Searching For Rat Park?
On a serious note - yes, sometimes I am going to be serious (but if it helps, here is a picture of my butt)...
For a while now the gay community has been suffering from a problem that is arguably more deadly today than HIV. Unlike HIV, which should not be taken lightly just because it is so effectively treatable, we have yet to develop a very effective treatment for this other problem, though like HIV, the best remedy is prevention. The problem is addiction.
Addiction in the gay community would be significantly less of a problem if it were not for one particular drug: Crystal Methamphetamine, also known as crystal, Tina, T and speed, which is the most addictive drug in popular use amongst gay men today.
There are a number of very special people in my life who have suffered horribly with an addiction to crystal, so it has become something a mission for me to do everything in my power to warn people off even trying that most insidiously addictive drug. (Try everything else, except for heroin, if you must, but not crystal). However, while the specific substance or behaviour that people are addicted to is a significant factor in how difficult their addiction is to overcome, there is a theory that the solution to all addictions is finding Rat Park.
Some time in the last century experiments were done, as so many are, with a rat in a cage. In one particularly well known experiment, the rat was given two water bottles: one containing ordinary water, the other containing water laced with cocaine. Once the rat tried the drugged water, that's all it drank until it died. Conclusion: drug addiction is caused by taking the drug in the first place. However, years later, a psychologist called Bruce Alexander considered the fact that the subject rat was alone in a cage, with nothing but the two water bottles, and he tried a different approach. He put rats in a cage of sorts, with other rats and the best facilities a rat could dream of (Rat Park) and the choice of the same two water bottles. And guess what? The rats mostly shunned the drugged water and none of them became heavy users.
You can read more about these experiments in the Huffington Post article by Johann Hari published on the 20th January 2015, or in his book Chasing The Scream: The First And Last Days Of The War On Drugs, which argues that the key to overcoming addiciton is to be living in the human equivalent of Rat Park. I haven't read his book yet, but I have read a response to his article by Peg O'Connor, who correctly points out that, "Addiction is a highly complex set of phemonomena that cannot be reduced to one cause, which means there is not one solution or treatment."
While O'Connor is right to point out that there is not one solution or treatment, and that as well as the external environment, neurological changes in the brain and cognitive dysfuctions are driving forces in addictions, I am with Hari in believing that if we could create the same level of contentment in our human world as we can for rats in Rat Park, then fighting addiction would be, comparatively, a piece of cake. In my view, our biggest problem with beating addiction in our community isn't that the solution presented by Hari is too simple, it is that it is very difficult to achieve.
Difficult, I admit, but not impossible, and the least we can do is make things better, most of all by improving our ability to love and support each other, even or indeed especially when other people drive us absolutely bananas.
Vote for me in the Prowler Awards 2015!
Last year I was surprised and thrilled to win 'Best British Daddy 2013' in the first ever Prowler Porn Awards. Here is a picture of me proudly displaying my award on the bus to show that I now qualify to use the seats for the elderly.
It does tend to give you a warm tingle when someone shows you some appreciation, such as by nominating you for an award. But there are a few things about the dishing out of awards in any field that are always worth remembering, and they are the words of Rudyard Kipling, from his poem "If":
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same...
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!
Having said that, more than winning 'Best British Daddy' for two years' running (cool as that would be), I'm really keen to win 'Best Fetish Star of 2014' in this year's Prowler Porn Awards. It seems a fair thing to hope for, since I don't think anyone else has covered as many fetishes in their on and off screen work in the last year, including running workshops on BDSM in both the UK and USA, being flogged on stage in a sex show in Berlin, fisted on stage in a sex show in San Francisco, and really putting my ass on the line with the cover of 'Big Bad Wolf'.
Of course it isn't up to me, it's up to the voters, but I would be enormously grateful if you've got five minutes and feel like voting for me in any category (except newcomer or twink). You can do so on the Prowler Porn Awards Voting Page.
Kinky photo shoot with Dominatrix January 2015
A girl friend Dominatrix of mine recently asked if I would model for her in a fetish photo shoot she was having done. I said I would be happy to and below is one of the photos taken.
I showed this to my boyfriend and he said he admired the suggestiveness of the image, and how it was so much more engaging for that than the in your face close ups of cocks, assholes and penetration there is no shortage of in gay imagery that aims to arouse. I am as guilty as the next man of helping to create those kind of images, but I think he has a good point. What do you think?