Sex talk
Speaking of Aging

Simon Sheppard,

"Old age is no place for sissies," the seniors' rights slogan goes, but as accurate as the sentiment may be, the expression is pretty homophobic. Old age is a place for sissies, faggots, queers, gay men, whatever. If we're lucky and careful enough, we'll all get there sooner or later.

Still, the aging process can bring special problems for us gay guys. The image of the young, perfectly buff gay man is our community's most common standard of attractiveness; aging guys with active libidos are too often put down as "trolls" or "dirty old men."

But just as there's nothing wrong with being horny at 20, there's nothing wrong with being horny at 50, 60, or older. Some of today's queer seniors are in great long-term relationships, while others are out there cruising. Either way, they're proving that getting older need not mean sexual retirement. "I just refuse to give up pleasure," says one fifty-something stud. "I know sooner or later I'm going to slow down, but in the meantime..."

A man may no longer look like some twink from Blueboy, but that doesn't mean he can't be a sexual – and sexy – guy. Not everybody buys into the same standards of male beauty; there's room for Sean Connery as well as Brad Pitt. Some men do choose ways to temper the effects of age; hair implants, face lifts, and beard dyes provide camouflage. Others just look their age and still look sexy. Either way, it's a matter of maintaining both physical fitness and a good attitude. As one young man into older guys points out, "Self-acceptance is sexy."

Sure, the years do dicey things to the body. Aging is associated not just with wrinkles and baldness, but with lessened potency, desire, and ejaculatory frequency. Still, time's winged chariot can be slowed down considerably by taking good care of yourself. Heart, prostate, and blood pressure problems are enemies of the hard-on; good diet and regular medical care are as beneficial for the dick as for the rest of the body. Plenty of gyms make older members feel at home. And, hey, stretching exercises will keep you limber for those times when you've just can't resist throwing your legs in the air.

Growing older is a mixed blessing; despite the downside, there are plenty of rewards. Older guys are often more technically adept – great cocksuckers are made, not born. And maturing lets us grow into our sexuality, more accepting of our own desires, more understanding of others', and more willing to explore. Indeed, the kink communities tend to skew older; many a vanilla boy will grow into a delightfully twisted man.

In a community where fuckability too often is the ultimate value and sexuality forms such a large part of our self-identity, aging can be rough. Yes, some younger guys go for silver hair and love handles, but others resent older men; seniors are reminders of mortality, standing as proof that no one remains young and unwrinkled forever. Some older men, on the other hand, disrespect the young, maybe envying them the unlimited horizons that once were their own, or reducing them to immature, exploitable pieces of meat.

But the wiser among us know that fucking and loving can be great at any age, whether in a same-age coupling or otherwise. Sexual energy, bodily beauty – it's great stuff. But what really counts in sex is connectedness, both to other people and to our deeper selves, and that doesn't happen without emotional generosity. Let's take care of ourselves and each other, okay? Because, when all is said and done, Father Time is a hunk.

Simon Sheppard is the author of Kinkorama: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Perversion

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