Gay Daddy & Bear Blog: Age Appropriate

May 20, 2009
Category: Politics

I have watched this entire Miss California episode with equal moments of disbelief, disgust, and complete disinterest, but now my over-stimulated media-hijacked brain is thinking something quite different.  That this means something… this is important.

Unless you don’t follow gay, or any, news at all, you know that the runner up to the Miss U.S.A. pageant, Carrie Prejean, recently may have lost due to an answer she gave celebrity blogger Perez Hilton regarding her beliefs/stance/opinion regarding gay marriage.  She went biblical, Perez went ape shit, and what should have been a thirty second piece on Access Hollywood has turned into a media, and now cultural, firestorm.  She has now completely overshadowed the winner by surfing her polarizing answer through the choppy media waters, making a connection with the National Organization for Marriage (who already had their own problems), and has now come under fire from the Miss California Organization who thought her communication breakdown with them was a little too biting the hand that feeds and blew the whistle that yep, they paid for her Miss U.S.A competing fake breasts.  And then the nudie pics surfaced.

I’ve followed the whole sordid tale and have read a LOT of opinions on the whole topic.   Who is hurting gay marriage equality more, Carrie Prejean or Perez Hilton?  How unfortunate that a nasty blow-hard like Hilton is the spokesperson for us and this important human rights issue.  How this is a free speech issue, shouldn’t she have the...

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May 12, 2009
Category: Relationships

One of the special advantages a gay identity confers is kinship with other gay-identified persons all over the world. I consider ours a spiritual kinship because it transcends biological, national, ethnic, and socio-economic boundaries. As Homo sapiens we are all distantly related, of course, but we normally trace our biological kinship only as far back as familial memory or historical records permit. While some of us may lament the lack of biological offspring as a common consequence of choosing to honor our same-sex attractions, many more may celebrate our freedom from the financial and emotional costs of rearing children. Not only can we choose to remain free from the burdens of biological family, but we are also free to form our own intentional families, including sons or dads, if desired, by choosing relationships with individuals based on genuinely shared values, interests, and aspirations.

Any gay man who has traveled to other countries, even to those that may seem utterly remote culturally and geographically, will quickly discover with minimal effort members of our far-flung gay family eager to welcome foreign brothers into their world. I lived for two-and-a-half years in India in my late teens and early twenties, and I remember being surprised and amused to find gay men in parks from Banaras to New Delhi easy to detect using my American gaydar. Although gay men in traditional cultures such as in South Asia or in the Middle East typically experience irresistible pressure from their parents to marry, and therefore conduct their same-sex relationships...

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Frank Strona
April 27, 2009
Category: Health

Hey Guys

Every year in April, we recognize STD awareness month. In San Francisco we hold community screenings as well as do local presentations on the prevention and treatment of STDs. But as we wrap up the month, I want to remind you guys that STD awareness should be a part of routine sexual health year round. So here are some thoughts and tips on STDs that I find useful.

STDs: The gifts that keep on giving.

Make sure you don’t get a one gift that you can’t casually get rid of as the months change. Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) are on the increase. So, when you are thinking about keeping yourself and your partner safe always remember to include BOTH HIV and STD in your thoughts.

Some common STD’s  include: Chancroid, Chlamydia, Cytomegalovirus (CMV), Genital Warts, Gonorrhea, Hepatitis, Herpes, HIV, Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), Syphilis, Molluscum Contagiosum,...

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April 14, 2009
Category: Dating

I saw a photo of a particularly attractive young man on a gay dating site, and I sent him a brief message saying I found his photos attractive and his profile appealing. He responded in a polite, friendly manner, and after some exchanged messages, he agreed to join me for dinner. Before we hung up he informed me that I am “much too old” for him to consider dating me, but he was interested in me for other reasons. When he arrived we discovered that we share the same alma mater, although he had only just graduated from UC Berkeley, and I graduated in 1975, several years before he was born as it happened, and we also had other common interests. After some polite conversation I felt obligated to inform the youngster that men my age (55) don't consider themselves much too old for anything.  He barely remembered the remark he had made on the phone and seemed embarrassed to have it repeated while sitting in my presence, and I gently told him that I was not much offended, and that young men frequently say insensitive things without even realizing they might be giving offense.

For example, I enjoy a compliment as much as anyone, and when a younger man tells me I'm “hot” or “in great shape,“ I feel a warm glow inside. However, when the young man adds the qualifier, “for your age,” I feel somewhat less complimented. For you youngsters out there who want to make your daddy smile, do, indeed, tell him he looks hot or attractive, but never, ever add the qualifier “for your age.” A man is either hot or not, so...

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April 7, 2009
Category: Gay Culture

We all never forget the first time we lose our virginity.  And gay men are lucky enough to have TWO virginities lost in their lifetime.  You have a choice between which one you want to lose first, and you can never really tell who is going to chose what.  It is either enter the manhole, or push-in the cushion…  I totally remember both vividly.

But there are a small fraction of guys that seem to be outwardly proud that they’ve never (and never will) let a stallion into the stable.  Total Tops?  Gimme a break.

See, I think there is a misconception that ye-who-only-enters is somehow more masculine, and dominant than the man that’s receiving.  First, I have certainly come across some of the manliest men I know that know how, and love to, take it good and long.  Second, I think that this mindset is really just a vestige of straight relationship models. It aims to basically mimic what most of us grew up with… one man, one woman, two roles, both different.  But in a male homosexual relationship there is no woman, you’re two of the same being that can, given our bodies, both give AND receive.  It’s not as simple as lock and key.

I’ll be honest, I’ve gotten a message or two from guys that right off the bat hit me with some variation of “I’m going to fuck you like crazy.”  No “hello,” no “wow you’re handsome” first… just “this is how I’m going to do it to you.”  In ALL of these...

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Frank Strona
March 23, 2009
Category: Relationships

Let’s face it, sometimes we all put our “foot in it” and say the wrong thing. But the real skill I figured out is how to recognize what was said and then work to reduce the times we say it…

A pal of mine and I were grabbing coffee the other day and we brainstormed our top 10 – communication pitfalls.

  1. Asking your lover, pal or family a question when you aren’t truly interested in hearing them respond.
  2. Being afraid to tell someone “ I just want to be heard – can you listen without trying to give me an answer”. If more of us did this, I think we would actually find ourselves in a healthier place of trusting ourselves to seek our own answers…
  3. Asking questions that are a “lose”-“lose” game – you know this one, “Honey is my ass too big in these jeans”.
  4. Saying “ok” to a comment or statement when you really mean “ I hear what you are saying but am not in agreement”
  5. Omitting information because you don’t want to engage in a challenging conversation about it – Omission of the truth is only a shade different than an outright lie in my opinion and while it may make you feel better avoiding conversation – I find it always comes back to bite you on the ass in the end.
  6. Forgetting that a conversation is a dialogue between two or more people. That means someone’s speaks and another responds until a natural conclusion is reached – I like the old adage “if you...
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March 13, 2009
Category: Gay Culture

It was just shy of three months from when I finally admitted to myself that I was gay from when I moved to New York City.  So not only was I coming to the city to start my big time career ambitions, but also my big new gay life.  Knowing little about what to expect, I came to just accept that, based on the scene I fell into, I wouldn’t feel cute enough, wouldn’t have the right clothes, and could only hope that I would get an invite to visit a Fire Island Pines house as I surely couldn’t afford it.  (Which never happened.) But after unsuccessfully fitting in with mainstream gay culture, I met the love of my life and stopped caring what other boys thought of me.

About two years into our being together I suggested we go to Provincetown, Massachusetts for the weekend.  I had spent summers on the Cape during school but never stayed overnight in the “gay town” at the end of the earth.  We went, and by coincidence it turned out it was the end of something called “Bear Week”.  At the time, we thought a bear was simply an animal that well… shit in the woods.  Let’s just say that despite living in New York, I hadn’t yet realized that not everything from our culture had in fact ended up in an episode of Queer as Folk.  Bear culture… what’s that?

So in this weekend of firsts I met not just bears, but cubs, muscle bears, and daddy bears.  I found out that there was a bear flag, a bear themed magazine, and that you can sexualize chest hair.  (Woof...

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Kirk Read
March 4, 2009
Category: Dating

Dear Kirk,

Years ago I suffered from a extremely severe hereditary case of acne (almost all my family members have suffered it). Fortunately and after many years I took control of this but still have terrible scars on part of my back and chest and ironically not on my face. In order to boost up my confidence I started to work out, now I'm athletic and in excellent shape but I've grown very conscious of these scars. I'm very clean and always groomed and have an excellent appearance till I have to take my shirt off and show my scars. What I usually do when I hook up is just turn off the lights but there are cases where this is impossible. And sometimes I have to give explanations of why I have these scars. I've been celibate the past few months because I feel embarrassed about this.

I'm sorry you had acne – it can really do a number on your self-image. I had it all over my back as a teenager and felt like a total leper.

There are plenty of guys who think scars are sexy. Acne is one of those experiences that many of us have endured, or at least we had friends in high school who went through it. So I'm sure lots of guys understand. When you have sex with guys with scars from burns or surgeries or self-inflicted wounds, it's difficult sometimes to know what to do. Do you risk making your partner self-conscious by asking him to tell you the story of that part of his body? Do you ignore it? I find myself intrigued, even turned on, by scars.

I've learned some interesting things from my female to male transgender friends...

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February 24, 2009
Category: Gay Culture

Men all over the world sooner or later confront notions of what it means to be a ”real man” and inevitably compare themselves to some ideal(s) constructed by the societies in which they live. Although different societies sometimes hold up seemingly contradictory ideals of manhood, Mahatma Gandhi in India versus Rambo in the United States, to cite extreme examples, we tend to accept our own society's ideal as normal unless our understanding gets broadened by exposure to other ideals that seem to resonate better with our inner experience.

Gay men everywhere tend to find ourselves excluded to one degree or another from inclusion in the category of “real men” because of our same-sex attraction and because many societies view gay men as effeminate (like a woman).  For a man to be like a woman means he is not, in some sense, fully a real man.

The late Harry Hay, arguably the father of gay liberation, inspired by examples of “third-gender” or “two-spirit” concepts he encountered in some Native American cultures, developed a theory of gay identity apart from the prevailing notions of male versus female prevalent in non-gay society. Hay believed that most gay men learn to imitate gender-polarized, heterosexual norms of male/female as a way to survive in homophobic societies and that this imitation distorts their authentic gay identities. He theorized that if gay men could get away from heterosexuals completely, preferably in natural settings, their...

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February 23, 2009
Category: Relationships

LoveThere are many different kinds of love and many different ways to say “I LOVE YOU”.  But in my experience in relationships I’ve learned that it’s important to say what you mean and mean what you say.  Especially when it comes to the “L” word.

Love may be universal but how and when we feel love is entirely individual and personal. Some people are so in touch with their feelings of love (for themselves, for Mother Earth, for the checkout boy at Safeway) that they experience love on a daily basis. Others can only feel love in rare, fleeting moments. There is no right or wrong way of feeling love. But one thing is certain: you either feel it or you don’t.

So I try my best to never say “I love you” to a partner, boyfriend or trick unless I really feel it, in that moment. But when I do feel it and am aware of it, I also make a point to share it with the object of my affection (even if he is miles away).

And I never expect him to say “I love you” back.

Because “I. Love. You.” Is all about ME.

In fact, there’s nothing in these three magic words that refers to the feelings of the other person.

And as much as I may want to hear him say “I love you” back, I’ve learned that it’s neither fair (nor realistic) to expect him to feel towards me exactly as I...

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