like Facebook, it’s a lot easier than you think. Start a group, invite all your friends and ask them to invite their friends as well. Make sure you send posts and updates regularly. Soon you’ll find that you will know lots of people that are into the same stuff as you are and starting a group that meets in person will be easy.

Go online In case you’ve been living under a rock for the last five years and don’t know, social networking sites like Facebook are great places to find old friends, keep up with your current mates, and to make new ones. You can search to find pages and groups on things that you love or want to learn more about. But like most things in life, you get out of it what you put into it. Update your profile often, respond to other people’s posts and be part of the fun. You’ll be surprised how many people there are who know and love you. GMFA’s Out for Sport/Out for Fun booklet has info on lots of LGBT sports, social and activity groups, or get the info online at

Never miss FS again! Don’t you hate it when you miss an issue of FS? Well make sure that never happens again… Just email your name and email to or join us on Facebook and we’ll let you know when the next issue is available online and other cool stuff.

Do it Now!


ADS:FS 28/01/2010 23:44 Page 2

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Rapid HIV testing using finger prick test with results in 30 minutes GU Medicine, St Helens Appointments Number

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Ouch that hurts! You’re at the gym going for that last rep and... pain, pain, pain. Drew Payne of NHS Direct tells you what to do next.

Stop Stop whatever you’re doing, as soon as you feel the pain, and rest. ‘No pain, no gain’ isn’t true. Pain is our body’s way of saying, “Stop!” Sit on a chair or bench for five to ten minutes and allow the injured area to rest. Try a bit of gentle massage, but if that hurts, stop.

Check After resting check that you’ve got full movement and feeling in the affected area. If it’s your leg, knee, calf or ankle try gently walking on it. If it’s your arm, shoulder or elbow try to gently move it through your normal range of movements. If it’s your back, stand up, gently stretch and try taking a few steps. If you can move it a bit, then apply some heat on to the affected area. If you can’t do any of this or you’ve lost feeling (if you’ve got pins and needles or it has gone numb) you need to get some help. If your gym has trained instructors see one of them - they can help - or ask to see the gym’s First Aid person. If you’re not at the gym, try an NHS walk-in clinic.

Heat it up If there are no problems moving, go and sit in the steam room, have a warm shower, or try a warm compress. This can help ease the tightness of a strain. Then go home and rest.

Rest The most important thing to do is rest. Stay away from the gym. When you sit down elevate the injured area. If it’s your leg raise it up, as high as comfortable, when you sit

down. If it’s your arm or shoulder rest it on the chair arm or a pile of pillows. Try to use the injured area as little as possible.

Take drugs Take some painkillers to ease the pain. Paracetamol or Ibuprofen are good painkillers and can bought from a chemist without the need for a prescription (the pharmacist can advise about painkillers and which ones would be best for you).

Cool it down The next day apply an ice-pack to the affected area. This will help with swelling, bruising and controlling the pain. Also, carry on taking painkillers. You can also use a support bandage, especially if you’ve injured your leg. This can also help with the swelling and pain. If you find you can’t move

NEVER ex throug ercise Alway h the pain . s you fir stop when otherwst feel it, could ise you ma whole ke it a l worse ot . the affected area the next day, especially if it’s your leg and you can’t walk on it, then you’ll need to get medical advice.

Get back into it After two or three days, as the pain eases, take off the support bandage and start to gently exercise. Over the next few days slowly return to your normal exercise level as the pain allows. For more info on sports injuries, visit:


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Cover story

How to have a winning relationship ‘I love you’ might be three simple words, but ‘relationships are complicated’ are the three words you should really take to heart. You spend time on a relationship to make it a success. It should be time spent that’s rewarding and fulfilling, but if yours leaves you feeling overworked and under-appreciated, maybe it’s time to do something about it. Here’s the FS guide on how to make your relationship work for you and your partner...

Commitment Successful relationships require your attention, so the more committed you are to yours, the better it’ll be.

However, it’s a bad idea to become completely absorbed by a relationship. If you don’t keep some of your independence, you may lose your own voice within the relationship and could end up feeling suffocated, marginalised and miserable. So maintain some separate hobbies and interests – just ensure that nothing crowds out your boyfriend from being your top priority. It’s all about finding the right balance.

To get a relationship off to a good start, spend quality time together as a couple: go out on dates and do relationship-building activities such as jointly cooking a meal, watching a film, or spending a weekend away – not forgetting mundane chores like supermarket shopping or washing up. These activities allow you to get to know each other better, and also “The key component in help build a connection that’s strong any relationship is and enduring. communication...” Sören Stauffer Kruse is a counselling psychologist who also says Esther Samson, counselling leads on gay men's therapy for team leader for the GMI Partnership Terrence Higgins Trust ( Your ( “We live in a boyfriend can’t read your mind, so culture that promotes the idea it’s important to share your of instant pleasure and feelings and to say re u precisely what you want images of perfection,” he s n g E thin t and need. Don’t hint, says. “Yet intimacy is not o n something that you that wds ou d either – because love shouldn’t be a develop overnight. It is cro oyfrien b g r guessing game. It’s something that you n u i yo m be vital to communicate work at. Instant pleasure fro ur top clearly with your partner, will not lead to a fulfilling yo rity. as misunderstandings can relationship.” rio p lead to conflicts. As the relationship “Most arguments start develops, don’t start to take each because of differences of opinion,” other for granted. Instead, keep doing Esther adds. “But with patience and all sorts of things together so your basic communication skills you story will continue at a happy pace.



should be able to negotiate a compromise.” Instead of arguing, try to step back and view the situation from a different perspective, putting your ego and your pride aside – by doing so, you might see a solution and avoid the argument altogether. It’s also important to forgive your partner should he make a mistake, and if you’ve made a mistake then be willing to admit it and apologise. If you and your boyfriend argue repeatedly, often about the same old issues, the problem might be more deep-rooted. “Couples often use topics such as money, sex or housework to fight for their deeper needs within a relationship,” explains Esther. We’re all hostage to our own past, and sometimes honest communication is vital to establish what you’re really arguing about. If you find it hard to get to the root of the problem, it might be worthwhile seeing a couples counsellor. Although Esther believes that conflict is natural, it should be constructive, not destructive. “Some couples don’t argue, and this is not a healthy way to live either. They have a fear of conflict. They withdraw from anything that has even a vague whiff of confrontation. This may lead to repressed feelings, a build up of resentment, internalised suffering and relationship abandonment.” If you’re genuinely unhappy in your relationship, Esther says that the first thing you must do is to

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Cover story


sensitively communicate this feeling to your boyfriend. Talking to friends and family instead is likely to make matters worse. “It may look like gossip, and friends may take sides.”

Read the signs

“The best relationship advice I was ever given came from a woman who asked: 'What does it mean if the train doesn't stop at your station?' and explained: 'it’s not your train',” says Sören. ”If you feel that the train you’re on is going roughly in the direction you want to go, then stay on it. If you jumped on a train that’s taking you to a place you don’t want to go, you should think about getting off.”

Don’t compare In the same way that each one of us is unique, with our own fingerprints and DNA, and our very own opinions on what’s hot and what’s not, each relationship is also unique. Because of this, there are no easy, one-size-fits-all solutions to relationship challenges. Relationships aren’t like car insurance, you can’t shop around for a better deal. You should therefore

avoid comparing your current relationship with those of your friends, family, and co-workers, and with your own previous relationships – because what works for someone else won’t necessarily work for you.


As well as knowing how to resuscitate a flagging relationship, it’s equally important to know when to let go.


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Cover story

The truth is important, because keeping secrets from your boyfriend creates barriers that damage your emotional trust. Honesty can be scary, but if you want your relationship to work you need to become comfortable discussing your feelings, insecurities and frustrations. Being frank with each other will help you to trust each other. “Lots of gay men enjoy long-standing monogamous relationships,” says GMFA’s Matthew Hodson ( “But many gay couples choose to have open relationships and develop their own rules around this. Some relationships are wide open and anything goes. For other couples it’s ok so long as they only play together by inviting a third person into their bed. Some people want to know every detail of what their boyfriend gets up to, and others don’t want to know at all.” As with every aspect of a relationship, it’s important to have an honest conversation about sex, and agree rules and boundaries. Some gay couples who choose monogamy also choose not to use condoms. “Choosing not to use condoms with a boyfriend is a big decision and shouldn’t be taken lightly,” Matthew warns, “If you get tested together then you can at least be sure that you have the same HIV status, if the results come back that way – but you also have to think about what it would mean to you if your results were different. And if you both test negative and stop using condoms, you have to consider what would happen if one of you put themselves at risk with someone else. We all know of relationships that aren’t always as monogamous as they are planned to be. It can be really hard having to

It’s tant to impor honest n have aersation confess to conv sex, and someone you love about rules and that you had sex with someone else, agree ndaries. but if there’s even a bou possibility that you may be putting that person at risk of disease then it becomes more urgent, and no easier. Nobody should feel pressured to stop using condoms in their relationship. Unless there is real trust, genuine understanding and good communication between partners, it’s potentially very dangerous.”

Sex “Having a good sex life with your partner is something that you work at throughout a relationship,” says Sören. “So talk about sex and be open about your fantasies.” “Monogamy or the decision to have an open relationship are not in themselves signs of levels of intimacy, Sören continues. “It’s possible to be monogamous and not

feel close to your partner.” “Being blissfully in love isn’t any protection against HIV,” adds Matthew. “Many gay men find it harder to keep using condoms when they’re in a long term relationship, or think that it isn’t necessary any more, but the truth is that about a third of gay men infected with HIV believe that it happened whilst having sex with their boyfriend. Sometimes couples make a conscious decision to stop using condoms with each other. More often it ‘just happens’, and then once their condom use isn’t 100 percent they think it makes no difference and stop even trying to use condoms. If both partners are truly HIV-negative, and are truly monogamous, then there isn’t much risk – but all too often I hear stories from men who trusted their partners and then found that they’d been having sex with other men, or just didn’t feel able to disclose their HIV status.”

“I have HIV, but my boyfriend doesn’t...” James manages a sauna and B&B in Bristol. He was diagnosed HIVpositive in January 2009. He’s been in a relationship with Mark, who is HIV-negative, for six months. “Our relationship started a very short time after we met,” says James. “I am a very open person and having HIV isn’t something that I hide, so there was no issue around HIV. Our sex life is great. We’re careful and cautious, but it doesn’t stop us having a good time.” James and Mark have faced extra challenges, with James admitting that the wait for the results of Mark’s first HIV test since they




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started dating was a particularly stressful time for both of them. “People in mixed HIVship. If you are in the first year of their relation status relationships face a Lots of men test positive for HIV go for an HIV s, dom con g usin you want to stop range of challenges,” says in a one-on-one relationship and then test and negative, wait about a month GMFA’s Matthew Hodson. test together. If the tests are both condoms. use not to safe be ld ative, then it cou “But I know of lots of really again. If both sets of tests are neg ship, talk successful, loving relationdoms in your one-on-one relation If you do decide to not use con ide the outs sex ships where one partner is risky of you slips up and has about what would happen if one be putting ld cou HIV-positive and the other you not If ner? part r to tell you relationship. Would you be able HIV-negative. If you know that g it. If you think that you or other STIs without him knowin HIV of risk at him you don’t have the same HIV ging around, then it may shag n bee ner you’ve wouldn’t be able to tell your part status then you will be aware be best to use condoms. that there is a risk of HIV transor you are put tionship and the condom breaks mission whenever you have If you are in a mixed status rela you from stop , PEP is a treatment that could sex, but this does not mean at risk of HIV in some other way e at GUM labl avai is It risk. the of within 72 hours that you can’t work together to catching HIV. It must be started ww visit tion rma info e mor ensure that the negative clinics and A&E departments. For d at the back of this mag. partner stays that way.” or ring one of the helplines liste “Commitment to safer sex is important,” agrees Esther Samson. “Drawing up boundaries, trust, and good communication are the order of the day.” There may be extra hurdles to overcome: for instance, the HIV-positive partner may suffer from guilt, there may be issues around sex and intimacy, and there may be fear about what the future holds but, as Esther says, this can all be worked on with couples therapy sessions if necessary. “If you’re in a mixed HIV-status relationship, and you fuck with each other, it may be worth thinking about If you what you’d do if a want your r condom failed,” e l a t ion Matthew adds. to wor k you ship “Most A&E need t becom departments and e c o mforta o GUM services d i s ble cussin offer PEP, a g f y e o elings month long , insec ur course of HIV uri a nd fru drugs that can stratio ties ns. prevent infection if started within 72 hours of the risk.” “HIV can be a challenge in a relationship,” says Sören Stauffer Kruse. “But I do not think that it is ever the underlying problem that people face.” So what worries James and Mark the most? “Money,” James replies. “Definitely money at the moment. We’ve a lot of plans and funding them is a much more stressful thing than worrying about HIV.”


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Gay sex for t clueless Most gay guys think they know everything there is to know about sex... but actually have a lot to learn? Here’s everything you need to know if you are clueless about sex, or even if you’re not.

your cock

Your cock contains some of the most sensitive areas of your body, that’s why it’s so much fun to fool around with. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) like HIV can get into your body through your cock. The areas that let viruses in are the opening you wee through, your foreskin and the head. STIs can also get into your body through any cuts or scrapes you have on your cock. If you are HIV-positive and you have a sore on your cock from an STI like herpes (or an internal infection like gonorrhoea), you will be more infectious.

Get clued up about...


Very few people have ever caught HIV from sucking cock. Both partners can catch gonorrhoea, syphilis, herpes or chlamydia from blow-jobs.


Get clued up about...


Fucking without condoms is the most common way for gay men to catch HIV and other STIs. Most gay men in the UK with HIV caught it from fucking without a condom.

without a condom and the guy cums inside you.That’s why the arse is so vulnerable to infections like HIV. If there is HIV in his spunk, it will be absorbed into your bloodstream.

Youcan The mucus in the catchHIV arse of an HIVbyfucking positive man will o contain HIV. In fact, someonewh t there be more ou HIV in will his mucus than hasHIVwith in his spunk or even his acondom. blood.

Getting fucked without a condom and the guy cumming inside you is the riskiest sex you can have when it comes to HIV.

If you are HIV-negative, fucking someone without a condom is more likely to lead to infection than sucking cock, but less likely than getting fucked.

The route up your arse is not a straight line - there is a bend in it. That’s why certain sexual positions feel better than others.

Get clued up about...


Get clued up about...

your arSe

From fucking without a condom you can catch: HIV, Hep B and C, gonorrhoea, chlamydia, syphilis, herpes, anal warts, and NSU.

The lining of your arse is like a sponge that soaks up liquid, including spunk if you get fucked

From sucking cock, you can catch gonorrhoea, chlamydia, syphilis and herpes.


Get clued up about...

FS117_Clueless Feature:FS 24/03/2010 21:33 Page 17

r the


Noon hasev e er caugh t  H having IVfrom sucke hiscock cancad,butyou tc infectihother ons.


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Life From rimming, you can catch LGV, gonorrhoea and Hep A. From just rubbing up against another guy naked, you can catch: herpes, warts, crabs and sometimes syphilis (when sores are present). If you share sex toys without cleaning them in between, you can catch: HIV, Hep B and C, gonorrhoea, chlamydia, syphilis, and anal warts.

Without treatment, someSTIca n causeserio us health problems.

Most STIs can be easily treated. You can have an STI, not know it, and pass it on to someone else. If you are having lots of sex with different guys, then it’s recommended that you go for a sexual health check-up at a GUM clinic every three to six months.

Get clued up about...

GuM clInIcS

Sexual health (GUM) clinics are completely confidential. You don’t have to tell them who you are and your results will not be sent to your GP unless you ask them to. They can test and treat you for all STIs. Many offer fast HIV tests and are open in the evenings. You can get jabs against Hep A and B. You can get free condoms and lube. You can get free counselling and advice about sex. They have seen it all before, so there is no need to be embarrassed.


Many clinicsoffer fastHIV testing, sometimes withinone hour.

Research sugges poppersmats yplay apartincatc HIV,althoug hing hw don’tknow e exactlyhow .

FS117_Clueless Feature:FS 24/03/2010 21:33 Page 19





Shopassistantfrom London How old were you when you started fooling around with guy s? I was about 15. Were you clueless or did you know what you were doing? I was totally clueless about getting fucked. I had no idea about that. I had no idea how to do it or the logistics of it. Where did you fnd out about gay sex from? From my dad’s porn actually. It was straight, but I kind of got the gist. What do you think most gay men need to learn about sex? Restraint... sex for gay men is very instant. We don't think about wha t effect it might have. I think gay men should think a bit more abo ut what the knock on effects of wha t they do might be. It can have far reaching consequences.


How old were you when you started fooling around with guys? How old were you when you I was about eight. started fooling around with guys? Were you clueless or did you I suppose about eleven or twelve. know what you were doing? Were you clueless or did you Sexually I pretty much knew know what you were doing? what I was doing, just instincI just kind of knew and got on tively. I kind of worked it out as I with it. It was instinct. I got off did it. It was all quite childish and with boys at my school on the natural, and I just figured things Gaza strip. We just worked it out out. I suppose I didn't understand together in a very naive way. about being top or bottom. I Where did you learn about gay thought you had to do both. I sex? I picked it up as I went tried being a bottom, but I soon along. I learned a little bit every worked out that I'm much happier time I did it. It was all basically being a top. from experience. It was never Where did you learn about gay talked about or discussed. I knew sex? it was a bad thing, or at least it I also learned a lot from my seemed to be, but that didn't family. I have a few gay uncles bother me. and aunts. My mum’s the only straight child in her family, so there were a lot of family members I could talk to and who would give me advice. And growing up in New York, I had access to everything so it was easy to find things out Drugs, such as coke, crystal meth anyway. What do you think most gay men and ecstasy, may make you more need to learn about sex? vulnerable to catching infections, I think protection is a really, really including HIV. big issue. Gay men should know When you’re drunk or off your about the risks of unsafe sex, not face, you may take risks you might just anal sex or protection from not do when you’re sober. Deciding HIV, but also oral sex. It’s really what your limits are before you get easy to get an STI from a blow wasted, may help you make better job and I don't think many men decisions when you are. realise that. People know the basics of safer sex but not all the The maximum recommended ins and outs. number of units of alcohol for a man is 21 per week.

Get clued up about...

Sex, druGS and alcohol




Shopassistantfrom Palestine


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Voxpop Voxpop


Liam,32 Quim,23

TranslatorfromSpain How old were you when you started fooling around with boys? I was 15, I think... Were you clueless or did you know what you were doing? I had a good idea of what I was doing. Mostly from instinct, I can't really remember. Where did you learn about gay sex? My family are very open. I have three older sisters and they used to tell me things and answer my questions about sex. They were a great help. What do you think most gay men need to learn about sex? I think gay men should use their brains in general. To gay men, sex is just a game. They don't think of the risks or take it seriously. They should find out more about what activities are risky.

There are about two and a half units in a pint of lager, two in a large glass of wine, two in a large vodka and two in an alcopop, maybe more in strong lager or wine. Mixing drugs and alcohol can have serious consequences, including death. Many gay men have died each year after taking a combination of drugs and alcohol... it’s scary but true.

Get clued up about...


HIV is passed on by the blood or bodily fluid of a person with the virus getting into the body of someone who isn’t infected and it taking hold.


Marketresearcher fromSouthLondon How old were you when you started fooling around with boys? I think I was about 17. Were you clueless or did you know what you were doing? I was totally clueless, about all of it, going to gay places, what was going on. I didn't understand anything. Where did you learn about sex? I went to the Kudos on a date with a guy I met at G-A-Y. We started off fumbling in one of those little alcoves downstairs, and that was my first experience. I learned everything from that guy. We went back to his place and we went straight into the shower which I thought was a bit strange. Anyway, we had a shower together and a bit of a rub down, then we got down to it. What do you think most gay guys need to learn about sex? It would be good for them to learn about sensuality. A bit of touching and foreplay makes for much better sex. Many men don't seem to appreciate that. Good foreplay helps with the build up.


Assistantmanager fromkent How old were you when you started fooling around with boys? I was about ten. Were you clueless or did you know what you were doing? Oh I knew what I was doing. Me and my friend used to plan it when we were in primary school. He'd put his hand up to go to the toilet and then I'd follow him or vice versa. Where did you learn about gay sex? We just did what felt good, and picked it up by instinct. I never felt as if I was clueless, we just did what we wanted to do. I've always been very highly sexed, even as a little kid. My mum took me to the doctor because I was humping my teddies. I've calmed down a bit now. What do you think most gay men need to learn about sex? They need to learn to be more cautious and safe, to understand safer sex and practise it.

Most men with HIV don’t

tell a new partner they Using condoms have it before sex. PEP is a treatment isthebest you can take if you waytoprote ct have been exposed to HIV. It’s available from yourself GUM clinics and A&E fromHIV. departments. For more

You can find HIV in blood, spunk and the stuff (mucus) that lines the inside of your arse. The riskiest sex is for a HIV-positive guy to fuck a HIVnegative guy without a condom and cum in his arse.

One in four gay men with HIV don’t know they have it.

information visit: For more information about sex, HIV, STIs and GUM clinics visit




Page 1

Find out what HIV does to your body the website for HIV-positive gay men Design by

GMFA’s HIV-positive gay men’s website with information on: diagnosis • sex • relationships • HIV treatment • disclosure • work • money & benefits

GMFA projects are developed by positive and negative volunteers. To volunteer or donate call 020 7738 6872 or go to Charity number 1076854

Supported by

FS117_P21_Health.qxd:FS 24/03/2010 21:06 Page 23

Health weekends when most sexual health clinics are closed. You must start PEP within 72 hours of putting yourself at risk of HIV, though the sooner you start PEP the more likely it is to be effective. Because HIV medication is expensive clinics will not prescribe PEP unless they feel that there is a very real chance of infection. PEP will not be given to someone who is already HIV positive and so if you ask for PEP they will give you an HIV test first.

PEP talk PEP is a course of HIV medication which you can take if you have been at risk of catching HIV. It lasts 28 days and, if taken within 72 hours of putting yourself at risk, may be able to prevent you from becoming infected with HIV. PEP stands for Post Exposure Prophylaxis – in other words it is a form of protection (against HIV) that you can take after you have taken a risk or had a condom break on you.

How to get PEP You can get PEP at a sexual health clinic or in the A&E department of some hospitals. A&Es are especially important at

Does it work? PEP can prevent infection with HIV, but it is not 100 percent effective. PEP is more likely to work when the treatment is started as quickly as possible after the risk happened, so the sooner you get PEP, the better the chance that it will work.

What is it like? People taking PEP are likely to experience the same kind of side effects as people who are beginning to take HIV medication. Common side effects include diarrhoea, nausea, headaches and tiredness. PEP is not an easy option and is not a substitute for safer sex. For more information about PEP visit

Fast Fact

You are more likely to pass on HIV right after you catch it. Men who have recently caught HIV have very high levels of the virus in their body so are more likely to give it to someone else if they have risky sex. Plus if you have have only just caught HIV, you probably wouldn’t know you have it. The best way to protect yourself and others from HIV is to use condoms and lube. For more info visit

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

This month: Syphilis How do you get it? Syphilis is a bacterial infection which is most usually transmitted through fucking without a condom and sucking cock, but which can also be caught through rimming, fisting and even through skin to skin contact (although this is rare).

How do you prevent it? Using condoms will prevent many cases of syphilis. If you wanted to reduce the risks further, you would have to use condoms for oral sex. Sucking cock carries a risk of syphilis even if he doesn’t cum in your mouth.

How do you know you’ve got it? The symptoms develop in stages. The first is a small painless sore or hardened lump which will appear one to ten weeks after infection, near the point where the bacteria entered your body. This could be your arse, cock, or mouth. It’s possible for this to go unnoticed, especially if it’s in your arse. Two to six months later, you may experience a rash on the body and a flu-like illness involving fever, headache, and sore throat. These symptoms may be mild and difficult to spot. After a couple of years, if left untreated, syphilis will stop being contagious to sexual partners but at this stage the infection can cause blindness, deafness, brain damage, heart attacks, paralysis, lung problems and strokes.

How do you treat it? Syphilis is detectable by a blood test and if it is treated early enough it is completely curable with antibiotics, causing no permanent damage. Even at the latest stage syphilis is still curable, but any damage done by the syphilis may be irreparable. Because the symptoms are easy to miss, it’s worth having regular sexual health check-ups, including blood tests for syphilis, if you are sexually active. Blood testing for syphilis typically involves three testing processes and after an infection, even if it is cured, some of these tests will give a positive result. It is important to follow the advice from the GUM clinic as it may be difficult to tell whether the test is reacting to the previous infection or to a new infection of syphilis. For more information on STIs visit


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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... Can I taste it?

What I have done to my arse? Two days ago I played with a dildo for the first time and I put it up in my arse really hard. The next day I felt a small lump inside my arse. I can feel it each time I contract the muscle. What is that? It’s really freaking me out. Your arse can be easily damaged which is why it is always recommended to be slow and gentle when you are inserting anything up there, especially for the first time. It’s impossible to say exactly what you are feeling up there. We would strongly recommend that you visit your local GUM clinic so that they can check out the lump that you can feel, and if necessary, treat you. If it is some damage caused by using the dildo, it is more likely that the situation will only worsen and get more painful for you. Or it may be something harmless that has always been there and you just never noticed it before. The staff at clinics are very used to talking to people about problems in this area and everything you discuss will remain confidential. To find a clinic near you, visit


I have been with my partner for over a year now, and I was wondering what is the risk of getting cum in your mouth? I have always wanted to do it... or at least try it. Can you get sick from it? What are the risks? You can catch HIV from getting infected cum in your mouth, but it is a small risk. You can catch other sexually transmitted infections including: chlamydia, gonorrhoea, herpes or syphilis. But these are only risks if one of you is infected with HIV or an STI. To be sure, go together for a health screening at your local GUM clinic. Then you will know for sure if either of you has an infection that you could pass on to the other. If it’s all clear, and you both don’t have risky sex with other guys, then you should be fine.

Although there is less of a risk of acquiring HIV if you are the one doing the fucking during unprotected sex, it definitely still carries a risk of catching HIV, which is why we always recommend that condoms are used for fucking no matter what position you are. We recommend that you go for an HIV test to make sure you haven’t caught HIV. And something to remember if it happens again in the future. PEP is a treatment that you can get from GUM clinics and A&E departments that can stop you from catching HIV if you have been at risk. It must be started within 72 hours of the risk happening. For more information, visit

Can I catch HIV if I am the top? I’m a gay 31-year-old Asian guy who is HIV-negative. Not long ago I had sex without a condom with someone who had HIV. I fucked him. Could I have caught HIV?

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

How risky is... Fisting If the guy getting fisted is HIV-positive, HIV in his anal mucus (stuff that lines the arse) or any blood inside his arse could get into the bloodstream of the fister through the cuts or sores on his hand. If the fister has HIV, infected blood from any cuts could be absorbed into the bloodstream of the guy getting fisted through the lining of his arse. However, the likelihood of this happening is very low. If more than one person is being fisted, HIV could be passed from one fistee (the guy getting fisted) to another, via anal mucus or blood carried on the fist. Hepatitis A, which is more infectious than HIV, can be transmitted by fisting. Fisting has been identified as a possible route of Hepatitis C infection. It is also possible to acquire a variety of gut infections, if traces of shit get passed to the mouth. For more information on sex and how to make it safer, visit

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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 My boyfriend and I have been together for almost nine months and I really think he is ‘the one’. As far as I know we have been exclusive and haven’t had sex with anyone else since we met and I don’t even think about having sex with anyone else. We have always used condoms, but now he wants us to stop. We have both been for HIV and all the other STI tests and we are both clear, but I don’t really want to stop using condoms... I quite like them because it’s easier to clean up if the sex gets a bit messy. But I guess the big reason is because I don’t trust myself never slipping up and having the odd shag on the side. And if I did that and put myself at risk, then I would have to tell my boyfriend or put him at risk as well... and that is a total nightmare for me. But how do I explain this to him without sounding like I am planning on shagging around? Jack via email

Dear Jack, It sounds to me like your liking of condoms is an excuse to keep the option to fuck around, even if you aren’t planning on using it at the moment. And as you seem to appreciate, when two guys are thinking of stopping using condoms, they need to be completely willing to tell their partner about any sex they have outside the relationship if they are to respect each other’s health. If you find it so hard to talk to your boyfriend about the possibility of either of you having sex outside your relationship, then it doesn’t sound like you are ready to ditch condoms. It might not take much to get ready a good talk could help you both agree that you’d much rather be informed about activity outside the relationship than be put at risk, but you’ll want to be scrupulously


honest about this. Don’t kid yourselves that it would be easy for you both to talk about sex happening outside the relationship if it really wouldn’t be. Andrew from Balham

Dear Jack, First you say “I don’t even think about having sex with anyone else” and then you go on to say “but I guess the big reason is because I don’t trust myself never slipping up and having the odd shag on the side”… so which is it? I don’t see how it can be both. Relationships can be scary, believe me I know. But what you need to decide is what is really important to you. Is it shagging around or is it having a relationship with this guy. Just because you haven’t been able to be in a one-onone relationship before (I am assuming you haven’t) doesn’t mean

you can’t do it this time. I think gay guys often cop out when it comes to relationships. Whenever a relationship gets hard or uncomfortable we just say fuck it, I can’t commit myself to one person, I am going to shag around. It’s like it is what we are meant to do because we are gay men. I have done it more than once, but I often wonder what would have happened if I would have made a different choice. If I would have taken the scarier path, would my life have been different? Would things have worked out? I don’t know, but I do know that if I am ever lucky enough to find myself in that situation with a boyfriend again, I won’t take the easy option and sit around wondering ‘what if’ afterwards. James – East London

Dear Jack, I am totally with you. My boyfriend and I have been in a relationship for 6 years and we still always use condoms. I really don’t see what the big deal is. Like you said, it makes cleaning up after sex much easier and we don’t have to have any awkward conversations if one of us gets drunk and does something that he regrets. If my boyfriend had some kind of one night stand, I wouldn’t want to know about it to be honest. It is only going to hurt and damage our relationship. Obviously if he was dating someone else behind my back, well that’s a different matter, but that’s not what I am talking about here. I don’t see the problem with using condoms, but it sounds like you need to have a chat with your

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boyfriend to find the best way forward. It might not be as bad as you think. Neal via email

A counsellor’s opinion Joshua Bradley from the GMI Partnership says:

Dear Jack, Thank you for your question. Your situation is certainly thought provoking. It sounds like you have been honest with yourself. You are also being honest about your own situation. Quite often people don’t want to stop using condoms as they don’t trust their partners, however it sounds like you don’t trust yourself. I wonder why you don’t believe that you can be monogamous, or believe that you can have protected sex if you decide to have sex with someone else. You seem to be creating a situation before it occurs. It may be useful to think this situation through thoroughly, however you seem to have some anxieties about trusting your own behaviour. This sounds like an important step for you and your partner, being honest with him about your thoughts, concerns and worries about this decision. This might not make you sound like you’re going to

‘shag around’ but a person who is thinking the whole situation through. I don’t get the feeling that you are totally settled with this idea and it sounds like you to need to have a bit more discussion with your partner to come to a more agreeable place about it. Or at least come to a set of agreements which you are happy about or able to agree to and stick with. You seem to have been able to

have discussions about this matter so far. If these worries continue then think about speaking with someone like a counsellor or a helpline about your concerns. 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... No matter how hard I try at the gym or how much weight I lose, I see myself as fat. I am over six-foot tall and at one point I was under nine-stone and I still thought I was fat. My friends say that I’m thin, but I reckon they are just being nice. And they have never seen me without my clothes – it’s not pretty let me tell you. What sucks even more is that since I feel so unattractive, I have a hard time meeting guys, much less starting a relationship. I just can’t imagine how anyone cute that I would fancy could possibly be attracted to me. So I end up sleeping with all sorts of guys that I don’t even fancy because I reckon I have to take whatever I can get, but I am so self-conscious I am not even very good at it. And sometimes I do risky stuff that I really regret afterwards. Help! I’m sick of crap sex with crap guys I don’t fancy and feeling crap about myself. Jack via email

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.


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Listings It’s all about the groups and services in the North West... Clinics Manchester The LGF Outreach Clinic: operates from four different locations in Manchester city centre and Chorlton. Phone: 0161 235 8035 or visit:

Walsall WMHP Clinic: monthly clinic held at the Green House Health Club, Willenhall Rd, Darlaston WS10 8JG. First Tuesday of every month 29pm. Phone: 01922 613 141.

Condoms by post

the Armistad Project, run courses in Manhester and Liverpool including The Arse Class, Confident Cruising, and Getting a Boyfriend. For more information visit: or phone: 020 7738 3712.

Drop-in centres Birkenhead


THT: sexual health drop-in for any man with need, but particularly for men infected with or affected by HIV. Fridays 4.30-6.30pm. Phone: 0151 666 9890.

Counselling and support group: Sahir House offers counselling sessions for individuals, couples and young people with or affected by HIV and a HIV-positive men’s support group. For more info phone: 0151 708 9080/ 707 0606 or visit Drop-in: Sahir House host a drop-in foer all members Monday to Friday 10am-5pm. For more info phone: 0151 708 9080/ 707 0606 or visit Gay & Bisexual men’s HIV-positive group: group for HIV-positive men over 20years-old. Phone Phil 07789 927 276 or Paul 07887 657 128.

Cheshire BPCNW-Outrite:Weekly drop-ins in Macclesfield & Crewe for Gay & Bisexual Men. Visit: or phone 01270 653 156.



BPCNW-Outrite: free and condoms and lube for men in Cheshire . Call 01270 653 156 or email with your name and address.

The Armistead Project: Drop-in for LGB and trans gay people.Tuesday and Thursday 2-9pm, Saturday 4-7pm. For more information phone: 0151 227 1931 or visit: Queer Notions at the Armistead Project: Weekly mental heatlh drop-in. Tuesdays 7-9pm. For more information phone: 0151 227 9977 or email: Saturday youth drop-in: weekly drop-in for LGB and trans gay people 13 to 19years-old. For more info phone: 0151 227 1931.

The Terrence Higgins Trust (THT): free, discreet condoms and lube service for men who live on the Wirral. Phone: 0151 666 9890.

Counselling and advice Cheshire BPCNW-Outrite: free and confidential counselling service for issues important to you. Call 01270 653 156 or visit

Liverpool The Armistead Project: support on drug and alcohol matters.Phone: 0151 227 1931 or 07796 265 814. LGB and T counselling: The Armistead Project offers a counselling service. Phone: 0151 227 1893 or or call into the centre.

Manchester LGF: provides support on various issues. Phone: 0161 235 8035 or visit:

Wirral THT: offers counselling and one-to-one support on aspects of sexual health, HIV-concern, sexuality and relationships. Phone: 0151 666 9890.

Courses GMFA, along with LGF, and


Cheshire BPCNW: : support, info and guidance, counselling, advocacy, drop-ins and therapies. For more info phone: 01270 653150 or visit

George House Trust: free condoms by post to HIVpositive men in NW England. Visit: or phone 0161 274 4499.


HIV services and support

Manchester The George House Trust: Gay Men’s Space is a weekly drop-in for gay men with HIV on Mondays 5-8pm. If you have never been before phone Dunkan or Jill on: 0161 274 4499.


Manchester The George House Trust: offers services for people with HIV including: advice, counselling, drop-ins, financial help, courses for men who have recently been diagnosed with HIV, retreats for gay men living with HIV and more. For more info phone: 0161 274 4499 or visit:

Preston Central Lancashire HIV Advice Support Service CLASS: a confidential free service for those living with adn affected by HIV. Phone: 01772 253 840, helpline: 01772 825 684, email: class-enquiries@ or visit:

WMHP Drop-in: condoms, coffee, computer-time and chat. Saturdays 2-5pm at 42 Eldon Street. Phone: 01922 613 141.

Support groups


BPCNW-Outrite:Monday Men's Group in Crewe from 7pm- 930pm, Tuesday Men's Group in Crewe from 7pm930pm. For more information call: 01270 653 156.Liverpool BOLD: support group for people with learning disabilities at the Armistead Project. Phone Phil on 07789 927 276 or 0151 227 1931. 50+ Group: group for men over 50. Phone Gareth or Kathy on 0151 227 1931. Parents & Carers Group:

Cheshire BPCNW-Outrite: 01270 653 156.

Liverpool The Armistead Project Helpline: 0151 227 1931. Mersey AIDSline: 0151 709 9000.

Manchester LGF: 0845 3 30 30 30. 6-10pm.


support for parents and carers of LGB people at the Armistead Project. Phone Phil: 07789 927 276 or Paul: 0151 227 1931.

Manchester LGF Black LGBT Group: a support and social group for Black people who identify as LGBT. The group meets on the last Thursday of every month between 7.30-9pm LGF Ice Breakers: a selfhelp group for gay and bisexual men who are coming out, coming out of a relationship, feeling isolated or who are new to Manchester. Wednesdays from 8pm before moving on for a drink. LGF 40+ Gay Men’s Group: a group for gay and bisexual men aged 40 and above. Thursday evenings from 7-9pm. LGF Gay Married Men’s Group: for men who are, or have been, in a heterosexual relationship and are attracted to other men. Meetings are held every first and third Tuesday 7.30-9pm. Other LGF groups: include Biphoria (support for bisexual people), LGB Smoke Free (support for giving up smoking) and LGF Art Class. For info on all LGF groups visit or phone the LGF helpline on 0845 3 30 30 30.

Southport Sefton men’s group: group for gay and bisexual men over 20-years-old. Phone: 078794 265 814 or 0151 227 1931.

Youth groups Liverpool Armistead Youth Drop-in: for young gay people aged 1419 run by the Armistead Project. Saturdays 12.303.30pm. Phone: 0151 227 1931. Gay Knowsley: youth group in Knowsley for 13 to 19year-olds run bythe Armistead Project. Phone: 07748 140 275.0 Young Gay Sefton: youth group in Bootle for 14 to 19year-olds run by the Armistead Project. Phone Jo or Phil on 07792 316 156.

St Helens St Helen’s youth Group: for 13 to 19-year-olds run byThe Armistead Project. Phone: Darryl 078794 425 304 or 0151 227 1931..

Warrington GLYSS: a place to talk over any issues affecting

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Listings you. For more info phone: 07747 473 829, email: or visit:

Manchester M20 8LR Phone: 0161 611 4939 (appointments)/0161 611 4446 (health advisors)

Contact details

Manchester - West

The Armistead Project Phone: 0151 227 1893. Email: Website: The George House Trust Phone: 0161 274 4499 Website: GLYSS (Gay and Lesbian Youth Support Services Warrington WA1 2NH Phone: 07747 473 829 Email: Website: The Lesbian and Gay Foundation (LGF) Phone: 0161 235 8035 Helpline: 0845 3 30 30 30 Email: Website: Sahir House Phone: 0151 708 9080/ 707 0606. Website: Terrence Higgins Trust (Wirral) Phone: 0151 666 9890 Email: Website: Walsall Men’s Health Project (WMHP) Phone: 01922 613 141 Website:

GUM Clinics Bolton Centre for Sexual Health Phone: 01204 390 771

Bury Fairfield Barlow Suite Phone: 0161 778 2800

Cheshire Leighton Hospital Crewe Phone: 01270 612 255 Countess of Chester Phone: 01244 363 091 Macclesfield Phone: 01625 264 116 Warrington Phone: 01925 662 476

Trafford Centre for Sexual & Reproductive Health Trafford General Hospital, Moorside Road, Davyhulme, Manchester M31 3SL Phone: 0161 746 2621

Oldham Phoenix Centre, Oldham Hospital Phone: 0161 627 8394

Rochdale Baillie Street Health Centre Phone: 01706 517 655

Salford GUM Department Entrance One A, Hope Hospital, Eccles Old Rd, Salford M6 8HD. Phone: 0161 206 4464 (appointments)/0161 206 4431 (advice).

Stockport Stockport NHS Foundation Trust Stepping Hill Hospital, Poplar Grove, Stockport SK2 7JE Phone: 0161 419 5370/0161 419 5377 (advice line)

Tameside Crickets Lane Health Centre Phone: 0161 339 2222

Wigan Royal Albert & Edward Infirmary Phone: 01942 822 277 If your area is not listed, ring THT Direct on 0845 12 21 200 to find a GUM clinic in your area. If you would like your group or organsation to be listed here, send your info to

Manchester - Central Manchester Centre for Sexual Health The Hathergate Centre, 280 Upper Brook Street, Manchester M13 0FH Phone: 0161 276 5200 (male appointments). Phone: 0161 276 5204 (health advisors)

Manchester - North North Manchester General Hospital GUM Clinic Delauneys Road, Crumpsall, Manchester M8 6RB Phone: 0161 720 2681

FS is edited by Cary James. The FS team for issue 117 was John Adams, Barrie Dwyer, Stuart Haggas, Matthew Hodson, Frankie McPolin, Drew Payne, Shemmy, Gavin Smith, James Stafford, and Luke Tribe. 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. Phone 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

USE loads of LUBE when you get fucked The skin inside your arse is delicate and can be damaged, which makes it easier to catch or pass on infections such as HIV. Make sure there’s lots of lube up your arse when you get fucked. For more information on how to use condoms and lube visit All GMFA's campaigns are devised, planned and executed by positive, negative and untested volunteers. To volunteer for GMFA write, phone or email: Unit 43, The Eurolink Centre, 49 Effra Road, LONDON SW2 1BZ. 020 7738 6872. Registered Charity No.1076854. Part of the London Gay Men’s HIV Prevention Partnership.

Manchester - South South Manchester Sexual Health Withington Hospital, Nell Lane,

Design and layout by


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Last chance

Here are some things to remember from this issue...


A treatment you can take to stop you from catching HIV. Visit:

SEX if you still want to read more about it visit

ARGUING If you and your boyfriend are arguing a lot about little things, chances are there are bigger issues that you aren’t talking about. Find out what they are to improve your relationship.

FUCKING without condoms is the way most gay men catch HIV.

A SPONGE What the lining of your arse is like, which is why it can let HIV into your blood so easily.





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