Recently, my dating/sexual experiences have segued into areas I’ve not previously experienced – and they all reflected the sexual loneliness of city-based men in their early 50s.
The first man told me that this was his first foray back into the dating world since the death of his long-term partner only a few weeks before. The next day, his messages flowed, for it seemed he saw me as his potential new partner.
I then received multiple downloads of photos of him and his late partner during happy days, but then the ‘selfies’ of himself and the dead partner’s body appeared. I understood the passion and grief he retained for his dearly departed, but to share them after a once-off sexual encounter was an unprecedented surprise in my life. Overwhelming loneliness was very apparent.
Loneliness and Isolation
Not long after, I was approached on another of my online dating apps by an interested man who began by saying that he first needed to talk to me on the phone. He was from a broken gay relationship and was now homeless. I appreciated his honesty and discussed the issues. Again, it was loneliness, isolation and missing intimacy that was in the forefront.
My third encounter was with an overseas businessman. In our afterglow, he unloaded his life situation where a sexless marriage with no kids led him to juggle multiple mistresses with a dip into the gay world whenever he travelled.
These unlikely but actual examples of the diversity of same-sex attracted men reminded me that the gay male world is not as homogenous as we might think and that we inhabit all echelons of society. Our leading mental health issues – loneliness, lack of intimacy and isolation – are unfortunately also abundant throughout all communities.
Surprisingly, dating apps have now become a lifeline where ‘forgotten’ same-sex attracted men can begin their journey out of isolation. They’re being used by these older, less obvious same-sex attracted individuals who value and seek intimacy, relationships and friendships, too. These men may lack some social skills and may focus all too quickly and intently on the person who shows initial interest, yet through these apps, they have a functioning conduit to meet other same-sex attracted men.
To all the ‘fringe’ users of dating apps, I applaud your initiative and courage in seeking better days. May the next ‘click’ be the partner you’ve dreamed about – or at least offer you good sex, intimacy and potential friendship.