Healthy New Year!

By Adrian Gillan for Bent  Gay Adult Store & Magazine

After certain sordid seasonal excesses, Bent gives its top ten tips for a refreshingly healthy overall overhaul. Dig this detox!

1.     Learn from the past but don’t live in it

We all make mistakes, do stupid things or have rotten relationships. Beating yourself up about what you’ve done in the past won’t do you any good. Learning from your mistakes, and making sure that you don’t repeat them, will stand you in better stead.

  1. Find out your HIV status

If you don’t already know, get tested. Learning that you’re HIV positive isn’t easy but knowing your status means that you’re more able to look after your own health and the health of your partners.

  1. Refresh old or existing friendships

Looking for new friends? Well, why not start with a few you probably already have! Never take friends for granted. Tell, or even better show, them how much they really mean. Advisory: one true friend is worth ten thousand social media “followers”! Choose a little real love over multiple “likes” any day!

4.     Get a sexual health check up

Having an STI is unpleasant enough and it also increases your vulnerability to HIV if you’re HIV negative and makes you more infectious if you’re positive. Most other STIs are easier to catch than HIV so it’s worth having a regular check up even if you only have safer sex.

5.     Look after your body

Plastic surgery aside, it’s the only one you’ve got. If you don’t fancy the gym, there are plenty of gay, or indeed increasingly mainstream, sports clubs that will warmly welcome you. Oh: and you are what you eat!

6.     Take responsibility for your own actions

Everyone has sh*t to deal with, but blaming other people for the things that you do only disempowers you. Take responsibility and take control.

 7.     Stop smoking

It’s bitterly cold outside now so smokers are going to have to make a choice between staying at home or freezing their nuts off. It is estimated that over 10,000 gay men die each year as a result of smoking-related illness. Do a stop-smoking course or switch (temporarily) to vapes – whatever best suits, but just stub it out.

 8.     Make a commitment to safer sex

Whatever your HIV status, it’s up to everyone to stop HIV impacting our community. Stock up on condoms and lube, and be extra careful with yourself if you’re feeling depressed, or under the influence of drink, drugs or love, because those are the times that you’re most likely to slip up. Consider exploring PrEP options (www.tht.org.uk/hiv-and-sexual-health/prep-pre-exposure-prophylaxis) if you think you might be eligible. Oh: and why not ask yourself if you might be unhealthily psychologically addicted to having sex with as many different people as you possibly can; and, if so, is this really making you happy, or just covering a hole?

9.     Accept getting older

Grey hair and wrinkles might not always be the very height of fashion but getting older is so much better than the alternative.

10.      None of the above should make you miserable.

Taking control of your own health and wellbeing is a necessary step towards happiness… so the 10th resolution, above all others: enjoy yourself!

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