David Stuart

david.stuart@me.com

I apologize. 
I am a dick. 
I’ve been cruel online. I probably didn’t know it at the time, I was just fast-typing and moving on to the next... but yeah. I’ve been cruel. I’ve fast-typed what I don’t find sexy, when I could have typed what I DO find sexy. ‘Cos that makes a difference. I could have been more sensitive to the vulnerabilities of the guy I’m hooking up with. Sometimes I’m so busy thinking about my own needs, fears or insecurities, that I can forget that the guy I’m chatting to (or with) could be feeling the exact same. Sometimes I’m so busy trying to convince others that I’m a confident sexy being, that I forget that they are just as vulnerable as me. I can completely forget it. And gosh.. I could have really done some damage to some gorgeous people now I think of it.

I want to be better. 

Life and sex can be so complicated for we gay men. Our gay day to day existence tests the best of us, and getting our sexual and emotional needs met in modern hook-up culture can be so, so complicated. Being sexy, being affirmed as sexy beings, having our community include us and like us... it’s hard. Looking for love and affirmation and inclusion, managing loneliness, and that haunting “never-quite-good-enough” feeling that’s always waiting in the background. Despite our best performances. Modern gay life is hard. And a lot of us are stumbling. Oh we cover our tracks very well; no-one will ever know we’re stumbling. We’re good at showing bravado when falling to pieces.

I’m good now. Things are good for me. I feel safe in the world, and so it’s easier to be mindful of others. Easier to empathize. But I do have seasons of poor wellbeing; life throws me a curve ball from time to time, and I slip back into poor habits. I’m usually more selfish during those times; I don’t mean to be, but my own needs and fears and defensiveness can be so loud, that I can’t hear the silent pleas for kindness from my gay brothers. I can’t promise I’ll always be at my best; I may say the cruel thing online, I may withdraw, I may use sex for the wrong reasons. I may misunderstand that innocent thing you say and lash out. I may neglect my own health, I may miss my HIV medicines. I might not be honest in bed or online. I might have condom slip-ups, or rely on chems to see me through yuk times.

I might be one of those really unlikeable gay men.

If that happens; please forgive me. You don’t have to, but it’s at these times I need my community’s kindness and understanding the most. More than anything. ‘Cos you’re the only ones who truly get it. In the meantime however, I’ll strive to stay well. I’ll keep active in my community, I’ll engage authentically with my friends. I’ll seek help when I feel my strength slipping, and I’ll endeavor to do the work to stay well, to remain kind and aware of others. To listen. To hear even the unspoken messages of humanity and vulnerability.

Because these are fast changing times, changing scenes; new technologies, new communication skills, new drugs, new stigmas. And we are vulnerable. Our vulnerability is one of the sexiest things we have, even if we don’t put it in our profiles. Even if we strive to hide it in bed. It’s awesome and sexy and brilliant, and our efforts to hide it are doing us harm. At the very least, ruining sex for too many of us. And yes, contributing to chemsex culture. So let’s be better together. I know we can be. This isn’t my first ride on the merry-go-round; I’ve been down before, and it was you, my brilliant community that picked me back up. 
Thank you. From my heart. 

Now let’s do that for all our gorgeous vulnerable gay brothers out there. Let’s be an awesome community of imperfect, but great gay men.

A section of a larger article, originally published in AlphaTribe Magazine