I’m a 49 year old man. I think and feel like I’m from another time, another planet. Most people instantly like me. I’ve been blessed with many amazing friends over the years and yet, never really had anyone to hold nor anyone to hold me. I’m clinically disappointed. My life now holds more regrets than dreams.
I’m gay. There’s obviously something wrong with my tastes when it comes to men. I’ve been exclusively attracted to young men for as long as I can remember. When I was in my twenties, I was attracted to men in their twenties. When I was in my thirties, I was only attracted to men in their twenties. They were rarely attracted to me. Now, in my forties (soon to be fifty), I find myself still exclusively attracted to young men. Young men are not interested in me. In Los Angeles, the gay culture puts you out to pasture if you’re over thirty. I’m reasonably good looking, outgoing, kind, gentle, with a great sense of humor, to young men, I am invisible. This is understandable, but how does one change what one is attracted to?
There’s more than my ageism that frustrates me. I appreciate effeminate men, however, they do nothing for me sexually. There’s also the current trend in gay culture that is a complete turn-off for me —a seemingly majority of guys removing all their body hair. I find chest hair and pubic hair very sexy. To my eyes, a hairless handsome dude just looks like an overgrown twelve-year old. The only hairy men left are either straight or generally obese ‘bears’. These are my ‘tastes’ and I’m sincerely not trying to be a snob. With my warped perspective, I’m doomed to never even begin to develop a relationship. The fashionable hairlessness movement can be tolerated cuz hair has the chance of growing back. But with my age prejudice, I’m f**ked cuz I can never grow young. I’m stuck in a hopeless dead end. Is there any hope for me and my conundrum(s)?
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This is a wonderful question because it is so universal. This isn’t a gay issue but rather one common to many people, gay or straight or otherwise who are caught between what they desire in an ideal partner and what they can find. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve known over the years who have gotten caught up in this very issue.
At issue is the difference and generally the conflict between what is ideal and what is real. Human beings are perhaps the only animals on the planet who have the capacity for abstract thought. Dogs and cats and similar creatures live in the concrete moment and don’t much have the capacity to think about things that are different than what is in front of them. Humans, on the other hand, can easily detach their minds from the concrete situation in front of them and start to fantasize about how things could be. And, of course, for most people, things could always be better than they are. A potential relationship partner (or simply a potential sexual partner) could always have more or less of some quality that is valued.
Some people have the problem that there is literally no living human person who fits the idealized profile of what they are looking for in a partner. These people are looking for something that doesn’t exist. Consequently, they reject everyone who they might possibly form a relationship with and end up necessarily alone and often lonely. This is not your problem, luckily, but your problem is pretty similar. Your problem is that you are fixated on potential partners who don’t want you. And again, this is an issue that transcends sexual orientation and is simply a human relationship issue.
I don’t know a general method for solving this problem. I can describe what needs to happen in order to solve the problem, but I don’t know a method for making it happen that will work for everyone.
What needs to happen is that you need to (in no particular order):
- open up your mind to the possibility of dating men who are not your type
- date a lot of men who will date you (including men who you aren’t attracted to).
- strengthen your ability to recognize when something you want to work out isn’t going to work out
- strengthen your ability to walk away from relationship prospects that aren’t working out
- strengthen your appreciation of qualities that make a relationship worthwhile apart from sexual desire such as intimacy and trust and overall compatibility
It’s important to lower your standards consciously and to date a lot of people, dating each person a few times before rejecting them (or being rejected by them) because only through this process can you gain enough time spent with each person to begin to know what their insides are like. It is amazing how as you begin to appreciate the non-superficial aspects of different people how those qualities begin to become more important to you. People you thought were plain looking are still plain looking afterwards (if you like the inner qualities), but now they are plain looking with a wonderful smile and that starts to work for you. In my experience, when you open your mind to dating a wide variety of people, you become more open to appreciating partners who you would not have otherwise given a second look, and new and interesting relationships can occur.
It is also critical that you apply the rational thinking part of your brain to the problem and not just make quick decisions to go with your emotional impulses to reject or approach. It is true that your emotional impulses are critical to your ability to desire someone and that it is foolish to think that they don’t matter. It is also equally true that such impulses change as you get to know people, and that your initial impulses are not always trustworthy. It is all to easy to reject someone who you would otherwise come to like and appreciate based on some initial thing you find wrong with them. It is also all too easy to stay with someone (or stay in pursuit of someone) who doesn’t want you or doesn’t treat you well, simply because the emotional part of your mind tells you that you are helpless in love. Both of those paths are traps. You need to let the emotional part of your mind lead, but then reign it in as a horseback rider reigns in his horse, directing the animal out of traps it is otherwise too clueless to recognize. You have to become able to recognize and exit endless self-defeating crushes, tolerate at least a few dates with people you might otherwise not be interested in, and open your mind to human qualities you might otherwise overlook if you want to have your best chance of breaking out of your lonely cycle.