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Getting older

Getting older

GETTING OLDERContrary to popular myth, gay men get older too! Unless you’re flattened by a bus, most people live to their 80s, although a few of us thrive for more than 100 years. Several factors seem to make us grow old:

  • Every time a cell divides (to replace those which have died) the blueprint for making them gets a little fuzzier introducing less precise copies. Consequently, more faulty cells are made.
  • The body is gradually poisoned by a build-up of waste and toxins that it cannot process.
  • There is a progressive decline in the immune system’s ability to detect and destroy micro-organisms and developing tumours.
  • Diet, exercise and hereditary traits.

Put like this ageing doesn’t sound so great – it might even sound a little grim – but, eventually, that’s what bodies are designed to do. Nevertheless, with more of us living longer, more of us will still be here. Getting older is a fact of life and worrying about ageing just wastes time we could be living.

The science of ageing | AsapSCIENCE | 7 Mar 2013 | 2m 5s

Older and wiser

Hopefully, older means wiser, calmer and clearer about what’s important to us. As an added bonus, friends we made when we were younger may still be our friends decades later. Obviously there are exceptions, but from about 35-40 years plus – older gay men tend to have:

  • A more rounded sense of who they are
  • Greater emotional stability
  • Grown increasingly comfortable with their sexual identity
  • A more considered approach to life
  • More confidence and are usually wiser
  • Built up strong networks of friends
  • Genuine interests … other than alcohol, shopping and drugs!
  • An established home and financial security
  • More sexual experience and a better understanding of what they like
  • The potential for the security of a long-term, mutually supportive, relationship

What younger gay men really think about older guys (and vice versa) | Logo | 11 May 2015 | 2m 58s


As we get older, the body’s ability to have sex changes – we may need more time to get turned on, get a hard-on and to cum. Erections may not be as stiff, you may prefer sex in the mornings when you’re rested and erections can occur spontaneously. Having said that, the quality of sex tends to matter more over the numbers of shags we get, we are more likely to know what stimulates us, and we tend to be more considerate bed partners.

Gay men in their 40s and 50s tend to put sex into perspective, prioritising life differently and developing other interests. This is perfectly normal. Sex is still great in later life but it doesn’t occupy every waking moment. Mind you, while there is no reason why you cannot have sex until your 100th birthday, if you insist on fucking like a rabbit every night, you might resent your body if it sometimes refuses to co-operate.

Age and the gay scene

There is no doubt that the gay scene and gay media play a role in making older gay men feel unwelcome. In fact, while younger gay men can be spectacularly cruel, both younger and older gay men can also be predatory.

Many younger gay men (particularly in their teens, 20s and 30s) have a distorted view of what it means to be older, often equating it with becoming less attractive, an inability to get or have sex, and leading a sad and sorry life. Younger gay men also assume that because older gay men are not like them – or don’t look like them – they cannot be happy. Some men resent older gay men on the scene and scorn their efforts when they try to make conversation.

There will always be a few older gay men who just want one thing, and there will always be younger gold-diggers! But, as a rule, younger gay men make arrogant and simplistic assumptions about what older gay men want and are rarely able to see beyond their own prejudice and vanity. Not surprisingly we don’t see so many older gay men on the scene. This is because – in many ways – it’s served its purpose and is no longer of any use to them. They have simply grown up, moved on and have got themselves a different and more varied life.

Since first impressions and appearance are often the factors which determine whether we approach men, what older men have to offer is sometimes not immediately apparent. The deeper qualities are more likely to emerge over a drink, a meal or a one-to-one encounter. But if this is not what you want, it costs nothing to be polite and courteous when declining.

Of course, you will see men in their late 50s, 60s and 70s who still use the scene, and while it may be difficult for some men to understand their motivation, it’s perfectly possible that they’re happy, well-adjusted and getting on with their lives. You’ll probably also find that they won’t be making the kind of crass and juvenile assumptions younger gay men make about them.

Young, gay and illegal: then and now | Trent and Luke | 5 Jul 2017 | 11m 12s

Age differences

Gay men tend to be more understanding of age differences (than our straight counterparts) and mixed-aged relationships do work; in fact many thrive. You may be exactly what your younger man needs, while you may be what your older man has been missing.

A five to ten year - or more - age difference is not uncommon and the ability communicate, adapt and compromise will often bridge the gap in life experiences. The larger the gap, however, may increase the likelihood of compatibility issues.

  • While you go to bed with your smart phone, he remembers a time when mobile phones (and the Internet) barely existed. Flip this and younger guys are appreciating less tech while older guys are embracing the new.
  • While he’s happy to relax at home you’re twitching to go out on Saturday night. Flip this and younger guys appreciate the benefits of stable home life while older guys enjoy clubbing (if occasionally).
  • While he wants to visit an exhibition you want to catch-up with your friends. Why not do both: you can go with him to the exhibit and he can join you with your friends. Alternatively, respect each others space, do your own thing, and chat about what you did in the evening.
  • While you’re still having youthful adventures (usually our teens to 30s) he’s looking back on all of that. Flip this and you might find a little life experience helpful and who doesn’t like to hear about good drama!
  • While you’re happy to buy some sensibly priced ingredients he prefers to go to the latest restaurant. Flip this and an inexpensive home cooked meal and good company often hits the spot while a fancy restaurant could be the exception rather than the rule.

This may all seem very obvious; the important thing is that you give this sort of stuff some thought and talk about it together. Because:

  • There will be times when you both see life differently
  • Remain open to each other's perspectives
  • Be aware that as you grow your relationship is likely to change
  • Be mindful of dependency, manipulation, bullying and power struggles (both parties)
  • Money is often a issue so discuss the arrangements before spending

Fantasy or reality

Attempting to realise a desire or fantasy for a much older or younger lover is often disappointing and unhealthy (for both of you). Although healthy relationships between older and younger men do exist and can work — you should think carefully before embarking on what might be a fruitless quest. However, if you find that your relationships are short-lived, or just don’t materialise, you should carefully examine the reasons why a younger or older partner is important to you.

  LGBT documentary: gay, old and out | Channel 4 News | 27 Feb 2018 | 9m 37s

Combating loneliness amongst older LGBT people | Sage Programme, Leeds | Feb 2018
Reducing social isolation amongst older LGBT people: A case study of the Sage project | Care Connect/ University of Sheffield  | Feb 2018

Do gay men have a particular problem with getting older? | Gay Star News | 7 Aug 2018
Gay men over 45 far more likely to be single - and these are the reasons why | Gay Star News | 28 Jul 2018
Ageing and HIV | HuffPost | 1 Mar 2018
I’m an older gay man and I know it will get worse | HuffPost | 23 Aug 1917
The age of gay men | GMFA | 16 Jun 2017
'Invisible' older LGBT community facing social isolation and discrimination | Homecare Magazine | 27 Feb 2017

Why are so many gay men afraid of getting older? | Attitude | 6 Oct 2015
Freaking out about age gaps in gay relationships is homophobic | The Daily Beast | 9 Jan 2015
Don’t mind the (age) gap | Queerty | 5 Dec 2013

Why older gay people fear being forced back into the closet | Channel 4 News | 17 Jun 2014 | 7m 58s
What younger gay men really think about older guys (and vice versa) | Logo TV | 11 May 2015 | 2m 58s
Older gays Vs. younger gays | Davey Wavey | 21 Dec 20 14 | 3m 58s
I love the older gay men | luciendante | 25 Mar 2013 | 6m 28s

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