Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Sex and Middle Aged Gay

I like sex. I like doing it. I like thinking about it. I like watching it. And I like talking about it.

This isn't a porn site, so I am going out of my way to avoid sexing it up too much. But sex is a reasonable topic for the middle aged gay man. Or so one would think.

So, as the dedicated blogger that I am, I have spent two days doing the research. I found precious little on the topic. However, there seems to be two takes on the subject of sex and the middle aged gay.

The take with the most attention paid to it is the one that says middle age for the gay male is equal to a great vacuum, an oblivion - the stuggle of the middle aged guy is to adapt or disappear. So expression of a strong sex-drive is seen as sort of pathetic. Your time for cruising has passed. Monogamously coupling is an oft mentioned remedy. But the problem with the remedy is the problem of finding Mr. Right (if you even want Mr. Right). So, if you don't, is Plan B the ever popular Mr. Right Now? But, according to the literature, that quick fix for the sexual urge becomes less and less available as we get older. What a cycle! What a dilemma!

The second take seems to suggest that there is too much emphasis on sex in the gay world. We need to just calm down and re-prioritize as we get older. Often it is suggested that middle aged men feel pressured to artificially inflate a hormonally failing libido because everything in gay culture seems to come back to sex. One should almost feel guilty if he is gay and doesn't want sex 24/7. How can you be a part of community so focused on sex and not be "sexing"? But as the first problem suggests we are not welcomed in the meat market. Around and around we go. The remedy for second problem, I suppose is donning our khaki shorts and taking up bird-watching. Or perhaps tying on a gingham apron in a kitchen Martha Stewart would envy. Is that what they mean by re-prioritizing?

(I guess we should keep in mind that sometimes a low libido is the result of depression or low testosterone and the such. It's probably best to talk to a doctor about low sex-drive to rule out any treatable problems.)

Personally, I think both takes are so much bullshit because again, they are culturally based. Both covertly say this is culture's definition of who we are and this is how we must behave.

As children of the 60's or 70's perhaps we should reclaim our old motto of "If it feels good, do it - as long as it doesn't hurt anybody else." I, for one, am tired of people pigeon-holing me in anyway, including my age.

If you feel like cruising all night in a bar or bathhouse or online, do it. You know what it's like out there! You're a big boy now and can handle either acceptance or rejection. But, like the lottery people say, "If you don't play, you can't win." And your odds of getting laid are much better than scoring the Mega Million.

If you don't feel like doing the meat market thing or having a lot sex, by all means, don't do it. Figure out what makes you happy. Don't feel pressured to do anything that isn't right for you.

The only caveat I would offer about either situation - pay attention and make sure that you are not using sex or lack of sex as either as a substitution or avoidance of anything else that might be healthier. But again, you figure it out. Get help doing that if you need or want to. A little introspection is healthy. But ultimately, you decide and don't let anyone else set a standard for you.

If you've read anything else on this blog, you know my goal is self-definition. Sex should be as self-defined as anything else in our lives.

Comments, as always, are welcomed.

Monday, February 26, 2007

“I think it's the central issue of our generation. There are a lot of people out there who are trying to figure out how to be good old gay people — how to do it well, how to be the best you can for your age. In my case that has to do with trying to be the best version of 62 I can imagine. Not to try and recreate something I felt I had 30 years ago.”

- Armistead Maupin from Afterelton.com.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Does Age Quash Our Gay Spirit of Adventure?

What do you think?

I found this segment by Robert Krulwich at NPR radio that raised some good questions. Go have a listen at this link Does Age Quash Our Spirit of Adventure? Then come back and let us know what you think.

While Krulwich points out that increased age seems to correlate with a decline in the spirit of adventure, I wonder - since gay men are often a little out of sync with society with regard to development, if this report rings true for you. Since we are one of the first post-Stonewall groups to go from youth to middle age, are we required to be "adventurous" about deciding who we are going to be? What was the most adventurous thing you have done lately?

Be adventurous and come back to leave your ever important comment.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

When Gym Time is "No Time"

If you're like me, getting to the gym doesn't fit well into the day. Unless you've made it retirement, this may be the busiest time of your life.

I found a little item that has been very helpful to keeping in shape without having to go to the gym or to buy expensive home equipment. It's called The Fitdeck (www.fitdeck.com). It is basically a deck of cards with a calisthenic type exercise on each card. Most of these exercises take from 30-60 seconds.

I use them by shuffling the deck and then do the next card at every commerical if I am watching television or set a timer for every 15 minutes while I am on the computer or reading. This not only gives me some physical activity during times when I am generally sedentary but also helps me to stay in shape. (The tightening of the stomach muscles in a very short time has been surprising.)

The cards provide different sets for beginning, intermediate, and advanced users, so almost anyone can jump in and use these. I think the cards are bit expensive ($18.95) considering how low the overhead must be and the cost of material needed to produce the product. However, if you think of the physical fitness benefits this gimmick can provide, it's cheaper than many other choices.

If you find yourself spending too much time sitting, these cards may be helpful for you.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Your Turn

What was your best or worst date in the last few years?

Now it's your turn. Hit the comment link below and tell us about your best date or your worst date in the last few years. You can even answer this question if you are in a partnership. (Partners date, right?) Help us feel better (or worse) about our dating lives.

Give us the dirt.

First Day and Over 300 Unique Hits

First day online and this blog has had 300 unique hit. Come back often. Subscribe to the feed.

Keep in touch and be a part of the discussion.

Most of all, thanks for stopping by.

Cholesterol and Exercise Checklist from WebMD

Be sure and leave a comment if you have a unique way of staying in shape.

From WebMd

Checklist: Exercise and Cholesterol

8 Fitness Tips to Help Lower Your Cholesterol

By Gina ShawWebMD Feature

Reviewed By Charlotte Mathis

There's a link between exercise and cholesterol. A sedentary life can keep your LDL bad cholesterol levels high and your HDL good cholesterol levels low, just the opposite of the way you want them. But incorporating exercise into your life may help lower your cholesterol levels on its own -- and help you stay at a healthy weight. How can you safely start a healthy exercise plan you can stick with? Follow this checklist.

___ Start small and set realistic goals. To exercise for lower cholesterol, you don't have to become Lance Armstrong. Don't say "I'll go to the gym every night this week." Instead, start out by pledging to take a half-hour walk after dinner at least four nights this week. Research shows that even moderate exercise improves your cholesterol and heart health.

___ Pick an activity you like -- otherwise, you won't stick with it. If you hate running, don't buy jogging shoes just because your best friend lost weight running. To help lower cholesterol, find out what exercises fit your fitness personality.

___ Keep an exercise journal. Studies show that you need at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise, three or more times a week, to raise your HDL good cholesterol levels, so keep track of your progress to make sure you reach your goal every week.

___Mark that journal or a calendar for exercise milestones you hope to achieve, like running a mile without stopping or swimming 10 lengths of the pool. Plan to reward yourself for those achievements with a special treat, like a night out, a new outfit or a massage.

___ Buy a pedometer and track how many steps you walk on an average day. Then, try to add at least 2,000 steps per day to your total exercise regimen. That's about half an hour of walking.

___ Include weight training in your exercise regimen for lower cholesterol. Muscle burns more calories than fat, so the more muscle you build, the more efficiently you'll lose weight.

___ Set an exercise goal. Many people do better with a fitness plan if they have a goal in mind. If you like running, choose a 5K race to train for. If you enjoy cycling, plan to treat yourself to a weekend bike trip somewhere you love.

___ Check with your doctor before beginning any new exercise regimen to lower cholesterol, especially if you lead a sedentary lifestyle or have chronic health problems like heart disease.

Published February 2007.
SOURCES: National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute: "High Blood Cholesterol: What You Need to Know." National Cholesterol Education Program of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute: "Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Cholesterol in Adults (Adult Treatment Panel III)." Mayo Clinic: "Dietary fats: Know which types to choose." Antonio Gotto, MD, the Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York, N.Y. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute: "Introduction to the TLC Diet." WebMD.com: "Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLC) diet for high cholesterol." Reuters Health: "Moderate Exercise Can Improve Women's Cholesterol." Harvard HealthBeat: "What to Do About High Cholesterol." National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute: "Cholesterol-Lowering Medications and You." American Heart Association: "Side Effects of Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs."
© 2007 WebMD Inc. All rights reserved.

Your Opinion: Meeting New People

A lot of older gay men complain that they have a hard time meeting new friends. They often feel a sense of isolation. Leave a comment below and let us know:

  1. If this is true for you and what is your experience?
  2. Or, if it's not true, where do you tend to meet new people?

We want to hear from you.

Three Reasons That Your Gay Life Isn't Over at 40

No matter what they tell you.

"Our invisibility is the essence of our oppression. And until we eliminate that invisibility, people are going to be able to perpetuate the lies and myths about gay people." -Jean O'Leary

While our society at large would often just as soon see us gay folk disappear, inside the gay community there is another type of invisibility that is probably more insideous. It is more insideous because we have created it.

You have to thumb through gay publications for a very long time to find information that is relevant to anyone over 50 (maybe even 40). We have been sold the bill of goods that "gayness" has a short shelf life that extends from sometime in adolescence to the late 30's. After that, the goods are stale and no longer relevant to the gay community's definition of what it means to be a part. Age begins to equal invisibility. From several conversations and support group participations, I have discovered that many of us have bought this self-imposed obsolescence - whether it is seen in the younger guy's fear of growing old or in the despair of the older gay man who has awaken to find himself almost mysteriously transported to this dimension of invisibility called middle-age.

To say that the gay community is drunk on the youth culture is like saying President Bush suffers from delusions of grandeur. It is self-evident.

Hopefully, this site is dedicated to helping bring a little sobriety to our youth culture soaked community. There are good reasons to challenge the gay ghetto mentality of obsolescence. Here are three.

  1. It is the right of every person at every age to define his own being. The idea that those who are gay and 45 must join the monastic life of social isolation is an artificial construct. Probably it came from the reasonable concept that youth has a unique beauty and is to be valued. While this idea is legitimate in it's own right, allowing this one small period of life to color and control the larger portion of one's existence is to deny one's ability to self-define throughout life. Who says that we have to become part of the wallpaper at a certain age? By whose definition? What if we refuse to? At the risk of my fulfilling every gay stereotype, my advice to every aging gay man is to sit down and watch Rosaline Russell in the film "Auntie Mame" at least once a year. The camp humor alone is worth the viewing. But above that, the character of Mame Dennis is the patroness saint of self-definition. Rather than fading into the wallpaper, we should be defining ourselves and reminding the world that even in middle age: "Life is (still) a banquet and most suckers are starving to death." And we should define ourselves by no less than this observation and the realization of this movie's theme. Middle-age does not have to leave us hungry.
  2. "They" need us. Stonewall was our generation. We have a history that most young gay men may never be able to match for meaning. We've seen more and we know more. While it is always the position of youth that they are smarter and wiser than their elders, we all find out in time that this is generally not so. As long as the older gays are isolated from influencing the younger gays, the more likely the younger gays are to have to unnecessarily repeat our mistakes. At this point we really have to question our use of the word "community", as in "gay community" if we are not communing in a meaningful way with other members. Mentoring has become an important concept in business and society in general. Who is there to mentor and nurture the young if the elders are stuck behind an artificial wall of invisibility? (Some of it is the fault of the older gay person. The older gays relinquish this "wise elder" role by making two mistakes: 1) By imitating the young in hopes of grasping desperately at their own disappearing youth. It's analogous to a parent being a friend rather than a parent. 2.) And refusing, for whatever reason, to break through the wall and deal with the gay community as a whole entity. More on both of these later.)
  3. Declining health is becoming less of an issue. We should never pretend that a 60 year old is a 20 year old. Aging is natural (and in a lot societies beautiful.) To pretend one is 20 at 50 can be sad. However, it has been said that 50 is the new 30. There is a new knowledge of and emphasis on what it takes to be healthy. How many commercials are touting the fact that Baby Boomers are not as likely to spend their senior years sitting around staring at the walls like the preceding generations tended to? There is a new awareness that physical and mental vitality is a lot more controllable by the individual than it was once thought to be. While slowing down may always be a reality that accompanies aging, coming to a halt prematurely because of physical ilimitations is so yesterday. Staying vital is a responsibility for all of those who want to remain players later in life. Proper attention to health, nutrition, exercise, doctor's visits, and other exercises of self-care is the key to staying in the game. And where nature fails us, there is often help. Think Viagra.

A friend of mine was walking past a trendy gay bar in Los Angeles. He is healthy, good looking but obviously in his late 40's. The bar has an outdoor cafe-style seating area with a metal fence around it. As my friend passed the bar, he heard a youngster inside the fence say, "Who let the trolls in?" Immediately, he reached through the fence bars, grabbed the kid by the shirt, pulled him up against the metal enclosure and demanded an apology. While I don't condone physically roughing anybody up, the spirit of that act is an example that more middle-aged gays should consider embracing. We either define ourselves or we let other people define us. We either listen when everything in our culture tells us to quit or we grab the culture by the shirt and shake it a little.

Comments are welcome.

Thursday, February 22, 2007


You know that you are getting older if you find that you are paying close attention to any ad featuring Ed McMahon as the spokesperson.

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