fathers1

“I love dad/son role play and working with a great therapist came to be able to listen to my own internal compass and dismiss outside judgment. I am most comfortable with younger men. There is a light and fun and spontaneous nature to the interaction.” – Dr. Ralph Mayer

When I initially entered the “gay” lifestyle in 1988, the very first thing that stuck me about the whole scene was the massive wall of older, endlessly flattering, and immensely “loving” men who met me in that first bar I walked into. At the time, I was 18, completely inexperienced, and, after suffering years of alienation and loneliness, including the tortuous and embarrassing insults from other boys at a school, a large group of masculine and seemingly self-confident men, who actually wanted me, was like being in heaven. Up until then, everything else felt like an ugly prelude to my final rebirth and “coming out” as a liberated “gay” man. Finally, in the arms of another man, my life would make sense, and, in an instant, the countless nights spent crying, because all I had to look upon and touch was the cold flat screen of the portable television in my bedroom playing a “gay” porn video, would miraculously disappear once and for all. Suddenly, the men were real and pumping blood. Consequently, the older men who were drawn to me, I was equally attracted towards; for, everything they represented seemed simultaneously familiar and comforting, but also strange and exiting. In a very real sense, it was a rushing back to the father; my childhood longing to be held, and, at the same time, a desperate need to feel accepted. As the LA “daddy” Dr. Mayer stated, I was no longer heeding any preconceived shameful notions I may have had about my feelings, but merely followed my own “internal compass” of desire; and, these older, and more “mature” men, finally and concretely validated those feelings.

In contemporary “gay’ culture there has always been an open celebration of cross-generational relationships, often referred to in the “lifestyle” as daddy/son couples. With the advent of “marriage equality” and celebrity same-sex couples, there is also a burgeoning interest in these May/September and even May/December (embodied by actor Ian McKellen’s public proclivity for much younger companions) relationships. Several international studies have been conducted which definitively point to a large age discrepancy between same-sex male couples.* Today, nowhere was this astonishing gap more evident in the bizarre relationship between 57 year old British actor Stephen Fry and his 27 year old “husband;” interestingly, British novelist Christopher Isherwood was also 30 years older than his partner Don Bachardy (see middle picture above). For many years, this age discrepancy was first reflected in “gay” pornography; with the daddy/boy scenario being a staple in the “gay” porn lexicon since its inception in the 1960s; the earliest “gay” porn were a plethora of incestuous pulp novels with such titles as: “My Son…My Lover,” “Like Father Like Son,” and “Daddy’s Boy.” With the advent of “gay” porn films, the genre was first brought to life with the sado-masochist couplings of the masculine Fred Halsted and the younger effeminate Joey Yale. In these sorts of older-dominant and younger-submissive scenes, the incestuous nature of the pairings were only implied; usually with the top endlessly referring to the bottom as “son” and vice versa with the younger man calling the older man “daddy.” These movies would set the tone for all subsequent “gay” porn generations when the oeuvre would be ever expanded to include not only daddy/son combinations, but uncle and nephew, and brothers (sometimes including actual twin siblings who have sex on camera.) Recently, especially with the films of director Joe Gage, the suggestion of incest has been implicitly erased with a series of role-playing movies that include simulated father-son and even grandfather-grandson sex. And, although there is a near correlation with the similar popularity of “MILF” porn in the “straight” market, unlike the phenomena in “gay” culture, it does not represent a wider real-world trend; for instance, according to Census data from Canada, US numbers on this peculiar stat are currently not available: 26% of men in male same-sex unions, the gap between partners is 10 or more years; in comparison, according to 2012 US Census data, only 1.6% of men are married with a woman where the age gap is 10 or more years.

By the time I reached age 29, I was washing-out of the “gay” lifestyle; I looked older than I was and, in a sort of tragic reversal, I became the “daddy” to several naive and easily duped “sons” – for a while, it was as if I were molesting my younger self, for I always recognized the same 18 year old young man in these kids who were newly arrived in San Francisco – seeing my face 10 years ago whenever I looked into their eyes. For the most part, it was too much for me to bear, for how could I be a “father-figure” to these fatherless boys when I was still looking for my own grey-haired savior; then, to make matters even sicker, I briefly coupled up with a series of men in their 60s, and yes 70s, men surely old enough to be my biological father, and, then dragged along my younger sons to take part in perverse three-generational liaisons. Later, only by the Grace of God, I got out of the whole thing.

Now, so many years distant from it all, I can clearly see the role that pornography played in my life and how it, not so much influenced or ordered my desires, but confirmed what I already felt; in me, and in many others, there was a precise mingling between childhood trauma, porn, and the “gay” identification with father-loss; this sickness pervades everything and, as Arenas described, is the subliminal prime-mover in everything “gay.” Again, growing up disaffected and distant from masculinity, and from male affirmation and companionship, I longed for closeness with men; especially strong and seemingly macho men who were always older – for, there was a fantasy of comfort and safety that could be found when your face was buried in the hairy chest of an all-accepting man; in my childhood during the 1970s, these daydreams were almost always centered on the incredibly manly “construction worker” from The Village People, usually incorporating some scenario by which he would become my friend and guardian; oftentimes, with these visions, especially when I was younger, not including an sort of sex; my friends of an earlier generation, often remembered similar fantasies involving 1950s homoerotic heroes such as “Cheyenne” and “Bronco Lane.” Today, this collective longing in the “gay” subconscious is again represented by the acceptance of “daddy” worship, not only in porn, but in the wider pop-culture; the prestigious “New York” magazine featured a story (2013) titled “Rise of the Daddies.” Therefore, in the mind of a conflicted and disturbed same-sex attracted boy, at first, “gay” porn will confirm that their yearnings are actually “normal” and surprisingly shared by a number of other men; after years of struggling, for most – this is a revelation. But, what this also sets up is the later abuse of that same boy by those who await him in the actuality of the “gay” world; because, as I experienced, and so many others before and after me, there are countless homosexual men who will play your father in order to have sex with you. Then, it becomes a horrible sort of barter: with them filling in for the role of “dad” and you reenacting the desperation of childhood – it’s a late and rather pitiful running back to the father for love and protection that becomes all about sex; this tragedy is most intensely materialized in the rising numbers of young “gay” men who are infected with HIV – most typically by their older lovers.1 I saw this play out over and over again: broken and unloved boys wanting a man to love them, and, never finding the reassurance they so longed for in the arms of another man – but, only receiving death in exchange.

*http://www.josephsciambra.com/2015/06/gay-marriage-its-not-about-being-gay-or.html

1. “Over a 15-year simulation, the HIV epidemic among YMSM continued to rise, with Latino/white YMSM facing a steeper increase in the HIV burden compared with black YMSM. YMSM in partnerships with older MSM…were at highest risk for HIV.”
“A Data-Driven Simulation of HIV Spread Among Young Men Who Have Sex With Men: Role of Age and Race Mixing and STIs.”
Beck EC, et al.
J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2015 Oct 1;70(2):186-94.

Also:
“Men with older partners reported a higher prevalence of URAI

[unprotected receptive anal intercourse]. A second model found that men with older partners had increased odds of having unrecognized HIV infection…”
“Older partner selection, sexual risk behavior and unrecognized HIV infection among black and Latino men who have sex with men.”
Joseph HA, et al.
Sex Transm Infect. 2011 Aug;87(5):442-7.