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Do you like being naked?

Photo by Ali Yahya on Unsplash

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I was telling my friend Joshua about a naked gay cleaning service that I’d heard about, and we ended up sharing how much we both love getting naked. Joshua is remaining anonymous in this interview because of the nature of his job.

When was the first time you got naked in public?

I did a lot of sports at school, so it was the norm to be naked in the showers and locker room.

At uni I stripped on stage at Ministry of Sound, that was a lot of fun.

Would you describe yourself as an exhibitionist?

Yes — I like being naked in front of people.

What is it about getting naked that appeals to you?

Part of it is that it’s a turn-on, being naked in front of people, but it’s also liberating. The more that I’m naked in front of someone, it becomes less sexual and more comfortable.

It’s weird — I love being naked, but I have zero confidence in my body.

How do you explore being naked?

I get naked at home whenever I can — there’s just something relaxing and soothing about being naked. If it’s cold, I turn the heating up. Being naked is more fun than being clothed.

I’ve done various naked events in the past — yoga, skinny dipping with mates, randomly getting naked in various places — all in non-sexual but cheeky ways.

Do you connect or meet up with other guys who like being naked?

I used to have a mate at uni where we would hang out naked. We’d watch TV together in the nude — it wasn’t a sexual thing.

Do you have to be confident about your body in order to be a naturist or to enjoy being naked?

No, I don’t think so. I don’t love my body, and would definitely change a lot of things about it. But I’m not ashamed to be naked and I don’t hide my body. I’m definitely proud to show it off when I make improvements in the gym.

I think we can be too Victorian about nudity. I hate when people body-shame others, either clothed or naked. If someone has the confidence to strip down and show their body, no one has the right to shame them. People shame due to their own insecurities — projecting their own issues onto others.

Which bit of your body do you like the best?

My pecs.

I’m doing lots of squats at the gym as one day I want to be able to say that my bum is my best body part. I’d love a nice bubble butt.

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Which bit of your body do you like the least?

Arms and abs.

What’s your ultimate gay naturist fantasy?

I guess a fantasy or desire is that when I’m naked at home I’d love it if someone is secretly watching and enjoying what they see. A hot neighbour who is also an exhibitionist.

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Health

Sunday Surgery

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Photo by Jesper Aggergaard on Unsplash
Photo by Jesper Aggergaard on Unsplash

Are we living in a post-HIV world?
In recent years we’ve seen a seismic shift in the effectiveness of treatment for HIV, as well as the emergence of PrEP — medication that prevents you from acquiring HIV.

This combination of factors has contributed towards a dramatic change in the attitude of gay men towards HIV, health, and sex.

It’s been difficult for public health policy to keep up, but it’s also difficult for older gay men like me to get our heads around the changing landscape of sex.

Official reports indicate that AIDS has killed over 35 million people worldwide. It’s estimated that around the world there are currently over 37 million people living with HIV.

In June of 1981, when the beginnings of the HIV pandemic were first being identified, I was approaching my ninth birthday. Lucky I guess, too young to be impacted by the first devastating waves of the virus that killed so many young gay men.

As I was beginning to discover sex, the public health messages very strongly articulated that sex without a condom equalled death.

It’s a bit hard to describe how that constant fear of infection and death shapes your view and experience of sex. I guess I’ve got no way of knowing what things would have been like without that — I like to think that it might have been something like San Francisco in the 70s, or a long, lust-filled summer on Fire Island.

I survived. I was careful. I was lucky.

It wasn’t until I saw the 2003 documentary The Gift that I became aware of the fetishisation of HIV, and a growing movement of men who embraced the risk and health consequences of fucking without condoms, of letting guys cum in you, the thrill of raw, or ‘bareback’ sex between men. It was an uninhibited hedonism best captured by the porn of Paul Morris and Treasure Island Media.

It’s easy to judge and disapprove of risk-taking behaviour, but there was something incredibly compelling about this type of no-holds-barred sex — no fear, no care for consequences.

The improvements in medication and the emergence of PrEP have now made bareback sex the norm. Not only in porn — where it’s now highly unusual to see anyone using a condom — but also in everyday life.

Health professionals sensibly remind us that condoms are still worth wearing as they protect us from a whole range of sexually transmitted infections, not just HIV, but the reality is that for many men sex is better when you don’t have to wear a condom.

For me, it’s a bit of a mind-trip that testing positive for HIV is no longer a death-sentence, that you can have sex without a condom and not worry if one of you might have the virus. That you can have no-holds-barred sex, with no fear, and no care for consequences.

It’s fantastic that today’s young gay guys, who are just beginning to discover and explore sex, don’t have to worry about HIV. Obviously they need to learn about it, they need to have access to PrEP, and they need to understand the full gamut of sexual health, but it’s just part of life.

Let’s not forget our history, let’s not forget the people we’ve lost, but let’s be thankful that young guys today are growing up in a world that’s something a bit like San Francisco in the 70s, or a long, lust-filled summer on Fire Island.

We may now be living in a post-HIV world.

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