Savage Love

Savage Love: The Boys in the Bandwidth

I am a gay man and have been in a relationship with my GGG boyfriend for more than three years. We are in our early 20s and have a good sex life. I just discovered that he has been engaging in what can only be described as cyber infidelity. He had a secret e-mail account, posted on Craigslist M4M, and also had an Adam4Adam account. About once a week, while I was at work in the evenings, he would exchange photos and engage in conversations with other men. He claims he never met with any of them and it was just to exchange photos. He let me look at his secret e-mail account, and there was nothing that pointed to any physical meet-ups. I asked him to delete his accounts, and he did. I am completely shocked, as we have an intimate and loving relationship. He is ashamed and understands that his behavior is wrong. I understand if he wants to look at porn on his own time (I certainly do), but the quantity and secrecy of his actions is obviously not healthy. We have major life plans together, and I don't doubt that he is committed to me. Where do I go from here, and what steps should I take to make sure it stops?

Stressing Over Cyber Infidelity

It isn't true that your boyfriend's actions can "only be described as cyber infidelity." They could be described as "harmless online flirtations." But you've chosen to slap the "infidelity" label on his actions, SOCI, and now you feel compelled to have a full-blown my-boyfriend-cheated-on-me meltdown.

Try looking at it this way: If your boyfriend regularly stopped at a bar to have a cocktail, and people flirted with him, and he flirted back—and that's all he did—would that constitute an "appletini infidelity"? If some guys looked him up and down in the locker room, and he looked those guys up and down back, would that constitute a "cardio infidelity"? No and no—and a boyfriend who flipped out about those sorts of interactions would be regarded as jealous, insecure, and controlling. So what difference does it make that your boyfriend did a little online flirting? Is it that your boyfriend jacked off thinking about these other guys? You jack off thinking about other guys when you watch porn. Is it that he jacked off thinking about and interacting with guys he could actually have IRL? Lots of guys in monogamous relationships—gay, straight, or bi—jack off about people they flirted with in bars and gyms, i.e., people they interacted with and could have IRL.

Here's what you should do, SOCI: Ask your boyfriend to knock this shit off because it goobs you out. But don't round this "online flirtation" up to "cyber infidelity" unless you want to make yourself miserable, and don't police your boyfriend's online activities—snooping is the only way to "make sure it stops"—unless you want to get dumped.

I'm in my mid-40s. About two years ago, I had a one-night stand with a 19-year-old college student who placed an ad on Craigslist looking to meet older guys for no-strings-attached fun. We had a good time. He was charming, intelligent, and fun. I was surprised to learn during our conversation that he hoped to pursue a career in my profession. I gave him some advice, and we went our separate ways. Fast-forward two years. We are looking for some temporary summer intern-type help, and we got a résumé from a qualified person looking for a summer job. We brought the candidate in for an interview, which my supervisor and I conducted. To my surprise, the applicant was the one-night stand. We obviously did not discuss our prior meeting during the interview, but by the brief, mild look of surprise on his face, my guess was that he was as surprised as I was. He handled himself well in the interview. My supervisor intends to hire him. I would be his direct supervisor. There would be no way around this if he was brought in for the two-or-three-month job, but our contact would be almost exclusively via e-mail. My instinct is that our prior one-night stand shouldn't disqualify him from the job. He's qualified, and my colleague wants to hire him ASAP. What are your thoughts? Any red flags? How should I handle this? Should I broach the subject with him? I don't want to insult his intelligence or even hint that I think he's using our meeting two years prior to land a brief summer job. Again, I am convinced he didn't realize he was going to interview with me.

Nervous Supervisor Anxious

Lots of red flags—I could spin out a few Worst Case Scenarios—but the kid is qualified, he handled himself (and only himself) well during the interview, and your supervisor, who tops you in your company's organogram (and only there), plans to hire him. Under the circumstances, NSA, I don't see how you can avoid supervising this guy for the summer. What would you say to your supervisor? "Hey, look—I sometimes cruise Craigslist looking for young-but-legal ass, and I fucked this kid a couple of years ago, so... let's interview a few more candidates, and hopefully I won't have fucked any of them."

And I agree that the kid shouldn't be penalized for having a consensual one-night stand with an adult who was a stranger to him at the time. So have a quick face-to-face word with your new hire on his first day. Acknowledge the awkwardness privately and verbally (put nothing in writing), tell him the hiring decision wasn't yours and he got the gig on his merits, and close with something like this: "Things between us will be strictly professional from now on, of course—and, hey, crazy coincidence, huh?" Then stick to e-mails for the duration of his internship.

Grain of salt: I've never worked in a place that used organograms—I've never had a corporate job in my life—so my advice could be total crap. Just FYI.

I'm a gay man who is about to turn 35. Somehow, 30 didn't bother me, but being halfway to 70 is freaking me out. The gay world is obsessed with youth and beauty, and once you're not young and hot anymore, your life may as well be over. If you don't have a tight ass and ripped abs and a hot cock, you have no value and nothing to contribute. Why is the gay world so shallow?

One Very Enraged Romantic

Ed Murray was 58 years old when he became the mayor of Seattle. Larry Kramer was 52 when he inspired the founding of ACT UP. Bayard Rustin was 51 when he organized the historic 1963 March on Washington. Harvey Milk was 47 years old when he was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Barney Frank was 41 when he was first elected to Congress in 1981 and 73 when he retired last year. Neil Patrick Harris was 41 when he won a Tony Award for starring in the Broadway revival of Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Jonathan Capehart was 40 when he became a member of the Washington Post's editorial board in 2007. Tony Kushner was 37 when he won the Pulitzer Prize for Angels in America. George Takei (77), Joe "Joe My God" Jervis (52), RuPaul (53), Andrew Sullivan (50), Andy Cohen (46), Jared Polis (39)—I could go on.

If you don't think gay men over 35—or 50 or 60 or 70—have anything to contribute, OVER, then it's not the "gay world" that's shallow, it's you. recommended

On this week's Savage Lovecast: Spanking, cheating, pervy cousins, and sleeping with the cab driver at

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Comments (130) RSS

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Regarding SOCI.......
First, Dan was completely biased and off the mark in referring to this merely as 'online flirting'. The boyfriend most certainly went outside of the relationship by setting up secret accounts, exchanging photos, and possibly having intimate conversations that should only be reserved between those in a committed relationship. Committed and monogamous couples, straight or gay, do not do such things behind one another's backs. Think of this in heterosexual terms. I could never imagine my mother EVER being okay with my father having secret email accounts, conversing secretly with other women, and exchanging pictures! I have known straight and gay couples whose relationships have been almost destroyed over this type of activity. I also know experts in the filed of marital and couple's therapy/counseling who definitely refer to this as a form of infidelity that effects trust as a core of committed relationships. But what bothers me the most is the minimizing, sarcastic, cruel, catty, and insensitive way that Dan responded to SOCI. WOW! My sincere condolences to whoever Dan is in a relationship with! And to most certainly have every right to feel stressed and then some if what occurred is outside of the parameters of what appears to be a committed and monogamous relationship with someone that you have life plans with!
Posted by Feel for SOCI on September 1, 2014 at 3:08 PM · Report this
Creating accounts specifically to get off, and be discrete about it, is not just's interactive and purposeful. It could Really feel like a betrayal.
Posted by LoyaltyIsEverything on August 21, 2014 at 4:12 PM · Report this
slomopomo 128

"The hot, young gays do not constitute the entirety of the gay world, I hope?"

No, but there is a generational cohort wherein the formerly young and hot are disproportionately unrepresented.
Posted by slomopomo on August 12, 2014 at 11:13 AM · Report this
sissoucat 127
@Alison Cummins

Yep, it has a distinct classical feeling... A good test for an antique origin would be to scan for the same meaning in other languages, like russian.


The hot, young gays do not constitute the entirety of the gay world, I hope ?
Posted by sissoucat on July 30, 2014 at 8:56 AM · Report this
A good friend of mine says that once you are over about 50, you become invisible in the gay world. I think he means that the hot, young guys don't even see you anymore.

Some truth to that, but the key is not to let it get you down. There is so much to enjoy and experience in life.
Posted by Larry1234 on July 30, 2014 at 8:36 AM · Report this
Alison Cummins 125
Shaw may have said it at a dinner party and been quoted:…

I’m not a classicist, so a brief google only gets me this from Sophocles: No man loves life like him that’s growing old.
Posted by Alison Cummins on July 29, 2014 at 2:27 PM · Report this
Alison Cummins 124
@sissoucat 119 — ok, so my hunch that it sounds classical isn’t way off, even if we don’t have the original source. Cool!
Posted by Alison Cummins on July 29, 2014 at 1:47 PM · Report this
nocutename 123
Hunter: I have become suspicious of repeated attributions without citation following the popularity of the quote I have often seen attributed to George Eliot: "It's never too late to be what you might have been." It's a great sentiment, and one which brings me a lot of hope and comfort, but it can't be found anywhere in Eliot's writings and it doesn't jibe with her general message. I remember when I first saw it, about 20 years ago, and thought "that doesn't sound like something George Eliot would say."

This is a great article from the New Yorker, in which Rebecca Mead (who's just published My Life in "Middlemarch") writes about Eliot, Middlemarch, and that quote.

She says: "'Middlemarch' is not about blooming late, or unexpectedly coming into one’s own after the unproductive flush of youth. 'Middlemarch' suggests that it is always too late to be what you might have been—but it also shows that, virtually without exception, the unrealized life is worth living. The book that Virginia Woolf characterized as “one of the few English novels written for grown-up people” is also a book about how to be a grownup person—about how to bear one’s share of sorrow, failure, and loss, as well as to enjoy moments of hard-won happiness."…
Posted by nocutename on July 29, 2014 at 1:06 PM · Report this

Brainyquote does not say when, where, context, etc, which makes me suspicious. Maybe it's just a repeated misattribution.
Posted by Hunter78 on July 29, 2014 at 11:17 AM · Report this
@77, you have a good point. Some people do indeed cheat for the thrill of it. I would say most do.

Posted by Chandira on July 29, 2014 at 11:13 AM · Report this
@73, only because I have been there and done it. From both ends.
It's not a Happy Place, to know. I am not ignorant, just because I don't want to snoop.
Posted by Chandira on July 29, 2014 at 11:02 AM · Report this
sissoucat 119
Brainyquote gives G.B. Shaw for "youth is wasted on the youth".

By the way, the book containing "si jeunesse savait, si vieillesse pouvait" published in 1594 by Henri Estienne was a collection of French proverbs rewritten as epigrams.

So this proverb is probably older than that, and may even have roots in the Antiquity, as Estienne was both a printer, and a greek and latin scholar.
Posted by sissoucat on July 29, 2014 at 10:39 AM · Report this
sissoucat 118
"si jeunesse savait, si vieillesse pouvait" is obsolete : youth knows that everything must be paid for, and old age can pay for everything - Maret, 1903.
Posted by sissoucat on July 29, 2014 at 10:27 AM · Report this
nocutename 117
@Hunter & Alison: I can't find "youth is wasted on the young" in my hardcover copy of Bartlett's, which is the 16th edition from 1992.

Intriguing. If the origin is Shaw, Twain, Parker, or anyone of that ilk (I'd throw Wilde in as another likely contender), I'd think it'd be included. I tried to check my OED, to see it used as an example quote, but came up dry.

As for the "Si jeunesse savait, si vieillesse pouvait" that Alison suggests, Bartlett's has that (yes, 1594), but while it's perhaps true, it lacks the spirit of frustration that youth is wasted on the young has.

I sometimes feel a sense of "if I knew then what I know now," but that's a totally different feeling than YIWOTY, which I love--and tend to agree with.
Posted by nocutename on July 29, 2014 at 7:37 AM · Report this
sissoucat 116

I've converted to the "proud to be a mammal" shave-less behaviour some years ago too :-)
Posted by sissoucat on July 29, 2014 at 7:01 AM · Report this
Alison Cummins 115
Hunter78, I'd be surprised if "youth is wasted on the young" weren't much older than that. It sounds classical to me but the citations I have are much more recent (1933/34…). It's a variation of the French "Si jeunesse savait, si vieillesse pouvait" (if youth only knew; if age only could) which dates from at least 1594….
Posted by Alison Cummins on July 29, 2014 at 5:41 AM · Report this
The Week in Review (The Boys in the Bandwidth)

The best thing in this week's column was the title. We had 3 letters:

SOCI Gay, early 20s. He discovers his bf has been secretly cybersexing. What does he do now, and make sure this stops?

NSA Mid 40s gay had one night stand with 19yo 2 yrs ago. Now the young man has applied for work at NSA's place, and NSA and his boss interviewed him. NSA is full of questions-- Hire him (boss is positively impressed)? Any red flags? How to handle this?

OVER Gay about to turn 35 is freaking out about his age, because he thinks gay world is youth-obsessed. Why are gays so shallow?

SOCI stirred controversy over the nature of cybersex. Some view this interactive activity cheating. Dan downgrades it as "harmless online flirtations". Not that offline flirtations never cause problems. Many noted SOCI's controlling nature.

NSA called up some detailed suggestions of how he can "protect" himself. Controversial whether he should parade his sexual exploits before HR.

OVER-- Dan rightly called him out on his shallowness. Dan and others recited old gays. Many pointed out that age discrimination (preference) is not limited to gays. Plenty of advice to hit the gym or develop other interests. Who said, "Youth is wasted on the young"? Many internet sources say Shaw, but no one can give a proper citation. A few say Twain. To me it sounds like Parker or the Lost Generation.
Posted by Hunter78 on July 29, 2014 at 4:16 AM · Report this
Dan, I hope you realize you've chose to slap the jealous, insecure, and controlling label onto the first writer - it's ALL relative.
Posted by Littlemuffet on July 29, 2014 at 12:41 AM · Report this
Ah the irony; having been a no shaving any body bits feminist( tend to my eyebrows), for 40 yrs, I now get told by my 17 yr old son, that he shaves his underarm hAir..
Posted by LavaGirl on July 28, 2014 at 6:41 PM · Report this
Alison Cummins 111
vennominon, you mean because I only aknowledged same-sex and opposite-sex men?

The OP complained about gay men being shallow, not bi men, and I was responding to him. The anecdotal evidence I have for being more and more appreciated as I age has so far been supplied by straight men (not an assumption, I inquire).

Didn’t mean to paint anyone into a shallow, wife-beating corner. I presume everyone has an equal liklihood of being shallow. (People who have suffered more may have more empathy but they may also be more damaged, so I don’t make blanket assumptions about any group.)

It’s possible that I am more and more appreciated by straight men as I age because the pool of libidinous and available women tends to shrink over time relative to the pool of libidinous and available men, so straight men my age treat me as a rare and precious commodity.* They may thus appear less shallow but in reality simply be more desperate. In this model it’s possible that men who can draw from the male pool of available-and-libidinous partners don’t perceive the same penury and therefore do not experience the same pressure to adjust their expectations.

It’s possible that as a non-parent I am less worldly or careworn than other people my age generally, and that I’m getting disproportionate attention because of that.

It’s possible that I am the one who has become more open-minded about possible partners and that where I perceive more attention all that has changed is that my pool is larger.

It might be cynical experience, like the Russian mobster with an ugly fifth wife who explained: “Yes, a gorgeous wife is wonderful but you get used to beauty. You get used to ugly too, and you can enjoy her because you know nobody else is trying to steal her.” But this shallow logic should apply to MSMs just as much as MSWs.

I don’t know. I don’t know if the attribution of shallowness to “the gay world” is accurate, an artifact or simply false.

I don’t believe the OP knows either.

*This is a hypothesis. It’s a common belief but may or may not be correct.
Posted by Alison Cummins on July 28, 2014 at 5:18 PM · Report this
Oh, sorry; I did not mean to imply that Mr Finch or Mr Married would appear on a list of MRAs. I originally had "lookalikes for [insert unappealing male of one's choice here]" and changed it to MRAs without altering the apology to make it clear I was mentioning Messrs M&F only as straight-presenting men who fit my sentence and not as potential MRAs.
Posted by vennominon on July 28, 2014 at 4:28 PM · Report this
Ms Cummins - Would you like a mulligan on your opening question?

To answer the spirit of the question instead of the phrasing (which is akin to the question about whether the person asked has stopped beating hes spouse), and to do so in very broad stereotype, we're much deeper. Straight men can't really force themselves to believe that they are not the epitome of the standard of attraction at any age. It's why so many MRAs think they're entitled to date Eastern European supermodels.

My apologies to Mr Married and perhaps to Mr Finch as well, who have given no indication of ever having felt at any time entitled to date a supermodel of any national origin. (There may be others; those are the only two who spring readily to mind.)
Posted by vennominon on July 28, 2014 at 4:04 PM · Report this
@104, I must say I am also surprised by the choice of 35 as the gay cutoff. I am gay myself and I and most of my friends experienced 35 as pretty much our peak age in attractiveness, desirability, physical strength, fitness, and popularity (if you want to be shallow). I think a man's peak is about 35 - up to 35 there is only improvement. True, after 35 things stabilize somewhat for most men who don 't let themselves go, but it is hardly downhill, never mind the social death knell OVER seems to think, barring specific medical problems.
Posted by cockyballsup on July 28, 2014 at 2:46 PM · Report this
Tom Cruise? Don't think so. A couple from my list.
Sam Shepard 70
Gabriel Byrne 64
Posted by LavaGirl on July 28, 2014 at 2:08 PM · Report this

One of the few good things about getting older is your range of acceptable ages grows too. When you're, say 60, you'll find other 60 yos who are, hey, not so bad.
Posted by Hunter78 on July 28, 2014 at 1:51 PM · Report this
@103; two Australian men in your list.. Nice to see.
Posted by LavaGirl on July 28, 2014 at 1:37 PM · Report this
Alison Cummins 104
Are gay men really that much shallower than straight men?

When OVER says his life may as well be over, it’s not clear to me what he means. He will never have sex again so he might as well kill himself? His friends will shun him so he might as well kill himself? The only value a gay man can have is as a sex toy within the gay community and once that disappears in a puff of smoke on his 35th birthday he might as well kill himself?

There are lots of women hotter and younger than me — I’ve been older than most Canadians for ten years now, older than most Americans for fifteen — but my sex life has never been better. My preference is to have regular partners, though. Does OVER think that the only sex that counts is hookups with strangers?

Whatever he means it sounds like all-or-nothing thinking and he should probably talk through this drama with a therapist.
Posted by Alison Cummins on July 28, 2014 at 11:57 AM · Report this
Regarding OVER, let me continue to be shallow and list some guys older than 35 who are considered sex objects:

Tom Cruise - 52.
Brad Pitt - 50.
Hugh Jackman - 46.
Gerard Butler - 44.
Patrick Dempsey - 48.
Eric Bana - 45.
Matt Bomer - 36.
Tom Ford - 52.
Jack Mackenroth - 45.
Posted by cockyballsup on July 28, 2014 at 11:52 AM · Report this
Regarding SOCI, jeez, talk about being born yesterday, of course he either cheated or was going to. He just deleted the incriminating messages/emails.
Posted by cockyballsup on July 28, 2014 at 11:29 AM · Report this
@OVER, sure there are many gay men over 40 who are hot and have great sex lives, and MANY younger guys are into older. But what Dan surely knows and isn't telling you (and sorry to be shallow but honest) you will probably have to

(1) invest enough time in the gym,
(2) use testosterone like most of them,
(3) use Botox, etc.,
(4) live in a big enough city,
(5) lie about your age online if you are over 40 to get around people's filters. You can tell them the truth in person.
Posted by cockyballsup on July 28, 2014 at 11:25 AM · Report this
@Notagayman, "Given that OVER's angst is clearly about his sex life, it's rather asinine of Dan to give him examples of gay men succeeding in other areas of their lives. It's almost as if he's agreeing with OVER that it's time to be done with sex and go on to other things, which isn't true for most people. Are there no examples of older gay men with famously good sex lives?"

My thoughts EXACTLY!
Posted by cockyballsup on July 28, 2014 at 11:15 AM · Report this
mydriasis 99
"why the obsession with clueless, zit-faced youth?"

Yeah, those clueless, zit-faced 34-year-olds...
Posted by mydriasis on July 27, 2014 at 7:14 PM · Report this
not impressed with the answers this week, especially to SOCI. flirting in a bar or looking someone up and down at the gym is NOT the same as engaging with people one-on-one, conversing and exchanging pics, online or not. i think SOCI is right to see infidelity in what his boyfriend is doing. at a minimum, he's right to see it as a red flag. if it's secretive and shady, it's a red flag. if nothing else the boyfriend broke trust and it needs to be addressed with something more than, you're just being a jealous bitch. and... your answer neglects an obvious - online porn addiction is a thing. as for OVER... well? why ARE young, hot gay men considered so much more valuable? or young, hot straight females, for that matter? why the obsession with clueless, zit-faced youth? older people have so much more skill and experience and depth. why is this rejected in society as a whole? if outside appearance is so much more valuable than what's inside, why not just buy a mannequin, drill some holes and be done with it?
Posted by answertherealquestion on July 27, 2014 at 1:27 PM · Report this

I'll join the majority and maintain this is significantly more than watching porn (which is a one-way activity)-- it is indeed cyber-infidelity. The bf and his internet hookups are interacting with each other, and being clandestine about it. While at it, bf is breaking with SOCI.

The comparison with common flirting? Such flirting really more about humor and enjoyable conversation than plotting out sexual encounters.

And yeah, SOCI is a prying, insecure, supercontrolling asshole.
Posted by Hunter78 on July 27, 2014 at 8:14 AM · Report this

Yeah, I see plenty of red flags. You are toying with the idea of not hiring him because he once made the mistake of fucking you? That would make you one of the vilest POS to ever appear in this column, and that's saying something. You think he might be using the hook-up to get the job? Holy egotistical shit. He's qualified and your boss wants him. Hire him. The pre-employment episode (with no tit-for-tat) is irrelevant. Do not discuss it with him or anyone at work, it will only raise unnecessary concerns. Of course you shouldn't resume sexual contact with him. But lots of people do things they shouldn't.
Posted by Hunter78 on July 27, 2014 at 7:37 AM · Report this
mydriasis 95
I don't agree on the first letter.
People go to the gym and the bar for reasons other than getting laid.

I mean, I wouldn't. But I hear people do.
Posted by mydriasis on July 27, 2014 at 6:57 AM · Report this
It's not just the gay world that treats the over-35 as sexual nonentities, it's the straight world as well, at least for women. Of course straight men have no expiration date, as long as they have money.

And as for the guy who "flirted" online, chatting with someone who happens to be next to you on a barstool is not the same as seeking people out online to talk to and exchange photos. The guy had never met any of his online friends in person, but why was he seeking them out in the first place?
Posted by Dot Samore on July 26, 2014 at 4:33 PM · Report this
#3. I understand where you're coming from. I'm a 59 year old gay male and found that I was getting nothing but frustration reading the ads on Craig's List (M4M) because of those "no fats/fems, no one over 30", etc. ads. I had begun to really crap on myself because I no longer fit the "young, single, in-shape male" profile. Finally I decided I was simply making myself miserable reading these ads and so I stopped. Same can be said for the "wrong bars" (going to youth-oriented clubs and bars). I also had to stop and think that when I was in my 20s and 30s, many of the men I was interested in were not the 20-somethings, they were the 40 & 50 somethings that were mature and wanted to do something besides just dance, drink, do drugs and fuck around. And truth be told, I'd still rather be with a guy close to my age, greying hair and physically average, who has interests in and out of the LGBTQ community... a man who is mature. I did the kids stuff, time to move on!
Posted by JonBalz on July 26, 2014 at 1:22 AM · Report this
#4, it is terrible advice to involve a "manager" or Human Resources in what was a private sexual encounter several years ago. Dan's feedback is exactly right. Don't tell anyone else, don't say anything in writing, and have a nice, but quick conversation with the new intern.

"Managers" and Human Resources are very likely to make this a much bigger deal than it is.
Posted by Tangled Up In Plaid on July 25, 2014 at 3:03 PM · Report this
@83, WickedPolly- that's funny, but sad too.. My take on growing" older" gracefully,
Is to keep developing a rich inner life- of course others loving you is needed( as you are), but exploring , knowing, watching ones own mind- reading, learning, feeling- the absolute wonder of having life..
Posted by LavaGirl on July 25, 2014 at 2:56 PM · Report this
@ 88 - If I had such a neurotic, controlling BF as SOCI, I'd be looking for someone else too.

SOCI seems to have figured out all that he wants out of this relationship, future plans and all, but it sounds to me, like LavaGirl pointed out @ 70, that he forgot to take into consideration the actual person his BF is.
Posted by Ricardo on July 25, 2014 at 2:14 PM · Report this
While your answer to OVER was right on target, I think you were a little harsh on him. We have certainly all heard that your gay life is over at a certain age (25, 30, 40..take your pick depending on your circle of friends). I think you should have pointed out that the idea your life is over at any age short of when they close the casket lid is ridiculous, but not been so harsh to the guy asking the question.
Posted by Scottinclearwater on July 25, 2014 at 1:33 PM · Report this
Additional insight to SOCI. I knew a guy who did what your partner was doing. At the time he said it was no big deal -- just like Dan said. After about a few years of just online flirting/JO -- he did hook up -- and about 2 months later left his partner of 12 years for the online guy. Partner was crushed. After the fact he said he was always looking for someone new and used online only exchanges as a safe way to meet a quality guy. So there can be room for concern.
Posted by Linedar on July 25, 2014 at 12:59 PM · Report this
@ 86 - He's on vacation.
Posted by Ricardo on July 25, 2014 at 11:56 AM · Report this
Kevin_BGFH 86
Anyone know what's going on with Dan's blog? There hasn't been a post there in over a week. Unless I'm somehow missing them?
Posted by Kevin_BGFH on July 25, 2014 at 11:43 AM · Report this
@84 miss emelia: You GO, girl!
Wait 'til you hit 5-0. LIfe just started for me.
Posted by auntie grizelda on July 25, 2014 at 11:27 AM · Report this
Reading OVER, I can't help but think that's what so many girls say. Now at 40, I've never been happier, and really just don't care about getting old. I kind of love it. I can be more than a pretty young thing. So what if culture is obsessed with hot, fresh, and young? There's so much more to offer the world once you're experienced and have found your people!
Posted by miss_emelia on July 25, 2014 at 11:06 AM · Report this
My gay uncle is an attractive and very fit 50 something and he stresses about this too. He thinks his life is over because a 23 year old doesn't want to be with him. However...his brothers are all the same way. My father and my other uncles who are straight have the same mentality. There is no aging gracefully for the men in my family. They all measure their worth through the youngest ass they can find. Talk about 'born this way'...
Posted by WickedPolly on July 25, 2014 at 10:34 AM · Report this
Re SOCI--gotta disagree. It's one thing to go to a bar where you end up mildly flirting with someone and then go home at the end of the night without progressing. It's another to set up secret accounts online and exchange photos and chat with other guys. SOCI's boyfriend went out of his way to chat up other men online. At the very least, it's a grey area.

As for you, OVER, stop bitching. Life can be good after 35, even after 40, gay, straight, or bi. Just so you know, straight people can be just as shallow, too. If you think someone has nothing to contribute because s/he doesn't have a perfect body, you're the one with the problem. Do something with your life. Volunteer. Take a class. If you can afford it, travel. Pick up a new hobby. Do something to fill your life.

I'm closer to 50 than to 40, and yes, sometimes I think I'm getting old, especially around my birthdays. But I can still contribute, even if not on the scale of the people Dan mentioned.
Posted by DanielleinDC on July 25, 2014 at 10:11 AM · Report this
@LW2, there are a lot of people saying to let HR know that you know this guy socially 'to cover yourself'. Please, please, please tread carefully if you do this. What you say to HR is quite likely to be heard as 'I don't think I can be fair dealing with someone I have spoken to outside of work' and it's likely to blow back on you, when it comes to a performance review or you are going for a promotion or pay rise. I don't know what your field is, but if it's one with lots of networking events or a small pool of qualified people, you will end up working with someone else you knew before you worked with them, with or without sex coming into the question. If you've already expressed concern about your ability to do so, then it will work against you if you're still there and it happens. So please, to protect your job above all else, be super careful if you take that route. Even 'Hey, I gave this guy some career advice a couple of years back, are you okay for me to supervise him because I'm good with it, but I wanted to be sure that you were too.' could be used against you, because why would you even need to ask? Many people wouldn't even remember doing that after so long.
Posted by kallibean on July 25, 2014 at 4:41 AM · Report this
@Alison, I'm certainly happier since I stopped reading my husband's emails to his other sex partners.
Posted by EricaP on July 24, 2014 at 10:58 PM · Report this
@76: Sorry to end this conversation, but I have a three-strikes-and-you're-out rule for non-satirical use of the phrase "my beloved" in reference to one's significant other.
Posted by WoofCandy on July 24, 2014 at 10:42 PM · Report this
sorry dan but you're wrong. if it was a straight couple you'd say, 'if he has multiple profiles and secret emails, then there is more going on.' this is not random flirting in a bar, this is every week, contacting, talking, grooming, setting himself in a place to screw around with someone else. which is fine if that is what they agreed to, but they did not. been there done that. DTMFA.
Posted by wingedunicorn0205 on July 24, 2014 at 7:34 PM · Report this
@71: Adopt a 'monogamish' policy, and all will be well, but only if you don't act like a jealous twat.

Isn't rule #57 of SLOG "Opening an unhappy relationship doesn't work"? Not to mention that some people actually prefer monogamy, or prefer forms of non-monogamy way beyond monogamish, so advice along the lines of "Figure out if you can get on the same page regarding boundaries, and if you can't you need to find new partners" would be better advice.

And for a lot of people the thrill of cheating is that it is cheating: offered permission to be m-ish within certain boundaries, they promptly figure out how to still be cheating according to the new rules.
Posted by IPJ on July 24, 2014 at 7:08 PM · Report this
Alison Cummins 76

“There are only two kinds of substance - that which is poisonous and that which is not. If it is, I want to know about it. If it isn’t, then eating it can't harm me.

“If I find myself spitting out something that isn’t poisonous, then I see that as an opportunity to retune my taste buds so that they better harmonize with reality.”

Sure. Yay you. But there are lots of things that aren’t poisonous that aren’t necessarily agreeable. I know I don’t like chalk, ash branches and my beloved’s cigars. So I don’t eat ash branches and my beloved smokes his cigars outside after I’ve gone to bed. My beloved knows he doesn’t like the smell of baked beans or veggie dogs, so I eat them when he’s not around and leave the windows open.

I know my beloved smokes gross cigars; my beloved knows I eat gross beans. That doesn’t mean we wish to be confronted with the evidence.
Posted by Alison Cummins on July 24, 2014 at 5:36 PM · Report this
@74: I can't really think of anything offhand I would rather not know about my partner.

There are only two kinds of information - that which matters and that which does not. If it matters, I want to know about it. If it doesn't, then knowing about it can't harm me.

If I find myself getting hung up on something that doesn't matter, then I see that as an opportunity to retune my attitude so that it better harmonizes with reality.
Posted by WoofCandy on July 24, 2014 at 5:04 PM · Report this
Alison Cummins 74

Depends what ignorance you’re talking about. I want to know if my beloved is having sex with other people, for instance.

I know that my beloved looks at porn on the internet. I am careful not to look at the sites because I know I won’t like them. Any time I’ve looked at someone else’s internet porn it’s upset me for one reason or another. So I don’t.
Posted by Alison Cummins on July 24, 2014 at 3:58 PM · Report this
@71: I have a 'don't ask' policy, I am happier that way.

How nice for you!

On those occasions I've snooped, I've never regretted it.

Ignorance is like opium - a bliss for fools. I'd rather endure all the pain that comes with knowledge for those moments of true bliss it sometimes provides.
Posted by WoofCandy on July 24, 2014 at 3:31 PM · Report this
@ 70 - "perhaps you guys could re negotiate the boundaries of your relationship, to include him?"

A perfect answer.
Posted by Ricardo on July 24, 2014 at 3:22 PM · Report this
SOCI, if you don't want to know, don't look. I have a gf who snoops on her bfs frequently, and has often found out things she doesn't want to know, and is always devastated, and I have to be the one on the end of the phone every time when she ends up in tears. Yet somehow she is always compelled to look.

I think snooping is a confirmation that you want to spend your life hurting, and feeling jealous.

I couldn't look. I have no wish to know. Ignorance is bliss..
I have a 'don't ask' policy, I am happier that way.
Adopt a 'monogamish' policy, and all will be well, but only if you don't act like a jealous twat.

Ooh, awkward one night stand! Make it humorous. Make the first move in that conversation, right from the get-go, and make light of it. I Like Dan's advice on that.
Posted by Chandira on July 24, 2014 at 2:30 PM · Report this
LW1, to me you sound like a nasty, controlling- young man. You say your bf was " ashamed and knew his behaviour was wrong", I'm guessing how you confronted him helped him feel this shame.. I'm thinking he was doing what most young men in their 20s do, ie, explore their very potent sexuality.. And you say already you have major life plans? Of course, I see, he was dishonest with you. But
He was being honest with himself.. Maybe the good sex life ain't enough for him. Rather than shaming him, perhaps you guys could re negotiate the boundaries of your relationship, to include him?
LW2, nothing to add to comments already made.
LW3, where to start? Shallow people inhabit the straight and gay world. Maybe branch out and meet some people who value different aspects of their humanity- might rub off on you.. And don't assume you'll live to 70;
Posted by LavaGirl on July 24, 2014 at 2:03 PM · Report this
@68 Pacific: Exactly right spot on. Wow--I know, huh? I'm turning 5-0 soon, and guys half my age are scoping me out! Talk about a mind-fuck.
I don't know---lately men closer to my age bracket are giving me appreciative glances, too, but I'm really not seriously looking for any kind of LTR. Maybe that (for me, not necessarily anyone else) could be a side effect of two possibilities, socially: A) I am still adjusting to a more accepting and less hostile social atmosphere after making some changes for a healthier and better lifestyle, and B) I have grown happily accustomed to living just plain single.
Posted by auntie grizelda on July 24, 2014 at 1:58 PM · Report this
What a funny attitude, its so... quaint. I remember hearing people say this kind of thing in the 80s, but Now? Bahahaahahahahahaha.

I'm 54 and as desired as ever. In fact, it is almost a problem. Any dating/hookup site I go onto will fill up with 20-somethings who want to meet me, and do other highly specified and often tawdry things as well. I actually wish there were more men my age who were happy, and healthy, and relationship-capable, as I've always preferred partners around my own age. (I have to acknowledge... I am of the age of scarcity as most of my peers, or at least the most fun and outgoing ones, died of AIDS, which makes those of us who made it through more rare, and we all know scarcity raises the apparent value of the thing.)

OVER thinks his life is only of value if he is a youthful sex object. The problem is therefore obvious, and it has very little to do with age.
Posted by Pacific on July 24, 2014 at 11:34 AM · Report this
Neil Patrick Harris is over 40? The most shocking thing in this column!!!
Posted by loverly on July 24, 2014 at 8:57 AM · Report this
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sissoucat 64
OVER : As for how being over 35 is horrible, how are you going to live with yourself when you turn 75 ?

You say you're romantic. That means you connect to people in another way than just sexually, right ? Well, people who have lived longer and who have had time to have lots of experiences have grown a more refined personality and have a lot to share, more than just their awesome-looking body and their hopes and their ignorance. Your biggest sexual organ is your brain - feed it !

As for older male heterosexuals : some women, among myself, prefer them to inexperienced younger hot-looking pieces any day of the week. Cute arm candy often doesn't translate in fun in bed.
Posted by sissoucat on July 24, 2014 at 1:18 AM · Report this
sissoucat 63
NSA : I quite agree with 26 and 29.

You shouldn't do anything to prevent his hiring since he's qualified, but you need to put a word to HR about socially knowing the guy - so that you're not the one making decisions about him, and in the improbable event that he tries to blackmail you, you have some recourse.

And you need to act as if nothing had ever happened between you with the intern : no allusions, no jokes, fun rememberances etc. That should protect you further. And document every interaction, of course.
Posted by sissoucat on July 24, 2014 at 1:00 AM · Report this
I would say it's cheating if it happened to me. Maybe not the same level of cheating as having sex with someone, but still outside sexual activity. If I wanted to do it, I definitely wouldn't feel comfortable doing it without permission. Dick pic sharing is a sexual interaction with another person (since you're sharing pictures with someone knowing that you'll probably be jacking off to each other), where flirting generally isn't THAT sexual and porn isn't really an interaction.

And really, I don't think it matters if dick pics are generally bad, or generally okay? There's no set group of actions that count as cheating, because cheating is when you break the rules of your own relationship. Some couples don't consider it cheating when they fuck other people, or even when they date other people. Some of those couples still define certain actions as cheating, like if you fuck or date someone without telling your partner. To SOCI, dick pics are against the rules, and I think his boyfriend knew he felt that way, because said boyfriend put so much effort into keeping it secret instead of just checking in about it. Defining your own relationship rules is a great idea in principle, but in practice, it seems that lots of people only want it to apply to people who want more sexual freedom than conventional monogamy provides (and people who want more monogamy just have to suck it up and deal with it, it seems?)
Posted by miracles on July 24, 2014 at 12:40 AM · Report this
@1, Dan is giving the same advice he gives to porn-hating wives:

Ask him to stop; he'll pretend to stop; you pretend to believe him (and don't snoop). Or just dump him now, because people don't stop doing what gets them off well.

And good luck finding a guy who is into hot sex but never does anything that freaks you out.
Posted by EricaP on July 24, 2014 at 12:18 AM · Report this
Sandiai 60
I don't mind the socks guys. But I like nerds. There's really no accounting for taste, is there?
Posted by Sandiai on July 24, 2014 at 12:00 AM · Report this
Still Thinking 59
@ Alison #13 - youth pastor ftw! Hahaha ;)
@ seandr #41 - aaaargh! the socks! Where did you find that picture?
Posted by Still Thinking on July 23, 2014 at 10:31 PM · Report this
Based on the facts presented, I am with Dan on the SOCI response. Of course if the facts changed I might feel otherwise. Cyber sex is cyber sex, that's it. Wedding rings and claiming to be single are inconsequential. There is a line, and that's where one agrees to meet.
Posted by Big Ted on July 23, 2014 at 8:59 PM · Report this
Lead in ones pencil, Mr Newton? Some nice and sharp, others, oh, not so much
Lead left.. Getting old and blunted-
Posted by LavaGirl on July 23, 2014 at 7:18 PM · Report this
@53: A second e-mail account unknown to whomever you live with, or otherwise don't want to know about your secret online single life/ gambling habit/ etc. So if they innocently lean over to ask you to check an address, you don't have to fling your body across the screen lest they catch a glimpse of a dodgy e-mail header: those headers are all on the secret account.

It's sort of like shrieking "WAAAAAIT!!!" and lunging across the room when they try to use your open browser to check the weather radar, because you don't want it to auto-complete to your cheating-spouses account. You sign out as yourself, sign in as "guest," then let them look up whatever quick small thing it is, while trying to appear suave and like you definitely have nothing to hide, it's just that you feel strongly that no one check the radar from your account.

We now keep everything--old love letters, current illicit assignations, directions to Pat's house, zucchini recipes, coupons for the new bungee jumping place, the time of Saturday's play, etc--in one spot. Someone who would not purposely snoop can nonetheless innocently pull up e-mail or browser history and stumble onto your secret life. It's the balancing act between allowing each other a zone of privacy, and not filling up your zone with evidence of your secret gambling habit and grindr account and other things that would hurt your partner.
Posted by IPJ on July 23, 2014 at 6:18 PM · Report this
Alison Cummins 55
IPJ @44, I didn’t say it didn’t need to be mentioned and I offered no opinion on whether it was cheating. I said it was different from porn and also different from an affair. (Some people consider porn to be cheating. I offer no opinion on that either.)

And I said that whatever attention and validation the boyfriend was getting from it would need to be supplied elsewhere and that the burden was likely to fall mostly on the OP.

When someone describes themselves as a single 22-year-old Adonis with a 13" cock and the only contact they want is chat ... they are not a single 22-year-old Adonis with a 13" cock. No more than the paid phone sex operator is Angelina Jolie wearing a black bustier and a lacy black thong calling from her clifftop aerie. This is not buyer beware, this is just how it works. If you need to be sure that the stranger you’re chatting with is single before describing your own 13" uncut cock to him or illustrating it with a photo pulled from the net, you’ve got a problem.
Posted by Alison Cummins on July 23, 2014 at 6:07 PM · Report this
I don't agree with Dan on SOCI. I think there is a difference between some minor innocent glances at the gym or random chance flirting at a bar or porn and searching for people to exchange pictures and cyber with. Two of them are minor chance interactions and the other is porn, which is no different than any other form of media. This is actively searching for someone to engage in sexual activities with (even though it is non-physical) and emotional bonds can form through these activities. If the person was open about it and discussed it with SOCI before engaging and they agreed, that would have been fine, but the sneaking around makes it dishonest and like cheating (even though it is not physical).
Posted by Anonymouse14 on July 23, 2014 at 4:13 PM · Report this
I'm genuinely perplexed-- what constitutes a "secret" email account? I say this because I wouldn't give a significant other (or anyone for that matter) access to my account. Is that really that uncommon, or are we talking about something else here?
Posted by madmathematicienne on July 23, 2014 at 4:02 PM · Report this
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@20 portland scribe: How on Earth did I miss your perfect statement?
You nailed it, too.
Posted by auntie grizelda on July 23, 2014 at 12:23 PM · Report this
I'm a 42 year-old chubby gay guy living in a small city. It's really not that hard to find men of all ages interested in casual sex, even 20-somethings. You just have to have a reasonably open attitude and go looking for things in the places you're going to find them. The 20-somethings pay me absolutely no attention in bars, but I get plenty of attention from them on dating apps. As Dan has pointed out many times and in many contexts, there's often a disconnect between what people are really into and what they are willing to acknowledge they are into in front of their friends.
Posted by Tom Winter on July 23, 2014 at 12:21 PM · Report this
@39 Chaucer59: Well said!

One more thing, regarding OVER's letter to Dan:
I'm in better shape and overall health (BMI= 22.8)
approaching 50 than I was going on 30 and exiting
the United States Navy. It has taken me 21 years to
finally correct what the VA wouldn't acknowledge, and
an amazing naturopath to bring to my attention a year
and a half ago.
It's all how you see and take care of yourself, and what
you're willing to do with what you learn as you grow older.
Posted by auntie grizelda on July 23, 2014 at 12:15 PM · Report this
@40 nocutename: You nailed it! Spot on for the win!
Posted by auntie grizelda on July 23, 2014 at 12:07 PM · Report this
If you have "a tight ass and ripped abs and a hot cock" at 30 you can have them at 40. Look at Dan and Terry, whose asses and abs certainly look better than they did 10 years ago. (Their cocks being cocks, I'm pretty sure they didn't change much, even without photographic evidence.)

If you don't have them at 40, chances are very high you didn't have them at 30 either.

I enjoy reading the British tabloid coverage of Tom Daley and Dustin Lance Black. Since Daley is a household name there, and Black is virtually unknown, despite Daley being 20 and Black being 40 Black is the one treated like a "boy toy."
Posted by RealityBites on July 23, 2014 at 12:05 PM · Report this
Following on 44: A great deal of it is the lying. A partner who lies to you (because you would just get upset*) or who lies about you (because your existence cramps their style) is not fun.

*For a fictional example, on The Good Wife Alicia, considering taking her estranged husband Peter back, wanted to know if there had been anyone besides the definitively-proved hooker. He told her that was it--a lie, but if he told her the truth she would just have gotten upset! And it wasn't like he didn't love her while nailing the one hooker she knew about and the various other people that she didn't yet know about (or at least couldn't prove), and because he loved her he didn't want to tell her something that would upset her. This philosophy comes back to bite him in the ass: turns out, telling someone that you always tell them the truth, unless they might get upset in which case you say whatever thing will cause them to not be upset, is not the way to build trust.
Posted by IPJ on July 23, 2014 at 11:45 AM · Report this
Sometimes I wonder if gay guys don't get the pedophile stereotyping directly as a result of this obsession with young guys. That said, NSA is going to get sued for sure if he pulls that dude aside and tells him he didn't get the job over there past fling.
Posted by Dumdumdummmm on July 23, 2014 at 11:37 AM · Report this
@34: The line I'd draw for online sex (and flirting) is if it would be considered cheating done with your ex, or with your secretary, then it will probably feel like cheating to your partner even if you have technically not shared a coffeeshop with this person to your knowledge. People can draw different lines--I think 33's point about secrecy is important--but the starting point shouldn't be assuming that anything that stops short of skin on skin (zentai suits with condoms?) can't count so needn't be mentioned to your partner.

It’s not lying, it’s creating an online persona that is sexually attractive to the online personae that interest you.

Creating a fictional version of yourself that will attract desirable partners, first by claiming your annoyingly inconvenient significant other doesn't exist, can legitimately feel cruel to the person whose existence needs to be erased so you can feel sexy. Whether you do that for real-life encounters or just online. (And I disagree that it's not lying, assuming you're not in the SIMS. Buyer-beware does have to co-exist with people who legitimately would never have flirted with you, or had cyber sex with you, or met you in a motel room on that business trip had they realized you weren't single.)
Posted by IPJ on July 23, 2014 at 11:29 AM · Report this
I agree with Poster 42, those are COMPLETELY different. Creating separate accounts implies premeditation. Maybe he hadn't done anything cause he hadn't found anyone worthy of cheating on him YET. I'm with the LW, it feels like betrayal because it is.
Posted by Ashlee22 on July 23, 2014 at 11:20 AM · Report this
Corylea 42
Dan, there's a big difference between flirting in a bar or a locker room and flirting on Craigslist or Adam4Adam. People go to bars to drink or to gyms to work out, but the only purpose for the online groups SOCI mentioned is to flirt with (or hook up with) other people. It's a matter of intent!
Posted by Corylea on July 23, 2014 at 10:59 AM · Report this
seandr 41
@OVER: but being halfway to 70 is freaking me out.

Dude, I feel your pain. As a mid-forties straight guy, college girls won't even look at me anymore. These days, my draw is limited to women in their late 20's to mid 30's. Talk about a blow to the ego! You are right to panic.

But here's what you do. You take that panic, you harness it, and you use that energy to get yourself into the best shape of your life, spiff up your style, upgrade your condo, get a promotion, and fight your impending mortality with everything you've got! The alternative is this, so really, you have no choice.
Posted by seandr on July 23, 2014 at 10:50 AM · Report this
nocutename 40
Look, we live in a youth-obsessed culture. And nowhere is it more pressing than when you're looking for new romantic or sexual partners. But we're all going to age--that is, if we're lucky, and learning how do so gracefully is important. Remember Dan's advice to a teenage boy about how to become the guy who will get laid? It's a similar concept. Invest your energy and effort into making yourself a worthy companion based on more than your youth. You can still be physically attractive, even, as Chaucer59 and Polyphemus point out, in excellent physical shape as you hit middle age and beyond. But at least equally important, and for many of us, even more important, you can be an interesting, accomplished, funny, kind person. Those are the people many of us want to be around for any length of time as we ourselves get older, too.

The only time that youth alone is the most important quality is often in a casual hookup--and even then, if your own standards are reasonable, those folks may return the interest. So maybe OVER, your days of casual hookups will become a bit less frequent or easily-achieved, but you also may be looking for something else (at least primarily) as you get older, too.

Lastly, I have gay friends in their 40s, 50s, and 60s, none Adonises, and none of them seem to have any difficulty finding men to hook up with for a fling. Of course, they aren't only looking for Adonises, either . . .
Posted by nocutename on July 23, 2014 at 10:30 AM · Report this
One more point, OVER: I was in the best shape of my life at 45, and I've known a few other men who could say the same. Life doesn't end at 35 unless you surrender.
Posted by Chaucer59 on July 23, 2014 at 9:44 AM · Report this
I'm surprised how many people here don't get the joke about Dan's age.
Posted by Ricardo on July 23, 2014 at 9:35 AM · Report this
@2 - uh, Dan left 29 ages ago. Try 49. DUH.
Posted by LZito on July 23, 2014 at 9:31 AM · Report this
@ 35 - He doesn't actually say he's only looking for guys 40 to his own age. He says he gets rejected by them because they're looking for younger guys. His own target age range could be much broader.
Posted by Ricardo on July 23, 2014 at 8:39 AM · Report this
@3: Are you practising what you're preaching here? You say you're looking for "guys in their 40s or even my own age". A guy in his 40s is an average of 15 years younger than you. If your upper age limit is "your own age", then how can you condemn a 40-something man whose upper limit is HIS own age?
Posted by BiDanFan on July 23, 2014 at 6:06 AM · Report this
Alison Cummins 34
I dunno. Sure, maybe online sex with strangers is different from looking at porn (no interaction) or flirting with the barista (no jerking off). But it’s also different from having an affair.

Lots (most?) of the guys posting their status as single, aren’t, and everyone knows that. It’s not lying, it’s creating an online persona that is sexually attractive to the online personae that interest you.

Online sex is something that lots of not particularly skeevy people enjoy and they post that they are interested in chat/cyber and not dating/hookups. It’s a safe way to get attention and feel hot.

In a relationship, for online sex as for everything else, set boundaries, say what you can and can’t tolerate and be honest about what you want and what’s important to you. If your boyfriend really does stop having internet sex with strangers then you’ll probably need to put a lot more effort into making him feel hot and the centre of attention yourself. Dress him up, take him out, tell him how sexy he is and how much you want him. It’s possible this will be fun for a while but then get old, so careful what you wish for.

If you don’t want to put that much effort into feeding your boyfriend’s need for attention, and you continue to find online sex too much to tolerate, you might need a different boyfriend. You’re in your early twenties. This is not the end of the world.
Posted by Alison Cummins on July 23, 2014 at 6:02 AM · Report this
Agree with 31 and 32. Within the context of my monogamish relationship, all the behaviour described would be OK - if I knew about it. If it was a secret and I found out, I would feel betrayed.

Even if it was the secrecy that was most fun for my partner, I would still want to know in advance that he'd be doing this kind of thing. It's the intimacy with another individual which is the betrayal, when it's not declared and when the main partner has no control over it.
Posted by misspiggy on July 23, 2014 at 5:53 AM · Report this
I'm with others on SOCI , deliberate sneaking around, opening secret profiles that are only meant for online sexual interactions...this is way different than an opportunistic chance to flirt or exchange an appreciative once over with someone you happen across in real life. This guy has every right to feel betrayed, he was.
Posted by jujubee80 on July 23, 2014 at 5:06 AM · Report this
Yeesh, Dan. "I'm pulling down my pants now" is a tad outside the line of what most would consider a little harmless flirtation. Likewise anything that involves erasing the existence of your partner, whether that's taking off your wedding ring on business trips or maintaining an online dating profile in which you claim to be single, news to your alleged monogamous partner.

If SOCI's boyfriend secretly met his ex at the gym to exchange nude glances and flirtatious banter--but technically a minimum half-inch distance was maintained at all times, even if a few orgasms were jerked to--could SOCI be upset, even if the letter of physical contact cheating wasn't crossed? How about if the bf went to bars, claimed to be single, and engaged in some explicit discussion of sex acts... but never followed through on meeting the guy in the back, no skin-to-skin contact!

You've done good work on spreading the "porn is normal, most men and some women look at it, no big deal" concept. But I don't think "everyone maintains an online profile on hookup sites, where they claim to be single and exchange sexually explicit e-mails which they like totally promise never to follow up on" is going to fly the same way.

Yes, you either trust your partner or you don't. If your partner spends a lot of time claiming that you do not actually exist, trust gets a bit challenging.
Posted by IPJ on July 23, 2014 at 4:57 AM · Report this
I had a boyfriend once who did the "secret email account" thing. I know he never met up with any of the people he contacted, but he was exchanging incredibly explicit messages and pics, and also sometimes catfishing with photos of guys who weren't him. He had taken great pains to hide this from me.

I guess we could argue about whether this meets the definition of full-on cheating, but it was skeevy and underhanded as hell, and I definitely felt wronged by it in a way that I wouldn't have by appreciative locker-room scoping or flirting with the barista. It's kind of unsettling to see Dan equate these things.
Posted by tuna cat on July 23, 2014 at 3:26 AM · Report this
Holmes 29
@26: Good advice.

For those of us who have (or continue to) engage in no-strings-attached hookups, it is inevitable that we will meet some of our past partners in social and professional settings. It is essential that we manage to separate our recreational pursuits from how we deal with day to day relationships. Particularly in professional settings. If one can't, then perhaps one shouldn't be playing around in the first place.

This could actually be a good opportunity for NSA to demonstrate by example, the manner in which one should deal with this kind of situation to his protégé.
Posted by Holmes on July 23, 2014 at 3:15 AM · Report this
Yeah, I'm not feeling Dan's advice to SOCI either. If my wife was sexting with other people behind my back, I wouldn't treat is as flirting--I think that's a borderline sex act. It's way different than her checking someone out on the street or talking to someone who buys her a drink in a bar.
Posted by Mouse in the house on July 23, 2014 at 2:54 AM · Report this
I disagree about SOCI. Not because his partner was flirting and sending sexy photos to other guys, but because he was lying and sneaking around on him to do it. That's not okay.
Posted by notfromvenus on July 23, 2014 at 2:31 AM · Report this
NSA, please be aware that pulling this guy aside and acknowledging your past and etc., as Dan suggests could be just as awkward as in your imagination. Plus, it might give rise to a sexual harassment claim. The best thing to do, from an IR perspective, is just to pretend it didn't happen and keep it professional in the workplace. In a lot of small fields you find professional/social crossover, just because they're the only people you see, so you're not alone. Since he seems to be a professional, fairly confident and adept person, you could even take your cue from him. We can't comment too much more without a look at your workplace social policy, but face it - if he can deal and accepts the position, you can deal and keep work as work and outside as outside. As soon as you cross them over, even just to say you won't cross them over, you can't go back, and it just gets messier.
Posted by kallibean on July 23, 2014 at 12:21 AM · Report this
Given that OVER's angst is clearly about his sex life, it's rather asinine of Dan to give him examples of gay men succeeding in other areas of their lives. It's almost as if he's agreeing with OVER that it's time to be done with sex and go on to other things, which isn't true for most people.

Are there no examples of older gay men with famously good sex lives?
Posted by NotAGayMan on July 23, 2014 at 12:19 AM · Report this
nocutename 24
Also OVER: Ian McKellen, 75.
'Nuff said.
Posted by nocutename on July 22, 2014 at 11:20 PM · Report this
Jeez, I'm a fifty-eight year old straight guy, with abs yet, and you'd think I'd fallen off the back of a hearse the way women don't look.

And I'm not looking for the straight guy's equivalent for twinks.
Posted by Polyphemus on July 22, 2014 at 10:50 PM · Report this
Eva Hopkins 22
I agree w/ @4.

LW #2 / NSA: Whether you talk to HR or not depends on the environment of your office. It's understandable that you wouldn't want people to view you as a predatory older dude who creeps on younger guys (to be clear, I'm not saying *I* have this view, I'm suggesting you/they might). But you're going to be in a position of authority over this bright young up & comer. (Ugh, sorry.) If your office atmosphere is conservative & you have real fear of some kind of recrimination for saying anything, then don't. Follow the other part of Dan's advice & be professional, & document the hell out of every interaction you have with the new hire until the end of his internship. I wouldn't even say anything more than "nice to see you again" F2F with an immediate change of subject later. Corporate culture makes me twitchy, though.

If you're out at the office, you feel HR wouldn't judge you harshly, & you just wanna CYA (Cover Your Ass), then I don't think it'd be a bad idea to say something neutral to HR, like: you wanted them to have a heads-up, as you would be New Hire's direct supervisor, that you'd met him awhile back socially. Don't give them more detail than that. You don't think it's going to affect your professional interactions with him, but you wanted them to know. You're taking the role of a good team player. They may decide to have someone else supervise him, or they may decide not to hire him after all. I know you want to be fair to the career of this promising guy, but hopefully he's so qualified that even if that scenario played itself out, he'd be able to land a gig elsewhere. & if things do pan out that way, resist the urge to contact/console Potential Intern. He might not be the kind of guy to bring up discrimination charges if he doesn't get hired because of your previous fling..I admit it's a stretch..but since that nurse applied for a job at a family planning clinic who then wouldn't agree to distribute birth control - ie, she obviously applied so that she could sue - I don't put much past people.

I'm paranoid, though, so - YMMV.

Posted by Eva Hopkins on July 22, 2014 at 10:47 PM · Report this
nocutename 21
Thanks, busy_quilting. I'm looking forward to reading it, even if it isn't one of the ones you mentioned. "Quietly hilarious" sounds perfect!
Posted by nocutename on July 22, 2014 at 10:14 PM · Report this
@OVER, since when is it just gay men who are obsessed with youth? It's the whole damn country. Hell, the whole damn world!
Posted by portland scribe on July 22, 2014 at 9:46 PM · Report this
nocutename 19
OVER: No one had a 35-years-old freakout like Dante: "Midway on our life's journey, I found myself in the dark woods, the right road lost . . ."
Now that's a mid-life crisis.
You're in good company.

And see what he accomplished?
Posted by nocutename on July 22, 2014 at 9:42 PM · Report this
Mr Savage was surprisingly gentle to the first LW; I expected something much more harsh telling him to dump himself already.

As for the third letter, I could let it go as a case of Right Message, Wrong Messenger, but at least it's nice that Mr Savage sees the point of why his lying about his age for so long was such an irritant. (An explanation of when and why he saw the light, similar to that asked of Mrs Clinton regarding some of her well-known positional juggling, would not come amiss.)
Posted by vennominon on July 22, 2014 at 9:29 PM · Report this
nocutename @ 7, I know you didn't ask me but I love Barbara Pym's writing so much! I think "Excellent Women" is my favourite or maybe "Jane and Prudence". They are all quietly hilarious. Recently I listened to an interview on BBC Radio with Armistead Maupin in which he cited Barbara Pym's writing as a big influence, particularly on the "Tales of the City" novels which I thought was interesting.
Gay Movie Fan @ 3, that seems to be a totally justified rant!
Posted by busy_quilting on July 22, 2014 at 9:25 PM · Report this
Ms Cute - Alas, I can tell you but little about Barbara Pym. I've heard of her as having a bit in common with Angela Thirkell and a bit in common with Iris Murdoch.
Posted by vennominon on July 22, 2014 at 9:18 PM · Report this
SOCI doesn't say what his partner's Adam4Adam profile said or showed, and he doesn't give details about the pictures exchanged. If the A4A profile contained the "typical" personal information (size in inches, favored positions, etc) and if the pics involved were nude, then I'm going to disagree with Dan and say that's not innocent flirtation. Also, actually creating online accounts for the specific purpose of trading pics with guys during your partner's absence is not the same thing as incidental locker room scoping. SOCI's partner is fulfilling some kind of desire that their relationship isn't satisfying, and that's a problem. I think Dan's wrong here.

As far as the horrors of turning 35 go, I just turned 50 and it's fine. Between 35 and now, I've accomplished a lot more to be proud of than I had then and I've checked any number of items off my "life list." Just keep moving forward and enjoying it, OVER.
Posted by Sancho on July 22, 2014 at 8:52 PM · Report this
unless the new intern brings it up, you would probably do better not say anything at all about a private moment you once shared. let your completely professional behavior indicate how professional you're going to keep this relationship.
Posted by anon93874834 on July 22, 2014 at 8:51 PM · Report this
Alison Cummins 13
RE hiring someone you’ve had sex with: another approach you could take is to agree that he appears extremely qualified for the position, but recuse yourself from making a formal evaluation of his candidacy on the grounds that you know him socially and while you will be able to conduct yourself professionally as a supervisor you don’t want to give an appearance of favoritism.

Often having a close contact as a subordinate is handled by having them formally report to someone else while they are working for you. This isn’t about pretense, it’s about protecting everyone involved so that they can act according to their own best judgement without fear of repercussions. Performance evaluations are done by the formal supervisor, protecting the organization from artificially inflated or severe evaluations that do not accurately reflect the employee’s contributions to the organization.

The real protection during the employee’s tenure is in disclosing to HR. The only obstacle to doing so here appears to be that the OP is embarrassed to tell HR that he has sex with men half his age. It might be possible to simply say that you know him socially. Does your company have a non-discrimination policy? Is orientation a protected status in your jurisdiction? Are you a youth pastor?
Posted by Alison Cummins on July 22, 2014 at 8:40 PM · Report this
ean 12
@#2 ahhh haha hahah hhah haha ha hah hah haaaa!! Um sorry, yeah, you're right. 29.
Posted by ean on July 22, 2014 at 8:39 PM · Report this
@ OVER: Your life is over at age 35?? Really? Ouch.
Okay, I'm neither male nor gay, but I'm turning 50 next week and my life has just started. This girl just wants to have fun like Cyndi Lauper!
Posted by auntie grizelda on July 22, 2014 at 8:10 PM · Report this
Spot on again, Dan. Bravo & kudos!
Posted by auntie grizelda on July 22, 2014 at 8:03 PM · Report this
Dude, you're the shallow one, as you see "contribute" only in terms of attracting sexual attention. Write a book, learn a new language, travel to Tibet and produce a photo essay, volunteer for something, get a PADI cert for diving, plant a garden and share the produce, learn to play a musical things to think of yourself in terms of your humanity, not your sexuality.
Posted by GG1000 on July 22, 2014 at 7:57 PM · Report this
Why is Dan fielding employment questions? It's not his area.

He didn't point out, for example, that not selecting this guy because he fucked his potential supervisor might well be cognizable as a sex discrimination claim, or that talking to him about it lets him say truthfully in any sort of harassment complaint he may file down the road that his boss brought their past relationship up before he did.

My advice (worth what you paid for it)? Hire him if he's best qualified. Don't discuss the sex unless he does first, and if he does, tell him firmly that you don't date subordinates, that your history won't affect how you view the quality of the job he does, that you look forward to working with him and that as his boss your happy to field any work-related questions he has in the future. You're warm but all business, and half of what you say there is CYA. Let HR know about the conversation and document it. Don't ask for him to be transferred or (god forbid) just order it, if that's in your authority. If he keeps bringing it up, deal with it like you would any other unwanted attention at work.

Posted by anonymous HR on July 22, 2014 at 7:49 PM · Report this
nocutename 7
Bless you, Alison Cummins: "Dan has used em dashes to set off a parenthetical clause." Be still, my fevered brain!

Mr. Ven: I just picked up my first Barbara Pym ("No Fond Return of Love"), but feel certain that you are familiar with her work. What do I need to know going in?
Posted by nocutename on July 22, 2014 at 7:46 PM · Report this
Alison Cummins 6
walruszoomie @1, that’s why they torture you in school by making you study punctuation. In this case, Dan has used em dashes to set off a parenthetical clause.

You might grasp the statement better if you mentally replaced the em dashes with parentheses, like so: ‘Don’t police your boyfriend’s online activities (snooping is the only way to “make sure it stops”) unless you want to get dumped.’

You could also break it down further into two distinct sentences, like so: ‘Don’t police your boyfriend’s online activities unless you want to get dumped.’ ‘Snooping is the only way to “make sure it stops.”’

Note that Dan uses the double quotes because he is quoting the OP’s last words. They are not used to add emphasis.
Posted by Alison Cummins on July 22, 2014 at 7:38 PM · Report this
nocutename 5
Every so often you knock 'em out of the park, Dan. Bravo!
Posted by nocutename on July 22, 2014 at 7:12 PM · Report this
Interesting column this week.

The letter from One Very Enraged Romantic sounds like it could be written by the PR department for HBO's Looking since it sounds exactly like the story of one of the characters on the show.

And as great as Dan Savage's romantic/sexual advice is, I think for employment issues, "Ask A Manager" might be a better place for Nervous Supervisor Anxious. If he has an HR department, that's the first place I'd go to get their take. I'd err on the side of disclosure.
Posted by LanguageLover on July 22, 2014 at 7:09 PM · Report this
I have no problem with twinks (who I am not into anyway) keeping their sexuality among their peers, but what freaks me out are the countless gay men over 40 or even over 50, who spend all their time and energy trying to land a 22 year-old, and then go home alone. Meanwhile, there are tons of very hot guys over 40 who think their life is over because they can't land a twink, but they never give a thought to people their own age. I sometimes cruise on-line; I am a youthful 59 years old. I can't believe the number of guys over 40 -- or even my age -- who reject me with "sorry, but I'm only into younger guys. It's just a preference". I liked Dan's advice years ago to a guy over 50 who couldn't understand why he couldn't attract "hairy, muscular, swarthy guys under thirty". Dan said, and I remember the quote verbatim, "If YOU wouldn't date YOU, how can you expect anyone else to want you?" Sorry for the rant.
Posted by Gay Movie Fan on July 22, 2014 at 6:59 PM · Report this
saxfanatic 2
Sure life can be swell when you're gay and over 35. Easy for a 29-year-old like you to say, Dan.
Posted by saxfanatic on July 22, 2014 at 6:14 PM · Report this
I'm confused by the end of Dan's comment: don't police your boyfriend's online activities—snooping is the only way to "make sure it stops"—unless you want to get dumped.

What??? snooping is the only way to make sure it stops unless? I don't get it. Either it's a typo, or I need help.
Posted by walruszoomie on July 22, 2014 at 6:04 PM · Report this

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