Ryan Shea's picture

Can Older and Younger Gay Men Forge a Friendship Without Physical Attraction?

When you go to your run-of-the-mill gay bar, chances are that you will see an assortment of men hanging out with one another, maybe making out or more, on any given night. The age range in each group tends to be within 5-10 years of each other, as you usually don’t see a 21-year-old hanging out with guys almost three times his age.

Judgment from other gay men usually does happen when that sort of thing becomes a visibility, where snarkiness ensues and the assumption is that the younger man in question is being paid to hang out with someone much older than him or that they are simply in a sexual situation. This usually isn’t the case (and if it is, it’s no one’s business but their own), but it does beg the question about if men from much different generations can forge a friendship without physical intimacy being involved.

It's not just the bar scene where this is seen and discussed. You will find these sorts of scenarios happening at popular gay eateries or at any major gay event across the country. Take for instance the younger guy being the only one in a group of men twice their age while they are out and about. What does the impressionable lad have in common with men who have had many years of experience on them (left open to interpretation) that can lead to him being simply friends with all of them without the thought of sex getting in the way? 

I asked this question to my friends on social media last week to get their perspective: "Can older and younger gay men forge a friendship without physical attraction?" The answer to that question primarily was a big ole “YES”, but others gave their two cents on why it isn't that simple.

Some wondered why I was even asking this, as they thought that I viewed our gay brethren as “simple”, but these are issues that are talked about in the gay community quite often. Take a look at what many of them said about this:

"Yes it is! Just set boundaries, always do things outside of the house. Don’t flirt."

"I’m going to say yes but most of the older generation seems to lump (at least the young 20s like me) into a group where they just expect either things to get sexual or you to be a flake to them. Although I’ve met some amazing older men that took a chance and are happy being friends now."

"Tough one. After sex you can become friends.”

"Yes, it's entirely possible. It's also possible for gay men to have friendships with men of all ages, add "benefits" to the friendship and still have a good friendship, whether the benefits are short-term or last for years."

"As a 40 year man who appreciates the value of intergenerational friendships, I’m always rather annoyed by the assumption that there MUST be a sexual component (or that if there is a sexual component, that it somehow fucks things up). There is immense value in the experience and wisdom of the generation above you, and I say that being the generation immediately following the missing generation of gay men who would have been my mentors and friends and sometimes even my sexual instructors, had AIDS not decimated them.  The generation below mine should at least be aware (if not grateful) that the generation above them even exists, whether they want to fuck them or not."

"Definitely possible, but some men are incapable of this."

"Most of my friends are in their mid to late 20s or in their early to mid 30s. The only one I have anything sexual going on with is my BF who is 29."

"It’s just perspective and healthy behaviors for relationships - millennials can sexualize and situation just as easily as any other generation. The question already has implicit bias."

What are your thoughts on this topic? Can gay men from much different age ranges find friendship without it leading to the bedroom?

This was created by one of our Contributing Writers and does not reflect the opinion of Instinct Magazine or the other Contributing Writers when it comes to this subject.

Comments

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I'm an older gay male in Kentucky. I have always had younger friends. Have sex with most, but not all. 

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I was 19 when I met a man aged 61. Had no sexuality between us at all. He was my best friend for 18 years, until he passed away in 2016, so yes, it is possible.

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Yes, it's possible because being attracted to men does not mean being attracted to all men.

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I am 55 and have lots of younger friends and older friends. Much depends on what we do together. Do I go to bars with my friends in their twenties or thirties? No. Do we go to dinner, movies, concerts, museums, etc.? Yes. However, to my younger gay friends I am not a wisdom figure and if I try to be one, I am rebuffed and an older gay man showing the younger gay man how to be gay can be misinterpreted. When I talk art, books, photography, or other shared interests, that’s the value.

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