Sex Addiction. . . More, more, more . . .

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An addict will always get their fix, whatever obstacles are placed before them, and if your fix is sex then the internet is a dealers den. It’s not just immigration hoo-ha that is filling UK newspapers, but Prime Minister Cameron’s demand to block online porn, in ‘order to protect children’, bastard love-child of the so called ‘snoopers charter’.

We’ve heard this message before when homos were banged up in prison, before they were de-criminalised in 1967, in order to ‘protect children’ and that never worked as we weren’t peodophiles, but paid the price for ignorance. Nor will this, but that’s a different story, this blog is about sex addiction costing you more than money, and blocking porn isn’t the answer.

sex-addictionSince 60’s liberation, gay men have notoriously been labeled ‘promiscuous’, in much the same way that society called women that enjoyed sex ‘whores’. Neither viewpoints hold water, nor does a current study by the University of California, published last week, on the respected Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology site, pronouncing that “Sexual desire, not hypersexuality, is related to neurophysiological responses elicited by sexual images ( not sex addiction )”. 

This small study of 53 people ( including 13 females ) with no indication of sexuality preferences, has been panned from all quarters as meaningless, even though it hit headlines : in short, it concludes that sex addiction is a fallacy and people are just plain horny. Partners of sex addicts would certainly disagree, with this conclusion.

However, the rise of the internet, has increased opportunity for sexual exploration and therefore sexual compulsive behaviour can become unchecked. My view is that the internet has offered space for sexual and emotional discovery, that encourages the notion that sexuality is not so black or white, that developing grey areas of ‘men who have sex with men’ and bi-curious, have enlightened those who in the past were simply suppressed or confused.

However, sex addiction IS real. You know at least one sexual compulsive who needs more, more more, and it may be you. So where do you begin to arrest this condition? Let’s start here :

Cruise-Control-Weiss-Robert-9781555838218Robert Weiss in his book CRUISE CONTROL / Understanding Sex Addiction in Gay Men, writes on the topic of seeking a cure :

” Many people who read books like this one enter 12 Step programs, seek therapy, and check into treatment centers are seeking ” the answer”. They want to solve all their problems and answer all their questions – as if their addiction were an equation in a maths quiz.

Some will drop out or give up when they find out that they aren’t going to be cured once they figure it out. The problem is that they don’t actually want or know how to solve the problem; somehow they think that having that “Ah-ha” moment of understanding will be enough.

No amount of information is going to stop a sex addict from repeating patterns of problem behavior. You can only meaningfully change your behavior by taking deliberate, ongoing, active, and committed steps toward change. While this and previous chapters have described and discussed understanding sexual addiction, upcoming chapters will focus on creating change. As we move forward, we’ll learn how to make this happen one day at a time. But first, let’s consider how party drugs and other addictive substances become intertwined with sex addiction”.

Change occurs through action not just understanding, and recovery stems from acting out the unfamiliar. Maybe you are in an open relationship where goal posts keep changing or one wants more than discussed when it comes to boundaries. Yet the perception of sex addicts fisting themselves in a selfie or sauna sex salivation is also a fallacy, as as many kinds of sex addicts abound as the range of fetishes on a porn site. Often sexual compulsives are serial relationship finders believing that regular relationship sex will keep them away from pursuing addictive habits, but it rarely works.

mirror-man-150x150Most sex addicts hunt alone anonymously, while many are also romance addicts addicted to the chase, sexting, flirting, grooming, arranging and avoiding feelings of ‘being alone’ and seeking approval. Real approval comes from looking in your own mirror, not outside of it.

In recovery, healthily ‘being alone’ is essential in determining feelings of withdrawal, patterning and self valuation. Many support groups for sex addiction exist, check the net, or purchasing the book above, will at least acknowledge that sexual activity is getting out of hand and can be resolved.

Maybe some chems need to be dropped or reducing alcohol if you use frequently. We know that some things go together like apple pie and custard, but sex addiction also has it’s own companions : and you know what they are and where they lead.

Put a lid on it.

A-kettle-boiling-006Do you resort to the silent treatment when you are upset with someone or go hell for leather in a latin way? Is your stance to seethe like a boiling kettle or perhaps one volcanic eruption and it’s over?

Either way anger pushes buttons like grindr on speed dial. Don’t you just love people who express ‘passive aggressive’ under their tongue while ‘mopping & muttering’ cleaning the floor? This is likely to indicate “YOU should have done it”. Inter-personal relationships huh, no wonder they call them a “laboratory of learning”.

Passive aggressive types who can’t express in words what they want, really pushes buttons in those who do the volcanic eruption and it’s over. Trying to decode ‘shoulder shrugging’, ‘don’t know’, ‘not sure,’ ‘I’ll have what you’re having laziness’ can blow the whistle off any kettle in reaction, and there you have it – reacting – rather than responding, never works. Living with others who cause you to blow your top, making you feel irritated, ignored or victimised is difficult, but it’s even more difficult to accept that those feelings are not “given’ to you, you simply choose to employ them, because often you couldn’t get your own way.

Learning to accept the behaviour of others, rather than wish they acted out differently, is the key to emotional balance, and maybe anger is a luxury you can’t afford anymore. It always leaves you short changed. 12 Step Programme material talks about being ‘powerless over people, places and things’ which means we can only change our response to others, not change them. When you accept this at heart, it’s easier not to take things personally, if anger is around you. This reminds me of The 4 Toltec Agreements with Self, but the two that stand out for the solution to other peoples anger toward you, are these :

Don’t take Anything PERSONALLY. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality. When you become immune to the actions and thoughts of others, you won’t be a victim of needless suffering.

Don’t Make ASSUMPTIONS. Find the courage to quietly ask questions and express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings and thrust anger.

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Similarly another well read practiced tome, ‘A Course In Miracles (ACIM )’, states that “We are never upset for the reason we think”. This helped me a lot when in emotional turmoil about someone’s behaviour toward me. It stops me in my tracks to recall that what is happening in this moment, be it an angry client, or a late bus when I need it, is that getting angry is unlikely to make the bus arrive and that ACCEPTANCE is the answer to emotional wellness. This also means that when a client or friend is angry ‘they are never upset for the reason they think’ – it’s more about the unhealed back story. Whatever is unhealed in the past, like abandonment, abuse or guilt will resonate like a boiling kettle at some point. You just happened to be standing there. This does not mean that we avoid taking responsibility for our own actions, thoughts and behaviours – we are not exempt- but it does offer the facility to view the bigger picture of a quarrel or internalised angst.

Recovery from codependency also means creating boundaries in order to perceive a situation correctly. Checking out your role in someone’s anger toward you, means yes you might have responsibility here, so if you are wrong own it. If you feel ‘wronged’ question it, then recognise whether, this is ‘their stuff’ or ‘your stuff’. Getting defensive is not a solution but a fuller understanding of the bigger picture, including ‘you are never upset for the reason you think’, and not inviting debate, can end the game. Let feelings pass, see the facts and reconcile later.

larry-kramer-e1304350020598There are occasions where anger has relevance. I remember a time in the AIDS years when Larry Kramer rattled gay cages when he said ” gay men weren’t angry ENOUGH” over AIDS and created ACT UP in 1987, a direct action protest organisation over apathy to the solutions of friends dying, with the slogan SILENCE=DEATH. 78 years young, he is still is a fiery, angry, wonderful, beast of passion. So yes there are times when anger has a purpose! Some say we are not vocal enough about rising HIV rates when we live in a world of information about the virus, and the current rise of social media and armchair activism, though often criticised, has at least lent fervour to our spirit of injustice on world events.

Perhaps we need more Larry Kramers’s to remind us of our silence, where it’s wise to express anger and if WE don’t do it – who will?

http://blogcritics.org/book-review-the-four-agreements-by/

http://acim.org in many languages.

This blog of mine was first published in HIM-MAG on October 1st 2013 : http://www.him-magazine.com/2013/10/01/put-a-lid-on-it/

Cory Monteith post ‘Glee’

Cory-Monteith-Died-Glee-620x350There is always a back story. The sudden death of ‘Glee’ actor Cory Monteith, brings home the disease of addiction to the breakfast table. While you munch on muesli, someone is overdosing in an ambulance or comatose on meth, or in rehab truly believing they really have consumed their last drug. They haven’t. It’s a bit like a road accident, it always happens to someone else, until it happens to you. Not only do we think we are exempt from such precarious scenarios, but we expect rich, famous, talented people to be exempt too, after all money and fame solve everything don’t they?

Addiction has been referred to as ‘the disease that tells you, you haven’t got it’, and even being aware you have it, is no insurance. Born in 1982, the year Betty Ford opened her celebrity clinic, 31 years old Cory has now peacefully passed away from the accolades, the internal struggles and the sheer pain of not being able to stop using. In March this year he voluntarily entered rehab for substance addiction yet again, to delve through his back story, not a new exercise for Cory as his first rehab stint was age 19.

Leaving school at 16, the teenager with obvious drink and drug problems escalating at speed, coupled with kleptomania, compulsively stealing from family and friends until a family intervention occurred, to face his malaise. Stealing and getting away with it, has the same high as the compulsive gambler at the tables or city lawyers hoovering lines in a toilet at work, in order to cope with work pressures. Thinking no one knows or that you have got away with it is a buzz, but addiction is not choosy who it holds hostage, any age or social strata, as many will testify. Cory famously said in an interview, ” I was done fighting myself – I finally said, “I’m gonna start looking at my life and figure out why I’m doing this”.

MediaAssetsHands in the air, how many times have you heard someone say that? How many times have you sighed in frustration, like those close to Cory, the patient girlfriend, the family, the co-workers, the friends? WHEN will he get it? . . . perhaps, when will YOU get it? Maybe he did get it, maybe he had abstained for a period and relapsed his illness. We don’t know the back story.

Drugs and alcohol are not addictive, despite what governments tell us, multi millions consume daily without the need for attention, but those with an addictive personality need an alarm clock. WAKE UP! No point in explaining who they are, the risk-takers, boundary breakers, the chaos living clones who crash and burn, the secret silent users, and those who continue to act out compulsively with sex, workaholicism or food.

This is the illness of addiction, when self harm defies reason. They just can’t help themselves and push away anyone that judges. When I was bang at it I was oblivious to the harm I was causing. There was always an unspoken ‘incident’, another drama, or a repetitive pattern of low esteem with fix and rescue me escapades in motion. It becomes tedious to witness harm that people around addicts face daily, feeling helpless.

defusable-alarm-clockMany gay men remain heavy users of recreational drugs, including alcohol, but thankfully most never reach chronic addiction, they WAKE UP! and redress behaviours en route to avoid crisis. I didn’t. I worked the drug of denial until 1982, the year Cory was born, surrendering my addictions in that year, after my eighth relapse, on the cusp of death.

Then I got it : I could never safely use drugs & alcohol again, though I humbly acknowledge that it’s not been an easy road, but it was essential to begin the process of living a gay life without drink and drugs, or die a junkie. I’ve been miraculously clean for the whole of Cory’s lifetime, and seen hundreds of addicts die, it comes with the territory. I have not done it alone, and nor should you, but still remain vigilant, blessed and hopeful that recovery continues, for staying clean is not a given. Many addicts relapse after a clean period and overdose as the body can’t handle the new intake. My friend Tim, 26 years old, came out of treatment, got 4 months clean and did heroin. He was found by his brother slumped over the breakfast table dead after one hit. He took the gamble and lost, maybe Cory did the same?

My heartfelt thoughts go out to Cory’s partner, family, friends and inner circle while they absorb the shock. To value life, our friends, our GLEE and our inner strengths to carry this through, it’s wise to check your back story. Take stock often. Make changes. Seek help.

This blog of mine first appeared on GuySpy.com on July 15th 2013, 2 days after Cory’s death : http://www.guyspy.com/cory-monteith-post-glee/

Him-Magazine JULY ‘HEROES’ Issue : We Can Be Heroes, Just For One Day

davidbowie_lifestyle_jul13London, England, is lucky enough this summer to be privy to a major retrospective of Bowie: David Bowie is… the biggest sell-out show in the Victoria & Albert (V&A) Museum’s history! It sold out online for the whole four month run, with Five-Star reviews from the media critics. Tickets were only available in limited slots if you visited the museum on the day, so I was lucky to view my own personal history walking around, remembering coming out, broken relationships, pills and clubbing to Bowie’s tracks. His major anthem always was, and still is for me… Heroes… “We can be Heroes, Just for one day.”

The beginning of the exhibition features a collage of influences surrounding teenage David Jones (later Bowie), including the impact of Yuri Gagarin’s first human journey into Outer Space and the Russian Sputnik floating above the ether. Gagarin must have been a hero to a 14 year-old David as much as anyone else, especially as he wrote “Space Oddity” at age 22 in 1969, creating the fictional “Major Tom” spaceman character that became his signature, his vision and legacy. During the same year, Neil Armstrong was the first human to walk on the moon, while fierce gays and trannies at the Stonewall Inn bar refused to be walked all over by police raid brutality, sowing seeds of the Gay Liberation Movement. Heroes, all of them. Checking out the music, costumes and memorabilia dragged me back to a gay life pre-AIDS, when open hard sexuality was the drug of choice. Clones, tartan shirts, bathhouses and above all — hirsute chunks of men – became as ubiquitous as the Marlboro man.

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When it came to therapy work in the 80’s, everything was new; addictions, treatment centers, codependency and empowerment became buzzwords, but you only entered these portals of personal development if you had AIDS or were mentally unbalanced. Looking inward was deemed unnecessary in the UK; that was for Americans and their “shrinks” and “Celebrity Rehab” hadn’t started and we had no idea that the worst was yet to come. Before burn-out, I spent two years on an HIV project working with people holding CD4 counts under 50, mostly under 20, who were just preparing to die.

When you think of the media version of a hero it’s easy to recall a man diving into a pond to rescue a drowning puppy, yet the real heroes of those years were those affected by HIV/AIDS who taught the value of everything, including hope, gratitude, true friendship and dignity. A true gift for those left behind in the darkest of times.

supermanbatman_lifestyle_jul13For many gay men, the most heroic stance is to come out. Therapists refer to the “inner child” as a recovery tool, and the discovery of toxic shame connected to a differing sexuality, family of origin and the impact on adult inter-personal relationships, but I always encourage people to find their own ‘inner hero’ because it’s very easy to pass over, ignore or overlook the courage it took to come out. Heroes Gagarin and Armstrong were trained to float around outer space, yet few teenagers are trained to come out, so it is truly heroic when they do.

The “inner hero” decides inside, awaiting an opportunity to reveal itself, all those occasions when you thought you would’t make it, but you did. When you made changes and took risks, you ultimately won out. Coming to terms with your self and a differing sexuality is as brave as Superman flying across the skies, and not all gay men get off the ground. This is where therapy can assist you to teach the bird to fly.

Bravery is also required when leaving an abusive relationship; when the odds are against you. It takes courage to rescue yourself, instead of waiting for someone to come and rescue you; to be scooped up in Superman’s arms and held safe. Many men wait to be chosen, rather than choosing themselves, awaiting rescue “by a great dark man” as Quentin Crisp put it; either online or in real spaces. This tale of a damsel in distress is an epidemic in the lives of gay men. One plays the victim, the other the fixer.

The victim who has less feels held and safe but inadequate, and fixer gets off on the  control they have due to the codependent nature of the relationship. Eventually, a stalemate is reached and couples counselling is suggested and taken up. It’s at this stage with a counselor as the intervener, that truth begins to unravel, failings honored, observed and owned. Not many couples are brave enough to take this adult route to save themselves. It may look like the therapist is acting as rescuer, but a good one will not be trained to fix clients, but allow clients to fix themselves. When this occurs the “inner hero” unleashes, boundaries begin to be respected and esteem is raised, even if the outcome is not to one partners agenda, but honesty and acceptance is far more heroic than rescuing a puppy.

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You can read my monthly article here in original form here : http://www.him-magazine.com/2013/07/01/we-can-be-heroes-just-for-one-day/

Sacrifice

Before chems became the main course and not the starter, GAY MEN’S HEALTH was all about not catching the lurgee, the gay plague bestowed upon us by an unknown force and according to Donna Summer in the ’80’s, it was the Lord himself shouting down from above – no more bum fun for you lot. Sacrifice your pleasures. While we are on the subject of anal temptation, ask any straight boy how they like it and it’s up the botty every time. Not their own of course, that’s for late night net chat fantasies, no it’s how they like to feel the force with a lady, so it’s not just prime homo territory as people assume. In the 1930’s anal penetration was grounds for hetero divorce in the courts and I gather was more popular than adultery when it came to sealing the deal.

You would think by the amount of HIV related material rammed down our throats for over 20 years, that it’s the only disease we suffer from. All government funding around HIV/AIDS began to dry up in the mid-nineties from the HIV pot when combos came in in 1996, it was combos or support services, not both, so fundees hunted around and found excess cash in the Mental Health budget to continue filling the AIDS industry coffers. PACE popped up, other agencies appeared but still the main focus remains HIV/AIDS. Even PACE’s strapline still says . . . sex, relationships & HIV. This serves to collude with the notion that HIV is the main issue for gayers when in fact (as any prison or hospital will tell you) alcohol and drug abuse is the REAL issue for individuals. So in order to serve the PC world of funding, we put the cart before the horse. No one dare speak of the elephant in the room, the love that dare not speak it’s name: we take too many drugs.

The amount of gay addicts around is very small compared to a majority who know they do “too much”, and it’s this grouping that maybe needs to consider a more purposeful approach to getting trashed.

No one wants to stop the party – just leave earlier, it’s an easy sacrifice to make. Many Doctors remain frustrated that recreational drug use is compromising the work of combos, that gay mental health is only brought up when a G overdose is mentioned, that Hep C amongst gay men is rising fast within those with positive status. Places like PACE can attract those already interested in the healing process, and it’s good that they exist but that big majority who do “too much” would rather eat a snakes cock that present themselves at those hallowed doors, or enter a support group.  If this was not true, PACE would not need a big ad budget to promote and sign people up for FREE workshops – the queue would already be there.

The reality is that groups are just not AD FAB enough, nor is the concept of self observation of any kind. The scene is being dominated by induced emotions via chems, unsafe sex is being acted out via alcohol, dry cleaning fluid, horse tranquilliser and home made meth factories : not really what Oscar Wilde had in mind is it?. Doesn’t it make sense to reduce the stuff we put in our bodies before we stuff someones brain out?

Just because I haven’t used chems or alcohol since the early ’80’s, does not delete me from debate. In order to stay alive I needed to sacrifice, let go, wake up and create my own place in the gay arena without chemical support.

It was hard at first, living with Chronic Active Hep B, a virus 100 times more infectious than HIV, as an unknown supercarrier infecting other gay men for 12 years without any symptoms myself. When I finally stopped using and drinking, my cirrhosis scarred liver worsened into liver failure again and again. My eventual recovery without medication of any kind, plus a lot of personal development and breathwork therapy, released the Hep B virus in 1996 from my body, the same year combos arrived for those suffering with the impact of the HIV virus.

So I know it’s possible to change lifestyle, thought patterns and habits.

The keyword is SACRIFICE. Now I know that sounds a bit religious but the truth is that if we reduced our intake of chems, became consciously responsible enough to wear condoms and drank less, the HIV figures would tumble. Yet the services available and the funding required for drug & alcohol support agencies, especially gay ones, is a piss in the ocean compared to the HIV gravy train.

The cart before the horse is not going to win the race. No one is suggesting stopping the booze or avoiding coke but jesus, look at yourselves. Without checking out yourself and taking action, denial will remain a constant companion and its a difficult friend to drop, but without the concept of sacrifice we will not survive the turmoil. The credit crunch has woken us up to debt and if banks carry out the threat of hiking up the minimum payment for credit cards then many gayers are going to have to change address, gone away, address not known.

If each gayer reduced intake of substances, relationships would change, depression and comedowns would be lessened and people could stand a chance of finding themselves again. I can’t safely use again, I crossed that magic line into addiction, but you can check out your habits and reduce party pleasure before the future need to checkin to a rehab. It just takes a little sacrifice on your part, a little practice each day to create a big result. Start making a list now of where to begin this worthwhile journey of consciousness and personal responsibility.

Empowerment

In the ’80’s Empowerment was bigger than big hair, and our Joanie as Alexis Carrington led the way. Big hair, big power shoulders and big drama on Dynasty had us hooked and at the same time our m8s were going down like flies to AIDS so the buzz word was EMPOWERMENT. At this time I was undergoing my own drama’s – recovering from active addiction, personal bankruptcy, cirrhosis of the liver plus living and dying with chronic active Hepatitis B Virus that had no cure. This is how I came to empower myself.

Every AIDS movie had to have 2 props, one was a token screaming queen and the other a copy of Louise L. Hay’s YOU CAN HEAL YOUR LIFE on the bedside cabinet. If you don’t believe me watch Philadelphia, the 1993 Tom Hanks movie.

When the book was published in 1984 she began creating and leading support groups for people living with HIV/ AIDS – she called these ” Hay Rides ” – for around 300 gay men who were told they were about to die. I got sent the book in 1984 from a friend in San Diego along with an AIDS tape with a guided meditation which I used every night for 3 years. By 1990 I hit the big 50 mark of people I knew who had died of AIDS, many gay recovering addicts and alcoholics with immune systems too weak to withstand longevity, then I stopped counting cases and going to funerals. Between 1994 -96 I worked with people who had a CD4 count under 10 and many in single figures. I assisted those dying in completing this lifetime but many are still alive today with combos, but combos are not empowering unless you HEAL YOUR LIFE alongside it – habits will return unless observed with intent for change.

During the 80’s you only had therapy if you had AIDS or experienced breakdown. Now we talk more about harm reduction rather than waiting to crash and burn. Therapy is now the stuff of glossy mags and pub talk but many still see therapy as fashionable nonsense rather than EMPOWERMENT. Look at Alexis – she powered herself on the outside – Big Shoulders, Big Eyes, Big Ambitions. Well it may get you noticed but it won’t get you sane. The birth of Muscle Marys came out of AIDS when young men became skin and bone before our eyes so we began to bulk up & beef up, but Empowerment comes from having the courage to look inside and not being concerned with the wrapping. Aussiebums never healed ANY life to my knowledge, but therapy has saved millions to balanced thinking & living.

Although parts of the book may feel too New Age and dated now, you cant deny that it has sold 35 million copies in over 30 languages and is still on the New York Times Best Seller List 25 years later. Louise wrote about Empowerment as a natural act and rather surprised that people hadn’t cottoned on to this simplicity – that thoughts are creative. If your mind or lifestyle is crammed and speedy look upon therapy of any kind, including bodywork, as a speed-bump that slows you down to a code of observation. Only by observation can you empower yourself or to put it another way – you can’t get well until you realise how sick you are.

You may ask yourself whether you are a grab-it-all like Alexis powering through with rancidity, swinging those big shoulders to the left and right barging through. Perhaps you have chosen to sound like this but the power is all show because when it comes to saying NO to someone, you always say YES to keep the peace. Maybe you think you are empowered being in a VIP area or on a guest list. You may also may want to check the fuel you use to power the engine.

This weeks REHAB exercise is to ask friends how they see you. Quentin Crisp always said that the most interesting thing about a person starts with ” the trouble with you is . . . So don’t ask your friends how good you are, cut to the chase and ask ” so what’s the trouble with me . . .?  Learning not to take criticism personally and taking it on the chin as constructive feedback is real empowerment. So take a breath, listen & learn.

Queer Ageing

Back in the days of ’50/60’s homo criminalisation they used to sing ” Nobody loves a Fairy when she’s Forty ” but now the internet is awash with Daddies, Bears and Spanking GrandDads – thankfully nobody needs to look like Cher anymore to still be in the game.

A report came out in 2010 about the upward trend of older users of recreational drugs suggesting on evidence that people over fifty just ain’t gonna give it up for health concerns or abstain which is why the government stance on harm reduction is one of last resort. We also know that many gayers well over 40 sit at home on Gaydar with tina or chemical friends for companion. One wonders when Addison Lee will get a STONEWALL Award for services to the community, delivering all that gear, but the majority of older gayers just wanna have fun or the fun to continue sanely.

However, myths and negative stereotypes concerning older gayers still exist but the old chestnut of being depressed, isolated, desperate, sexless and predatory is fading fast. We have the internet to thank for that. Most research confirms that growing older as gay or str8 is not much different, embracing or ignoring life changes, but noting that any person who hasn’t adjusted well to other aspects of life won’t adjust well to ageing either. I think that by nature of the beast, gayers are better prepared for ageing having lived independently, are in the habit of socialising with many more different strands of society and are not dependent on grandchildren in later years to provide distraction from retirement. Being lonely in old age was always the fear thrust upon us by society when in reality it is older str8s that now realise that access to grandchildren are not a given anymore, with family break-ups, divorce and low marriage statistics in the mix.

In 1978 Bell & Weinberg ( Homosexualities : A Study of Diversity Among Men and Women ) found that lesbians and gay men were more likely to have a network of close friends than heterosexuals. They postulate that heterosexuals are more likely to be involved in family interactions as opposed to outside friendships. Integration into a homosexual community is an important factor in the adaptation of older male homosexuals, as the community of friendships is important to the gay and lesbian throughout the lifespan, it continues, they are not dependent on family for their emotional support and needs. This is important for several reasons. First, gays and lesbians are much less likely to experience an ” empty nest syndrome” as support already comes from outside the home. Second, the community affords older gays and lesbians the opportunity to meet new people and socialise. As the homosexual community is usually noted for its diversity, older individuals have the opportunity to socialise with a wide range of individuals, young and old. In addition, work relations usually do not make up the majority of personal contacts outside the home, thus, upon retirement, the network of friends remains relatively unchanged. The establishment of friendship networks appears to make the ageing process EASIER for gays and lesbians”.

Now if this was the conclusion in 1978, before Gay Pride, before the reduction in Age of Consent, before the Internet and before Elton came out, post marriage as a gayer, then we are streets ahead in senior age management in the new century. Civil Partnership will not have much effect on ageing, except that men no longer need to stay in a dysfunctional relationship to avoid loneliness in later years. The rush in the first year of being able to ” marry ” was mostly existing long term relationships in mature years already. Thankfully, couples will chose to marry for reasons, other than fear of ageing. Middle age gayers now have other options, not so widely available in 1978, worshiping the post-clubbing Gay Holy Trinity – Travel, Therapy & Interior Design to fill those autumn years.

When AIDS took the Daddies away in the 80’s/90’s, an emotional wound remained until time took it’s course after combo’s in 1996. Rarely then did young gay men freely admit they fancied Dads, hairy bodies or leadership in direction, yet it was obvious that once the fad for smooth bods lessened and gay men shopped around a bit on fetish sites or XTube, older suddenly became wiser. Now the rise of big muscle bears, silverdaddies.com and even mature escorts prove that the hunger for wisdom is being satisfied. Not all guys want a hot bod, many just want to be held in silence by older hands. But it is our minds and thought patterns that remain the biggest enemy, when projecting fear with procrastination on greying hair, if any remains of course. On asking a client whether he had many older friends he replied ” I don’t know anyone gay over 35 because I don’t sleep with anyone over 35 “.

So there you have it, and I doubt whether he is the only one.