James Connor can answer all your questions on gay relationships, sex, health and love. James is founder of the website www.freshsx.com and his new DVD label has just released it's first movie featuring James in action. It's available now from the OutUK online store ShopGay. 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 - Out to Friends, Herpes and Distant Relationships

Phil comes out with this: James, I'd describe myself as bisexual, but have only recently come to terms with it (I'm 30). I'm debating whether to tell a few close friends, or at least drop a few hints. We've always said we wouldn't keep secrets from each other, but I'm really not sure how they'd react. I don't live what you'd call a gay lifestyle (clubs, bars etc) and most of my contact with other guys is via the net, but this is starting to feel too secretive and almost makes me feel guilty, as if I'm hiding something. I'd like to be able to be less secretive about how I feel, but I'm worried it could ruin valuable friendships. What should I do?

James says: Hi Phil, well we are living in a much more open minded world now and I doubt few people are really shocked if someone says they are gay. You have some close freinds and if they really are the good friends you say they are then they shouldn't care at all about you being gay.

Have a think about how you believe they would react though. Did you ever talk about gay people together? Did they ever make any comments about gay people before? Do you think they might also be gay?

I think that if you were able to tell a few people that you are gay then you would start to feel a bit relieved as this is obviously something that is bothering you. Once you do manage to tell someone about it then you will find life gets much easier as you no longer feel that you are having to keep something secret.

But, start by telling a few close friends and see how it goes and what sort of a reaction you get, don't come out to the whole world all on one day. Good luck!

hoovermouth asks: I've recently tested positive for genital herpes. I understand that there is no cure but what can I do to protect myself from the virus attacking me. I'm otherwise healthy but have had two attacks in the last six months each taking about two weeks to clear. Also, I'm getting scar tissue on my penis where the sores are appearing. Is there anything you can suggest to reduce the scarring? I'm 31.

James replies: Genital herpes is caused by the herpes simplex virus and once you have caught it, the virus remains in the body and there is no cure unfortunately. Some people are lucky enough not to have symptoms but others like you get blisters on the dick or the ass which can last for a few weeks.

The good news is that the first attack is always the worse and from then on you can get repeated attacks but they are usually less frequent and less severe! The virus is remarkably common and it is just that a lot of people have it in their bodies sitting dormant without visable symptoms, which makes it less common to see.

It is suggested that outbreaks can be caused by wearing tight clothing, not using enough lube during sex and having other illnesses. Emotional stress is very much thought to be a cause as well.

The virus is passed on through kissing, sucking, fucking without condoms and rimming and therefore the only sure way of not catching it is to use condoms for sucking and fucking and dental dams for rimming.

As for scarring, most people with genital herpes do not develop permanent scars from the outbreaks. However, some people are susceptible to the development of scars. There are several factors that determine whether a scar will form, such as skin colour and having frequent outbreaks in the same location. Whenever a scar forms, it tends to disappear with time so hopefully yours will become less apparent over time.

Werner wants to know: James, I'm in a long distance relationship right now. He's in London and I'm in Asia. I've just came back from London after spending two weeks of quality time together, and during that two weeks we went through some ups and downs. I find it so hard to leave him when flying back to Asia, and think of him every minute of the day. Even when I sleep, I dream of him. The thing is that I know he doesn't feel the same way as I feel for him. That breaks my heart as I am crazy for him. Do you think a long distance relationship like this can work?

James answers: Hi Werner, you need to be very careful in this relationship as it seems that you are much more in love with this guy than he is with you.

If you are already having ups and downs where do you think the relationship will go? Have a serious think about this as it is harder to have a long distance relationship and if there are already problems then it may be harder to resolve issues if you are so far apart.

Just be careful so as not to get hurt in this and of course make sure that you try and talk to your partner as without a dialogue problems can get worse and worse. I'm am not saying the relationship is over, but I do think you need to protect yourself from being really hurt.


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