Q: I look in the mirror and see someone looking back who I don’t recognize. I’m 50, but I still hang out with 30-year-olds. Problem is, I don’t look 30. I can’t turn back the clock, but what’s a guy like me to do to stay “young” without going under the knife? I don’t fit in with gays my age or the younger ones. Jeff G. in West Hollywood, CA
A: Welcome to getting older, Jeffy! I’m in my mid-50s, and I, too, freak when I pass a mirror. I feel the tug of the plastic surgery ads just as strongly as you. But I know that would only be putting off the necessary internal work I’ll still have to face. Living in a looks-and-youth-obsessed place like West Hollywood, it’s not surprising you don’t fit in with others your age. They’re all desperately clinging to that impossible Peter Pan image. Liberate yourself from that. You and I are at the age when the universe suggests we spend less time looking at our faces and more time looking at our inner selves. When we do, we realize we have plenty to offer those thirtysomethings beyond a fast fuck—which is not entirely off the table, either. (Hallelujah for that DILF movement, huh?) Accept that you can be a wise role model for those your age and a mentor for those younger, and you will have achieved “aging gracefully.”
REST! I NEED REST! Q: How much sex is too much? I’ve been dating someone for a little over a year. The sex is amazing, but it’s constant! I love sex. But after working long hours, and then ‘performing’ multiple times on a weeknight, I’m exhausted. I’ve talked with him, and he’s been understanding but still wants sex. He’s turned to porn and “toys” and I feel bad about that. I’m afraid he’ll seek sex outside our relationship—even though he swears he’d never cheat on me—and that scares me. How do I handle this? Kevin F. via instinctmagazine.com
A: Communicate, communicate, communicate. For such a thorny (and horny) issue, you may want a couples counselor. You both need to understand and allow the other person’s needs as you seek ways to meet them that each can realistically live with. For instance, non-monogamy may or may not be your answer—but that needs to be available for discussion. So does the possibility of a certain amount of abstinence. Remain open to negotiation here. Expect to hear some difficult things along the way, and be prepared to experience growing pains in yourself and in the relationship. Just remember you’re entering sensitive territory here, so be kind to yourselves and to each other.
SHUT IT UP, JUST SHUT UP, SHUT UP Q: I’m a balding 72-year-old. Because I’ve traveled a lot and speak a smattering of various languages, I have good rapport with young guys from various countries. I don’t necessarily aim for sex, mainly friendship. However, I have a friend, “Brian,” in his late 50s, who’s in great shape. Brian hires foreign young men as assistants for his landscaping work, invariably ending up in bed with them. Brian tells me that I’ve missed many chances for “adventures” because I’m overcautious. I always assume the guy I meet is straight and don’t want to anger him by advancing too strongly. Also, because of the cultures of many of my foreign friends, I believe that making gay advances would offend them.
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A: Okay, my suggestion here is—
For example, I was returning from a Muslim country on a flight where one handsome steward, age 30, Muslim, and married, asked why I was single. We exchanged e-mail addresses. A few days later, he called me and invited me to his hotel room. I went there to see him. I like to take photos of men in athletic shirts—it turns me on more than nude photos.
A: Please stop talking.
After taking pictures of him we hugged. Then he suddenly lay down in his bed. I assumed he was tired from jet lag so I said goodbye. Brian thinks I missed a great chance. Who is right: the more forward-acting Brian or me and my own cautious side? “Bad Gaydar” via instinctmagazine.com
A: Dude, this is a no-brainer. Verbose and long-winded, but a no-brainer: Brian is right for Brian, and you are right for you. You’re of different generations, so you’ve each learned different ways of moving through the world. Trying to change into something you’re not is pretty much always a bad idea. In fact, that’s one of the reasons I chose your loquacious little letter—it has elements that can speak to all. Who you are is who you are, so give yourself a break and stop comparing yourself to others. And when somebody starts handing you “shoulds,” as in “you should do so-and-so like me,” thank them politely, then do whatever the hell you feel is right for you. That’s my advice. That and learn to edit.
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