Tuesday, September 26, 2023
Opinion

What’s up with sex for gay men over forty?

With more apps, and more awareness than ever before, dating for gay men has not exactly evolved.

With all the days and week now devoted to sexual feeling and healing: World Sexual Health Day was September 4, Bi Awareness Week started on September 23, and Coming Out Day is October 11, you’d think, as older gents, we’d have some sort of consensus by now on how sex and the gay cis male works. Hardly. We can’t even figure out how to go on dates anymore. Want someone to ghost you? Tell them you’d rather grab a drink than run over to their home and drop your pants, spread your legs or theirs, and lose your identity and perhaps your wallet.

It’s all so confusing these days, this crazy little thing we love called sex. Okay, apparently, that’s an error, as I’m told some GOFs (Gays Over Forty) have dismissed the practice as being as outdated as an ‘80s Queen tune. They’re over it, just like they used to be all over or under their brethren. If they indulge it’s like Champagne on New Year’s Eve—“Just a drop and then, Dear God, can we go to bed?” They dread it like I dread Anderson and Andy.

Whether it’s because they had an overload growing up, or they’re partnered and find more satisfaction in posting memes on Facebook, or their prescription wasn’t delivered on time, they want no part and stopped reading this article after the first sentence. I can’t help those who no longer even help themselves.

Then there are those, like me, who love sex just as much as we loved it back in the condom and fear day, but are all over the place in how we go about it, if we do at all. Some single men I know miss sex like they miss older–not older–Madonna, but find the whole process of seeking it out exhausting. Apps drive them nuts, tricks are for kids, and gyms—if they’re still part of the picture—are too tiring to be used for social purposes. Who’s got time to wait it out in the steam room when House of the Dragon awaits at home?

I take a very active approach, on Grindr and Scruff, backed up by a bottle of PrEP to keep myself healthy and a healthy sense of humor to handle the negativity. Why is everyone so rude in sex land? Hugh Hefner never meant it to be this way! The most curious Ping-ers are the ones who say, “you’re hot,” with pics of their patootie and nothing else even though your profile says no gratuitous photos, then, within a minute, ask if you’re interested, then send more pics, then type “well?”, then type “???” then tell you you’re a horrible conceited ancient bastard and block you—all before you’ve even seen the first message and realize they live in Kansas. What. Were. They. Expecting?

Photo: Christian Buehner

Odd thing is, three days later and they’re usually back. With. More. Photos.

Same-sex marriage opened up a lot of doors, and, to the surprise of me, at least, a lot of them are the back variety. Some of the most sexually ambitious men I know are married—seeking out Boy Toys the way I once sought out Martika’s “Toy Soldier.” They play together, they play apart, they play with rules and they do not cheat. It’s like Twister, but naked and with lube and poppers and…okay, I guess it’s nothing like Twister at all, but remember how much fun it was when you touched butts with your older, buffed and hairy neighbor? (I always try and add a lesbian reference for the gals reading my work.)

Speaking of cheating, is that still a thing? The term feels antiquated, like something you’d only witness on Virgin River—not that Jack or Mel would ever!—or in a heavenly Olivia Newton-John ditty. Now, ONJ has nothing particularly to do with this piece, but I felt I had to honor her magnificence somehow. A moment of silence, please. Mr. Please.

Dan Savage thinks “cheating” is as pointless a concept as saying nice things about people, and, on the former, I kind of agree. If you spend years building up a perfect union, only to let it crumble because one of you let your Severance get the best of you—I’ll let you muse over that amazingly clever “innie” or “outie” pun for a bit—you might be letting go of a great thing. Most long-term, monogamous couples that I know now allow a few “indiscretions” or “slips” or “exactly how many LGBTQ+s characters did you fit in a hot tub?”s in their relationships before pulling the plug.

Speaking of variation, I’ve not seen a tremendous amount of sexual fluidity in the over-40 sex crowd but I do have questions. These days my own inbox is filled with unsolicited pics of very hot jocks wearing undergarments and asking if I’d like some pussy. Now, I get that these are transitional times—see what I did there?—but how do I explain to these strapping young lads that any feminine flourishes or words thrown in my direction will make my penis go from mock turtle to full turtleneck in seconds? Minus the few times growing up that I dressed in Mom’s heels and lip-synched to “I’m the Greatest Star”—eat your heart out, Lea—I like being a boy and being with boys.

We don’t live in a time where conversation is welcome—scathing criticism is the way of the world now—so I don’t know if I’m supposed to ignore the photos, recommend a different shade of blush, or dare ask if they might have a jockstrap tucked away somewhere. I fear the last request will land me in something even worse than Facebook jail—woke deprivation camp, that twitterverse cyber cell where I must apologize, promise to do better, and take photos of myself wearing Donna Karan and Diane Furstenberg and Lizzo to show the world I do fancy the panty. Soon, all of us will have a 15 minutes of shame HBO documentary.

Even porn has gotten confusing, with all men big and small cashing in. Not only has Only Fans paved the way for half the men I know to make a fortune fucking (funny how the “no porn” clause disappeared at the same time the middle man did), but it’s also proved that size really doesn’t matter if, at one time, you were a pop singer, liberal activist, or onetime, openly gay, family man Texas politician—oh, my bad, I’m confusing Only Fans with those Snapchat photos that guy still sends me—see, people are fucked up about sex! Regardless, the days of Big Dick Privilege are over and the revolution is just around the corner. If you can find it, join the party.

When I told the world I wanted to start a 50+ Only Fans page and see what comes up, I was criticized—or, rather, assaulted—for making demeaning jokes about…myself? Phyllis Diller didn’t intend it to be this way.

Only Murders In The Building, Howard (Michael Cyril Creighton) | Photo: Patrick Harbron/Hulu

TV’s answered the sex ed and sexually correct question with one simple addendum—make every woman sexually ambiguous. Phew, solved that nasty phone call from GLAAD. Guys on guys, as we all know, are still limited to gay-themed shows and any man who comes into contact with Neil Patrick Harris, but tune into any conventional show, like Only Murders in the Building and The Morning Show, and, what do you know, America’s Sweethearts Selena and Reese are now lip-locking with chicks—what are the odds they try that plot twist next season with America’s Stud, Euphoria’s Nate (Jacob Elordi)?

Never mind that Steve Martin and Martin Short make the cutest older gay couple alive, there’s not a chance in hell we’re going to see the two of them get down and dirty—okay, bad example, but you get my drift. OMITB does give us one flamboyantly gay character, Michael Cyril Creighton’s Howard, because, as we all also know, sissy displays are even less-threatening than minstrel shows. A proud, former sissy myself, I’m wondering why I got beat up so much as a kid, being as how I was so unthreatening and all.

Speaking of the closeted gay-ship of Joey and Chandler, with the six beloved characters of that sitcom all as old as the Golden Girls now—I probably should have told you to sit down before spilling out that sobering statistic—shouldn’t we all have grown up enough to let everyone do whatever the fuck they want in the bedroom? Because, variations aside, the one common denominator in sex and growing older is we’re still sure, like the Catholic Church, that our way is the way.

I’m a whore for having multiple partners, you’re a prude for having none, PrEP-sters are STD prep-ralliers, I don’t care what U=U says, stick to your own kind, one of your own kind, the only thing worse than throuples are those living in open marriages, monogamy is an outdated heterosexual concept, and lingerie on men is just wrong, wrong, wrong—hey, just because I said it doesn’t work for me, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dress you up yourself. You’ve got style, that’s what all the thems say…

Sexual attitudes might be all over the place these days, but respect, as always, belongs smack dab in the middle of the bedroom. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’ve always wanted it to be that way.

David Toussaint

David Toussaint is the writer of five screenplays (with six film festival awards between them) and four best-selling non-fiction books. A professional journalist since the age of 15, he’s written for such publications as Huffington Post, Queerty, and Conde Nast Traveler. Toussaint is also a professional playwright and actor.

David Toussaint has 24 posts and counting. See all posts by David Toussaint

One thought on “What’s up with sex for gay men over forty?

  • This was quite a hard read. Not because of the travails gay men over 40 may have finding sex but because it was disjointed and all over the place. The paragraphs did not flow accordingly and thoughts seemed jumbled up. Needless to say, I was unable to finish it even after more than 3 tries from the beginning paragraph.

    Reply

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