5 Summer Vacation Packing Tips for Gay Men

Summer is right around the corner and it’s time to start planning your next summer adventure. Whether you’re traveling to the farthest corner of the globe or flying across the country, you always need to pack accordingly.

Now, every trip comes with a fair share of pros and cons, so you need to think through before you start packing. Think about where you’re going, your daily activities, after-hours nightlife, the weather… all the little things you might need when you get to your destination.

Plan ahead

There are certain things you must not forget before you go on your vacation. They might be a bit tedious to go over, but there wouldn’t be a vacation without them. The most important thing is to make sure your documents are valid – if you need a visa, get one on time.

Book your accommodation on Ebab, get travelers insurance and do a bit of research on the local laws. Some exotic destinations tend to have rules and regulations that impose certain restrictions, which can get in the way of your summer vacation and that’s definitely something you do not want to happen.

Always look incredible

You don’t need to pack a gigantic suitcase to look amazing. You need to pack enough clothes to last you through the vacation, but that doesn’t mean you can’t pack lightly. Your daily attire should include a couple of jeans, a few tees and shirts and a long-sleeve shirt in case of bad weather.

As for the nightlife, bring a few outfits that emphasize your body and make you feel comfortable. If you plan to spend the nights at the beach, include some party clothes as well. Also, leave a fairly large compartment for all the extracurricular activities you might end up doing. After all, you are on vacation.

Bring the essentials

Summer vacation means that, in comparison to the rest of the year, you’ll be exposed to sunlight more than you usually would. This takes a huge toll on your skin, so if you want to stay on top of skincare routine and keep that glow year round, you need to bring all the essentials with you.

After you get the sunscreen lotion (SPF of your choice), take out all the products you use and pack only the essentials – our suggestion includes a moisturizer, a cleanser and an exfoliator. If you have problems with acne, get some acne products because the situation will probably get worse during summer.

Pack your gadgets

Nowadays, phones have amazing cameras and that’s pretty much the only camera you need to carry with you. However, the battery on your phone definitely won’t make it through a day of intense use, so consider bringing a power bank or a battery case.

You certainly don’t want to forget to bring your selfie stick – how else are you going to make those groups shot memories? However, if you’re not a fan of selfie sticks you can get an Insta360 or a Moment lens. Whichever you choose, make sure it works with your phone.

Protect yourself

Once again, depending on your destination and the activities, you will need to pack accordingly. If you’re traveling alone, you will definitely end up meeting amazing people.

Now, people tend to be a bit more relaxed during vacation than usual, so if you plan to stay out, party hard, and have sex, make sure to bring enough protection. Your health should be of utmost importance.

That being said, wherever you decide to go, take some time to relax and enjoy the moment. Try to grab a sunset or two, put your phone down, forget about your insta feed and just be there. Such moments have a habit of passing by in an instance so try not to miss them.

Peter Minkoff is a gay travel and lifestyle writer. Besides writing, he worked as a travel journalist for many publications in Australia and the UK. Follow Peter on Facebook and Twitter for more tips.

Peter Minkoff ist ein schwuler Reise- und Lifestyle-Autor. Er arbeitete als Reisejournalist für viele Publikationen in Australien und Großbritannien. Folge Peter auf Facebook und Twitter für weitere Tipps.

How to Plan a Perfect LGBT Honeymoon

No matter if you’re a sucker for weddings or not, we can all agree that the honeymoon is the best part of any wedding. This is the time to make the best memories, relax and start your marriage on the right foot. However, without ample planning, your trip can end up being a total bust. So, here are a few practical tips on how to plan a perfect LGBT honeymoon.

Plan well

All the best honeymoons are planned while both parties are on the same page. So, make sure to talk it over before you start contacting travel agents! Do you want to unwind and relax or have a wild adventure that will fill you with adrenaline? Do you prefer bright lights of the city or the quiet of the beach and nature? You must know what you want as a couple and what you prefer as travelers. This will allow you to plan the best honeymoon to mark the beginning of your life together.

Research your destination

Here’s the harsh truth, it’s still illegal to be LGBT in over 80 countries and in 13 you can be sentenced to death for being gay. However, traveling as a gay person can be risky no matter where you go. This is not scaremongering, but even ultra-liberal destinations like NYC, London and Amsterdam have instances of anti-LGBT violence. Now, you can’t miss your honeymoon because you’re scared! But, what you can do is pick a more gay-friendly destination—we just want you to be safe, alright!

Choose LGBT-friendly accommodation

Not every destination has obviously gay resorts and hotels, so make sure to do your research. When in doubt, check with Ebab or go through Fodor’s and Frommer’s selections. You’ll get to find all sorts of LGBT sections, area-specific tips and no-nos for gay romance.

Pack well

If you’re going to a tropical island or anywhere where you’re planning to spend the majority of your time at the beach, you don’t need much. However, you still want to be stylish and even maybe show off your love. For instance, lesbian couples can check out one piece swimwear online and grab matching swimwear. You’ll look so fabulous together (you might look like walking lesbian stereotypes, but who cares!). However, if you’re planning to have fancy dinners in the city, you’ll need something more formal, preferably with sleeves. Additionally, don’t forget to pack all your sex toys and gear. You might get a chance to renew your collection at your destination, but who knows whether they sell anything. You just can’t risk it.

Organize something special

Just because you tied the knot, that doesn’t mean you can leave romance and grand gestures behind you! Take time to surprise your spouse with something very exciting and show just how much you love them. Use your knowledge of their preferences to come up with something amazing that will surely make them happy. If you have a hopeless romantic for a husband, plan a private evening with bubbly, roses and a lot of cuddling. On the other hand, if your wife loves adventure, a field trip to nature will make her feel over the moon.  

Don’t forget why you’re doing this

The most important thing about honeymoons is the feeling of doing something together, as a couple. So, no matter how much you hate organizing stuff, make sure to stay engaged and give your feedback. This planning time will not only allow you to grow as a couple but also bring you closer together. If you plan it together, it will make your honeymoon even more perfect. So, don’t forget why you’re doing this—to celebrate your beautiful love and your victory over haters!

Sure, planning a perfect honeymoon is not something you can do in one afternoon, but if you stay focused and do your homework, you’ll end up in real LGBT heaven!

Peter Minkoff is a gay travel and lifestyle writer. Besides writing, he worked as a travel journalist for many publications in Australia and the UK. Follow Peter on Facebook and Twitter for more tips.

Peter Minkoff ist ein schwuler Reise- und Lifestyle-Autor. Er arbeitete als Reisejournalist für viele Publikationen in Australien und Großbritannien. Folge Peter auf Facebook und Twitter für weitere Tipps.

5 Sex Tips for Young Gay Couples

Yes, when you first started dating, everything was sexy, just looking at your boyfriend made you want to rip his clothes off and have him right there and then. Perhaps there were even times when you couldn’t even control yourself and you would just do it in a bathroom at a friend’s party. However, this ‘hot and heavy’ stage always fizzles out. No one knows exactly why – perhaps you become too comfortable with each other, you become too secure in your relationship and the knowledge that you can have sex whenever you want actually leads to a lack of sex, or at least adventurous sex, which is actually kind of paradoxical if you think about it. Well, whichever the reason, the lesson we must all remember at all times is that, in a relationship, you have to work at keeping the fires of passion and adventure alive. Great sex doesn’t just happen, and sometimes you have to work at it either to rekindle the fires or keep the flame alive even before it dies. So, what can you do to improve your sex life? Stay tuned and find out. Spoiler alert: it’s not difficult.

Sleep naked

According to a survey published in the Huffington Post sleeping naked with your partner doesn’t only make you sleep better but can actually improve your sex life. The reason is simple: just being in close proximity to your partner and not be ‘separated’ by layers of clothing will entice and excite you. This in turn could actually lead to a lack of sleep (if you know what we mean), because once you caress your boyfriend’s skin, you won’t be able to help yourself and you’ll want them immediately. We have oxytocin, the ‘love hormone’ to thank for this. When you sleep naked together higher levels of this hormone are released and you’ll feel not only aroused but also more connected to your partner.

Time to play

Even straight couples have discovered the benefits of bringing sex toys into the boudoir, and we all know that when it comes to sex, gays are always ahead of the straights. So, even if the levels of pleasure are at a satisfactory level, introducing some pleasure enhancers is never a bad idea. There is a huge number of toys you can play with that will make sex an unforgettable experience, such as a prostate massager, a butt plug and a cock ring (these are plain amazing). Once you’ve included toys into your sex life, there will never be a dull moment in bed ever again, and your toy collection will just become bigger until you have to replace the ‘goodie drawer’ with a ‘goodie closet’.

When out of ideas

If you think you’ve tried it all and you’re fresh out of ideas as to what new thing to do – watching pornography is a great way to get some inspiration. Perhaps you’ll discover some new positions to try, but above all else, watching to guys (or more if that’s your kind of thing) being all hot and heavy will instantly arouse you to the point of eruption and you won’t be able to contain yourself. Just like when you were hot and heavy at the very beginning and couldn’t get to the end of a ‘regular’ movie, you won’t be able to finish this one either.

Talk about it

Once you’re in the ‘relationship’ stage as opposed to just casually dating and you are comfortable enough with your boyfriend to tell him all about your childhood memories and perhaps even share some emotional scars, you can be comfortable enough to talk about your fantasies. Fantasies are a healthy for a relationship, and in addition to that, if you go along with one or all of them, you might find unknown levels of pleasure. You may actually discover that you enjoy being tied up or are aroused by a certain fetish or role play that never crossed your mind before.

Never skip on foreplay

Sometimes the sheer anticipation of a touch is enough to get you going. Never forget to take your time, kiss like there’s no tomorrow, touch, play and tease one another to the point where you just can’t stand it anymore, and then tease each other some more. Sometimes there is nothing better than delayed gratification.

Peter Minkoff is a gay travel and lifestyle writer. Besides writing, he worked as a travel journalist for many publications in Australia and the UK. Follow Peter on Facebook and Twitter for more tips.

Peter Minkoff ist ein schwuler Reise- und Lifestyle-Autor. Er arbeitete als Reisejournalist für viele Publikationen in Australien und Großbritannien. Folge Peter auf Facebook und Twitter für weitere Tipps.

Andersherum oder wie ich einem Heterosexuellen die schwullesbische Welt erkläre

„Stell Dir mal vor, es gäbe ca. zehn Prozent Heterosexuelle und alle anderen wären überwiegend homosexuell. – Dein Tag würde ganz anders ablaufen:

Du stehst morgens auf, gehst zum Briefkasten und holst die Tageszeitung. Unterwegs triffst Du zwei schwule Nachbarn, die sich freuen, Dich zu sehen und Dir begeistert im Treppenhaus auf nüchternen Magen einen anzüglichen schwulen Witz erzählen. Du gehst wieder rein, frühstückst und liest dabei die Zeitung. Alle Artikel sind von schwulen Journalisten verfasst, einige darunter von lesbischen Journalistinnen. Es sind ein, zwei knapp in Bademode bekleidete Schwule abgebildet.

Du machst Dich auf den Weg zur Arbeit. Dort angekommen öffnest Du Dein E-Mail-Account. Zwei Deiner Kollegen haben wieder pikante E-Mails mit Spaßcharakter rumgeschickt, die Heteros als albern und lächerlich darstellen. Nicht zu vergessen die E-Mails, in denen stolze Witze darüber gemacht werden, mit wie viel Stehvermögen es der eine Schwule dem anderen von hinten besorgt hat: zwei geschlagene Stunden! Es wird erwartet, dass Du darüber lachst. Besser wäre es, denn eine der E-Mails kommt von Deinem Chef.

Schließlich gehst Du in die Kantine, Mittag essen. Du sitzt unter schwulen und lesbischen Kollegen. Eine ist immer etwas stiller. Du fragst Dich, ob sie vielleicht auch hetero sein könnte. Ein Kollege lebt offen hetero. Die meisten tolerieren das, aber ein, zwei Deppen machen ständig Witze auf seine Kosten. Er hat sich aber sogar getraut, seine Lebenspartnerin mit zur letzten Weihnachtsfeier zu bringen. Eine Ehe dürfen sie ja nicht schließen. Die Leute haben vielleicht geguckt! Während des Essens unterhalten wieder einige Schwule und Lesben die Tafel mit anzüglichen Homowitzen, die stellenweise witzig sind und stellenweise die Grenze des guten Geschmacks echt mal wieder unterschreiten. Du ärgerst Dich und erzählst einen Heterowitz, um zu provozieren. Die meisten gucken Dich entgeistert an, einige wenige schmunzeln. Manche sind tolerant und manche möchten den Eindruck erwecken, sie wären es.  Du gehst wieder ins Büro und arbeitest noch ein paar Stunden.

Danach fährst Du heim, erledigst ein bisschen Haushalt. Da klingelt es an der Tür. Deine Nachbarin kommt zum Plaudern und um Dir ein „super schönes“ neues Buch unaufgefordert auszuleihen. Sie will Dir was Gutes tun. Es ist ein lesbischer Liebesroman. „Das ist doch für Dich auch schön, oder? Du bist da ja offen.“ – Natürlich wärst Du dafür offen, wenn es nicht der fünfhundertneunundsiebzigste Deines Lebens oder so wäre. Du möchtest gerne abends zum Abspannen öfter mal so was richtig schönes Herzschmerzmäßiges mit Mann und Frau lesen, aber leider gibt es dafür nur einen kleinen Markt. Du hast schon alles Gute gelesen und es kommt einfach nicht so schnell Neues dazu, wie Du die Romane verschlingst. Das ist wohl einfach so, wenn man einer Minderheit angehört. Schade. Du setzt ein Lächeln auf, bedankst Dich artig bei der Nachbarin und verabschiedest Dich.

Du gehst ins Wohnzimmer und setzt Dich vor den Fernseher. Du hast 286 Kanäle und auf allen läuft Schwulen- und Lesben-TV. Alle paar Jahre macht ein Sender mal was Experimentelles und nimmt ein heterosexuelles Format ins Programm. Deshalb läuft manchmal spät abends eine hetero-Serie, aber erstens wird die in der Regel schnell wieder abgesetzt und zweitens beginnt sie nie vor 23.30 Uhr. Ins Kino könntest Du auch nicht. Da kommen zwei- bis dreimal im Jahr unter der Rubrik Besonderer Film Heterofilme, heute läuft aber keiner.

Jetzt kommt Dein Freund nach Hause. Ihr beschließt, spontan in die Stadt zu gehen. Da gibt es ein Hetero-Café. Auf dem Hinweg geht Ihr Hand in Hand. Jeder dritte Schwule, der Euch begegnet, schmachtet Deinen Freund an. Er hat für sie durch seine andere sexuelle Orientierung einen besonderen Reiz, was Exotisches. Letzte Woche hat ihm einer Geld geboten, wenn er ihn mal beim Sex mit Dir zusehen lassen würde. Du weißt noch genau, wie er Dir das laut lachend zuhause erzählt hat. Eine Querstraße noch und dann seid Ihr da. Im Café sitzen zwar überwiegend ganz junge Hüpfer und Ihr fühlt Euch dort ein bisschen aus der Zeit gefallen, aber wenigstens seid Ihr unter  Gleichgesinnten. Es ist halt die einzige Hetero-Location in Eurer Stadt. Lang wollt Ihr ja eh nicht bleiben. Morgen müsst Ihr arbeiten und früh raus.“

Misha

Neben ihrem Beruf ist Misha Hobby-Autorin. Zurzeit wohnt sie in Greifswald an der Küste, genießt dort die steife Briese. Allerdings kann sie der Anziehungskraft Berlins nicht wirklich widerstehen und visiert schon ihr nächstes Berlin-Intermezzo an. Dafür würde sie am liebsten ihr kleines Hausboot nach Berlin fahren, um darauf zu wohnen…ohne Wasser geht’s eben doch nicht. 😉

Tipps für Deinen Gay Urlaub in Barcelona und Sitges

Falls es ein Paradies für homosexuelle Männer geben sollte, dann kann man es sich vielleicht wie Barcelona vorstellen. Denn die Hauptstadt Kataloniens bietet alles, was das schwule Herz begehrt: eine riesige Metropole mit schier unendlichen Shoppingmöglichkeiten, beeindruckende Architektur und Sehenswürdigkeiten für Kulturliebhaber, eine abwechslungsreiche Schwulenszene mit zahlreichen Kneipen, Bars, Clubs und Gaysaunen und eine vorzügliche Lage mit herrlichen Stränden direkt am Mittelmeer. Außerdem befindet sich der traditionsreiche Badeort Sitges, das neben Ibiza und Gran Canaria beliebteste schwule Reiseziel Spaniens, in unmittelbarer Nähe.

Und das Beste: Barcelona ist von vielen deutschen Flughäfen aus in nur zwei Flugstunden schnell und bequem zu erreichen. Von Deutschland aus kannst Du u.a. mit den Fluggesellschaften Lufthansa, Vueling, easyJet, germanwings, eurowings, Norwegian, Air Berlin und Ryan Air nach Barcelona fliegen. Mit dem Flughafenbus gelangst Du in nur knapp 20 Minuten ins Stadtzentrum und bist sofort mittendrin im Geschehen.

Der Kern der Gay-Szene Barcelonas befindet sich im Eixample-Viertel. Die meisten schwulen Bars und Clubs in Barcelona füllen sich meist erst nach Mitternacht. Die beste Zeit, um das schwule Nachtleben der Stadt zu entdecken, ist in der Regel zwischen 24 Uhr und 2 Uhr nachts. Hier findest Du Drag-Shows, Bars für Bären und ihre Bewunderer, Jeans- und Leder-Bars mit Cruising-Bereichen, aber natürlich auch viele gemischte Bars mit Musik, Tanzflächen, Lounges und leckeren Cocktails. Ganz gleich ob alt oder jung, dick oder dünn, schwul, lesbisch oder hetero – im Eixample-Viertel finden alle Gays für Ihren Geschmack genau das Richtige.

Wer im Gay Urlaub auf herrliche Strände, einsame Meeresbuchten und gut besuchte Cruising Areas unter südlicher Sonne nicht verzichten möchte, findet etwa 40 km südlich von Barcelona ein wahres Eldorado. Das ehemalige Fischerdorf Sitges erreichst Du von Barcelona in nur knapp 30 Minuten mit der Bahn. In der Hochsaison zieht es Massen von schwulen Männern aus ganz Europa wegen Sonne, Strand, Meer und Sex nach Sitges. Der Urlaubsort bietet jedoch nicht nur viele kleine Clubs und Cafés mit größtenteils schwulem Publikum, sondern auch eine eindrucksvolle historische Altstadt.

Zu guter Letzt bietet Barcelona jedoch auch fantastische Sehenswürdigkeiten für jene schwulen Urlauber, die nicht (nur) an Sonne, Party und Sex interessiert sind. Touristenattraktionen wie der Park Güell, die Sagrada Familia, La Rambla, Casa Milà, das Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya oder der Hausberg Montjuïc mit dem Kastell und dem Olympiastadion befinden sich allesamt im Stadtzentrum und können bequem zu Fuß oder per U-Bahn erreicht werden.

Mario

Mario runs the travel blog beingboring.de. It originally started as a music blog, the blog is named after its favorite song by the gay pop duo Pet Shop Boys. Meanwhile, Mario reports on his blog mainly about travel, which he undertakes together with his partner. He writes about gay-friendly hotels, vacation packages, city breaks and cruises from a gay point of view and gives tips for interesting clubs, bars and cruising areas on site.

Mario betreibt das Reiseblog beingboring.de. Ursprünglich als Musikblog gestartet, ist das Blog nach seinem Lieblingslied des schwulen Popduos Pet Shop Boys benannt. Mittlerweile berichtet Mario auf seinem Blog hauptsächlich über Reisen, die er gemeinsam mit seinem Partner unternimmt. Dabei schreibt er über schwulenfreundliche Hotels, Pauschalreisen, Städtereisen und Kreuzfahrten aus einem schwulen Blickwinkel und gibt Tipps für interessante Clubs, Bars und Cruising Areas vor Ort.

Gay Sex Culture in India – Does it Exist?

Sex is a taboo topic in India, and any discussion around sex is usually hushed. Governments are still stuck on whether to allow sex-education in schools or not. All this, despite India being the land of Kamasutra, and a land where temples like Khajurao depict sex in a very open and unrestricted manner on its walls through carvings pointing to an era when sex was celebrated openly. In such an atmosphere, where (straight) sex itself is taboo, you can imagine the many barriers that discussions around gay sex exist.

But does the reluctance of people to talk about sex means people are not having sex, or there is no sex culture in India? Far from it. Remember, India did not reach a population of 1.2 Billion through test tube babies. However, what it does do is make it difficult to talk about ones desires openly, and throws everything underground.

With the many restrictions, both legal and social around gay sex, it is not surprising that a gay sex culture (as it exists in European countries) does not exist in India. There are no bear or leather clubs, or clubs or pubs around fetishes. India does not even have gay clubs or bars. No Nude beaches. You do have gay parties but they are organised in regular bars/clubs once or twice a week, and notified via SMS or through secret Facebook groups. Sex toys are in demand in India, yet they are sold mostly underground (or online). Individuals do enjoy BDSM, master-slave relations, kink etc., and these are mostly put up in the profile description of Grindr and Planetromeo. LGBTQ space in India is still too preoccupied with discussions around coming out and fighting the homophobic law – Section 377.

But how does it all affect you when you visit India? Well, to begin with, it means when you visit India, there is no single club or bar in any city that you can go to to explore the gay life. If you do not know any LGBTQ Indian before who could show you around, or pass on the information of parties to you, then grindr and planetromeo remain your best friend to connect with people and gather these information.

And how does a law like 377 affect you? Well, the law is mainly used as a tool of harassment and for extortion of money by criminal gangs or by police. The Section 377 is mostly applied in cases of rape and child sex abuse, and is seldom applied on gay men for having sex. For more details on how Section 377 affects you as a gay tourist, you can read this post that I wrote sometime ago.

The fact that you are a foreign national visiting India however apparently acts as a deterrent for the police, as the police would not want to get into the tangles of dealing with embassies and disturbing foreign relations of India with other countries.

 

Sukhdeep Singh

Sukhdeep Singh is the Founding Editor of Gaylaxy magazine which is India’s largest English language LGBT magazine. He grew up in Kolkata, in a Sikh family and in a liberal atmosphere. While studying in college he launched Gaylaxy magazine in 2010, which is now also available as an App. His message to the world is: “Treat everyone equally, with love and dignity.”

Travelling To India? These Cities Have a Vibrant Gay Culture

You probably already know by now that homosexuality is criminalised in India under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. However, the existence of a law hasn’t deterred the queer community in India in any way, and a vibrant gay culture exists in various Indian cities. Here are some of the best cities to be LGBT in India.

1) Mumbai – The economic capital of India and the centre of Indian movie industry Bollywood, Mumbai has one of the most vibrant queer cultures. There are regular gay meet-ups and gatherings being organised by Gay Bombay group where everything from movie screenings to cooking classes to  talks on relationships are held.  Apart from this, the city also has one of the largest LGBT film festival called Kashish that is held in May. It just concluded last week and Sir Ian McKellen had inaugurated it this year. The city also holds one of the largest pride marches in January and it is usually preceded by a month of pride activities.

2) Bengaluru – The Garden City of India, also called the Silicon Valley of India, is one of the friendliest cities of the country and hosts a weekly meet every Thursday at the Good As You Office where around 20-30 gay men usually meet and engage in friendly banter and discussion on various queer topics. I once took a friend of mine who was visiting from France to one of these meets. Apart from this, there is a Gay Runners And Breakfast (GRAB) group which, as the name suggests, is a runners group that runs around the famous Cubbon Park every Sunday and then meets for breakfast. Bengaluru too hosts a Film Festival in February, while pride is held in November end, and is preceded by a month of pride related events.

june_bengalore_gay_runners

3) Delhi – Unlike Mumbai and Bengaluru, the capital city does not have regular official meet ups being organised by any group. But that doesn’t stop the queer community from coming together. You can find the LGBT community thronging Pallika Park at Connaught Place every Sunday evening. People come there with friends, to meet friends, to make friends. Other events that are held are usually communicated through social media or via email lists. Delhi also holds one of the largest pride parades in India and it is held around November end.

4) Kolkata – The people of the city are as sweet as the Rosogullas (a sweet dish). Sappho for Equality and Pratyay Gender Trust hold a film festival around November, while Pride March is held in December

june_kolkata_gay_pride

5) Chennai – Pride in the city is held in June. The city also has a queer literature group that meets regularly.

And if you are more into parties, then all of these cities also have gay parties every weekend. Apart from these, there are other cities like Hyderabad and Pune that are making their presence felt on the queer calendar with the increasing activities being organised or held in these cities.

If you plan to visit India, or any of these cities, do explore the local LGBT scene as well.

Sukhdeep Singh

Sukhdeep Singh is the Founding Editor of Gaylaxy magazine which is India’s largest English language LGBT magazine. He grew up in Kolkata, in a Sikh family and in a liberal atmosphere. While studying in college he launched Gaylaxy magazine in 2010, which is now also available as an App. His message to the world is: “Treat everyone equally, with love and dignity.”

The Different Ways People Like to have Sex

Different people enjoy sex differently. Some enjoy being the Top, others Bottom, while there are those who enjoy being both. But this post is not about tops, bottoms or versatile. This post is also not about the various positions one may enjoy having sex in. Rather, this post is more about the idiosyncrasies of people (and mind you, I am not talking about fetish here) during sex.

february_sex_in_light

There are two kinds of people when it comes to having sex – those who keep the lights on, and those who prefer to do it in the dark. I belong to the first category, and I have often failed to understand why someone would want to have sex with lights turned off. In a pitch dark room, you can barely admire the naked body of the other, you can barely see the beast that will be awakened by your actions, and the worst of all, when any of you gets down to fuck, for the first few minutes, you are mostly trying to figure out where to put your cock. In such situations, we often come to a compromise where we have a dim light source in the form of a torchlight, or a the light from a computer screen. Some of my partners wanted to switch off the light because it somehow assured them that no one would be able to catch/see them having sex, although if anything, it would have made the neighbours only more suspicious.

february_sex_dressed

There are also the clothed and the naked men. Whereas most of us, while having sex are stark naked without even a single piece of cloth on our body, there are those who would not shed their clothes fully. The clothed variety is of different kind – some would just roll up their shirt and roll down their pants, but never taking them off fully. Others while taking off their shirt, prefer to hold on to their vest as some kind of protection.

february_kissing

Then there are the kissers and the non-kissers. I am not sure if this category exists outside of South Asia or countries with a lot of homophobia. Many gay/bi men at least in India will not kiss. Their lips are a sacred place that remains out of reach. At least some of the bisexual men are clear that only a girl gets to kiss their lips. For some gay men too, the concept of kissing a man is too alien and probably that is the reason they cannot imagine doing the same. Internalised homophobia apart, one cannot rule out this aversion to kissing to the fact that in India at least, anything touched by someone’s mouth/saliva becomes the untouchable. A part of this concept probably pre-dates to a period of untouchability that was widely practiced in the country, and since then, we have been unable to shake it off completely. Needless to say, such men will not give you a blow job.

I am sure you would have encountered at least one among this list, and probably there would be more additions to it. May be you could tell the other kinds that I have missed.

Sukhdeep Singh

Sukhdeep Singh is the Founding Editor of Gaylaxy magazine which is India’s largest English language LGBT magazine. He grew up in Kolkata, in a Sikh family and in a liberal atmosphere. While studying in college he launched Gaylaxy magazine in 2010, which is now also available as an App. His message to the world is: “Treat everyone equally, with love and dignity.”

Internet and the Gay Rights Movement

Internet has been a boon to mankind in many ways. Its effects on the lives of humans have been, in some cases, revolutionary. It has not only connected the world and brought all information on our fingertips, but it has also been a refuge for many to find like-minded people. This has specially been true for movements and communities which have traditionally been shunned by the larger society.

For the LGBT community, the internet has certainly been a boon in many ways. The pre-internet days, for the LGBT community, meant cruising in parks, bars, toilets, or other joints to meet like-minded people. But this also meant that they could be easy targets for homophobic violence by police or others. There was little safety in meeting the way they did, and many indeed had horrible experiences as well. The best example of it remains the Stonewall Inn, a bar popular among the gay and trans community, but also targeted by the police regularly.

The internet suddenly provided the safe space that people craved for. There was now no need to go anywhere to meet or find other gay/bi/lesbian/trans individuals. There were a number of sites you could just log in and start a conversation with people. You could be in the privacy and safety of your room, and still ‘feel’ connected. What you chose to reveal, depended entirely on your comfort level. There was no fear of being ‘outed’ or being seen visiting a gay bar/club. A young gay kid could gather all the information and (virtual) support needed to come to terms with his/her sexuality.

The early days of internet had yahoo chat rooms and email lists. These also acted as forums for discussions of various kinds, on matters related to LGBT community. But soon, as the internet matured, there were “gay dating sites”. What these sites eventually turned out to be were hook-up sites. Conversations mostly began with “Hi”, followed by “ASL”. Attempts to connect with the person were restricted mostly to knowing the preferences on bed. The sudden access to a large pool of men also meant one was always looking to meet more men. The advent of mobile applications like Grindr have brought about further changes. A simple ‘Hi’ can be greeted by instant blocking. Everything increasingly became more self-centered.

sex positionOn the other hand, for queer organisations, reaching out to the LGBT population became easier. This is especially true for countries where homosexuality is still either criminalised, illegal, or is socially frowned upon, and most people prefer the privacy of the internet. In such countries, internet becomes the primary tool for dispensing information related to LGBT events (parties, film festival, pride march) to a larger queer audience. The advent of social networking sites like Facebook and their widespread use has further helped to mobilise the queer community, hold discussions on various topics, things that the gay dating sites lack. Features like “secret group” have ensured that people can be part of such groups and discussions without others in their network being aware of it, and that only trusted contacts get added to such groups.

Despite all this, what is also true is that the internet has stripped  people of the warmth and closeness, and to some extent, the feeling of a close-knit community. The bars and other spots in the pre-internet days were not just cruising spots, but also a place where “real” relationships and bondings happened. You cared about these people, because you knew them somehow, or would have seen them hanging out at the same place. This also gave a greater sense of community to people. This is also a reason why a police “raid” at Stonewall soon turned into a riot. Is such a Stonewall possible today?

gay hugThose who have experienced the pre-internet days rue about the lack of warmth in internet conversations now. Some still prefer to visit the old spots. Contrast this with the chats you have on Grindr or any other such service. Probably what we need is to complement our online activities with bonding with people over community events in the real world.

Sukhdeep Singh

Sukhdeep Singh is the Founding Editor of Gaylaxy magazine which is India’s largest English language LGBT magazine. He grew up in Kolkata, in a Sikh family and in a liberal atmosphere. While studying in college he launched Gaylaxy magazine in 2010, which is now also available as an App. His message to the world is: “Treat everyone equally, with love and dignity.”

What if Men Could Conceive?

One argument that you often get to hear from opponents of gay rights and homosexuality is, that gay sex can’t lead to progeny, or rather, that reproduction is the ultimate aim of any species, and hence, heterosexuality is the only “natural way”. Without reproducing, they say, humans will go extinct and hence homosexuality will doom the human species.

But what if men could also conceive? Would that make homosexuality “natural”? Can that be a reality or will it always be science fiction? Hindu mythology is full of stories where men gave birth, but under special circumstances. Yet, that possibility wasn’t discarded.

Exploring such a possibility is the movie Paternity Leave, where one of the men in a gay relationship becomes pregnant. The movie explores the changes that a person undergoes during pregnancy – both hormonal, emotional and physical, and presents before the viewer a possibility that many still dream of.

But these dreams may come true sometime in the future, with advancements of science. A man giving birth is not just anymore restricted to mythology or movies. Thomas Beatie, a trans man who underwent surgery in 2002, became the first man to give birth to a baby in 2007. He has been impregnated thrice. This was made possible because Beatie had retained his womb while undergoing sex reassignment surgery.

Pregnant Man

If pregnancy in Thomas Beatie was made possible because he had the womb, it might not be necessary in the future. Recent research has shown the possibility that same-sex couples could become parents, without the need of a donor egg. Researchers have been able to make sperm cells and egg cells from stem cells.

Science has come a long way. What was a miracle yesterday, is a reality today. While gay men becoming pregnant might not happen so soon, the possibility of it in near future can not be ruled out either. The question is, if you have the chance, would you become pregnant?

Sukhdeep Singh

Sukhdeep Singh is the Founding Editor of Gaylaxy magazine which is India’s largest English language LGBT magazine. He grew up in Kolkata, in a Sikh family and in a liberal atmosphere. While studying in college he launched Gaylaxy magazine in 2010, which is now also available as an App. His message to the world is: “Treat everyone equally, with love and dignity.”