Monday, May 31, 2010

Bed-Hopping at Any Age

I am casually dating a man who, like me, is in his late forties. "Doug" is always attentive to me when we go out, but he has admitted that he cruises quite a bit and is quite sexually active. We stick to safe sex and he says he does the same with his tricks. But why is a man of his age still cruising instead of settling down? Is this a kind of sickness that some guys need to go to bed with as many men as possible? I'd love to hear what you think about this.

You're gonna hear it, all right. Being sexually active and enjoying a healthy sex life and a variety of interesting sex partners -- at any age -- is not a "sickness." Different strokes for different folks, to coin a cliche. You wouldn't like it if Doug suggested that you were sexually repressed or had something wrong with you simply because [I assume] you only sleep with the man you're currently dating. May I make it clear that there's a big difference between someone who enjoys a healthy sex life -- especially if he sticks to safe sex -- and a "sex addict" who sleeps with people, even people he finds repulsive, compulsively. Doug may not "need to go to bed with as many men as possible" -- he may just have a strong sex drive, be attractive to many men, and enjoy hitting the sheets when he feels like it. What's wrong with that?

In my opinion it has little to do with sex or sexual orientation but some people are the monogamous type and some are not. The trouble starts when the two types become partners and the friction isn't limited to the bedroom. In this case, it's not what Doug is doing, but the fact that it's Doug who's doing it. Someone you obviously care for and want to settle down with. But first, there's something else that needs to be said. And that is that a man in his late forties like Doug is not exactly over the hill. I have met sexually active men who are a couple of decades older than that. And still going strong. Good for him!

Conventional thinking on this subject suggests that some middle-aged gay men seek lots of sex partners because they have a sense of time running out, that they fear the day when they will no longer be able to attract anyone. [And don't think that straight men don't fear getting older, too, and for this same reason.] There may be truth to this, but we have to go one step beyond the conventional thinking. Why should someone who enjoys good sex and physical closeness with another person give it up just because they reach a certain age? If "Doug" has no partner should he stick to five finger exercise all the time?

I think you're probably hurt because Doug isn't "satisfied" with you, because it sounds as if you'd be perfectly content with him and him alone. This is not an easy situation for you. Doug may not be ready to settle down -- there's no certain age when someone is ready -- but in any case, even when he does settle down he may prefer an open relationship to monogamy. And it doesn't sound as if that's something you'd be into. That doesn't make you a prude or mean there's anything wrong with you. But you are being just a touch puritanical with your remarks about cruising and age.

I also have to say that you shouldn't settle for an open relationship if you're not comfortable with it -- and many aren't. The stereotype of gay men is that we're all "promiscuous" but the truth is that many gay men are quite conservative in that respect, and are much more interested in -- and happy being in -- monogamous relationships. But that doesn't mean that gay men who enjoy being sexually active with more than one partner should be castigated for their attitudes and activities, especially if they're responsible.

So the good news is that if Doug doesn't work out, you're bound to find plenty of gay men who want to settle down and snuggle with that one special person -- and no one else -- just like you do. Good luck!

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