Monday, July 16, 2012

Exploring Search Keywords

Ever since Stats were made available to bloggers at, including Search Keywords, I've checked them out from time to time.  Search Keywords are particularly interesting to me.  They are those few words people typed into search engines, such as Google, which led them, for example, to this blog.  What I've discovered over time is some of the same Search Keywords turn up over and over again.  

So what I thought I'd do with today's post is outline ten of the most common Search Keywords and record whatever readily comes to mind under each of them.  You could consider this a quick reference to address what gay and lesbian people want to know about with respect to issues affecting them.  And, in the event you'd like to read more on what I have to say about some or all of them, I've provided links to posts I've written on the same subjects.

The Ten Most Common Search Keywords Used to Access This Blog (in no particular order):

1.  Lonely gay men:  When I think back to being a young, gay man, and the loneliness I felt much of the time, I'm struck by something that didn't occur to me:  I made my loneliness worse than it needed to be because I failed to appreciate or value my own company (which, no question, was the result of low self-esteem).  I saw myself as an empty shell, and, not unlike a lot of people, I thought the only way I could fill that shell was by being with people who liked me and wanted to be with me.  In other words, I believed the solution to the loneliness I felt was outside of me.  But I had no control over that.  I couldn't make people like me.  I couldn't make people be friends with me.  And I couldn't force someone to be my life partner.  The only thing I had control over was me, how I felt about myself, and how much I valued my own company.  I wish I had realized that then.  I think it would have made a difference.

Additional Reading:
"Never Give Up Hope," Wednesday, November 9, 2011

2.  Accepting your homosexuality:  Accepting yourself as a gay or lesbian person is a process, taking a different length of time for each one of us, based on a number of factors (such as how accepting your family is of gay people, your religious upbringing, where you're located geographically, and so on).  The length of time it takes you to get there isn't important.  What is important is that you move past denial and open the door to the possibility that you're gay, because, until you get there, the process can't begin.  And I would also add, the second most important thing is that you recognize, regardless of your sexual orientation, what a worthwhile human being you are.  Put being gay in perspective: your sexual orientation is but a small part of you.  You have a lot of other good qualities, which deserve your attention just as much.  In the end, homosexuality is neither good nor bad.  It just is.

Additional Reading:
"My Journey to Self-Acceptance as a Gay Man," Tuesday, July 5, 2011
"Responses to a Comment about Self-Acceptance," Thursday, June 30, 2011
"Three Questions for Those Who Can't Accept Themselves," Thursday, July 7, 2011

3.  Gay after 30:  There's a myth that if you're gay and thirty years old or older, your life is over.  You're no longer physically attractive, no one will be interested in you as a life partner, and you'll be alone and lonely for the rest of your life.  Well, I'm here to tell you that's a pile of you-know-what.  Believe me, your physical appearance doesn't suddenly decline just because you've turned thirty (not to mention we place too much emphasis on physical appearance, anyway).  As far as not meeting someone, I met Chris when I was thirty-two, and we recently celebrated our twentieth anniversary. There's no reason to be alone and lonely because you're thirty or older.  No matter what your age, if you're open to meeting other people, if you're fun to be around, and if you like yourself, lines around your eyes won't prevent anyone from being interested in you, either as a friend or a partner.  Life over after 30?  Hell no.  It's just beginning.  And it gets so much better from there.      

Additional Reading:
"It Gets Better," After 30, Too," Thursday, March 31, 2011
"Men 50 and Over," Monday, October 17, 2011

4.  Gay and happy:  Did you know happiness has nothing to do with sexual orientation? Whether you're gay or straight, you can still be happy.  And here's another truth most of us learn as we grow older (one of the benefits of aging):  Happiness has nothing to do with anything outside of us.  There are people who have nothing in their lives, and they are happy; and there are people who have everything, and they're miserable.  Happiness is not about whether your home could appear in Architectural Digest, or whether you drive a luxury car, or whether you can afford to go on several vacations every year. Happiness is a choice.  It's about being at one with yourself.  It's about being grateful for everything you have.  It's about respecting and loving who you are.  It's about making a difference in other people's lives.  It's about what you do for others, not what you do for yourself.

Additional Reading:
"Can You Be Gay and Happy?," Friday, July 15, 2011

5.  I don't want to live the gay lifestyle:  Then don't.  However you define the gay lifestyle, you don't have to live it if you don't want to.  I always thought being gay meant I had to drink alcohol, smoke, take drugs, sleep around, and end up old, ugly, single, and alone.  This was one of the biggest reasons why I couldn't accept being gay–because I didn't want to do or be any of those things.  And you know what?  I haven't and I'm not. I've defined what being gay is for me.  I don't drink, I've never smoked, and I've never taken illicit drugs.  I've never been promiscuous either.  I don't consider myself old or ugly, and I'm not single or lonely.  I'm gay on my own terms, breaking all the stereotypes as I see fit.  You don't need to be anything you're not, or do anything you don't want to. Gay or straight, the lifestyle you choose is up to you.

Additional Reading:
"Lifestyle," December 23, 2009
"The Gay Lifestyle," Thursday, March 10, 2011

6.  Can two gay men actually be happy together:  Well, what do you think?  Of course they can.  I don't think Chris and I could be happier (of course, if you haven't read #4 above, you should).  We are both gay (have been our entire lives), we've been together for twenty years, we love each other dearly.  And we're both in the right head space. Implied in the statement–can two gay men actually be happy together?–is the misconception that being gay and in a relationship precludes happiness.  And that just isn't true.  I have known some gay couples who were not happy because one or the other hadn't yet come to terms with his homosexuality, and that introduced unfortunate conflict into their relationship.  But, in general, gay couples are no different from straight couples–there are any number of reasons why they might not be happy, but none of them has anything to do with sexual orientation.

Additional Reading:
See #4 above.

7.  Coming out in your thirties:  Lots of people come out in their thirties, forties, fifties, or even later (although, today, some of us are coming out at increasingly younger ages). I think the sooner one comes out, the sooner one makes the shift toward being authentic. It's not until you come out that you stop pretending to be something you're not, and that you begin to get on with the real business of why you're here (which is not to obsess about being something over which you have no control).  Ironically, no straight person has to come out.  That's because we live in a world where straight is considered the only normal, and everyone is thought to be straight until they admit otherwise.  I can't tell you how hopeful I am that, in my lifetime, we'll get to the point where it won't matter what one's sexual orientation is, and that each of us will be comfortable enough to be him- or herself, regardless.

Additional Reading:
"The Power of Coming Out," Saturday, March 12, 2011
See almost all the posts written in October 2011, during "Coming Out Month"

8.  Gay sex education:  There are lots of places, on the Internet and elsewhere, that go into the mechanics of sex, straight or gay, so I won't review them here.  What I think most of them miss, however, is the internal stuff–why you choose to have sex with someone, what it means, what you give up and what you gain.  For me, sex is not just the physical. Sure, it feels good.  For that reason, many gay men indulge in it, I believe, excessively–before they come out (as a means to deal with the frustration of being closeted), and after they come out (as a means to break free from the isolation and imprisonment they felt for so long).  But I'm not convinced either of these is a good enough reason to give yourself away to just anyone.  My moral compass tells me sex is special.  Sex is a gift.  And, to the degree possible, it should be shared only with someone you love.  If all you need is sexual release, take care of matters yourself.  Otherwise, don't be in a hurry to have sex. You'll have plenty of time and opportunity to be sexual.  Respect yourself, wait to do it until you're in love, and always play safely.

Additional Reading:
"The Sex Education Gay Men Never Get," Wednesday, March 9, 2011 

9.  Gay men and monogamy:  My readers will know this is one of my favorite subjects. It's one of my favorites because I strongly believe in monogamy.  Chris and I have been together for twenty years, and we've been monogamous the entire time.  Monogamy is the foundation of our relationship.  As are trust and respect.  I don't understand open relationships.  I don't understand those who claim a single partner can't satisfy every sexual need, that sexual satisfaction can only come from being with other people.  I don't get it.  Then, in my opinion, you shouldn't be partnered.  Stay single until you're done playing around, until you're ready to settle down.  Until you've realized sex is but a small part of the life you share with someone, and that there are other equally important things–like companionship and communion and love.  And for those of you who believe in monogamy, as Chris and I do–don't settle.  Set the standard high and remain committed to it.  It's your life.  Do what's right for you.

Additional Reading:
"Letter to Tina," Wednesday, September 14, 2011
"On Gay Men and Monogamy…Again," Saturday, September 17, 2011

10.  Gay relationship advice:  The first relationship you have is with yourself.  And, believe me, the relationship you have with yourself has a direct affect on the relationship you have with someone else.  So my first piece of advice?  Be your own best partner. Be the best you you can be.  So many of us can't wait to be with someone else, often because we believe someone else will give us what we lack or can't give ourselves. Feeling lonely?  Let someone else take away the pain.  Unhappy?  Let someone else pick up your spirits.  Feeling lost?  Let someone else show you the way.  The problem is, until we're able to do all these things for ourselves, we're not ready to be in a relationship. Not only are we not ready, but we're not the best relationship material either.  How many relationships fail because we expect someone else to complete us?  And, when he doesn't, we think there's something wrong with him.  Look at yourself first.  Would you want to be in a relationship with you?  If you can't answer with a resounding YES, then why would anyone else?

Additional Reading:

"The Primary Relationship," June 19, 2012
'Thirteen Reasons Why "This Gay Relationship" Works,' February 9, 2011
"Now," Saturday, February 26, 2011
"The Secret to Our Longevity," Monday, May 17, 2010

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


To this day, it stays with me.

In the early '90s, I was walking down Harwood Street in Vancouver's West End, between Cardero and Burrard, a distance of about eight long blocks.  It was a sunny and warm late spring morning–the birds chirping and the blossoms on the ornamental cherry trees in full bloom–and I was on my way to catch the bus to work.

About half way, I found myself following a couple of young men.  I'd guess they were in their early twenties (about ten years younger than me at the time), both cute and recognizably gay.  One had a small dog on a leash.  I couldn't stop watching them, partly because they were directly in front of me, and partly because they fascinated me.  I don't think they knew I was behind them.  

A couple of blocks before Burrard, where I caught my bus, the two young men stopped and kissed–nothing showy, just a simple peck on the mouth.  They looked back and saw me walking toward them.  One turned left then and started walking up the street toward downtown Vancouver; the other kept strolling along the sidewalk, dog in tow.  I passed him and continued on my way to the bus stop.

The kiss had surprised me.  Sure, Vancouver's West End is known as a popular area of the city for gay men, but this was the early '90s, when I don't recall seeing many men hold hands, let alone kiss, outside the gay clubs or a few blocks on Davie Street, now known as the gay village.  The young men had taken a risk, no question.  But no one could have been happier than me that they did.  

There was no question in my mind the two young men were a couple; or, at least, I wanted them to be.  And, at that point in my life, I hadn't seen many gay male couples, let alone any who were tender to each other in public, with little regard for being seen or upsetting an onlooker's sensibilities.  In other words, the kiss seemed as natural as could be, not at all out of place.

All that day at work, I felt lighter than I had in a very long time.  Foremost on my mind were the two young men I'd seen that morning, and the way they'd been with each other. Whether they realized it or not–I'm sure they didn't–they'd given me a gift.  They'd given me hope.  To me, they were an example of what a gay male couple looked like, what young men in love with each other looked like.

For perhaps the first time, I began to see what was possible for me.  On the bus that morning, I remember saying to myself, I will have what they have someday.  And I believed it.  I truly did.  As far as I was concerned, if they could have what they had, why the hell couldn't I?  What was possible for them was just as possible for me.

A year or so later, I met Chris.  My life changed for the better.  My life changed forever.