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Generation gaps

“Age ain’t nothing but a number,” technically, but a notable gap can pose notable problems, as Dan can tell you.



Q My partner is 31 years older than I am. He'll be 60 when I'm 29. But that isn't the problem. The issue is he's been a lifelong bachelor and never been monogamous. He's fucked hundreds of women and is close friends with a lot of his former fuck buddies. Because of our four-year friendship before we hooked up, I know a lot about his sex life. The problem isn't jealousy—and it isn't knowing he's fucked every woman he's friends with or that he fucked someone else after declaring his love for me. It's that I know too much. We both feel vulnerable at times—him because I'm still in contact with one ex, and me because I feel like I'm fighting his past preference for no-strings-attached relationships. He tells me this relationship is different and he loves me in a way he hasn't loved anyone before. But I still feel like because of how many people he's been with, and how many of these amazing, beautiful, young fuck buddies are still in his life, I'll never attain any sort of primacy. —Notable Age Gap Gets In Newbie's Grill

A At some point in the future, your partner is going to be 60 and you're going to be 29, NAGGING, which means you're somewhere in your 20s and he's somewhere in his 50s, right? (Math is hard!) Answering your question without knowing your actual ages is difficult, because it makes a difference whether you're 21 and he's 52 (which means this man befriended you when you were a high-school student) or you're 28 and he's 59 (and you met this man after you got out of college). Likewise, it would help to know how long you two have been together. Three months? Three years?

Essentially, you're asking me to game out the odds for both long-term success and monogamous success (those are two different things), and that's hard to do without knowing your ages and how long you've been together. Because I would definitely give your relationship slimmer odds of long-term success if your partner were the kind of middle-aged man who befriends and eventually beds high-school students. Conversely, I would give your relationship fatter odds of long-term success if you were three years into it and your partner had been successfully monogamous.

That said, NAGGING, cheating and breakups regularly happen in the absence of significant age gaps and friendship networks composed exclusively of ex-fuck buddies. (Since people tend to partner with—and cheat on and be cheated on by—people in their same age demographic, cheating and breakups almost always happen in the absence of significant age gaps. But that is correlation, not causation—and sophistry, too!) There are no guarantees. Your partner may revert to non-monogamous form at some point and either cheat (boo!) or ask for permission to open up your relationship (yay?). You could find yourself in a caretaker role in 10-plus years and find yourself asking him for permission to open up your relationship. Or you guys could stay together and stay faithful until death comes for one of you—most likely your partner, leaving you plenty of time to hook up with your ex, if he's still available.

Oh, shit—I haven't answered your question. You'll obtain primacy—or realize you've already attained it—after a significant chunk of time has passed. So give it more time. Either it will work out or it won't. But even if this relationship isn't a long-term success, it can still be a short-term success. Good luck.

Q I'm 62 and happily married for 20 years to a sweet guy who doesn't seem particularly interested in sex any longer. We are open to allowing each other freedom, with full disclosure, and have done this. When I watch music videos of John Sebastian in his 20s, I cream my jeans. And I have noticed similar reactions to sweet, intelligent young men in their 20s and 30s. I don't necessarily discriminate on the basis of age and if a cute guy or gal in my age group came on to me, I'd consider the offer. But what I'd really like is a young man who finds me attractive and would be interested in seducing, or being seduced by, yours truly. —Wicked Older Woman

A A study you're not going to want to read and that I'm not going to cite—because it lumps people who are sexually attracted to the elderly together with people who are sexually attracted to prepubescent children—puts the percentage of people attracted to senior citizens at .15 percent of the population. That means there are more than 11 million gerontophiles of all ages out there. And there are probably a few non-gerontophile guys (and gals) out there who are willing to take a walk on the post-menopausal side. How to make it happen? The same way everyone else does: Get online and advertise for what you want (clearly and explicitly), and get out of the house (you never know who you'll meet).

Q My partner and I—both 40something males—had a threesome with a very cute 20something college student who approached us online. He considers himself straight and has a girlfriend, but he "has been wondering" about his sexuality. The evening went incredibly well, but he had the typical "curious guy" freak-out the day after. Texts and emails flooded in—he wanted (more) guarantees about our health status even though we played safe during sex. He said he told his girlfriend ("She was understanding but pissed!"). He also said that we could never get together again. Then he started drunk-texting us at night, offering to send us more sexy photos and talking about how much he wanted to see us again. Sober texts arrived in the morning apologizing for his drunken behaviour. Did we do this guy a disservice by engaging with him? —Curious Over Curious Kid

A It might look like you're not honouring the campsite rule ("Leave 'em in better shape than you found 'em") because this guy is a mess right now. But some queers can't seem to accept themselves—or even recognize themselves—until after a clarifying queer sexual encounter or three. In all likelihood, this 20something will one day look back at his "typical 'curious guy' freak-out" as an important part of his coming-out process as a gay or bi man. So you probably did him a favour.


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