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By The Gay UK, Aug 22 2014 04:13PM

“Always wear a condom” Isn’t Enough

by James Dawson | 22nd August 2014

Wear a condom |
Wear a condom |

It’s some thirty years since the AIDS pandemic began to decimate the gay community. Anyone who survived that time, or, like me, watched on in fear, will never forget the very simple message disseminated at the time: Always Wear A Condom.

How is it then, with such a simple rule to follow, HIV acquisition rates, especially among young gay men, are rising, not falling? Something’s not quite connecting and this was something I wanted to address in This Book Is Gay, the first guide to sex and relationships for young, modern LGBT people.

It’s my job, I believe, to not sugar-coat or pretty-up sex for young adults. I don’t think that’s helping. So here’s the truth no-one dares utter: Sex feels better without a condom. A contact describes sex with a condom as ‘like wearing a rain coat in the shower’ and he has a point. The new question becomes ‘is sex so much better without a condom, it’s worth gambling your health?’ Of course the answer is NO, but we can’t rule out this most basic of reasons why some gay and bi men choose to eschew condoms.

That’s not the whole story. The post-pandemic generation was sufficiently scared into condom-compliance regardless of how much better sex might feel. I’d argue poor education is chiefly to blame, and is certainly the impetus behind This Book Is Gay. By this I mean both school based sex education and general health messages. Now that there are effective treatments for managing HIV perhaps emphasis has slipped as a public health issue.

I interviewed a young man who wished to remain anonymous as part of my research. A pupil at a Catholic school, he received very little sex education at all and didn’t feel able to talk to his parents about sex. As such, with little media awareness, he truly believed AIDS was something that affected women in Africa. He tested HIV positive through unprotected sex aged nineteen.

I don’t know if pornography is to blame, but it certainly doesn’t help. Post AIDS, nearly all gay porn depicted condom use (even if the condom does magically appear, hands-free, seconds before penetration). However, with a little time, bareback fetishism crept into pornography and you don’t have to look far at all to view condom-free porn. And let’s not even get into ‘bug chasing’ – that’s a whole other issue.

The problem with porn is that it isn’t sex education. If sex education isn’t robust, young people will turn to the internet for advice, and porn provides only fantasy.

So what can we do to reduce infection rates? I think while we must continue with the Always Wear A Condom mantra – as this is by far the most effective way to halt the spread of any STI and prevention is better than no-actual-cure - we need a second layer of education. Namely: Get Tested A Lot.

Knowledge is power, and, HIV carriers are at their most infectious when they don’t know they’re carrying the virus. Once a patient is receiving medication, the viral load (the amount of HIV in their system) can be reduced to ‘undetectable’ levels. Basically, they are lot less infectious. If everyone knew their HIV status every time they had sex, I think we could reduce infection rates greatly.

Guidelines suggest that sexually active gay and bi men (a high risk demographic) should be tested approximately every six months. I would suggest this should be a minimum. A finger-prick HIV test takes five minutes, you can do them yourself at home or at a sexual health clinic. It’s pain free and the results are instant. When writing This Book Is Gay, the only reason I heard to not get tested was from a man who was simply terrified of the result.

The next step is likely to be PrEP – Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis. High-risk groups in the US are now being given a truncated version of HIV treatment to prevent converting to HIV positive. It’s not a vaccine, however, and it’s only effective if taken routinely. Trials are still underway in this country, but it seems likely to be made available on a voluntary basis soon.

It’s my hope that This Book Is Gay will help drag HIV into the 21st Century. Young people must be made aware of HIV, the risks, and taught the lessons we learned in the nineties but also how to approach HIV without fear and stigma, but knowledge and protection. As HIV campaigner Kristian Johns so eloquently said: ‘HIV is no longer a death sentence, but it’s one hell of a life sentence.’

Follow James Dawson on Twitter

By The Gay UK, Aug 22 2014 01:29PM

Star of a new gay series on Channel 4 has showed off his abs, in a cheeky Instagram picture.

by Newsdesk

Andrew Hayden Smith shows off his abs | Instagram
Andrew Hayden Smith shows off his abs | Instagram

Andrew Hayden Smith is looking good. Full stop. AHS is due to star in a show called Cucumber. Three shows are being made by Channel 4, Banana, Cucumber and Tofu, are three interlinked shows that explore 21st century gay life in all its powerful, witty, dark and uplifting guises and were devised by multi-award-winning showrunner Russell T Davies (Queer As Folk, Doctor Who) for E4, Channel 4 and online.

Andrew is best know for his work with CBBC, appearing in Byker Grove, from 1995 to 2003.

Follow AHS on Instragram here

By The Gay UK, Aug 22 2014 12:31PM

Bank Holidaaaaayyyyy

The Friday Fiver
The Friday Fiver

Charli XCX - Break The Rules ★★★★★

Now on the verge of finally becoming a massive popstar in her own right, she unleashes a monster of a pop song on us, Its Punky, Its Electronica, It's Punktronica and it's going to be very big indeed.

Shift K3Y - I Know ★★★★

A big slice of vocal driven piano funky deep house, close your eyes and pretend its still summer outside.

Lilly Wood & The Prick and Robin Schulz - Prayer In C (Robin Schulz Remix) ★★★★★

Well this is going to be huge. An infectious slice of guitar driven deep house.

Hilary Duff – All About You ★★★★

Unexpected awesome comeback klaxon! A 2.30 minute mumford & sons-esque power-pop anthem to pop yo booty to

Digitalism - Wolves feat. Youngblood Hawke ★★★★

A nice big slab of euphoric dance with a chorus larger than Daniella Westbrooks nostrils

What do you think of these songs? Leave your comments below.

By The Gay UK, Aug 22 2014 10:01AM

Anna Wintour, Fashion Super Queen has accepted the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, with poise and grace.

by Newsdesk

Anna Wintour, complete with the world's most famous pristine bob has taken the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and nominated Roger Federer and Dominic West to do the challenge within 24 hours.

She was nominated by her daughter, Bee Shaffer.

'I Anna Wintour, with my family, accept my daughter Bee's ALS ice bucket challenge, and I nominate Roger Federer and Dominic West,' the unremitting 64-year-old American Vogue editor states in the video. The video was posted to the publication's Facebook page from her Hamptons home in Mastic.

Within hours the video had been seen by thousands of people and had attracted thousands of comments. The Ice Bucket Challenge is in aid of the ALS Association.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as "Lou Gehrig's Disease," is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their death.

To find out more about ALS visit

By The Gay UK, Aug 21 2014 06:48PM

French photographer Verner Degray shares some of his latest shoot images with TheGayUK taken in Tahiti. A photographer who gets on the male nude art.

Verner Degrat | 21st August 2014

Verner Degray - Léo
Verner Degray - Léo

Verner Degray - Léo
Verner Degray - Léo

Verner Degray - Léo
Verner Degray - Léo

Verner Degray - Léo
Verner Degray - Léo

Verner Degrey - Léo
Verner Degrey - Léo

If you'd like to see more of Léo check out the Youtube video or visit Verner Degray Website.

By The Gay UK, Aug 21 2014 06:03PM

Porn: The Enemy Within

by Joseph Fellows-Cameron

Is porn the enemy?
Is porn the enemy?

One of the most functional gay relationships I know is an open one. Both of them are well-educated professionals in their late twenties. They've been together for years. I hear one speak of the other and I can't help but feel jealous. It's obvious to anyone that they are so in love with each other. But I struggle to understand how they can be so in love whilst in an open relationship.

My theory is that it all comes down to porn. We discover porn during adolescence. Be we gay or straight, every teenage boy seeks it out and finds it in some capacity. It soon becomes a daily routine. As it is a depiction of sex, it has become one of the cornerstones of the gay community. As such, it has become the enemy within.

The problem with porn is that it is (as we all know) a fantasy. It's not real. Clever make-up tricks, good lighting and flattering camera angles all conspire to create that which is impossible to mimic every moment of the day and night. But what we see on our laptop screens are people having sex - which is a reality.

The struggle that so many of us seem to have with monogamy is that we expect the sexual aspect of a relationship to live up to the fantasy of porn.

Once the novelty of our new boyfriends wear off, our minds drift to the fulfilment we could potentially receive from someone else. That someone else - he could be that little bit more aggressive. He might do that one thing your boyfriend casually mentioned in passing that he would never do. He might even have a six-pack. To me, the allure of "what could be" is why I actively chose not to pursue relationships at university - where binge drinking, casual sex and drugs were not only accepted, but also encouraged.

Porn is so easily accessed now that it's effects have become diluted. We seek images and videos that are more explicit. So the choice has expanded. Most porn sites now categorise their videos into subgenres. This has caused us to develop sexual profiles.

We all have to be 'into something' nowadays.

I recall back at university (a time when I actively decided I wanted to be promiscuous to the frequency of about one guy a fortnight) I met a guy in a club and he asked me back to his. He was attractive and just as drunk as I was so I agreed. We started talking flirtatiously about our preferences for a solid twenty-five minutes.

Alas, when I said I wasn't prepared to indulge his foot fetish, he just said: "ah, cheers anyway, mate. See ya." I saw him a few hours later as I was leaving the club. He was sat on his own, typing voraciously on Grindr.

Like Jordan Lohan, I couldn't handle an open relationship. He says he doesn't like to share, as he is an only child. I myself am the fourth of five children. Growing up, everything that was mine would eventually have to be split five ways. I feel as though I have shared enough. A boyfriend/husband would have to be for me and me alone. But in terms of taking our model of monogamy from straight people, this is something I struggle with.

Yes, I am one of five. But my parents married when they were very young back in the 1970s and had five children between 1978 to 1990. In my twenty five years of life, I've only heard them argue four times and they are still happily married to this day. How could I ever possibly live up to that perfect example of monogamy?

As a gay twenty something man in 2014, it makes me think that the definition of monogamy does not vary by sexuality, but more our generation.

The pure simplicity and convenience with which we can watch porn is a testament to our growing technology. But have technological advances coincided with the cultural acceptance of homosexuality at the worst possible time?

We still face a lot of discrimination.

But in the Western world, we are more accepted than ever before. Had this acceptance come about in the '70s and '80s, we may not struggle with monogamy now. In decades past, it was so much easier for gay men to have casual sex in secrecy than it was to have a relationship with the same discretion. Had we been accepted way back when, it might have given us a chance to master monogamy before the advent of porn showed us what we were supposedly missing.

Porn is everywhere and all sexualities access it. The ease with which it can be accessed, and the frequency feed us a lie about a 'world of options'. Why buy the cow when we can just have the milk?

Porn has lied to us. It just created the illusion that we're just too spoilt for choice.

By The Gay UK, Aug 21 2014 05:17PM

Kellie Maloney, who recently came out as a trans woman has been opening up about her transition.

By Newsdesk

Channel 5
Channel 5

In a conversation with Claire King today on Channel 5’s Celebrity Big Brother, Kellie Maloney, says that she still thinks she will be a heterosexual male mentally but isn’t sure if having a relationship with a woman would make her a lesbian.

Famously in the Mayoral election race in 2004, Maloney, a UKIP candidate at the time, garnered much criticism from the LGBT community by saying, there were "too many gays" in Camden.

Maloney, who was living as a man at the time, tried to justify these remarks telling the BBC, 'I don't want to campaign around gays... I don't think they do a lot for society... what I have a problem with is them openly flaunting their sexuality.'

Channel 5
Channel 5

Kellie says that her decision to transition was about gender identity and not about sexual orientation and thinks that she will probably live the rest of her life without a partner.

Kellie also talks to Edele about her forthcoming operations.

Kellie says she needs to have her boobs done and more work on her face before the final operation at the end of the year. Kellie says, ‘Then there will be no stopping me.’

Watch Celebrity Big Brother on Channel 5 tonight at 9:00PM

By The Gay UK, Aug 21 2014 04:24PM

To show its love for the city, Metrolink is offering Pride wristband holders free travel around the city centre in support of the bank holiday event.

by Newsdesk

Operating from the first tram on Friday morning (22nd August) to the last service on Monday night (25th August), all wristband wearers will be able to hop on board free of charge.

Participating ‘City Zone’ stops, including Deansgate-Castlefield, St Peter’s Square, Market Street, Shudehill, Piccadilly Gardens and Piccadilly, will be highlighted by the pink heart.

Transport for Greater Manchester’s Metrolink Director, Peter Cushing said, 'Here at Metrolink, we fully support the LGBT community, and our offer of free travel will hopefully allow people to enjoy their time in Manchester and travel safely throughout the city during the event. It will also connect many of the city centre hotels, so will be beneficial for the influx of visitors we’ll welcome to Manchester during the festival.'

By The Gay UK, Aug 21 2014 02:06PM

A post on the British National Party’s Facebook complains that the BBC Drama Boss has promised to boost more gay characters in their output.

By Jake Hook

Trust the BNP, yes the ones that are happy to show their children off as the most ignorant of society and publically proclaim that they’d disown their dogs over penis licking.

Today a post on the party’s Facebook profile reads, ‘Brace yourself because a whole host of gay characters are about to hit your TV screen. BBC drama boss Ben Stephenson – paid a staggering £247,800 per year, paid for by your TV Licence – has declared that he is making it his business to make his homosexual persuasion everyone else’s. The compulsory TV Licence for television owners in Britain goes entirely to the BBC. Are you happy paying for this kind of television?'

First of all, I'd like to point out that the estimated worth of the LGBT market to the BBC is over £300million – and barely any LGBT characters or programming is made specifically for this market, just a quick peck on EastEnders once in a blue moon isn't going to cut it.

Secondly, what does someone’s wage have to do with anything?

Thirdly, Homosexual persuasion? Is it a persuasion now, is it something you can persuade someone to become. Are you advocating that homosexuality is something that can be influenced?

Fourthly, Oh just nob off.

Fifthly, This story first came out (snigger snigger), in Feb, are you truly only just catching on?

Sixthly, Oh just nob off... again.

Taking a look at the comments to the post you can’t help laugh at some of the idiocy that people who follow these people believe. Let me make an example, I have not corrected grammar or spelling… Just for shiz and giggles you understand.

Mary-Anne, who is a staff nurse in an A&E department writes, ‘I am a traditional Bible believing Christian. I do not expect everyone to share my views, but I do not want someone else's immoral sexual behaviour forced upon me either. I think its especially unhealthy for this country, that the minds of young and vulnerable children could be exposed to this. Now, ont [sic] only are they being taught these things at school, but having it foced [sic] down their throats at home. What is the British governments agenda? To stem the population by causing an increase in homosexuality? It has been well researched that during the 80's-90's when homosexuality was linked to HIV/AIDs this behaviour was at a low due to the scare factor associated with such behaviour. Now, that people think its the in thing, more and more people are experimenting and "coming out" out as gay. Until science is able to absolutely declare mathematically sound data that this is in fact a natural state, why are we so intent on accepting and promoting a perversion of natural and moral law? Once, it was an abomination on a par with child molesting and now it is an acceptable behaviour. What is this saying about this country?’

What it's saying my dear, that perhaps our health service needs to take a closer look at who it's employing in its A&E departments.

A quick view through her profile and I see Mary-Anne wearing poly blends of clothing. Something that a ‘traditional Bible believing Christian’ should know is a complete no, no.

Also as someone who must be educated in science and medicine, we’re wondering where exactly is this well researched data is about the homosexual/HIV scare factor she mentions.

People didn't just stop being gay because of HIV/AIDS, you'll find that many people went into hiding because of the terrible stigma attached to the epidemic.

Oh and by-the-way, they’ve also just announced that the BNP would restore public hangings.

By The Gay UK, Aug 21 2014 12:58PM

Now in its fourth year, Scalarama is an annual celebration of cinema, showcasing the different ways people come together to watch films, filling the land with cinemas every September.

by Newsdesk

John Water's Polyester
John Water's Polyester

With over 500 diverse events in over 300 venues in over 100 cities already confirmed to take place in September, this is the largest openly sourced season of film events, each one chosen by a different organisation or individual. Adventurously programmed with passion and enthusiasm, for one month exhibitors across the country will demonstrate the diversity of cinema in all its forms, bringing excitement to communal film watching for a whole new generation.

One of the highlights of this year's season is a re-release of John Waters' classic film, Polyester starring Divine, in Odorama - complete with scratch n' sniff cards!

Visit for more information, or the official site:

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