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Ageism

Why Am I Attracted Only to Older Men?

Hello, Dr. Olson!

I am in my early thirties, and I came out about a year ago after years of casually dating women while having discreet sexual encounters with men much, much older than me. Since coming out, I have tried to date guys closer to my own age but have found that the sexual attraction just isn’t there for me.

I am grappling with the fact that my desires are what they are and trying to reconcile them with expectations for where I want to be in my own life, how I present myself to others, and my fear of judgment from friends and family.

Why don’t I feel the same attraction to guys closer to my own age than I do to guys 20–30+ years older than me? How could a 65-year-old man and I possibly live every day together? I feel that I should be seeking a more “practical” lifelong partner. We are so vastly different in terms of schedule and lifestyle. These are the questions I ask myself.

This is an important question and one I am asked about frequently. First, loving another person is never practical. Our attraction to another is not a rational process but happens due to forces outside of our consciousness and control.

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Depression in Mature Gay Men

After I wrote “Why Older Gay Men Are Attempting Suicide at a Higher Rate,” I received a couple of poignant responses. One was from a sixty-six-year-old man who was struggling with the question of whether to come out to his parents and friends, the loss of his business, and several health challenges, including serious side effects from his medications. He said that he had “not ruled out” suicide but that he didn’t want to hurt his family or close friends. Another was from a sixty-one-year-old gay man from Australia who wrote about feeling invisible—even among close gay friends who were younger—and suggested that depression in mature gay men could be linked to rejection and ageism in the gay community. He is struggling with physical changes, including erectile dysfunction. Here is how I responded to them.

Neither of you is unique in what you have experienced. When I turned sixty years old, I also went through a difficult time for some of the same reasons you’ve mentioned. I had lost my mother, my stepfather, and a brother within six months, and some friends had died. I needed a knee and a shoulder replacement. My career had plateaued, and I thought it was on the decline. I had some difficulty with erectile dysfunction. All I could see for the future was a series of continued losses. Continue reading

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