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thE fit and sExy gay mag issuE #126 autumn 2011
How much are you really drinking?
ways you can stop hiv
Exercise makes you happy â€œhow do i tell him i have hiv?
better sex We give you our SecretS to SucceSS
CMI AD_DPS FS_FS 26/09/2011 07:15 Page 4
Join and sign up to this simple ﬁve-point action plan: I will know my hIV status. I will not assume I know someone else’s hIV status. I will take personal responsibility for using condoms. I will value myself and my health. I will stay informed about hIV and how it’s spread. If all of us follow this plan, we can stop hIV in our community.
TogeTher we can sTop The spread of hIV It’s time to stand up and be counted… Join us today at: www.youcancountmein.org.uk
to view the videos of some of the guys who have joined already and to ﬁnd out how you can be part of it.
CMI AD_DPS FS_FS 26/09/2011 07:15 Page 5
/youcancountmein #youcancountmein GMFA, Unit 11 Angel Wharf, 58 Eagle Wharf Road, London N1 7ER. Charity number: 1076854
FS APP AD2_FS 26/09/2011 08:42 Page 4
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We’re going to sex you up…
Join us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/fsmag Come on... do it now!
With the nights getting longer, there’s no better place to be than tucked up in bed with the fella of your choice. And if you’re lucky there is going to be more than spooning going on. To make the most of it, our “Have the best sex...ever” gives you insider tips and advice that will leave him crying out for more . If you end up in the pub instead of the bedroom, “How much are you really drinking?” will help you get a handle on your boozing, before it gets a handle on you.
Brought to you by The free FS magazine UK app is available on iTunes for iPhone,
iPad, iPod Touch and on Android Market for Android phones and tablet devices. To download go to www.gmfa.org.uk/fsmagapp or just search iTunes or Android Market for ‘FS Magazine UK’. Funded by the Pan London HIV Prevention Programme Cary James, Editor www.gmfa.org.uk
FS126_P06-07_PAGE6_FS 26/09/2011 07:17 Page 6
ways to stop the spread of hiv
will know my HIV status 1 IOne -in- four gay men who
have HIV don’t know they have it. If you don’t find out you have HIV until you become ill, it can cause more damage to your health than if you found out earlier. If you don’t know you have HIV, and you have unsafe sex, you could be spreading HIV without even knowing it. Or if you know for certain that you don’t have HIV, you’ll be more motivated to not catch it.The only way to know your HIV status is to test regularly. New tests mean that you can get your result in just a few minutes. Check out the listings at the back of the magazine for HIV testing services, or visit www.gmfa.org.uk/testing.
I will not assume I know 2 someone else’s HIV status Some people think they can tell if someone has HIV by what they look like, their age, where they met them, or if they look ‘healthy’ or ‘sick’. The truth is you usually can’t tell if someone has HIV or not. To take risks based on stereotypes that you have about people with or without HIV is a bad idea and leads to the spread of HIV.
I will take personal responsibility for 3 using condoms “Well he didn’t seem bothered about using condoms, so I just went along with it.” Sound familiar? Some of us end up having sex without condoms because we leave it to the other guy to bring it up, or we are too embarrassed to bring it up ourselves.
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If we are going to stop the spread of HIV, each of us needs to take responsibility for using condoms, every time.
will value myself and my health 4 IFeeling good about yourself and wanting to be healthy play a big part in choosing safer sex. If you feel depressed, you are more likely to take risks than if you are feeling good about life. So if you’re feeling a bit down, ring your mates, get some exercise, or join a social group. There’s free counselling available to gay men around the UK that can help. Check out the listings at the end of this magazine for more information.
Join us on
will stay informed about 5 IHIV and how it’s spread Most of us think we know all there is to know about HIV and how it’s spread. But there’s still a lot of bad information out there and you may be taking risks without even knowing it. Make sure you have the best information by getting it from a trusted source. Check out www.gmfa.org.uk/sex for the most up to date information and advice on how to have the best sex with the lowest risk.
+ % & & ,#( $$,
- #* # ' !! " )
Stay connected with FS every day and enjoy more great stories, more hot guys and more chances to be part of the action.
Just go to: www.facebook.com/fsmag See you there!
Count Me In is a new campaign by GMFA asking gay men all around the UK to make a commitment to stop the spread of HIV in our community. We can achieve this by doing our best to live by the five-point action plan in this feature. If everyone lived by these points, we could stop HIV affecting more lives. For more information, to meet the guys who have already joined the campaign, and to find out how you can be part of it too, visit:
A registered charity in England & Wales (no.288527) and in Scotland (no.SC039986).
1 Hour Testing for HIV and Sexually Transmitted Infections
Bristol Mondays 5-7.30pm 8-10 West Street, Old Market, Bristol BS2 0BH Tel: 0117 955 1000 Gloucestershire - Gloucester Wednesdays 5.30-7.30pm 3 Pitt Street, Gloucester GL1 2BH Tel: 01452 223 060 For details of all Fastest services visit tht.org.uk/fastest or for information and advice on HIV call
FS126_P09-14_Sex feat_FS 26/09/2011 07:28 Page 9
ever Gay sex: you canâ€™t beat it. But how do you get the most out of having another gay man to play with? How do you do him rotten and wake up the next day feeling happy, guilt-free and without worrying if you caught something or not? Hereâ€™s how. Now just add some gays and go...
FS126_P09-14_Sex feat_FS 26/09/2011 07:28 Page 10
LifestyLe Rule one:
Take it slow Gay men have got a terrible reputation for… how can we put this? Being sluts? You know, jumping into bed with anyone who catches their eye down the chip shop. And all power to them. It’s just that, like they used to say in church, you reap what you sow. Meaning, the longer it takes to get down to it, the more it’s going to mean. Use this rule not only in seduction (it is OK to go out on a few dates before you put out, you know) but also when you finally get him where you want him. We’re not talking Sting and Trudie-style tantric sessions, but drawing out the ultimate climax makes that climax stronger. Fact.
More is not always merrier Sex can become routine, not just between long-term partners but if you’re slagging yourself all over the shop. There’s nothing wrong with being, erm, generous with your charms but if you’re having it every day, it can get to seem a bit like doing the washing up or cleaning your teeth. Snack sex is great but make sure you sometimes put aside the time and energy for a proper man-on-man meal. You know, where you actually get to find out his name.
Drink in moderation Yeah, we all get it, sometimes you need a little Dutch courage to steady the nerves when out on a date. That’s fine. One or two never did anyone any harm (well, maybe some people but not most people). But seriously, don’t get slaughtered. Quite apart from being quite unattractive/scary
to potential shags, you’ll be crap when you get down to it. You won’t remember the best bits and the whole safer sex thing sometimes goes by the board when seventeen vodka and cokes have reared their ugly, if delicious heads. Plus you could end up doing stuff you wouldn’t usually do and put yourself or the guy you’re with at risk of HIV, and no one needs that…
Kit off is one of the best bits Too often, you’ll get a guy back to your lair and they’ll just strip off and jump in bed. This is what’s known in the business as a waste. You’ll know from watching porn that the longer you have to wait, the better it is. Start with kissing, feeling each other through your clothes, taking tops off to feel that first electric skin-on-skin. Rub against each other through your jeans, make a big deal about undoing his fly and sliding his trousers down. Nibble, suck, and play with his junk through his pants, and let him do the same to you. The longer you put off the final reveal, the more exciting it’ll be.
When sweet-talking a guy into bed, be cocky. We all love a bit of cocky. Touch him – leg, shoulder, bum even as long as it doesn’t seem like you’re groping him. You’ll soon get a feeling for whether he wants it or not.
Thelonger youput offthefinal reveal,the moreexciting it’llbe.
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The magic touch There’s so much emphasis on fucking and sucking that sometimes the humble old hand job and fumbling gets left behind. There’s nothing so horny as having a guy close his grip on your cock, maybe hold it in his hand with his own cock, pressing them together. And with a bit of spit or lube in the palm of your hand and the underside of your fingers you can pretty much drive him crazy. Just get yourself nice and slippery and pass your palm and fingers over the head of his cock – gently, mind. Spend enough time on this and even men with less sensitive cocks can really start to squirm. There’s really nothing safer than hand-on-cock action, and nothing sexier than a man squirming.
Suck it and see The great thing about being gay is most of us love giving head as much as we like getting it. This is not always true for straight folks... more fool them. When taking a guy’s cock in your mouth, again, remember to build up. Lick it before you suck it, suck the head before you suck the whole of it… you don’t want to go straight in for the kill like something out of Piranha 3D. And let him see you licking and sucking it: there’s nothing quite so horny as seeing your own beloved cock sliding into some cute guy’s mouth. Look up at him with his cock in your mouth: it connects you, makes him realise – really realise – exactly what’s going on.
There’s reallynothing saferthan hand-on-cock action,andnothing sexierthanaman squirming.
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Have a ball (or two) It’s not just his cock that’s going to enjoy the feeling of your velvet tongue all over it. There’s also his balls, though you do have to go in more gently here as most men are, quite sensibly, nervous when people start chewing on their bollocks. You can read how hard he likes things by the volume of his moaning and the motion of his hips. Same goes for when he’s doing it to you: communicate with moans, by placing your hands on his head, by positioning yourself so that what you want licked is there in front of him. An often forgotten place is the hard bit (well, it’ll be hard if his cock is) between his balls and his arse. Lick it, nibble it, gently bite it. It’s not that it’s especially sensitive like his cock head but it’s a major turn on and often smells strongly of him (we’re assuming you like him by this stage).
Cleanliness is next to… Some people love rimming – licking his arse and putting your tongue up it – some people hate it. Some people only get into it when they meet a certain person, and then the thing that’s always put them off suddenly makes sense and they can’t wait to get their tongue in there. And some people love having it done, while other’s find it a slimy old non-event. Like all sexual practices, there’s no such thing as one-size-fits-all. If you are having it done, it’s not only good manners but good sexual health to have a good old wash down there. If you’re going out straight from work, invest in a baby wipe.
Go both ways There was a time, if you’re sitting comfortably, when gay men identified as passive or active, top or bottom if you like. These days most gay men – but not all – are fairly happy to fuck or be fucked, depending on their mood, the guy, the time of the month… It’s one of the fun things about being gay: you get to do both. Negotiating who is going to do what to whom (and remember, fucking doesn’t have to happen: it’s still real sex without it) is a diplomatic dance, a time-honoured ritual, and a lot of fun. Sometimes putting a finger in his arse – gently and with lube – or rimming him makes it seem that you are going to be the one doing the fucking but it’s not always the case. Don’t forget, you are allowed to talk about this. A simple, “I’d really like to fuck you” or “I’d really like you to fuck me” is perfectly socially acceptable.
Negotiating whoisgoingto dowhattowhom isadiplomatic dance,a time-honoured ritual,andalot offun.
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Condoms are important
Don’t skimp on the lube
The single most important thing about having sex is to always use a condom when fucking or being fucked. Nothing is more important than that. While it’s possible to get HIV through oral sex, the vast majority of gay men catch HIV through fucking or being fucked without a condom. That’s why it’s simply not negotiable. Of course if you have a boyfriend and you are in a one-to-one relationship and have both tested for HIV and have the same status, that’s a different story. Otherwise, they are a must. Arguments like – “But I love you”, “I’ve had a test recently”, “You’re the first person I’ve ever fucked” – cant’ protect you from HIV, it’s just not worth it. As for, “I know him, he’s all right” – well, how well you know someone doesn’t mean you know if they have HIV or not. A lot of guys don’t even know if they have HIV or not themselves, so how can you know? Even if he is your best friend from childhood (a bit weird if you’re starting fucking now, but hey…) you really don’t know. Use a condom and lube. it just makes sense.
Those little sachets of lube that you get in free condom packs are great for the gay on the go, but don’t think you have to restrict yourself to one teeny, weeny little sachet. The rule of thumb with lubricant (to give it its full title) is the more the merrier. For your boudoir you should get a big, pump-style one just so you can lavish that rubbered-up old cock and expectant arse with it. You know to look for water-based or silicone-based, though, don’t you? Some lube is created for masturbation purposes only and has oil in it. The thing with oil is it makes condoms dissolve. And you don’t want that. The reason you want gallons and gallons of the stuff is that it reduces the friction on the condom and helps it stay intact. It also makes it feel nicer.
“Alotof guysdon’t evenknowif theyhaveHIV ornot,sohow canyou know”
other things we love about condoms Another clever thing about condoms is you can whack one on, fuck like crazy then pull your cock out, take the condom off and he can get right back to sucking it. This is simply not as appealing when you’re not using condoms and you can actually catch quite a few nasty bugs from having a cock that was just up your arse in your mouth. Plus, if you cum into a condom, clean up is easy. You can just cuddle up and sleep. Now, THAT’S romantic.
No one’s cock is too big for a condom... fact! Some men say that they can’t wear a condom because their cocks are too big.You can get condoms in different sizes, so there are ones that fit everyone. But that doesn’t mean that condoms don’t split. They do. That’s why it’s a good idea while fucking or getting fucked to take the odd break to check that everything’s intact. And make sure you use plenty of wateror sillicone-based lube. It makes it horny anyway to withdraw and then get it back in there. It’s also a good idea to cum outside the body: apart from being a real turn-on, it means that if the condom has broken and you’ve not noticed it, then you’re minimising the risk. It’s best not to cum in each other’s mouths, by the way, just to be on the safe side.
l For more information about sex and sexual health visit www.gmfa.org.uk/sex.
Top 5 Safe Sex faCTS about every gay 1fromJust man with HIV caught it fucking without condoms. If you don’t want to catch HIV, use a condom. Simple as… You can catch HIV from 2 blow jobs, but it doesn’t happen very often. Avoid getting cum in your mouth to be extra safe. Using water-based or 3 silicon-based lube not only makes sex easier and feel better, it helps prevent condoms from breaking. If you use spit as a lube it dries up quickly, increasing the chance a condom could break or come off. You can have HIV for 4 weeks before it will show up on an HIV test. And people who have just been infected with HIV are very infectious and the chance of them passing HIV on to a partner is high. The best advice is to have an HIV test regularly and remember that many people can’t be sure if they have HIV or not, even if they tested negative at their last test. If you do something that 5 puts you or your partner at risk of catching HIV, PEP is a treatment that can stop HIV infection. You can get it from sexual health clinics and A&E departments, but you must get it within 72 hours for it to work. For more information visit www.gmfa.org.uk/pep.
FS126_P16-19_alcohol feature_FS 26/09/2011 07:31 Page 16
How much are you really drinking? Everyone loves a night out on the lash, but could you be putting your health at risk… and how much is it safe to drink anyway, asks Frankie McPolin.
When 21-year-old Steven Massey died after his liver split in half because of his extreme binge drinking, it was easy to think “that would never happen to me”. Yet experts say a lot of us are seriously harming ourselves without realising, by drinking too much alcohol, and unless we can cut back we’re heading for a future filled with physical and mental health problems. Several international studies have indicated higher levels of alcohol misuse in the gay population. Alcohol Concern, the national agency on alcohol misuse, has cited several reports which show that in LGBT people, alcohol misuse does not decline with age as it does with heterosexuals. So even if you’re not in danger of death, could you still be putting yourself at risk?
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AM I A BOOZER?
Take the safer option when drinking l Avoid drinking on an empty stomach l Space drinks with a soft drink or a glass of water l Put your drink down between sips l Avoid mixing drinks l Have some food with your drinks l Pace yourself parent – who doesn’t necessarily have to be the typical ‘wino’ stereotype – increases fourfold your risk of becoming an alcoholic. On top of that, if you could hold your booze better than your peers by the time you were 20, you’ve as much as a 60 percent chance of succumbing to alcoholism by the time you’re in your thirties, according to a recent US study. With all this in mind it might be worthwhile looking back a generation or two as it might help you to change your destiny.
HOW MANY UNITS CAN I SAFELY DRINK? A single unit of alcohol is 10ml of pure alcohol, and the strength of all alcoholic drinks is shown on the label as a percentage. The higher the percentage, the stronger the drink – so a typical wine with 13 percent alcohol is clearly stronger than a lager like Stella at 5 percent. Because the strength of drinks varies, counting the units can help you keep track of the amount you’re drinking, which in turn can keep you healthier, looking after your liver. The government’s maximum recommended number of units a man should drink in a week is 21, and no more than four on any given day. Drinking 22-50 units a week is considered hazardous and consuming over 50 units a week is ‘harmful’. Binge drinking – often classed for men as consuming more than 10 units of alcohol in a single session – is “one of the most widespread public health problems we face as a society,” according to Don Shenker, Director of Policy and Services at Alcohol Concern. “With one in three men… regularly drinking above safe limits, this is something that affects people from all walks of life.” Author of a recent report on binge drinking, Prof Nick Heather, adds: “Britain is currently experiencing a serious problem with alcohol, including increasing rates of liver cirrhosis and alarming levels of harm among young people.”
The amount you drink can be directly influenced by your environment, such as your circle of friends. Chances are, if your pals booze a lot then you’re likely to do the same, though that may be why you’re all friends in the first place. Other factors, like occupation, background culture and personality can all influence drinking habits. Booze is something you can easily get used to and, like plenty of other substances, you can get addicted to it. There’s evidence to show that a susceptibility to boozing can be in our genes. So if your mum or dad prefers to unwind by drinking, you could learn a lot from this. Just having one alcoholic
To help you start counting your units, here’s what’s contained in some of the more common drinks. It doesn’t take much to put you outside the ‘safe’ limits.
Ifeared society.Ifeared becominggay. Ifearedmyself.Iwas severelydepressed andsawsuicide asaneasy wayout.
n A pint of ordinary strength lager (Carling, Fosters): 2 units n A pint of strong lager (Stella Artois, Kronenbourg 1664): 3 units n A pint of strong cider (Strongbow): 3 units n A 175ml glass of red or white wine: around 2 units n A pub measure of spirits: 1 unit (though lots of pubs serve doubles as standard so watch out as they’ll be 2 units each) n An alcopop (Smirnoff Ice, Bacardi Breezer): around 2 units
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HOW CAN I PREPARE FOR A NIGHT ON THE BOOZE? Knowing the dangers of overdoing your drinking is helpful, but there will probably be times when you know you’re going to overindulge. So what can you do to minimise the damage before you hit the bottles? Drinking on an empty stomach means alcohol is absorbed into the body much more rapidly than usual, meaning you’ll get drunk more quickly. Heading to the pub straight from work risks more than your dignity. A University of New York study found your risk of having high blood pressure increases by nearly 50 percent if you booze on an empty stomach. Some nutritional experts advocate eating a bowl of brown rice
before going out because it conatins B vitamins to boost your liver and will also line your stomach. Taking a herbal remedy such as artichoke extract before you start drinking might help protect your liver during a night out – but not if you’re going out to binge drink as this will always be rough on your body.
WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO RECOVER FROM A BINGE?
Health risks from regularly drinking too much n Heavy drinkers may develop psychological and emotional problems including depression n Large amounts will dehydrate you, damaging body tissue n Alcohol raises blood pressure which can lead to strokes and heart attacks
No matter what pre-binge n Affects physical co-ordination, preparations you take, there’s judgement and reaction time always the chance you’ll still be suffering the next morning. But all’s n Increases risk of liver not lost, as there are a few things damage, cirrhosis of the liver you can do to get you on the road to and cancers of the mouth and recovery. throat Drink lots of water to n Drinking heavily in the rehydrate yourself. This is evening may put you over the essential as alcohol is very drink driving limit the next dehydrating – one of the morning worst causes of hangover symptoms – so hydrating n Alcohol affects your your system will help judgement and you may take counteract the effects of sexual risks that you wouldn’t the booze. take when sober Getting lots of sleep will also help your ravaged body recover, but your boss is hardly Finally, don’t be tempted to try a going to buy that on a Monday ‘hair of the dog’ remedy. The morning. Department of Health advises if you Take care of your liver after binge overindulge you should have at least drinking sessions. Studies have 48 alcohol-free hours to recover – suggested that taking the herbal not more pints to ease the pain. remedy milk thistle on an ongoing basis is can be beneficial to liver l For more information about function. Eat well including lots of sex, alcohol and drugs visit fruits and vegetables and drink plenty of water as dehydration can www.gmfa.org.uk/drugsandalcohol. last for days afterwards.
Need help with your boozing? l To find out if you’re drinking too much, and what to do about it, log on to www.downyourdrink.org.uk. l If you’re concerned about your drinking, or someone else’s, call Drinkline on 0800 917 82 82 for advice and support. l Alcohol Concern’s website has lots of information and guidance on safer drinking. Check it out at www.alcoholconcern.org.uk.
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A night on the piss
Can our two FS readers accurately predict how much they’ll drink on a night out? We asked Matt and Alex, two FS readers, to guess how many units of booze they drink on a normal weekend night out. We then sent them out on the tiles to count the actual amount they drank – the results were very interesting. How would you do on this task?
Matt, 23 from Brixton
Alex, 25 from Highgate
Matt’s guesstimate: “I reckon I drink about ten units on a night out which is probably quite a lot. I think that’s about 5 pints and a couple of shots.”
Alex’s guesstimate: “I’ve never counted my units before so I’ve really no idea… probably about 10 to 15 units as I always do it large on a weekend night, though my night out is usually about twelve hours long.”
ActuAl consumption: n Shared a bottle of wine with a friend before going out n 2 pints of Stella in bar n 3 double vodkas and Red Bull in club
ActuAl consumption: 4.5 units 6.0 units 6.0 units
Total = 16.5 units That’s nearly a week’s worth in one go, and remember the safe daily limit is 4 units! “I wasn’t overly drunk and didn’t drink any more than my pals so I don’t think that’s too bad. I’m probably not going to change as I only do this one or two nights a week.”
n 3 cans of Kronenbourg before going out n 4 pints of Carling on a pub crawl in Soho n 2 large vodkas at a pal’s before the club n 3 or 4 Smirnoff Ice at club
7.5 units 8.0 units 4.0 units 6.0 units
Total = 25.5 units This is well over what’s recommended for a whole week! “I guess I’m quite shocked I drank more than the recommended weekly amount in one night out! I’m sure as I get older I’ll not be able to handle it as well and will probably drink less, but for now I’m enjoying myself and apart from a hangover I’m fine.”
FS126_P21_Health_FS 26/09/2011 07:33 Page 21
Exercise makes you feel good You may think that exercise only makes you look better, but it’s also great for your mood and mental health. Here’s how… look whaT I’ve done Exercise gives you a sense of accomplishment and can boost your self-confidence in all areas of your life. “Having confidence in our ability to make positive change is strongly associated with actually taking steps to make that change happen,” Dr Vickers-Douglas of the Mayo Clinic explains. Or put simply, if you believe you can do something, then it’s easier to do it.
GeT your mInd off ThInGs When you feel depressed or anxious, it's easy to focus your attention on yourself, what you think is wrong with your life and stuff like that. That kind of thinking only brings you down and can make depression more severe and longer lasting. “Physical activity can help shift attention away from unpleasant or unhelpful thoughts and instead direct attention toward pleasant thoughts and activities,” Dr Vickers- Douglas says. Exercise gives you other things to focus on, like what you are actually doing, your surroundings, the music you listen to, or other people.
Evensmall amounts,can reshapehowyou thinkaboutyour appearanceand yourown self-worth.
Improve your self-esTeem Getting exercise, even small amounts, can reshape how you think about your appearance and your own self-worth. Doing something for yourself means you value yourself more and want to do what’s best for you.
GeT ouT of The house Exercise gives you a chance to brush off the cobwebs, get out of the house and interact with other people. “Depression often makes
people want to isolate themselves,” Dr Vickers-Douglas explains. “But by doing so, they miss out on experiencing positive interactions with others or their environment, such as a smile or a kind word from a passer-by, or the sights and sounds of nature.”
Take The bull by The horns Doing something beneficial to manage your depression or anxiety is an effective way of dealing with it. “Rather than waiting passively for depression or anxiety to change, taking active steps, such as exercise, can help you gain confidence in your ability to manage your symptoms,” Dr Vickers-Douglas says.
So what’s next? You don’t have to commit yourself to a heavy training programme to get the mental benefits of exercise. Even a ten-minute walk to the shops is enough to have a positive effect on your mood. Just find an activity you enjoy and set some reasonable goals of how much exercise you are going to do. Think of it as a positive step to a happier you, rather than a burden. And if you miss a few sessions, just pick up where you left off. It’s not a big deal.
For more information on mood and exercise, visit www.mayoclinic.com
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FS126_P23_Health2_FS 26/09/2011 07:34 Page 23
It’s time to test
in years to come when your body has already taken a major battering from the virus and you get sick. It’s pretty obvious which is the better option.
Lots of guys put off HIV testing, not realising the damage they could be doing to their bodies. If you do have HIV, the sooner you find out, the better. The earlier you get tested the better it will be, for yourself and the guys you have sex with.
Live longer Not knowing is no good. Even though it’s recommended that you take an HIV test every year (or every six months if you’re having sex with lots of different partners) many guys don’t. In fact, as many as one in five gay men who find out they have HIV only realise after they’ve had the virus for many years. By then it has already caused serious damage to their body and their long-term health. If you do have HIV, the sooner you know, the better. Finding out early means that you can get the right medical care to keep you healthy. If you have HIV, you’ll find out eventually. You could find out now by testing, getting your health monitored and getting anti-HIV drugs at the right time to protect your health, or you could find out
Below the belt
When things get nasty down below... This monTh:
Genital warts What are they? Warts are abnormal skin growths caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV). Genital warts can be found on the inside or outside of the cock and arse. Usually white or pink, they come in a variety of shapes and sizes: smooth and flat, rough and bumpy, small and isolated, and cauliflower-like clusters. They can be
Take control Guys who know whether they have HIV or not are in control. It gives them a chance to make positive decisions about their life, health and relationships. As well as getting your physical health looked after, finding out you have HIV early can help your mental health in the long term too. If you know you have HIV you can get support from family, friends or the many charities and groups devoted to helping people with HIV.
It’s easier to test than ever It’s easier than ever before to have an HIV test. Many clinics are now open in the evening or at weekends. There are places you can test that are separate from hospitals and GUM clinics. And the tests give results faster (sometimes in 20 minutes) and can tell you if you have HIV sooner after any risk you may have taken (as little as three weeks). Check out the listings at the back of this mag for more info on where to test.
l For more info on HIV testing, visit www.gmfa.org.uk/testing.
itchy or painful. They can cause severe discomfort or bleeding when you have sex or use the toilet. It usually takes about three months from the time of infection for genital warts to become visible. How do you get them? By skin to skin contact during sex. How do you treat them? It can take a long time to get rid of them, and treatments may have to be repeated several times. Treatments include applying creams, freezing them with liquid nitrogen, burning them with acid or lasers, or removal by surgery as a last resort. Untreated warts can spread throughout the genital and anal areas. Warts don’t cause any serious
health problems themselves, but they can make you more vulnerable to other infections like HIV. How do you prevent them? HPV spreads easily, so skin to skin contact with warts should be avoided. However, the warts may go unnoticed and so avoiding HPV can be difficult, especially since condoms may not always cover the area where warts are present. This is perhaps why warts are the most common viral STI diagnosed in the UK.
l For more information on genital warts and other STIs or to find a clinic near you, visit www.gmfa.org.uk/sex.
FS126_P24_AskGMFA_FS 26/09/2011 07:38 Page 24
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… Why do I want to wee?
Could I have caught HIV?
Why do I feel like I want to wee during anal sex with my boyfriend? I always go beforehand and I am not really nervous during sex. I am very worried. This is quite a common sensation, because of your boyfriend's cock rubbing up against/coming into contact with your bladder. If you haven't already tried this, I would suggest trying a few different positions to see if the same thing happens - the best positions to get the bladder out of the way are doggy style, and you sitting down on to your boyfriend’s cock. If you are still having the same sensations in these positions I would suggest that you visit your local GUM clinic who are able to help in all aspects of sexual health, to see if they can help diagnose the problem.
Yesterday, I did some sit-ups on a plastic bench and chafed my bum. This left a small graze which scabbed over. I had fun with someone tonight who I had seen before but this time he said he had HIV. We never had anal sex, although his cock touched my arse, and it didn’t really touch my wound area. I’m concerned that if pre-cum had touched the area, I could have caught HIV. Is that possible? I feel I’m probably being paranoid but wanted to ask the question. Considering the situation you describe I think the likelihood of HIV transmission taking place would be very small to nonexistent. This is because your graze had a scab, and this is a barrier to infection. HIV only lives for a very short amount of time in the open air, and not enough of it would have been transferred for it to have been infectious.
Why am I bleeding? I’m a 20-year-old gay male. Recently I have been having blood come out every time I poo. It’s not just a little but it’s not too much. I’m worried and would like to know what you think it could be and if I should go to my GP. There are a number of possible explanations for the blood in your poo. For example, it could be piles, it could be an infection or it could be irritable bowel syndrome. The only way to know what causing it is to see a qualified doctor, so yes, we recommend that you do this. From your description of the amount of blood it doesn't sound as though it is a critical emergency, but we would still recommend that you see your GP, because health problems are usually much easier to manage or clear up the sooner you have them diagnosed and properly treated.
lFor more info about sex and sexual health or to ask a question visit: www.gmfa.org.uk/sex.
How risky is… rimming In case you have never had the pleasure, rimming is licking someone's bumhole. There is no data to suggest that anyone has caught HIV from rimming, although there are other risks. Hepatitis A is most often caught from rimming and both gonorrhoea and Hepatitis B can also be passed on this way. There are also a number of gut infections you can catch from rimming. Even a recently washed bumhole may carry some extremely infectious, microscopic organisms, but there is an even greater risk if you rim someone who hasn't washed beforehand, or who is suffering from diarrhoea. These risks can be prevented by using a dental dam, although not many guys use them. You can get a vaccination against Hepatitis A and B from your GUM clinic.
l For more information on sex and how to make it safer, visit www.gmfa.org.uk/sex.
ADS:FS 17/06/2009 11:48 Page 24
Promoting good health & well being for gay/bisexual men and men who have sex with men www.healthygaycornwall.org.uk Free condoms and lube Talk to a trained worker about sex, health and relationships Outreach across Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Training for groups and professionals Signposting into other services for LGBT people Healthy Gay Cornwall Health Promotion Service The Kernow Building Wilson Way Pool, Redruth TR15 3QE Tel: 01209 313419 Email: email@example.com
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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…
Should I dump my Q HIV-positive boyfriend? I met this great guy and we have been going out for just over a month. I really like him. He has HIV and I don’t, or at least I didn’t the last time I had a test. I always thought I would be cool about the HIV thing if it ever came up in a relationship and I told him it doesn’t matter, but to be honest I do feel a bit funny about the whole thing. Even though we always have safer sex, it is still always in the back of my mind that if the condom breaks or whatever that I would be at risk. It kind of freaks me out and I feel it is stopping us from getting closer. I don’t want to feel like this. I am too embarrassed to talk to him about how I feel and I don’t have any HIV-positive friends who I can ask for their opinion. I kinda want to dump him as I think it would be easier. What should I do? Steve via email
Dear STeVe It’s quite understandable that you’re scared. It doesn’t make you a bad person. And if you decided that the fear was too much for you to continue in the relationship, then that wouldn’t make you a bad person either. But if you really like this guy, it’s worth taking the time to think about whether this is something that you should try to deal with, rather than run away from. Have you spoken to him about it? At some point he would have been HIV-negative too, and it’s likely he will understand your fears. Or if it’s too hard to talk to him about it, you could try one of the free counselling services that are available. It’s worth bearing in mind that he’s done the responsible thing and told you that he’s positive. Maybe he’s on treatment, which would make him less likely to infect you, even if the condom did break. If you split
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with him you could end up with someone who isn’t able to be honest with you, or perhaps doesn’t know his own status (and so he wouldn’t be on treatment and would be more infectious). You have the right to choose not to be with someone who is HIV-positive but, if he’s that great, it would be a shame to throw the relationship away if it was something that you may be able to adjust to. Lewis via email
“Yousay youreallylike thisguy,sohow candumpinghim betheeasier option?”
Dear STeVe Reading between the lines you don't want to dump him. Maybe you should think about relationship counselling? That or talk to him… after all he is your boyfriend. Malcolm via Facebook
Dear STeVe I agree with Malcolm, seek counselling and have a chat with your new man as really it’s a bit shallow just to dump someone because of their HIV status. Relationships are meant to be more than just based on sex. G Man Martin via Facebook
Dear STeVe Who is to say that your previous partners were not HIV-positive? I think the best thing to do is talk to him. If he cares for you and loves you then he will listen to your fears. You can still have safer sex and if you use condoms correctly you may never be at risk of HIV. It all comes down to communication again. Alex via Facebook
Dear STeVe I don’t blame you for wanting to protect yourself and you’re perfectly entitled to choose to not be with someone who has HIV. I say that not because I have found HIV so awful to live with, but because it’s worth avoiding if you can do it. However, I think it would help if you asked yourself what would be the HIV transmission risk of being with this guy compared with what it might be without him. If he’s on treatment that’s working, then the risk of picking up HIV from him is exceedingly low. Plus, if a condom did break during sex with him, you could obtain PEP without delay and with little difficulty. Conversely, if you dump this guy and have sex in the future with someone who tells you he was negative the last time he tested, but has since picked up HIV without realising it and is not on treatment, a broken condom would
pose a much greater risk of HIV transmission to you. Plus you might not hurry as quickly to get PEP and the doctor you see might not be as willing to give it to you. It’s absolutely your choice, but I’d say if HIV is the only thing stopping you from living happily ever after with this guy, there’s no need to let it. Charlie from Maida Vale
Dear STeVe It should be remembered that HIV is not a death sentence. Your boyfriend was wise enough to take the test and knows his status. Can you say that of your previous encounters? Presumably he is healthy and with the advances in medication now there is no full blown AIDS. He has been honest with you and you should be honest with him. I told my HIV-negative partner when I discovered my status and he is fine with it, we have now been together for 15 years. If you really think that his illness defines him, then you don’t deserve him. Tony via Facebook
A counsellor’s opinion… Sona Barbosa, Counsellor Team Leader for the GMI Partnership, says: Dear STeVe I can understand your concerns. You are not alone in fearing HIV from a partner with HIV, and in my experience, the person with HIV usually fears this just as much – sometimes more. Have you considered this from his point of view? Everyone needs to work together in order to remove the fear and the stigma around having HIV. You say you really like this guy, so how can dumping him be the
easier option? What if the next person you’re in a relationship with also has HIV? Your first step in order to be able to make an informed choice should be getting all the information about transmission and protecting yourself. Meeting with one of the GMI Health Trainers might be helpful. As you say you don’t have any positive friends, so maybe it would be helpful attending a group for positive support from other people in your situation – for example, the “Positive meets Negative” workshop run by PACE. After getting all of the basic information about transmission and ways of protecting yourself (make sure you get answers to all of your questions) you need to learn to put it all in perspective so that you can live more comfortably, without constant fear. Talking about it with your partner is crucial to achieve this. Other steps you might take could be to seek psychological counselling, only engage in types of sex that you are comfortable with, and get tested for HIV from a setting where you will also get counselling to go with that testing. It is generally better to deal with these things directly, rather than living in fear and letting your imagination take over.
Next month’s problem… I’ve been with my boyfriend for nearly four years now. We are in a monogamous relationship, I love him to bits and I know he loves me too. Recently his whole attitude towards me has changed, though. He doesn’t want to be around me much. He is not affectionate towards me any more either. It’s making me think he’s seeing other guys behind my back. I don’t know if I’m being paranoid. I don’t know if I should say something or just ignore it. The other problem is we don’t use condoms so if he is cheating on me is he is putting me, at risk? Any advice would be appreciated. What should I do?
Bobby from Essex
l If you have some advice to give, or you have a problem that needs sorting, go to www.facebook.com/fsmag and post on the discussion tab or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. www.gmfa.org.uk
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It’s all about groups and services in the South West… Clinics Bristol lFASTEST: one hour HIV testing. Every Monday (excluding Bank Holidays) 5-7.30pm at THT West, 8-10 West Street, Old Market. Phone: 0117 955 100. lVillage Sauna: Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea screenings at The Village Sauna every first and third Wednesday of the month. 4.30 6.30pm. Phone: 0117 342 6944.
Gloucester lFASTEST: one hour HIV testing. Every Wednesday 5.30-7.30pm at THT Gloucestershire, 3 Pitt St. GL1 2BH. Phone: 01452 223 060.
truro lHealthy Gay Clinic: check-ups and consultations Mondays 56.30pm at the GUM clinic of the Royal Cornwall Hospital. Appointment only. Phone: Al on 01209 313 419.
Condoms by post lBath and NE Somerset Men’s Sexual Health: free condoms by post service with online ordering. Phone: 01225 801 951, email: email@example.com or visit www.menssexualhealth.org.uk.
Bristol lTHT West: offers free condoms by post in Bristol, South Gloucestershire, North Somerset, and BANES. Phone: 0117 955 1000.
cornwall lHealthy Gay Cornwall: offers free condoms by post in Cornwall and IOS. Phone: 01209 313 419 or visit: www.healthygaycornwall.org.uk.
lThe Eddystone Trust: free condoms by post service. Send either a jiffy bag or strong (A5) envelope, with 71 pence in stamps and a name and address on it to 36 Looe Street, Plymouth, PL4 0EB or visit www.eddystone.org.uk for more details.
wiltshire and swindon lMen’s Sexual Health: free condoms by post service. Phone: 01380 801 951 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Counselling and advice lBath, NE Somerset, Wiltshire and Swindon Men’s Sexual Health: advice, info, support and counselling. Phone: 01380 801 951, email: email@example.com or visit: www.menssexualhealth.org.uk. Out of hours service: Bath and NE Somerset: 07879 633 824; Wiltshire: 07970 473 962; Swindon: 07867 872 552.
Bristol lTHT West: counselling service for people affected by HIV in Bristol, South Gloucestershire, North Somerset, and BANES. Phone: 0117 955 1000. lWiltshire and Swindon Men’s Sexual Health: counselling, advice and support. Phone: 01380 801 951.
Gloucestershire lTHT Gloucestershire: counselling service for people affected by HIV Phone: 01452 223 060.
lTHT Gloucestershire: Phone: 01452 223 060.
south and west devon
lHealthy Gay Cornwall: offers
Published by GMFA Unit 11 Angel Wharf, 58 Eagle Wharf Road, London, N1 7ER Tel: 020 7738 6872 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.gmfa.org.uk Charity number 1076854 ISSN 1750-7162
month, 7.30-9.30pm. Phone: 0117 955 1000. Complementary therapies for men living with HIV at THT. Phone: 0117 955 1000.
Plymouth and torquay
lKernow Positive Support: provides a range of services for people living with HIV in Cornwall. For more info phone the helpline: 01208 264 866 or visit: www.kpsdirect.com.
lThe Eddystone Trust: offers courses in Torquay and Plymouth including Safer Sex and Your Cock and Safer Sex and Your Arse. For more info phone: 01803 380 692 (Torquay) or 01752 257 077 (Plymouth).
Drop-in centres Bristol lTHT West:Tuesdays and Fridays, 11.30am-2.30pm. 8-10 West Street, Old Market. Phone: 0117 995 1000.
Gloucestershire lTHT Gloucestershire: Thursdays 6-8pm at THT Gloucestershire, 3 Pitt St. GL1 2BH. Phone: 01452 223 060.Phone: 01452 223 060.
wiltshire lMen’s Sexual Health:Tuesdays 4-8pm. 31a The Brittox, Devizes. Phone: 01380 801 951 or email: email@example.com.
Helplines lTHT Direct: 0808 802 1221 Gloucestershire lGay Glos: 01452 306 800. Monday to Friday 7.30-10pm or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Courses lGMFA along with THT West and The Eddystone Trust run courses all around the West and South West including Confident Cruising, and Getting a Boyfriend. For more information visit: www.gmfa.org.uk/national or phone 020 7738 3712.
‘Change for the Better’ a free two day course about asking for what you want from life and getting it. For more info phone Al: 01209 313 419 or www.healthygaycornwall.org.uk.
lTHT West: one-to-one support; hardship fund, advocacy and advice for HIV positive men in Bristol, BANES, North Somerset, and Gloucestershire. For more info phone: 0117 955 1000.
Bristol lPositive Gay Men’s Group at THT West: A peer support group open to all HIV-positive gay men. Every first Wednesday of the
Plymouth and torquay lThe Eddystone Trust: offers counselling, complementary therapies and advocacy for HIV-positive men. For info phone: 01803 380 692 (Torquay) or 01752 257 077 (Plymouth).
If your area is not listed, ring THT Direct on 0808 802 1221 to find a GUM clinic in your area. If you would like your group or organsation to be listed here, send your info to email@example.com.
Support groups Bristol lBristol Family and Friends at THT West: a peer support group for the family and friends of gay men and lesbians who are having difficulty coming to terms with their loved one’s sexuality. Every third Wednesday of the month, 7-9pm. Phone: 01454 898 644 or 0117 950 4104 lNo.8 at THT West: a support group for men who are married or in a relationship with a female partner, but who are questioning their sexuality. Every first Thursday of the month, 6-7.30pm. For more info phone: 07909 225 339. lSo Out in the South West: social and support group for
The FS team for issue 126 was Cary James (Editor), Ian Howley (Associate Editor), John Adams, Barrie Dwyer, Matthew Hodson, Frankie McPolin, Drew Payne, Shemmy, Gavin Smith, and James Stafford. Design and layout by www.christiantate.co.uk FS is part of the Pan London HIV Prevention Programme. 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 us on 020 7738 6872 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can view the current issue and past issues of FS online at: www.gmfa.org.uk/fs. Volunteers contribute to the planning, writing, editing and production of FS. To volunteer or donate, contact GMFA using the details to the right. To express your views on HIV services in London, go to www.ergoclear.com/express.
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disabled gay men living and/or working in the South West. For more info phone: 07943 113894, email: email@example.com or visit: www.soout.com.
Gloucestershire Royal Hospital. Phone: 08454 226 470.
newquay lNewquay Hospital GUM Clinic St Thomas’ Road, Newquay TR7 1RQ. Phone: 01637 893600. Opening times: Tuesday 2.30pm to 4pm.
cornwall lCornwall Men’s Group: provides social activities for men living in Cornwall. For more info phone Al: 01209 313 419.
Plymouth lThe Cumberland Centre Damerrell Close, Devonport, Plymouth PL1 4JZ Phone: 0845 155 8015 lDerriford Hospital GUM Department, Derriford Road, Plymouth PL6 8DH Phone: 01752 431124. Appointments: 0845 155 8189
Youth groups BarnstaBle lShout: For info phone: 08710 971 069, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit: www.shoutlgbt.org.uk. lRespect: For info phone: 07929 829 578.
torBay lOutpatients Level 2 Torbay Hospital, Cadewell Lane, Torquay TQ72 7AA Phone: 01803 656500.
Bristol lFreedom Youth at THT West: every Tuesday, 7-9.00pm. For more info phone: 0117 377 3677 or visit: www.freedomyouth.co.uk.
cornwall lLGBTQ Youth Cornwall: meets first Saturday of the month in Truro. For more information visit: www.lgbtqyouthcornwall.co.uk or phone: 01209 211 360.
devizes l2BMe: for ages 14-19 on Thrusdays. For more info phone Matt on 01380 801 951, or email: email@example.com. Visit: www.2bme.org.uk.
exeter lX-plore: every Thursday, 6.30-8.30pm. For more info phone: 07867 570 944, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit: www.x-plore.org.uk.
Plymouth lOut Youth: every Tuesday, 68pm. For more info phone: 07791 652 486.
swindon lPride Youth Swindon: a group for anyone aged between 13 and 21 who is lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or unsure of their sexuality. For more info phone: 07766 872 565, email: email@example.com or visit: www.prideyouth.org.uk. lOut of the Can: a group for anyone over 14-years-old who is lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or unsure of their sexuality. For more info phone: 07890 228 854, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit: www.outofthecan.org.
somerset 2BU: Youth support group for 14 -18. Wednesdays. For info phone or text: 07857 399 41 or visit: www.2bu-somerset.co.uk.
truro lBath, NE Somerset, Wiltshire and Swindon Men’s Sexual Health Phone: 01380 801 951 Email: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org www.menssexualhealth.org.uk lThe Eddystone Trust (Plymouth) 36 Looe Street, Plymouth PL4 0EB. Phone: 01752 257 077 Email: email@example.com Website: www.eddystone.org.uk lThe Eddystone Trust (Torquay) Number 24 Braddons Hill Road, West Torquay TQ1 1B, Phone: 01803 380 692 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.eddystone.org.uk lHealthy Gay Cornwall Health promotion service The Kernow Building, Wilson Way, Pool, Redruth TR15 3QE Email: email@example.com www.healthygaycornwall.org.uk lTHT West The Aled Richards Centre, 8-10 West Street, Old Market Bristol BS2 0BH. Phone: 0117 955 1000. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.tht.org.uk
Walk-in clinic times: Monday: 5pm to 7.30pm. Same day HIV test results at these times.
lRoyal Cornwall Hospital Phone: 01872 255 044 Helpline: 01872 242 520
lBenhall Clinic Cheltenham General Hospital. Phone: 08454 224 279.
lWISH Centre Weston General Hospital, Grange Road, Uphill, Weston-super-Mare BS23 4TQ Phone: 01934 881234 (appointments) Phone: 01934 881235 (health advisors)
Gloucester lHope House
GUM clinics Bath lClinic M Royal United Hospital, Combe Park, Bath BA1 3NG Phone: 01225 814 617 (appointments), 01225 824 558 (health advisors)
Bristol lARCHIES Clinic - Gay Mens Clinic Tower Hill, Bristol BS2 0JD. Phone: 0117 342 6900 lCentral Health Clinic Tower Hill, Bristol BS2 0JD. Phone: 0117 342 6900 lTHT West 8-10 West Street, Old Market, Bristol BS2 0BH. Phone: 0117 955 1000
FS126_P30_Last Chance_FS 26/09/2011 07:41 Page 30
Last chance Here are some things to remember from this issue…
YOu CaN COuN T vis
it the new F acebook pa and blog! ge / y o u c a www.youca n ncountmecionuntmein or .org.uk.
a treatm have beeent you can get if help prevn at risk of HIV t you Visit ww ent getting infeco for more w.gmfa.org.uk/p ted. ep info.
it’s more than just bumming you know… make the most of it.
there usua negotiationlly isn’t room for .W protect yo ear them to guys you hurself and the ave sex wit h.
the maxim recommenum number of units per week. ded a man should dit’s drinking? How many are you rink
the number of alc in a pint of strong ohol units Stella or Kronenblaoger like urg
HEPATITIS C INFECTIONS AMONGST HIV-POSITIVE GAY MEN ARE RISING
Hep C can be sexually transmitted by fisting, group fucking, sharing sex toys, sharing pots of lube or fucking without condoms. It can also be transmitted by sharing drug injecting needles or snorting straws. Hep C can cause serious liver disease and premature death. Hep C often shows no symptoms. Early diagnosis and treatment are vital.
ASK AT YOUR CLINIC ABOUT HEP C TESTING For more information visit www.gmfa.org.uk/hepc GMFA projects are developed by positive and negative volunteers. To volunteer or donate, call 020 7738 6872 or go to www.gmfa.org.uk Charity number 1076854 • Information accurate as of June 2010 • Design by email@example.com Photography by James Stafford • Dakota Strong supplied by www.maleorderagency.com Supported by the Derek Butler Trust