Love & Lust

Matthew Camp on being an object of desire and owning his own sexual health

With more than half a million Instagram followers of stunning photos of his chiseled torso (and other body parts), Matthew Camp may be the most lusted after man on the planet. But he’s also so much more than a pretty face. He’s the star of Getting Go, the critically acclaimed film based on his own life as a go-go boy, the lead designer for Matthew Camp Designs, and an articulate spokesman for sex-positive approaches to owning your own sexual health among gay men.

Queerty caught up with Matthew to get his thoughts on sex, love, dating, his favorite book, and HIV testing…

How did you get involved in Getting Go, about a fictional go-go dancer based partly on your own life?

I was approached by the directors who wanted to do a documentary/mockumentary about me. They were really great to work with and it was a fun experience. I would love to do it again.

Sadly, we have not had the feeling of being adored across the globe so we are curious: How does it feel?

I am very flattered by that sentence alone. I feel very lucky and very humbled to have this many people be appreciative of the things that I put out there. I just want to convey nothing but thankfulness for the entire experience I’ve had.

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You have nearly half a million Instagram followers. What’s your secret?

The one thing I can say to people who are expressing themselves through social media like Instagram and other platforms is that it’s important to be yourself, do the things that you want to do, and present yourself the way that you want to present yourself. Follow the same rules that you do in life, be nice to people, treat everyone with respect, and be yourself.

How do you stay in shape? What’s your gym and food routine like?

I love to work out, it’s one of my favorite things to do. I find it fascinating and really stimulating. I love to go to the gym, I love to lift weights, love to stretch, I love to run, and I love feeling like I have control over some aspects of my body. In order to maintain the kind of size that I like I have to eat a lot, typically about 4000 to 5000 calories a day, more if I’m training or trying to gain weight. I love the science behind exercise and physique training.

Tell us about Matthew Camp Designs.

I started it with the help of some very close friends who really encouraged me to follow that outlet. Eight Point Five (Matthew Camp Designs) itself would’ve never existed without the encouragement of some very close friends. As far as making clothing and the design aspects I borrow a lot of ideas from a lot of people. I have been influenced by a lot of people from friends to strangers on the street. All kinds of people have some sort of or amount of inspiration for me. The construction and pattern making and stuff like that I learned in a couple of classes I took at a community college. But I have been fantasizing about constructing garments since I was a kid so it came very naturally and easily to me. I didn’t need much direction.

What is your love life like these days? We’re pretty sure you get a lot of offers.

I am currently single and looking to mingle. I do get a lot of offers from people online. I find it to be an excellent resource for meeting new people and potential sex partners.

How do you navigate safe sex and dating?

As far as navigating dating and sex I find it really helpful to build some sort of connection or relationship with someone that you’re having sex with. I find that the sex usually turns out better, and the whole experience itself. The worst thing is to meet someone who seems on the outside to be very cool and nice, and then have them go zero to crazy in five seconds.

When it comes to HIV, there is still a lot of fear and stigma out there. How do you own your own sexual health? 

I think it comes down to respect. I think that there’s a lot of fear and stigma out there and that doesn’t mean that you need to buy into the hype. I like to know that I’m taking care of myself and my community and I think that getting tested on a regular basis is part of that if you’re sexually active. I typically don’t meet up with guys and just have sex with them if I don’t know them. I will meet people off-line and go do stuff I guess kind of like a date. I always find that sex with someone is better if there’s some sort of connection whether it be a friendship or a more intense feeling. I like to have conversations with my partners about what their sexual practices are, and I like to know that they have been regularly tested and/or are on PrEP.

And what’s your advice for other guys?

It’s really important to get tested on a regular basis and take precautions to keep myself safe and healthy. I think it’s important for people to have respect for themselves and their partners and being able to know with confidence where you are on that scale with your partner. My advice would be to surround yourself with people that you have a high esteem for.

Do you have friends with HIV? They can live as long and as healthy lives as everyone else now.

Of course I have friends with HIV. I’m 33 now so I’m definitely familiar with the generation of people that didn’t have the same sort of resources that the younger generation has. And I think it’s really important that as a community we make sure that those resources stay available for everybody.

How and where do you get tested these days?

Getting tested is a vital part of owning your sexual health, and luckily there are a number of ways to do it.  I test regularly with my doctor but have gone to the clinic for tests and have done in-home tests too, like OraQuick. I started taking PrEP this year which has made me more confident about my health.

You have said that your mother cried when she found out you were gay at age 15. How does she feel about your modeling and go-go dancing?

My mother really doesn’t mind my career choices because I think she understands that it’s not reality. It’s a performance and she herself being a belly dancer is familiar with performance.

What’s your favorite thing about being gay? 

My favorite thing about being gay is that I get to have sex with guys because I like having sex with guys. It’s one of my favorite things and it feels really nice.

How do you tell the difference between love and lust when you start dating?

As far as navigating the difference between love and lust I fall in love with people every day. There’s so many wonderful beautiful people out there it’s hard not to.

Who are your role models?

I have to say some of my gay role models are people like Oscar Wilde and Vincent Price but anybody who believes and works towards equal rights for everybody is really a role model.

What’s on your bedside table right now? What are your reading/streaming/listening to?

I listen to podcasts sometimes and books on tape while I work. The book I’m listening to is by an author named Julian Jaynes, The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind. I have a tendency when I do read to read books about the subconscious and psychology. It’s one of my more recent favorite subjects. And I’ve been listening to the new Gorillaz album which I’m kind of obsessed with at the moment. I also have a tarot deck on my bedside table.

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