While most depictions of gay men would lead us to believe that all gay men are young, hairless and perfectly sculpted and looking for other equally young and equally picturesque young men, that simply isn’t the case. Take for instance Christopher Turner, the founder of Daddyhunt.com and the beloved husband of author Armistead Maupin. Here Turner explains the allure of older men and the importance of the internet and sites like Daddyhunt.com in fostering diversity within our community.
MS: How did you come up with the idea for Daddyhunt.com?
Turner: I first started a site 5 years ago called hotoldermales.com and that was an online thing for gay men over 40 and admirers -“ porn and personals and all that stuff -¦ The reason I thought about starting the site originally was that I had always been attracted to men who were older than myself and I always felt there was a lot of ageism in the gay community. I always felt that people would assume I was looking for a sugar daddy or that it was weird that I was into older guys. So, it was somewhat of a critical statement on my part to say it was okay to be attracted to guys over 40 and it is also okay to be over 40. So many men have trouble getting older because there is so much pressure to stay young and pretty. To my amazement, this little site I started as a hobby really took off.
MS: What is the significance of Daddyhunt.com for the gay community?
Turner: I am kind of amazed because it does seem to be having an impact in the way that people feel about older guys. Porn companies are starting to do more titles with older, daddy-type guys in them. They are even casting guys that we use in our videos. I’m really amazed and proud that this could help make it a little easier for guys who are just struggling with getting older. So much of the gay community tells us that your life is over after 25 and I just don’t believe that. I, personally, have never been attracted to young pretty boys. I know there is a type for that, but I think it is hot to see a masculine, hairy older guy. It is not so unusual in the straight world either -“ you look at somebody like Sean Connery or Harrison Ford. There’s all kinds of men in Hollywood who are older guys [that are] considered sexy.
MS: You mentioned seeing the website have a noticeable impact. What impact have you noticed sites like Daddyhunt having on queer culture?
Turner: Before the Internet, all we really had was mainstream media to tell us what was okay and who we were supposed to be attracted to and who we were supposed to date. I really think the Internet is brilliant at allowing people to communicate with each other and put their ideas out there -¦ I remember listening to a radio show on National Public Radio here in America about the impact of the Internet in China. There was a Chinese man who said he was from a small town and he was gay and he didn’t really know of anyone else who was gay. He was told he was the only one in the world and he was suicidal. He ended up getting online and finding all these gay resources and all these people out there. He ended up moving to a bigger city. It changed his life to be able to connect other people who were telling their stories. I think it is really powerful that we can put these things out there.
MS: What’s the role of classification in your websites?
Turner: That’s one of the brilliant things about the Internet -¦ you can really put out there what you are looking for not only sexually, but emotionally, and what your personal interests are. I think it is great that people can classify themselves sexually as well as talk about things like HIV status or other things they might be a little shy to talk about if they met someone face to face in a bar.
MS: Do you have any juicy stories of your website bringing people together?
Turner: We currently have a video interview of a couple who met on the site up, and we have used them as two of our couples models. They are a really sweet, articulate couple, Chris and Robert -“ one of them is 52 and the other is 22 or 23. I had actually known Robert from before. He lives in New York, and I was really surprised to hear he had met this great young guy on the site and they had been together for about 10 months and things seemed to be going great -¦ Besides that, I keep getting messages from people, different guys, about how they met someone on the site. So, I know it is really happening.
I think some gay sites, dating sites are more towards the -˜hook up now’ end of the spectrum and some are more towards the dating end. We try to be more in the middle, so guys can get on there and just hook up, but we also tried to create a friendly, open community, so that guys interested in dating can be on there. We require people to post pictures up front because I think people are more friendly if they see pictures up front.
MS: Any final thoughts?
Turner: I know that when I mention the name Daddyhunt, people assume it might be some sort of fetish, and even a lot of guys I know who like older guys say they don’t really want to get on there because they are not into the whole daddy leather thing. I just want to clarify that ostensibly it is just a place that is not ageist. It is not supposed to be for any particular fetish or any particular daddy voice. There are all kinds of guys on there -“ older guys looking for younger guys, younger guys looking for older guys, older guys looking for each other. I just wanted to clarify that it is not any particular senior fetish. We are just trying to create a place on the Internet that is not ageist.

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