As gay men get older, things start to get different than they used to be. There are some common older gay men facts of life that can present real problems. A common stereotype of an old gay man is that of a man that hasn’t had sex for years. Gays are often being represented by the cultural image of a beautiful and young person. As with any other human being, an older gay man has interest in having sex since this is biologically adapted to the human nature. Sex is not just an act, it is part of our own identity.
I came up with an interesting conclusion on the topic at hand after studying almost 20 books on the subject dating from 1996 and 2014. All of them had one thing in common, that is the sexuality of gay men who were 50 years old or more. I encounter that they have important problems. But they agreed that most of them are relatively equally happy than their non-gay counterparts when it comes to their sex life.
Some Older Gay Men Facts of Life
- Sadness and the Feeling of Loneliness. Over 50% of gay people who are 50 years old or more say they feel lonely. Their outlook is not positive. They live in a constant state of “melancholic yearning”. Many of them have had so many emotional losses that they experience grief very often.
- For straight men, loneliness can be fought back with marriage. There are more gay men single than there are straight men single. It is estimated that around 40 to 60% of gay men are single. Marriage for gay men has just been recently accepted. But is yet to be completely adopted without a feeling of shame by some of them. Although one may assume that gay marriage will provide this population with a more satisfied sex life. Data gathered is still insignificant to reach a conclusion.
- It is interesting to note that more than 33% of gay men have engaged in a straight marriage. Some of them still remain married. Even though this is socially accepted it isn’t probable that they can satisfy their sexual needs completely.
- There are many gay men with children. An exact estimate hasn’t been calculated. According to data, this number can be anywhere from 35 to 65%. While each person is a different world, many gay men have healthy relationships with their children and their grandchildren.
The majority of gay men are not married.
They have a solid social structure since they have a lot of relationships with the people in their social network. Some gay men have been rejected by their biological family due to their condition. For this reason, some of them have chosen a family that it’s not their original one. Utmost important factor they take into account when choosing one is the degree of emotional connection they feel with them.
Homophobia can be fought by feelings of connectivity and bonds of love. Belonging to one of such families gives the opportunity for gay men to overcome sadness and the feeling of loneliness.
The gay community places an important emphasis on beauty and youth. This can lead to emotional and psychological problems in older gay men. Can be often counteracted with healthy habits such as a good diet, exercise, and plastic surgery. In terms of brain health, it was once thought that the teenage years were the best for it. Now it is known that brain plasticity is always present and even some skills such as processing complex cognitive problems gets better as people age.
HIV is gay men’s worst nightmare. Any gay men regardless of age is at a high risk of contracting it or other STDIs. Also, and like all other people, heart issues, cancer, and other illnesses can arrive. It is known that up to 45% of gay men have either a chronic illness or disability. Sexual problems may also arise in older gay men. MAGs health and wellness is very important. Things such as milder erections and longer refractory periods between orgasms are common.
Both older and younger gay men have relatively the same sexual desire. In fact, their sexual pattern may be preserved until late adulthood. Around 75% of gay men said they feel happy with their sex life. Some of them reported having sex at least one time every week and masturbating.
Issues Facing Mature Gays
As the LGBT community ages, we are seeing the first generation of LGBTQI senior citizens who lived their lives publically LGBT, for at least a part of their adult lives. Because this is the first retiring group of LGBTQI citizens, we are able to see the challenges that are facing mature gay people in the United States today.
Approximately 20% of LGBT seniors are people of color, which includes black and Hispanic Americans.
That percentage is expected to double by the year 2050. Recent studies have shown the issues that aging LGBT people of color can be attributed to a lower household income, education being more difficult to attain, less social support, and higher levels of identity stigma.
In the LGBTQI community today, those who identify as bisexual make up over 50% of the total number of people. In the community that is over 65, those who identify at bisexual are numbered at only 1%. This is often said to be because of the higher stigma attached to bisexuality versus being just homosexual. Transgender community over age 65 is even smaller, percentage-wise.
Overall LGBTQI community over the age of 65, regardless of color or particular identifier regarding sexuality often suffers from economic insecurity once they reach retirement age. There are several reasons for this, including lack of legal or social recognition, discrimination throughout a lifetime, unrecognized for benefits as partners, and employment discrimination.
In the times prior to being legally recognized and able to marry same-sex partners, partners would be denied social security, benefits, health insurance and inheritances because they had no legal recourse to pursue the benefit. Despite spending a lifetime together as a couple, they would be turned down when applying for any benefits. Or pursuing retirement accounts and inheritance funds. This frequently meant when a partner passed away, the surviving partner was left with nothing.
Also, although federal law prohibits housing discrimination, only 20 states prohibit discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation when it comes to fair housing. This is a loophole that has commonly been used to deny same-sex couples affordable housing, even though it was a violation of federal law to do so.
As a result of these practices, today in the US, ⅓ of LGBT over the age of 65 live at up to 200% under the national poverty level. When looking at LGBTQI of color over the age of 65, that number leaps to 40% of those over the age of 65 living at 200% under the national poverty level.
There is a large percentage of senior LGBTQI U.S. citizens with no access to social security funds because their partners died before the freedom to marry was enacted. Despite living with a partner, and sometimes raising a family with that partner, they find themselves with nothing once that partner passes away.
LGBTQI in Poverty
The number of LGBTQI of color over 65 at 200% below the poverty level is a whopping 40% of the total senior LGBT population. This has multiple contributing factors, such as growing up in a time where family rejection was rampant once you were discovered to be gay. Many couples were flat out denied the opportunity to raise children together. Although the LGBTQI community has often provided a friend network in place of a family support system. We are seeing the aging gay population end up socially isolated because their friend network has started to die off, leaving them with no support system at all.
This has also been a big issue in the elderly LGBTQI community. Because these seniors are isolated, no children, no family to speak of, they make easy targets for abuse, especially when in an institutional setting. A lack of support system also means they are not being evaluated by family and loved ones for the signs of mental and physical illness. They are often in poor condition by the time social services or the medical community steps in to provide treatment for their illnesses.
Another financial issue is the HIV and AIDS crisis.
Because when these seniors were diagnosed and pronounced fatal, they no longer saved or planned for becoming elderly. But the antiretroviral market has extended the lives of those ill with HIV and AIDS by decades. So now these same ill seniors are without savings, without healthcare. And have often had a partner preceded them in death, usually by the same illness.