Thursday, November 24, 2011

Sex Therapy: questions anyone?

Recently I had an opportunity to attend a sex therapy course at Auckland University. The facilitator Ally Waite is one of the directors of Sex Therapy NZ.

I found the material and presentation to be quite inclusive and not overly heterosexual. (Most matters of sexuality are universal). Different frameworks were explored for addressing and assessing sexual issues or relationship concerns such as erectile or ejaculation problems, loss of interest in sex, avoiding sex, lack of closeness in a relationship, and ‘falling out of love.’ Other issues covered were sexual addiction problems including internet sex, at risk sexual behaviours, atypical sexual practices, orgasm difficulties, pain during sex and wanting to cease destructive behaviours within the context of relationship. Questions about sexual orientations were also a hot topic.

As a therapist in the Queer Community I thought it would be helpful to set up a “Sex questions and answers” column around issues of sex and sexuality in our newsletter and in a magazine relevant to the queer community – to be confirmed - so keep a watch for Dr Jodie in the near future. If you have any questions that you would like covered in such a column please send them in to which can be answered in this forum.

PS your real name does not have to be shown with your question ie confidentiality will be assured.


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Welcome new volunteers :-)

Yesterday Gay Wellington held a training session for new volunteers. Seven newbies joined seven members for a day which started at 10am and finished around 4pm. That's committment!

Everyone shared their coming out story which, in a group situation, can be a very powerful thing to do. Coming out stories are always unique, but the common threads are easy to see. We also talked about topics like HIV, homophobia and suicide and got involved with some roleplays. On top of that, we learned more about Gay Wellington - its history, purpose, activities and values, as well as the database we use.

A big thumbs up to everyone for making this one of the most interesting intake days we've had. Thanks also to Bill and Ted for running the day, and to Butlers Chocolates for contributing some of your delicious products.

If you missed the intake day but you think you might like to get involved, you can send us an email ( or give us a call any time (ph.473 7878). You don't have to wait until the next intake day to start helping out.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Fieldtrip to the Emperor’s Bathhouse

Early Saturday morning on Guy Fawkes day a group of Gay Wellingtonians took up an invitation to visit the Emperor’s Bathhouse for a tour. The objective was to make sure helpliners know a bit more about Wellington facilities when callers quiz us on the details. The tour was especially popular for our female members, whose curiosity about a gay men’s sauna got the better of them.

Our friendly tour guide was Maico, Emperor’s Brazilian owner who has been in Wellington for about six years. Maico opened Emperor’s in January 2011 to provide more options for gay locals and tourists to the capital.

Once our eyes adjusted to the dim light we were shown the range of facilities in the two story building that Maico converted from a warehouse. We were impressed with the opulent d├ęcor and layout, though it was hard for any of us to imagine what the atmosphere would be like at full capacity with 380 gay men wandering the mazes and filling the bars, saunas and steam rooms.

After seeing the sights, we sat in the comfortable bar area and asked Maico what really goes on in a gay men’s sauna. We were particularly interested to know what rules his customers have to follow and what advice he’d give a first timer who had never been to a venue like this before.

Rule number one is to be prepared to strip out of your clothes and wear a towel. Some first timers tend to keep their clothes on for the first hour or so, but after that the pressure is on for you to put your clothes in a locker like everyone else.

If you’re glued to your cellphone you’ll be pleased to know that you don’t have to store that in the locker. Apparently it’s common for business customers to hold on to their phones. But don’t think about taking any pictures unless you really want to annoy people.

Rule number two is to relax. If people like you they like you, if they don’t they don’t. Many guys aren’t there to talk, so you’ll need to read their body language and eye contact. On the other hand, some use the venue as a sauna/club and don’t come for sex at all. Whatever you do, you’ll get the most value for your money if you enjoy the venue and the safe environment.

Rule number three - don’t expect any of the five staff to be responsible for matchmaking – that’s not their job. But if you are a newbie, make a point of talking to the staff at the bar to get a good idea of the place and how it works. Then you’ll get the most out of your visit. After all, it’s their job to make you as comfortable as possible.

Maico gave us a lot of facts and figures about the bathhouse and his clientele. Few of us were surprised that married men use the venue during the working week, or that there’s a fairly even split between Asians and Caucasians, or that there is a wide range in the age of customers. Maico confirmed that the place gets busier at weekends and when events like the Rugby World Cup are on. Although Emperor’s doesn’t have a lesbian night, it does have a range of regular activities including (straight) swingers’ parties and bondage nights. And on December 3rd they are planning to have a one-off night for people of any persuasion in the GLBTI queer community. In early 2012 Maico is planning to open his bar as a separate club with another entrance, which will no doubt bring in a wider range of people.

Maico generously spent an hour and a half of his time giving us the tour and answering questions. He didn’t let us off easily though, picking on a few of us to find out what our own experiences in saunas had been like in the past.

We finally said good-bye and left the cozy warmth of the bathhouse not long before Maico opened Emperor’s doors to his Saturday customers. It was an insightful morning and we came away with a better understanding of the role gay saunas play in the community. A good time was had by all.

Our Website News

If you've checked out Gay Wellington's website lately you will have noticed some changes. The new design is already well underway and soon we'll be updating the content. Please have a look and send us any suggestions and comments to make it more interesting, useful and user friendly. Is there anything you'd like to have on the site that isn't there at the moment?

All comments are welcome. If you have any local GLBTI photos you think could be posted on our site - we're interested in them as well!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Come out at Newcomers

Today we had the 2-weekly meeting of gay men's coming out group, Newcomers.

The evening went really well and a rich and interesting personal coming out story was shared with a group of about 6 guys. One of the newcomers said it was the first time he'd ever heard someone else's coming out story, so it was a really powerful time for him. Thanks to everyone for coming along.

If you'd like to join us, the next meeting will be on Wednesday 16th November from 6pm to 7.30pm. We talk about people's stories and coming out issues, as well as what's on in the community. Email us at or give us a call on 473-7878.