"I would like to avoid questioning the validity of the argument (both for myself and others) that being gay is "natural"/"that I was born this way.""

Smart lad.
You don't want to touch that with a ten foot pole.
Because it is not an argument;
it is what folks in the business call The Big Lie.

If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.

As apparently you have.

If you had an identical twin they probably would not claim to be homosexual.
They, with the same genes you have, would not have been born that way

So don't you dare ever question the validity of The Big Lie.
You won't like what you find.
@1 You do know that identical twins aren't exactly identical, right?…

But, ew, facts and studies!
I personally knew a pair of identical twins, one gay and one straight. Actually I just knew the straight one because he was married to one of my co-workers. Most people didn't think he was really straight, and sure enough after 15 or so years of marriage and 4 kids he came out as gay.
So there you go, an anecdote.
I once knew a pair of identical twins, and one of them was good and one of them was evil. And the evil one knocked the good one unconscious and took the good one's place and started ruining her life. But, luckily, the good twin escaped and though she was chased at knifepoint by the evil twin through her well-decorated house, she managed to..., wait, I'm mis-remembering. I didn't know these twins; that was a Lifetime movie.

Still, it's as true and as relevant an anecdote as what @1 offers above, somehow imagining for some weird reason what it would be like if the guy with the DILF question had an identical twin. I guess I'd always wondered who the audience was for gay twincest porn...
Who cares why you're gay? It's as valid a thing to be as anything else and it's highly unlikely to change. Maybe you were born that way, maybe you're a subversive pervert, maybe the fairy-fairy came to pay you a visit in childhood, maybe you drank tainted pink kool-aid, and maybe it's your daddy issues. It really doesn't matter at all. Friend, you're here, you're queer, get used to it.
When I was in my 20's, I loved 40-year-old men. In my 30's, I found I was still into 40-year-old men. Now that I'm in my forties, guess what. Still into them and assume I will be when I'm in my 50's. Be yourself.
DAD, the world is full of DILFs who'd like you to be into them and who won't ask about your daddy issues. Let go of your hang-ups and make two (or more) people happy.
To DAD (if you're reading), I'm actually kind of struggling with this issue from the opposite perspective. When I was younger, I was always attracted to men who were older than I was, generally speaking, in their 30s and 40s; that's still my sweet spot BTW, so perhaps this is a problem you will age out of.

I think it is harder for relationships between those with sharply divergent ages to be equal. In general, you're going to bring different agendas to the table (do we go out and hit the clubs or stay in and watch Netflix?). Your partner will most likely earn rather more than you and own more in the way of assets. These things can cause real problems, especially when male pride and ego get involved.

There is some wiggle room there: I find the "half-your-age-plus-seven" rule to be a good general rule to decide if your partner can function as an equal age-wise. So if you're 25, you can date someone as old as 36 or so without it seeming unusual.

A large part of this discomfort on my part comes from the pretty overt appeals to incest in the related dad/son scene. I find any scene that is OK-enough with incest (possibly including child molestation) to re-enact it to be pushing some really serious moral boundaries way too far.

My other big concern with this sort of thing is that I have seen some relationships of this type play out in other unhealthy ways, especially ones where the older guy has basically started supporting his boy-toy in what I would call the "Anna-Nicole Smith" relationship model (you youngsters can Google her right after you get off my damn lawn). Relationships like that are often particularly destructive to the younger member (although you do see older men becoming financially ruined as a result sometimes too).

So yes, there's lots of reasons to be wary. You don't want a creep. You don't want a sugar daddy. And a lot of the 40- or 50-something guys out there chasing men in their 20s are pretty creepy.

But on the other hand, I have seen these relationships work out really well too. Not often, but it does happen. My observation is that it really takes a very great deal of maturity, communication and empathy on the part of both partners. You both need to understand that you're in different places in a lot of different ways. That will mean a lot of flexibility and willingness to sacrifice some things in order to meet your partner half-way.
I'm intensely ambivalent about this letter.

One the one hand... You're attracted to men who tend to be experienced, established, and horny? Oh, the horror! Go for it already, ya putz! If you're in your 20s looking for guys in their 40s you will have your pick.

On the other... Goddamn does growing up in a homophobic culture give some of us hangups. I really feel for this guy. He's in a rough spot in his own head, and sorting that out is easier said than done.

That said... life is short. You have to go for it eventually if you want to be happy.

Maybe you can find a hot older boyfriend to help you figure all this out.
@DAD, why does the age of your boyfriend have to be an issue with other people at all?
If you were attracted to men 40 years older, and dated many of them, one after the other, introducing them to all your family and friends, it might become a point of discussion. As it is, it's more a case of:

You: Aunt Ethel, I'd like you to meet my boyfriend Jason.
Aunt Ethel: Jason seems a bit older than you.
You: Does he? I suppose he is. I never really think about that. Jason is just the greatest guy; I know you'll love him.
Honey, please don't make dating an older man sound like a terrible affliction. Just date people you want to date, that you are attracted to and don't worry about what other people think. It's pointless. I'm 52. Trust me on this one. I've been out of the closet for 36 years.

I've fairly recently discovered the power of the word "Daddy." It's amazing and I love it and so do the younger men I play with.

Finally, maybe it's time to move out of the small town you grew up in and move to a big city. More Daddies to choose from.

Maybe if you were magically straight you'd have mommy issues instead, DAD.
You're attracted to men you're ashamed to be seen with - and that's pretty fucked up for you. If you can't find your way on your own to understanding that it's much more rewarding to get into a relationship with someone you enjoy, who's fun, and who turns you on than someone who's not like that, I'd say find a good gay-friendly therapist and go to work with them.

A good therapist can help you find your way to enjoying who you are instead of being repelled by who you are.

But - be cautious in picking a therapist, and verify ahead of time with other people that they're good with gay issues. A lot of therapists have their own hangups about gay relationships and about relationships between people of different ages, and they can do much more harm than good. Avoid any therapist who starts to make you feel worse about who you are - they're dangerous.
Many straight guys who fancy older women while in their 20's seldom get a chance to be with one, and here's a gay guy into older dudes who's capable of getting some action yet hesitant because of social stigmas or whatever.
Have fun when you can, young man.
I have no idea what the issue is LW. I don't mean that as an insult, I mean I don't understand why being attracted to older guys somehow makes your sexuality a 'choice'.

As Dan said there are plenty of heterosexual folks who are attracted to older men/women and no one claims they're not straight because of it.

Hell many people are attracted to things like maturity, stability and the absence of the stupidity that often walks hand-in-hand with being young. Sure there are risks of power imbalances, or being put into a caretaker role sooner than expected but honestly that can happen even in a relationship between peers.

Or stop dating guys you don't want to be with to prove a point that doesn't matter to people who won't listen.
Are these men kind, healthy and rich? Then what is your problem LW.
Women get with men twenty yrs their senior often, see George Clooney and wife, and no one gives a toss.
And if you feel these attractions are due to daddy issues and it worries you, then do some therapy about it. Resolve this primary relationship if you feel it is catching you.
An alternative is for LW to look online for a fine upstanding guy who is only a few years older than him (but maybe a bit dominant) and looks grey and lined, in a hot way. This is a legit look for men and personally it's my favourite.
Onovanday @7: Bingo. Best line from the film Dazed and Confused: "I get older, they stay the same age."

Agree with @10 and @11. You're not going to be introducing every single guy you date to your friends and family. You don't have to reveal a preference for 40something guys; you can reveal that you're dating a wonderful guy who happens to be 40something. I do accept that "I'm dating the same sex" is a difficult enough hurdle without adding "I'm dating someone older" to it; but it's quite sad (speaking as a 40something) that a younger partner might be too ashamed of me to ever want to be seen in public.

I think it's time to start pursuing something substantial with those guys you keep ogling. Your heart wants what it wants. And it's not creepy if you do the pursuing. Go for it; I bet your attentions will be well received!
@2 just because you didn't deliberately choose a thing, does not mean that it is genetic. more importantly, does it really matter "why" people are the way they are? if we chose our orientation, would that suddenly make it wrong? we don't say "it's okay that your gay because you can't help it, you were born this way".

the truth is, while there are indications that genetic factors and in utero development seems to have a statistical effect on the future orientation of a person, we don't know that these are the objective determining factors. and does it really matter? the second we find and isolate the "gay gene", a lot of assholes are going to be looking for a "cure". if people in the world will abort a fetus that has genetic markers for down's syndrome, then i promise that some people will abort a fetus that they think will be gay.

besides, who cares why we are who we are? if you were a robot, would it change anything to know why you were programmed the way you were? or would you still just be programmed the same way, with a convenient defense for something that doesn't require one?
I was always attracted to older men too, although my perspective is different as a straight woman. When I was young it was because my age mates were boys, not men. I was excited when I reached my twenties because I felt like I was "old enough for older men." But then when I got into my 30s, I was happy because I was "old enough for younger men," that is, old enough that males younger than I was were grownup enough to be men mature enough to be attractive to me. Turns out I just prefer (grownup) men to (immature) boys.
I still love the boomer dudes, in general, and I tend to be drawn to those (in friendship and otherwise) to those 5-10 years older than me, but I think it's more due to growing up as the little sister in the 60s and 70s when the older sibs were so much cooler than me. In my 40s, I had sexual relationships with men ranging from 19 to 70. Your experience may be different (well, will be different); you might always like men in their 40s no matter what your age, you might always like men 20 years older than you (not a prob unless their libido diminishes well before yours does), or, you might find that like me, you just like men who have already grown up.
I really don't see how any of this is a problem or has anything to do with your gayness. "Daddy" issues, if they are troubling, could be addressed in therapy, I guess, but there is no reason to assume they are the source of your attraction. And the daddy/boy thing in kink has little to do with actual incest, except perhaps in fantasy for some. Not my thing so I can't really speak to it but those tend to be more D/s service type relationships as far as I have observed. Perhaps go to IML or another big gay event somewhere less oppressive than your usual environment and get more familiar with the range of relationships actual gay people have? It appears you are letting the stereotypes of the mostly straight conservative people who surround you get into your head.
(Funny story, about 10 years ago I had a blind date/hookup with a guy I met online. We hit it off pretty well and planned to get together again but then I had a dream that night that showed me why I found him appealing... He looked almost exactly like my father. Not my father as he was then, in his 80s, but as he had looked in his 50s, about my age. Once I saw it, I could not unsee it. Had to call him up to cancel the date. The weirdest excuse either of us had ever heard for canceling but what are you going to do? Just could not have sex with Dad double.)
My ex is nine years older than I am, and that relationship lasted twenty years.

My current is eleven years younger than I am.

I've gone from having Daddy issues to being the Daddy.

Don't worry about the age difference. Date who you want to date, marry who you want to marry, and let's all agree that #1 is an asshole. (p.s. to #1: I know a pair of identical twins who are both gay. Both, as it happens, also are into older men).
LW - My PLB overcame a Mormon upbringing that was surely at least the equal of yours. You are entirely free to admit that it's too much for you to overcome; just please avoid generalizing.
@1 If only there were some research into this ...……

Gene expression can be altered by environmental factors, so it's possible that for some people sexual preference is social and genetic at the same time. It's also very possible that you're an idiot. You can help yourself become less of an idiot - read about SNPs and gene expression and about genetics in general. Then stop using the flat earth argument you presented us with when the topic of homosexuality comes up. Life is more complicated than you imagine.

On another note - as a man who dates older women, I know the social stigma thing can seem to be tough. But if you don't act like there's anything odd going on, then people will just accept it (my experience, at least). And if someone doesn't, don't engage. Roll your eyes and tell them to mind their own business.
You seem a little bitchy today.

The study you linked is interesting.
Thank you for sharing it.

We noted that an identical twin of a homosexual will frequently not claim to be homosexual even though both siblings share the same genes.
The implication is that other factors, factors that come into play after the genetic make-up of the individual is set, environmental and cultural and behavioral factors, also influence an individual to identify as homosexual. Factors that come into play after birth, hence giving lie to the born that way myth.

From your article:

But experts said the results -- as yet unpublished in a peer-reviewed journal -- offer preliminary new evidence that a man's genetic inheritance is only one influence on his sexual orientation. Through the epigenome, the results suggest, some facet of life experience likely also primes a man for same-sex attraction.
Over a person's lifetime, myriad environmental factors -- nutrition, poverty, a mother's love, education, exposure to toxic chemicals -- all help shape the person he will become.
Researchers working in the young science of epigenetics acknowledge they are unsure just how an individual's epigenome is formed. But they increasingly suspect it is forged, in part, by the stresses and demands of external influences.
Researchers working in the young science of epigenetics acknowledge they are unsure just how an individual's epigenome is formed. But they increasingly suspect it is forged, in part, by the stresses and demands of external influences. A set of chemical marks that lies between the genes, the epigenome changes the function of genetic material, turning the human body's roughly 20,000 protein-coding genes on or off in response to the needs of the moment.
While genes rarely change over a lifetime, the epigenome is constantly changing.
Geneticists suggest that together, the human genome and its epigenome reflect the interaction of nature and nurture -- both our fixed inheritance and our bodies' flexible responses to the world -- in making us who we are.
In identical twins, DNA is shared and overlaps perfectly. But the existence of twin pairs in which one is homosexual and the other is not offers strong evidence that something other than DNA alone influences sexual orientation.
...the existence of identical twin pairs in which only one is homosexual “conclusively suggest that genes don’t explain everything,” Bailey added.

We admit your researchers explain it better than we did.

Sexual orientation results from a complex interaction of inherited tendencies, environmental influences and behavioral choices. And as the article pointed out, those non-gene influences can and will change over a lifetime.
Telling people that homosexuals are born that way is a gross distortion of the reality.
It is especially harmful when young people still discovering themselves are brainwashed in the born that way myth.
The presence of inherited tendencies does not condemn them to any particular stereotypical lifestyle constraints.
They should be encouraged to allow their own will and choices help mold the person they will become, rather than being jammed into some preformed mold fashioned by adult activists.
The fruit fly study was also interesting.
Frankly, we find limited usefulness in looking to insects or penguins or bonobos for guidance on what might constitute enlightened human behavior.
But the article's assertion "A new study finds drugs or genetic manipulation can turn the homosexual behavior of fruit flies on and off within a matter of hours. " certainly holds intriguing prospects for humans.
@25 @26 You didn't read about SNPs and gene expression, did you? You just skimmed the articles, didn't bother learning anything first, right? Changing genetic expression implies that something is not a choice. You can't pray a gene into expressing differently. As far as the harms of people thinking they are 'born gay' - the logic goes both ways. If it's harmful to say you are born gay why isn't it harmful to say you are born straight? For you the answer is probably "because being gay is bad", which is the issue for you - you have the answer already and the evidence is just there for you to pick through and selectively cite to rationalize your belief - it's ex-post rationalization, not reasoning.

Further, I don't see why there is harm in acknowledging that we are born a certain way and that over time we may evolve and change.

Also, I'm confused about your first quote - this is exactly my point. Yet you seem to think this contradicts my argument. Yes, there are likely a combination of factors that lead to sexual preference. That's why I wrote: so it's possible that for some people sexual preference is social and genetic at the same time. I think you read 'environmental factors' and misunderstand the meaning. Your desire to not be gay because God said it was bad is not what they are talking about.

On to twins: twins vary genetically via single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and via genetic expression. They have the same genes, as the article says, but they vary genetically in other ways. I think the problem is that you think, erroneously, that having the same genes is the end of the genetic story. This is why I suggested you educate yourself on the matter before continuing to talk about it, because you clearly don't understand some fundamental issues at play.

And yes, I get bitchy when people's ignorance leads to them spout harmful bullshit. It really pisses me off.

As for your last comment - don't be one of those idiots that reads about findings in fruit flies and starts to imagine all sorts of nonsense. And if you actually believe that such a thing for people is feasible, then you are acknowledging that our fundamental biology determines our sexual preference and not some choice we make. So someone who has felt an attraction to the same sex since they were old enough to be attracted to people was "born gay" ... so you acknowledge that you are wrong about homosexuality being a choice. I'm glad you've finally come around. The pill mimics the results of genetic modification by blocking expression. I think this went right over your head - the fact that the pill changed the behavior was an indicator that the behavior was a genetic trait. As in a trait acquired at birth. Genes can be turned on and off. Seriously, go read about genetics - actually try to learn something. It'll be good for you.
@25 One last thought for you:…

Do some soul searching.
@25 - you never did answer the question "when did you decide to be straight?". That was asked quite a way back in this thread.

Is it because you never had to decide, because you were born straight? Or maybe you're a Bi person, and did decide to ignore your gay side? Or you're asexual and asocial and never had any interest in sex or romance anyway? Do let us know, we're curious, if you have any honesty in you at all.
You don't owe anyone an explanation of who you're attracted to. I'm in a long term relationship with a 14 year age difference, and nobody has ever mentioned it, honestly. It's not an issue.
As a queer person who is recovering from a conservative evangelical upbringing, I say find a good therapist who's sex positive and experienced in queer issues, and figure out how to love and accept yourself as the gay man you are. There is no shame in being attracted to older men, and a good therapist can help you sift through those "daddy issues". Allowing yourself to only have these relationships in secret is how you continue the cycle of abuse and shame you suffered growing up. It's bad enough that they pathologized you and your orientation...don't commit that kind of violence against yourself.
Bitchy and wound a little too tight…

You are frantically projecting all your sock puppet demons onto us.
please stop.

Why are you so hostile to the notion that sexuality is fluid and people can influence their own development and desires?

What exactly do you find homophobic about anything we said?
(Do you have any idea how often on Slog we have been accused of being self-loathing closet cases? It must be the go-to argument when ever a homosexual is disagreed with…)

Now the troll is taking over! Please guys, stop feeding this person. Ignore him and his on repeat posts.
resistance is futile
I think some people are born gay. I feel like I chose to be gay. Anybody who has a problem with my decision can go to hell.
I stopped being interested in whether my homosexuality was a choice or not a long time ago. The correct stance, from my point of view, is that it doesn't matter - there is nothing immoral about loving, being attracted to, or sleeping with a member of the same sex, so aside from satisfying intellectual curiosity, I don't see the point in dwelling on it. It ends up just being a way to force queer people into a position of having to defend ourselves. For what it's worth, I've never felt any inclination to be anything other than gay, but I would not have closed myself off to the possibility of having relations with a woman if I met one with whom I felt those connections.

LW: As a man who is all-but-exclusively attracted to big guys, I sympathize with your plight. One of John Waters' films has some bear characters that talk about being out of the second closet, and I was always struck by that sentiment. It's true: First we have to free ourselves from the personal and societal shame of being queer, and then we have to break free of the notion that there is some right or wrong way for us to be queer. When I was in the closet, I felt somehow more frightened of people finding out this specific aspect of me than I was them just finding out I was gay.

Life's too short for this type of BS - this is our one shot for happiness, so stop wasting time and date/sleep with/marry someone you genuinely want to be with. Don't repress or delay your happiness for the benefit of bigots who don't have your interests in mind at all. I'm so glad I was eventually able to take this advice. If you're happy, the people who matter in your life will recognize it and be happy for you in turn. If they aren't, fuck em. I've been with my kind, smart, sexy, funny, handsome teddy bear of a boyfriend for 4 years today (it's our anniversary!), and if I'd kept my preferences to myself I'd never have found my soulmate. All of my friends (the same ones I was worried about) never batted an eye - they love my guy and think we're a cute couple. I hope the same goes for you when the time comes, but don't let that fear stop you from being you.
@5. You rock.

@ lw. I have daddy issues too. Embrace them
It's awesome.
LG @33 Well, in this case "feeding the troll" actually led to some interesting posts.
@ 36 - As a man who is all-but-exclusively attracted to big guys, too, I concur. I could have written exactly the same thing.

Life is meant to be lived and enjoyed.

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