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Boyfriend University kicks off with Rush Week tonight

Curious to know how you could "date better"? Not sure how to talk to a new partner about safe sex? Are you clueless about the basic art of flirting? If you're a gay or bisexual male pondering such things, Boyfriend University is the program for you.

Element, the Colorado-based nonprofit, will be kicking off its Boyfriend University program tonight with a free preview of "Rush Week," an information session that aims to give gay and bisexual men a fun and safe space to learn about how to improve their dating.

"It's kind of like a dating boot camp, but it's a 'university' because we create a learning atmosphere," says organizer Brent Heinze. Starting at 7 p.m. at Element, 655 Broadway, Suite 425, the evening will showcase what the upcoming six weeks of Boyfriend University plans to cover.

Addressing everything from low self-esteem to setting relationship boundaries and developing the tools for dating success, the program is designed to reach men of all ages; past installments have brought out men as young as 25 and as mature as 71. "I think it's really important to understand that we've all had different experiences coming to grips with our sexuality," explains Heinze. "There are things we haven't been able to experiment with when we were younger."

Like several other Element education programs, Boyfriend University is part of a larger outreach focusing on HIV prevention; the information shared in the classes is designed to be useful regardless of a man's HIV status.

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Tonight's session is free, and serves as an introductory course to Boyfriend University, which runs every Saturday in April and the first two Saturdays in May, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Element. The course is a $35 suggested donation, and while no one will be turned away for lack of funds, space is limited.

For more information on Element's programs and mission or to apply to Boyfriend University, visit the Facebook event page, shoot an e-mail to boyfrienduniversity@thedenverelement.com or call 720-382-5900.

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