You Are the Only Person Who Can Save Your Life

Hey Beastly,

I don’t want to take up all your time by asking a bunch of difficult questions in one email hehehe….so I thought I’d start off by asking just a few.
What’s the best way to meet guys if you are afraid of rejection and insecure (ie. won’t use apps or approach people in a bar, club, etc…)?

There is no “best way” that doesn’t involve approaching people. Sorry, but you have to do some work. I am still frustrated at the few ways there are to meet men. If you won’t use hookup apps or approach guys in a bar, you’ve nixed two major meeting methods I know, so you will have to get creative.

Why the aversion to hookup apps and gay bars? Gay bars are our chapels, the places where we have long congregated to find community and friendship. You may want to rethink your refusal to use them. Everyone is insecure in a gay bar, but that insecurity slowly wanes as you get more experience in them.

Like many young gay men, I was a mess during my first year going out. I drank too much, had poor social skills, and made mistakes. The seasoned gay bar queens knew what I was doing — they had seen this same process played out countless times with youngsters over the years. They knew I’d figure out the space eventually, and I did. They watched me get comfortable in gay bars, and I watched the change happen in myself. This is how it is for everyone. 

Regardless of where you try to meet men, you will probably feel insecure, and you will have to face the possibility of rejection. Your insecurities will always be present, and there’s no magic formula for making them go away. But don’t let them keep you from others. Insecurity and rejection are unavoidable parts of the dating game. Everyone has to face them. You can’t live without facing them.

I’m ashamed of my lack of experience at being 49 years old. I used to weigh 419 lbs. Between the period of 2001 and 2011 I put on about 200 lbs. I lost the weight between 2011-2013 by working out. I stopped working out last April when I wasn’t meeting guys. I just figured it would all happen when I lost the weight because of course gay men are all visual. I didn’t count on being so afraid of rejection and insecure because of my lack of experience (not having been with anyone since 2000), I barely remember what it is like or what my sexual role would be (top, bottom, etc..). No one ever spent time with me to show me which one is better or what I’m comfortable with as each person I had sex with was someone I met in a bar when I was drunk, seems to be the only way for me to meet anyone once my social anxiety was lowered.

It’s not easy to lose that much weight, so congrats for making yourself healthier. While that’s a big accomplishment, it sounds like you did it for the wrong reasons. Take care of yourself in order to take of yourself — not to cross some imaginary threshold after which all the work of meeting people and discovering sex is done for you because that threshold does not exist. No matter what you look like, you still have to practice sex in order to get better at it. It’s not automatic for anyone.

Take some time to set goals that exist solely for you, not for your idea of what gay men want or who we are. You need to be good to yourself first, regardless of outside opinions. You have to see yourself as worth taking care of. In the words of the great RuPaul: If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you going to love anyone else? 

I was a virgin til I was 28 and I stopped having sex when I was 32 not by choice but I guys started meeting each other on AOL instead of in person and quite frankly I’m too uptight to talk about sex, meet guys online because of the above issues.

How does one ease themselves into be sexual when since it involves someone else besides yourself (obviously lol) they have to be interested in you?

I’m afraid no one I’m attracted to is going to be interested honestly since I’ve gained weight this past year from not working out. I’m trying to get motivated to start going back to the gym, especially since I’ve been paying for my membership every month since then. Since no one seemed to be interested before after I lost the 235 lbs I told myself just to ‘forget it’, now rethinking that.

Buddy, you need to do more than rethink that. You need to eappraise your reasons for going to the gym. And reappraise some other things too — your life goals, your relationship goals, your sex goals, everything. The fact is, you have to do some work. You’re seeking magic words that will make it all better. There are no magic words, my friend.

No one is going to this work for you. You can’t be uptight, closed off to sex, and completely unwilling to put yourself in the social arena and expect your situation to improve. If you want sex and to feel better about yourself, you have to fight for it.

There are other ways to be healthy outside of gyms, so if you truly don’t enjoy working out in a gym, stop paying the damn membership and find some other activity that releases endorphins and gets your heart beating faster and makes you feel good. Swim or climb trees or go hiking or build sand sculptures on the beach. All these things lead to happiness and health.

I’ve written a piece in The Advocate about rediscovering your sexual self — “24 Ways To Plunge Back Into The Joys Of Gay Sex.” Read it.

I’m frustrated, confused and somewhat sad about it. As I think I’ve mentioned before I think I’ll have to move back to Atlanta before anything will change. I don’t have any friends where I live up here in ********* so I don’t go out. I used to but most everyone else here goes out with friends and I’m just too shy to go up to introduce myself to anyone.  Figure I need a wingman of sorts.

Thanks in advance for your kindness and understanding cos it took a lot of courage for me to tell you my story.

I know it took a lot of courage, and I’m glad you did. I want my answers to be sweet but blunt. You need to stop waiting for something else to happen — moving to Atlanta, losing weight, and so on — before you start living. Again, you have to do some work. If you’re unwilling to do the work, then you’re not really seeking improvement. 

A struggle of mine is “destination addiction.” I fantasize that my next location will be the “right” one — the place that changes my life, eases my problems, and makes everything better. On paper, it sounds ridiculous, right? But I’ve hopped around from city to city over the last few years doing just that, and each one has been harder than the one before.

We all want a savior, whether that’s a new city, a new partner, or some magic formula to make life happen. I’m not saying Atlanta won’t be good for you or that you shouldn’t do it. But if you struggle with going up to someone at a bar where you live now, you will struggle to do that in Atlanta. Atlanta won’t fix your life for you. 

I feel your sadness, and I know you’re frustrated. I’ve been where you are. Please allow this to be empowering, because it’s the only saving grace we have: the only one who can save you is you. 

There are many, many men out there like you — men with little or no sexual experience, men who look at their bodies and their experiences and feel despair. If that means anything to you, let it be an encouragement — you’re not the only one, you are far from alone. There are many men looking for a guy like you and they are waiting for you to make the first move.

— Beastly


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