This post is dedicated to gay intergenerational relationships. By this term I refer not to the relationship between gays of different ages within the limits of 10/15 years, but just to the relationship between gays who could be father and son, that is with age differences of the order of 25/30 years and over. The issue is very serious and not marginal and is often addressed on the basis of prejudice.
If a father finds out that his twenty years old son is gay and has a companion more or less the same age, even today, needs to make a great effort to accept the situation, but if a father finds out that his son twenty years old is gay and has a and has a “boyfriend” fifty five years old the reaction is very different and the interpretation of the relationship between a guy twenty years old and a man fifty five years old is conducted entirely on parameters arising from prejudice, what is excusable because the father lacks of the experience and of all of the categories necessary for evaluating such a situation “from within”.
The interpretation usually follows this pattern:
“My son is a weakling, it is true, he is gay, but he might find at least a guy his age, but this man deceived him and took advantage of him and my son is now no longer able to get out of this situation. I do not know how can a grown man take advantage of a boy who could be his son, such things are pathological. That man ruined my son. “
All the reading of the facts is centered on the idea that the older man “takes advantage” of the younger for sexual purposes and that the youngest cannot resist and ends up “to collapse”.
This interpretive scheme is widespread, even among gays, who tend to read intergenerational relationships in this way because (as the parent) they completely lack of realistic categories to interpret it correctly.
But let’s get to what emerges from interviews with gay guys. It is obviously easier to meet in chat the youngest members of the intergenerational couples, but when I am contacted by guys who live intergenerational relationships I’m never asked for help and I never hear expressions of discomfort. It never happened. I find on the contrary a desire of the guy to be accepted and to be understood without prejudices for what he is. In practice, in almost all cases, the guys realize that they could very easily get out of the intergenerational relationship, that perhaps that relationship creates more problems to their older partners than to them and that their being “a couple” is a deep disvalue in the eyes of society and also of the gays themselves.
These guys do not feel at all haunted by their partners who often tend rather to let them go because of fear of affecting their lives so heavily. In these relationships, if you look at them closely, there is no plagiarism, there is no taking advantage of the possible weakness on the part of the younger guys, who anyway know very well that entering into relationships of this type they are going sharply against the current way of seeing sexuality.
These guys do not “collapse” but are rather looking for a relationship with older people, relationship that is consciously wanted and above all has for them a profound significance not only generally affective but explicitly sexual.
A gay guy, in general, takes for granted that you can be gay, and doesn’t understand why this thing seems unnatural to a hetero guy and is inclined to think that straight people are dominated by prejudices which can be summarized in a simple reasoning: ” I have my own sexuality which is the right one, who has a sexuality different from mine is a degenerate”, but the same gay guy unconsciously uses the same reasoning to evaluate gay intergenerational relationships.
I often hear comments like this: “But it happens because he doesn’t know guys his age, if he knew gay guys his age he would come out easily of this situation.” In this view of things intergenerational relationships are a symptom of a disorder of sexuality (homosexuality, in particular) and the attendance of young guys is medicine. But these arguments do not take into account the fact that these guys have deliberately chosen the more difficult path and they did not because they didn’t know guys their age but because their sexual orientation is really another.
I try to explain. These guys have lived like all other gay guys many moments of social nudity (changing rooms, showers, gyms, swimming pools), but their reactions, in those situations, were not those of other gay guys in analogous situations. A gay guy usually in such situations is sexually excited but to these guys it doesn’t happen. These are guys that are often not labeled as gay because their behavior towards their peers is very similar to that of a straight guy, but they feel sexual arousal in situations where usually a gay guy is totally indifferent. A classic example: a gay guy in a school environment, finds a cause for excitement and sexual fantasies in his mates, but there are gay guys who make their sexual fantasies about their teachers and not about the younger ones.
A category of pornography, the pornography so-called “mature”, is not addressed to mature men who want to get aroused using images of other mature men but mostly to young guys who are interested in mature men. I emphasize that it is a true primary sexual interest, that is not an attempt to resolve a difficult sexuality with the peers. The guys interested in older men have developed this interest from the beginning and have not noticed any change in their sexuality over time. Debate about the reason of this sexual orientation is essentially like asking why there are gays and this is the battleground of a thousand possible theories all apparently rational.
From what I can see, guys interested in older men are very often guys who don’t have friends, who live in a very intolerant family environment and have therefore a strong emotional hunger. I have often heard comment intergenerational relationships in a way that seems realistic in the abstract, that is, as a kind of sacrifice of one’s sexuality to deep emotional needs. Basically a very lonely guy, finds an adult partner who gratifies him at the emotional level and would sacrifice his sexuality to the affective need, in practice “accepting” a relationship with someone much older, up to the sharing of sexuality .
This reasoning, however, strikes against the evidence of the facts: these guys are really sexually satisfied in relationships with older men and have no desire to change anything, rather they want to build with their partners long-term relationships and generally it is here that they encounter the first major problems both socially and at the level of very hesitant psychological reaction by their partners, of which they can’t even find any reason. The guys involved in gay intergenerational relationships often feel misunderstood and are really considered in terms of perversion and often, though aware of their sexuality, live with great suffering their relationships
When a gay guy sexually interested in older men makes his declaration of love to a gay adult, he knows to be exposed to dangers and bad experiences, but the sense of loneliness and alienation that he experiences is such that makes him able to overcome the hesitations. They have to face a negative response that in these cases is almost the rule, because an old gay man, even though he may be sexually interested in a young man has a thousand impediments that keep him back, not least the sense of fatherhood that almost automatically takes over and that is experienced in conflict with sexual involvement.
In any case, it only makes sense to tell the truth by putting aside any preconceptions and keep in mind that say no in such a situation means deeply hurt a guy and send him back in his substantial emotional loneliness. In a future post I’ll try to address the issues of the gay intergenerational relationships from the point of view of the older person who experiences these situations, but here, I would like to analyze the point of view of mature men who say “no”.
Usually, a person saying “no” tries to give his saying a moral value, to say: “I say “no” because I’m not a pervert like that guy” or “I say “no” because even though I’d like to be with him I don’t want to ruin his life.” In fact, saying “no” is dictated by much more trivial motives. In essence, the older man says “no” because he’s afraid that the guy would sooner or later find his way or because, even more brutally, such relationships are not socially accepted. In general, those who say “no” avoid getting involved at any level, in other words they escape trying to cut ties and “save themselves” because in reality they consider the situation essentially pathological.
For a senior or a mature man, to feel involved in the affective level in an intergenerational relationship can be an opportunity for an experience similar to that of fatherhood and can have, even putting aside all sexuality, important aspects of gratification. And it’s possible to love each other so deeply even without mutual sexual involvement or setting deliberately limits, if the sincerity and mutual acceptance is total. To love is to first understand and accept. I conclude with a quote from James Baldwin: “There’s nothing here to decide, here’s everything to accept.”