James Connor can answer all your questions on gay relationships, sex, health and love. James founded his own highly successful gay website and film label called FreshSX. The opinions he gives in Ask James are based on his experiences as a gay man who enjoys all aspects of love and sex. He's not a qualified doctor, trained counsellor or therapist but his advice is like that of a close friend.

The Ask James Archive has loads of questions and answers featured in previous editions of the column.

Ask James

This Week - Falling for guys, Monogamy and Telling friends

Bren wants to know: I haven't come out really. There's this guy that I like at work. I work in a large call centre and he is German but speaks great English. I really would just love to ask him out, the problem is I am too shy, and also I would be terrified my friends at work would find out if he told anyone. I know the guy is gay coz I was told by someone and my "gaydar" had tuned in beforehand anyway. Any advice?

James says: Well maybe the best way to deal with this is to not actually ask him out, but just get chatting to him casually, then talk about where he likes to go out. With one of the places he mentions you could say that you have never been there but would love to go and then suggest you could go together one evening.

That way you aren't really arranging a date so to speak but merely going out with a colleague for a drink after work. As a result he wouldn't need to say anything to your colleagues either! Then, while you are out with him you can find out if he likes you and see how it goes!

The more cool you are able to be in this situation then the easier it will be, although we all know that when you like someone it is sometimes hard to be like that, as so many different emotions start coming into play! Good Luck, and remember - be cool!

Aberrant says: I'm 29 and been out since I was 17. I still find that a more fulfilling relationship is one based on trust and monogamy. What has happened to our culture - there seems to be this sexual free for all? I am no prude, but increasingly question if gay men have any self discipline with regards to respecting partners. I just canít get my head around an open relationship. It kinda defeats the purpose of intimacy with the one you love. Am I the only person who feels this?

James replies: Hi there, I can understand what you are referring to as to be honest it's really since the 60's that we have been living in a more and more open society as far as sex and sexuality go.

Gay culture and Gay life is particularly based on sex and sexual image a lot of the time. If you go into a magazine store and look at the gay magazines I doubt you will find one that isn't using a picture of a half naked boy to sell it, and when you look inside there will be loads of guys wearing very few clothes, if any at all! Also on the internet now there is a massive selection of sex and even on sites which have little or nothing to do with porn, they still use loads of images of half naked guys.

Gay culture seems obsessed with beauty, physique and sex but that probably just comes down to the fact that we are all men! The fact that almost everything to do with our culture has some link with sex is a bit sad actually. If you think about gay bars, they will often employ very cute barmen often with their shirts off, and in dance clubs the dancers on the stage are practically naked. This all reinforces the idea that all gay men are really interested in is seeing other naked guys or thinking about having sex.

I don't think all this helps to create the ideal environment to build a loving monogamous relationship as there are so many different sexual images being put forward and also so many different temptations. At the end of the day however people should be able to have monogamous relationships if that is what they want.

I wonder whether it is right to say that people are less committed nowadays than they were previously on the gay scene, as gay guys are now able to get married and share their lives with one individual which before now was much harder, indeed marriage wasn't even a possibilty! Some people are not into the idea of finding someone for the rest of their life and being faithful and committed to just them, but there are a lot of guys who are and they really want to find the one person that's right for them and settle down.

Now the civil partnership act has become law I do think more gay men will want to get themselves into a one to one relationship. It may not be totally monogamous in every case, but I do believe that gay men have the ability to form long term relationships of huge significance, which have great social value. That's social value for them, and social value for society.

Maybe it is the case that you haven't yet met the right person or maybe you've been looking in the wrong places. Just don't give up! There are guys out there who do want to have a single loving relationship, and will find your kind of values very attractive and appealing. Just keep looking and good luck!

What could be a more enlightening experience in your life than finding the one person you can share everything with for the rest of your life, and then be able to build a level of intimacy with them that is shared with no one else? It is possible between gay men, and it happens every day.

John says Hi: James! I'm 34 and have suspected that I'm gay since the tender age of 14 but have never acted on it. I naturally feel more attracted to guys but have had a girlfriend although nothing really came of it. I must confess to still feeling a little confused and uncertain. I now want to settle down and have a relationship but don't know how to approach coming out or how to go about meeting other like minded men. I'm afraid of the effects this will have both on my existing, very heterosexual, friendships and on my career. Do you have any advice for me please?

James answers: Hi there, you know this happens to quite a lot of guys and is not so unusual. Coming out as gay is never easy and if you have been living a overtly heterosexual life then coming out can be that much harder.

I think that when you talk to a lot of guys about coming out and what it was like for them they actually say that it wasn't as bad as they expected. A lot of people they told were not actually surprised and said they knew already! If you believe you are gay then you should take steps to start the process of leading more of a gay life and see how you feel.

You really need to start to think about the rest of your life and how you can be happy long term. Maybe it is a good idea to meet some gay people first before you go announcing things to your friends. Talk with some other gay men and find out what it was like for them when they came out. You can find many gay people online in chatrooms and noticeboards, you could go to one of the many meetings set up for gay men which give out useful advice, or even better you could go to a local gay bar.

There is a lot of information about gay places on the internet with listings of where to go and meetings that take place. Gay Times has a good listings section as well, and you can always start with the Spartacus book, it's the best printed gay guide available. It tells you where to go, reviews gay facilities, and gives you a general insight into what goes on. You can get a copy of the Spartacus guide online in the books/guides section of sites like ShopGay.


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