Vice, Mel, Slate, GQ, them. In an interview with New York magazine, an anonymous gay man told reporter E. Alex Jung that whenever he would describe his sexual relationship with Spacey to friends, he would include a caveat. While pursuing my first significantly older boyfriend, I too remember thinking that we were on equal playing fields sexually and intellectually. The beautifully rendered gay love story just happens to feature a seven-year age gap, and portrays the ideal of a relationship with a significant age difference.
How do gay culture and society at large feel about the boys, teens and men who pine for older lovers? And how do these boys, teens and men navigate the taboo nature of their own desires?
Some studies suggest that gay and straight men have similar age preferences when it comes to partners. With one important distinction: More masculine gay guys seem to prefer younger men, and those who identify as more femme desire older partners. A more recent study by Facebook, however, found that partners in both gay and lesbian couples tend to have much higher age gaps than their heterosexual counterparts.
Different motivations propel younger gay men into these relationships as well. Isolated from peers and family who may not understand their sexuality, gay teens sometimes gravitate toward older men who have traveled the road before them and who could end up exploiting the vulnerability of their situation. Not only do you face stereotypes about why you should have been able to fight it off, or how you probably loved it, but you also have to deal with how your own trauma connects to noxious gay-specific myths, like the one about a gay pro-pedophile organization called NAMBLA or North American Man Boy Love Association infiltrating everything from Disney programming to Antifa.
These days, the group has members in the single digits, and is mostly mentioned in jest on shows like South Park. But the myth of gay men as predators persists. In certain parts of the world, May-December romances among gay men are treated differently than straight ones by the courts.
While the legal age of consent ranges from 16 to 18 across the U. In Chile, for example, the age of consent is 14 for heterosexuals and 18 for gays. And it took until the turn of the century for the U. The porn industry, meanwhile, has made the age differences of their stars a central taboo. On sites like FamilyDick and MormonBoyz, the mythological father figure is often portrayed as a predator interested in rough sex with hairless twinks.
Dan Savage, the iconic gay sex columnist, has taken a practical view: And a year-old chef approaches younger dates with trepidation. Why would you want to have sex with that? An advertising executive in his early 30s tells me that he was initially creeped out by attention from older guys, but realized his own ageism while studying abroad in South America. I realized, Oh, this is only as weird as you make it.
This is just another group of people. Some said their views of older gay men had been affected by the wild theories their families had concocted about their own coming outs. No wonder that, later, he recoiled from the attention of older men while out in the Castro. He has no memory of abuse. Is it really a surprise that a gay kid would later end up with hangups about the ages of his partners?
But if the movie ends up at the Oscars, which it very well may , this could just be the beginning of the backlash.