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SexySexy people come in all shapes and sizes. As they say, everyone is someone’s some kind of wonderful. But there are some of us out there that have a universal sex appeal. I’m not talking about big muscles, a bubble butt and washboard abs, necessarily. Some guys are just incredibly sexy and large groups of people feel a visceral attraction to them. There is no formula for what makes a person sexy. Some people just have it, like the “X-factor”.
The challenge with being sexy is that a lot of people are going to want to have sex with you, which means you need to be as sussed on your sexual health as possible. With being really sexy comes great responsibility. Being sexy doesn’t mean you are going to be promiscuous, but it does mean that the temptation to have sex will be that much stronger with everyone constantly making passes at you.
If you are a sexy person and are also HIV-negative, you should go to the Ivan Toms Centre for Health in Greenpoint (close to the Waterfront) or the H4M clinic in Yeoville to find out about free PrEP and how using it can keep you HIV-negative.
If you are a sexy person and happen to be HIV-positive, you should also pop into the Ivan Toms Centre for Health to learn all about U=U. It means Undetectable equals Untransmittable. In plain English, it just means that if you take your ARVs like you should until the virus is undetectable in your blood, then you can’t pass it on to a sexual partner. It also makes you healthier and stronger to have a much weaker virus in your system.
So, ask yourself: Am I sexy? I’m willing to bet that the answer is yes. Get that cute ass to Ivan Toms Centre for Health and make sure you keep your sexy self, strong and healthy. You can even score some free condoms and lube while you’re there!

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By Edwin Cameron, Constitutional Court of South Africa

This World AIDS Day, 2018, we mark the death, twenty years ago, on 1 December 1998, of gay icon and struggle activist Simon Tseko Nkoli. He died of AIDS.

Remembering Simon’s life and struggle, and how he died, offer us powerful pointers to our own lives and struggles today.Judge2

For in the dire days before antiretroviral treatment (ARVs) became available, when AIDS inevitably meant death, activists in the United States fighting against hatred, stigma and government hostility came up with a slogan. It was brilliant, beautiful, and also terrible.

The slogan was SILENCE = DEATH.

The slogan was devised for Ronald Reagan’s presidency. Reagan was a narrow homophobe who for years refused even to utter the word “AIDS” as tens of thousands of gay men died across the US.

In the US, as in Europe and also in Asia and Australasia, the AIDS epidemic overwhelmingly afflicted men who have sex with men (MSMs) and those who identified as gay or bisexual.

In this hate-filled atmosphere, to be silent about being gay, to be silent about the suffering of AIDS, to be silent about the pernicious behaviour of the big pharmaceutical companies, to be silent about official hostility to LGBTIs was to embrace death.

The activists refused embrace death. They refused to be silent. They fought for increased funding, for speedy release of new medications, and for dignity and justice for everyone with HIV and AIDS. Their unapologetic campaign revolutionised the way AIDS was treated.

Why is this important here, for us, in Africa, in 2018?

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By Bruce J. Little

 

Having shingles is no joke. It’s caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox, and even if you’ve already had chickenpox, it doesn’t mean you’re safe from ever getting shingles.

Once you’ve had chickenpox the virus stays in your body forever and if you are elderly, your immune system becomes weak, or you get very stressed, the virus can get reactivated, which can cause a case of shingles. Luckily, it’s easy to treat, and you can get treated for shingles at a Health4Men Clinic near you, for free.

What is shingles? At first, it appears as a rash on an area of your skin. It can appear as a patch or a band around one section of your body, but it doesn’t appear all over the body as chickenpox does. It rarely crosses the mid-line of the body i.e. the blisters occur on one side or the other but not both The rash gradually becomes a series of red blisters and these eventually dry out and then flake off. Shingles can be very painful and can also be accompanied by itching, tingling, headaches and swollen glands under the arms and around the throat. Some people also develop sores on their genitals. You should go to your nearest doctor or clinic if you have any of these symptoms.Shingles

If you have a weak immune system or you are HIV-positive and are not receiving ARV treatment, you may be more vulnerable to reactivation of the chickenpox virus,which causes shingles.

You can get shingles if your immune system is weak and you are exposed to someone who has the chickenpox or shingles virus. When someone has a shingles skin rash, especially if blisters are present, then that person is very contagious to anyone who has never had shingles or chickenpox before. The fluid in the blisters contains a large amount of chickenpox virus which is transmittable.

Most cases of shingles go away by themselves after about three weeks, but pain medication and antiviral medication can help to speed up the healing process and make it a lot less painful. Proper treatment also lowers the risk of residual pain which sometimes occurs even after the rash has healed.

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By Bruce J. Little

I look in the mirror and there’s a knot in my stomach because of the bit of padding that I see on my stomach. I am nowhere near obese and actually weigh less than the average person my height, but I feel shame, disappointment and regret looking at my shirtless reflection. It’s a bit embarrassing to share this with you but I suspect that it may be important that I do.

If you’re already feeling that this article is too much of an overshare, I suggest you move on, because I am about to get even more TMI up in here.

BruceJLittle2Body dysmorphia is a condition in which someone falsely believes that there is something seriously wrong with their appearance. This is a pathology that I have self-diagnosed. I have managed to convince myself that I am fat, and not only that I am fat, but that I am fat in a way that would make me unacceptable to a suitable partner. I have an irrational belief that the fat I harbour on my stomach and hips is what is keeping me from finding success and love, and yet (seemingly) I haven’t done enough to get rid of it. It’s common for the average person’s weight to fluctuate within 5 kilograms every year but mine regularly varies within 10 kilos in a 6-month period. My gut goes from concave to convex and back again twice a year almost every year.

There will be longish periods of extreme self-discipline where no carbs will pass my lips and I squat and lunge myself into a coma and will melt away a chunk of my body mass, and then I will self-sabotage binge on bread, chocolate, potatoes and sweets until I start to resemble a stretched out caramello bear. Why don’t I just stop? Why isn’t it as easy as that? Is this my subconscious self-loathing/ internalised homophobia/ insecurity / fear of greatness manifesting in this bizarre cyclical behaviour? Maybe it’s just a result of the ebb and flow of the mood disorder I live with. One thing I have noticed is that it’s quite prevalent in my friendship circles and we can’t all have bipolar (can we?)

My regular gym attendance is well documented on social media, so why am I not built like an Adonis?

My increasing pocrescophobia (fear of gaining weight) and dysmorphia about my body’s current fat percentage is self-centred in the sense that I don’t hold anyone else to these unrealistic standards. I often joke about the fact that I am attracted to big beefy rugby types and can swear under oath that one of the sexiest and most fulfilling couplings I ever experienced was with a guy that was a lot chunkier than I have ever been. Let’s say he put the ‘love’ back into love handles (I told you I was going to get TMI!) I find all sorts of body types attractive except when it comes to the one that looks back at me in the mirror.

Pocrescophobia, also known as Obesophobia is a pathology that often leads to or exacerbates other conditions like depression, anxiety and eating disorders and many men suffer in silence with these conditions because of stigma and societies propagation of toxic masculine ideologies. The long-term effects of these conditions can have dire consequences if they are not addressed. Men have body issues “qha!”

Initially, I planned to write this piece from the perspective that this form of dysmorphia is practically a national sport in the gay male community, but then I realized I was guilty of projection. There’s a few of us with this issue, sure, but I know plenty of gay boys of all shapes and sizes that are happy in their skins, they slay in the fuller-figure ‘sexay’ department. Our burgeoning and beautiful bear community lays further testament to this -not to say that members of the bear community do not suffer from body dysmorphia.

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By Bruce J. Little

Not sure if it’s me getting older and more set in my ways, or just wishful thinking, but I am finding it so much easier to be single this time around. I know, I know… When someone goes on about how “happy” they are to be single, it’s usually a case of trying to convince others to try and convince yourself. But this time it really isn’t all that bad! In fact, it has its awesome moments. It only took me five minutes back on the “Grind” as a new singleton to see how many people in open relationships there are in Jozi alone. Plench! And I’ve come to realise that relationships and how we define them are rapidly mutating and changing to meet our needs. It’s exciting to think that I can define the boundaries of my next relationship to suit my needs as well as those of my partner. We won’t have to conform to anybody else’s standards. But I’m in no rush for that to happen because my current singular status has its benefits. Don’t get me wrong, I loved being someone’s boyfriend. I loved the nesting and cuddling and Netflix and chilling, but I’m also really enjoying being able to watch whatever I feel like watching now. I have a lot of freedom at the moment and can do whatever I feel like whenever I feel like doing it, and it’s quite rad. Being a considerate person, I find myself regularly considering the person I am in a relationship with. But at present I can be selfish and consider myself. I’m taking it easy and it’s great. I’m taking care of myself, working on improving and building myself up. I’m giving myself TLC and I’ve come to realise that it’s something that I do very well. I’ve always known that I have a lot of love to give, and now I’m enjoying reflecting some of that good stuff back at myself.Leathercouch

There are so many options open to me. I can go on dates, or I can stay at home in my PJs watching series and eating almond butter out of the jar, if that’s what I want to do. Because I like to keep having options, I always ensure that I have condoms and water-based lube somewhere on hand or in my car’s cubbyhole, just in case “summin summin” should come up. I also make sure I replace them regularly and don’t let them expire. I’m not really big on one-night-stands anymore. I can be as frigid as a Friar or represent the “hoe is life” philosophy and embrace “Hoeism” if taken by the spirit at a later stage, and what’s more? I can change these states of mind from day to day as it suits me.

If I eventually do start to lean more towards the “Hoeism” side of the spectrum I could also consider the possibility of going on PrEP. I have choices. I have a lot of power to decide these things for myself and it feels good being able to exercise these choices. No man is an island, but at this stage of my journey I am finding that being just one is a load of fun.

Bruce J. Little is a contributing writer for Anova Health Institute. These are his views, which may or may not reflect those of Anova and its affiliates.

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