You’re 70, you’re a gay man, you’re mourning the death of your long-term male partner. You’ve never dated or had sex with any other man.

“Andrew, you need to get laid,“ said his gay friend John. “I’ll set up your profile.”

Andrew met the love of his life at age 16 when a visiting salesman, 14 years his senior, swept him off his feet. He didn’t know whether he was gay or not – but the sex was good, the feeling of trust and security was palpable, and so they set up home in the suburbs – and like many gay couples in the ‘illegal’ nineteen seventies, disappeared into obscurity.

“Top, bottom, versatile? Any kinks? What about role play – and your age range?”

John was in full flight…

“And of course, we’ll knock a decade off your real age. You can host – the married guys will like that. Dick pic, please. What do you mean you’ve never taken one?”

Being new hook-up meat, the messages soon began arriving, and though hesitantly at first, Andrew did open his door to men he liked the look of. He felt odd when strangers exposed their nakedness to him but all too soon the feel and aroma of each new man became intoxicating and something he increasingly looked forward to. Soon he was ‘making up for lost time’ hosting tradies at sunrise to married men late-afternoon. He rarely said no, whatever the hour. He felt desired for being himself, of being an active part of a secret community of lovers. I was privileged to be one of those lovers.

Inevitably, he reached sexual saturation – “I never, ever want to see another cock in my life. I’m over it!he texted.

As a result, Andrew began reassessing his life. He realised the need for balance between lust and sensuality, where casual sex doesn’t mean a lifetime commitment, where conversation and a dinner date can happen after the sexual urges have been put to rest, and where there is a friendly camaraderie with other like-minded gay and bi men. And where he no longer has to hide in the shadows and be anything less than who he authentically is.

Whether another love-of-his-life comes along again only time will tell. But for now, let’s welcome home long-lost-in-the-suburbs Andrew to our mainstream community of gay men. Coming out at 70 wasn’t easy but neither was hiding in the suburbs.

*Andrew and John – not their real names

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