The following was written by someone who’d read an essay I wrote about younger gay men who are attracted to older men. I frequently hear from younger men who are questioning why they are exclusively attracted to significantly older men, but this subject isn’t frequently addressed. This type of relationship is also often misunderstood even by those of us in the LGBTQ community. I wrote about it in Finally Out: Letting Go of Living Straight in a section called “Men with Rounded Corners.” Here are “Jim’s” comments (edited to protect his identity and used with his permission).
I just read your essay “The Curse of an Attraction to Older Gay Men” in Psychology Today, and it was strange to read something so personal, insightful and very close to my own thoughts. I have read it a few times and have shared it with friends. I will order your book when I get back to Ireland. Continue reading
Dear Dr. Olson,
I was married to a “bi” man for over twenty years. We never told our son until we separated and were divorcing. He wanted to know why we were divorcing, so his dad told him. Our son was a teenager when my ex-husband disclosed this. How does keeping the sexual orientation of a parent secret from a child affect a child/teen/man psychologically? My ex had sex with only men besides me before and during our marriage and identified as openly gay after our divorce.
You have asked a good question that does not have an easy answer. First of all, it depends upon the child’s level of maturity and experience in the world. Continue reading
Hi, Dr. Olson,
I am a middle-aged divorced man, and since my divorce I have been struggling with my sexual identity. Perhaps I have always been in denial or confusion with my sexuality. Growing up I had female friends but felt intimidated by them sexually. My first sexual experience was with a childhood friend, but I felt sick, ashamed, and guilty. This increased my need to always have a girlfriend to suppress this shame. Following my divorce, I felt incredibly lonely and started flirting with guys online. For the first time, I felt attractive. Who am I?
Your story is very familiar to me and not much different from my own. Some find it hard to believe that a man could reach middle age before questioning his sexual identity, but in my research, I have even interviewed a man in his nineties who, having lost his wife of over fifty years, began to explore his same-sex attractions. Seeking an answer to the question of who I am led me to write Finally Out: Letting Go of Living Straight. Continue reading
I don’t know if I’m gay, straight or bisexual. How can I decide? Kinsey saw sexuality as a continuum, with homosexuality on one end and other-sex attractions on the other; bisexuality fell somewhere in the middle. But where? How much bisexual attraction and/or behavior does it take to make a person bisexual? How do I know what I am?
You’ve asked a complicated question, and one that frankly has gotten me into some trouble in the past. I was attacked (with some justification, I might add) by some members of the bisexual community who considered my comments in an essay on Psychology Today to be very “biphobic.” Never the less, I’ll stick my toe in that water again. Continue reading
I’m a fifty-year-old man with two sons, ages 23 and 25. I have struggled with my sexual desires for men for as long as I can remember, and as I get older, it seems harder and harder to resist this, but I have had only very limited experience with men. How did you decide you are gay and what made you decide to leave your family and come out?
Leaving my wife and two young daughters was one of the most difficult things I have ever done. I struggled with the decision for many years. The question of leaving my family and coming out or staying married and trying to repress my desires seemed to have no good answer. Continue reading
I am a self-identified gay man who recently stumbled across your book, Finally Out, and it raised some points that I want to ask you about. It seems to me that sexual desire may be learned rather than instinctual. Aren’t instincts and intelligence mutually exclusive? If homosexuality is a biologic instinct, in other words, hard-wired, wouldn’t it just die out?
The debate about whether being gay is nature versus nurture is one that has gone on for a long time and undoubtedly will continue for a long time. I usually say that 99% of our brain functions at a primitive or primal level and 1% at a rational level. Of course, these numbers are chosen arbitrarily to make a point. Continue reading
Can you give me advice? I’m in my mid-60s, married for over thirty years. I always had a good sex life with my wife but also enjoyed sex with men on the down low. She busted me a couple of years ago when she found my Craig’s List searches on my computer. She said I could continue to have sex with men, but never without her knowing, and she even suggested having a 3-way. She’s alcoholic, and her drunken stupors, being overweight, and poor self-esteem pushed me into my carnal desires! She said today she’ll quit drinking if I give up having sex with men. Our three kids are raised and know the situation. But I’m so confused! I don’t want to turn into an old gay man, but am I already?
This is a complicated situation, and life is full of predicaments where there don’t appear to be any good choices. It can feel very hopeless at times. As I mentioned in my book, Finally Out, I also had a good sex life with my wife, although I know now (as does she) that it wasn’t as good as we thought back then. Continue reading
The following comment was submitted in response to my article “The Messy Realities of Bisexuality”: I am a male in my forties and have explored being sexual with men for about five years. I have a strong attraction to fit, muscular men but also to soft and sensual women. It seems that when I am in a relationship with a man, I think about what I am missing with a woman and vice versa.
Your comment is fairly representative of someone who is bisexual. But this kind of conflict exists for people who are gay and straight as well. Being committed to a relationship does not disconnect our attraction to others. We may still have powerful sexual urges to be with someone else. We just don’t need to respond to every sexual urge we experience. Continue reading