Average (but Demanding) Joe

January 12, 2009
Category: Dating

Dear Kirk,

I’m an older, average-looking bear who’s attracted to young, beautiful muscle studs. I haven’t had sex in a long time, because there just aren’t any guys that turn me on that are into me. I wish my standards weren’t so high, but I just can’t bring myself to be more attracted to other types of men. I had a sweet, decent looking skinny young guy come onto me recently and I really wanted to try and pick him up, but I was afraid that it just wouldn’t work for me. How can I open up my attraction to younger men that are just average, like me?

Dear Average Joe,

You have the kind of cooties that a lot of people have. Not just gay men, either. Tons of people are fixated on unrealistic standards of beauty. You’re not alone in this. There’s no harm in being attracted to muscled young hunks, but if it’s to the exclusion of everyone else, you’re writing yourself a prescription for misery.

I think we are disturbing our capacity for sexual attraction by constantly immersing ourselves in porn that features only guys with the kinds of bodies that we find exhilarating. Whether our trip is hairy bodies, masculine guys, muscle guys, skinny twinks, blondes, Asian men, African American men, Latino men…it’s great to have things we like. It’s not so great to be confined by our narrow checklists.

You say you haven’t had sex in a while because you can’t find a guy you’re attracted to who fits your standards. You have some choices. You can wait it out, seeing if you can find someone who will come along who fits your criteria and is also attracted to you. Darwin would probably argue that you need to adapt to your situation. It’s wishful thinking that there’s going to be a stream of beautiful young muscle studs who have no hangups about having sex with you. If you have strict standards, these younger guys who spend lots of time working on their bodies are likely to have some of their own.

You could hire an escort who conforms to your standards. You could hire an escort who’s outside your normal range of attraction and, if he’s intuitive and smart, he might be able to help you work through some of these issues.

Clearly, you need to work on loosening your standards to include a wider array of men so that you have a bigger pool of potential partners. Let’s look at your best case scenario — you wind up in a wonderful relationship with your perfect dream Adonis. Inevitably, he’s going to get older and eventually he’ll lose some of his muscle tone.

I know it feels hopeless, but you can be proactive about this.

Porn could be a good tool for you so that you can do your exploration in private without performance anxiety. This way, you won’t risk embarrassing yourself or hurting anyone’s feelings. Watch some porn that features men outside your normal range. Ideally, rent a few movies as opposed to watching them online. It’s easier to stay focused without all the clicking around that happens on the internet. Also, the act of renting porn can be empowering, especially if you’re having to take responsibility for some porn outside your typical repertoire.

Since you like younger men, start with porn that features younger guys who aren’t muscled. Commit to spending thirty minutes with yourself exploring these guys. Put down a towel, lube up, make the room comfortable and really let yourself play with your body while you’re watching these guys. We are not much different than dogs and mice — we’re easily trained! Use a dildo if that turns you on. If you don’t get hard, don’t worry about it. Keep touching yourself in a way that’s sensual. Go the entire thirty minutes — don’t just jerk off quickly. After you’ve successfully been aroused by the skinny younger guys, move a step further outside your type. Maybe move to a slightly older age group. Try thirtysomething guys with muscles. Try muscle bears. Try — gasp! — a movie that features average-looking bears like you.  Check out PantheonMen.com.  They've got great porn featuring a wide variety of real men.

Try talking to the guys in the movie as if you’re having sex with them. It sounds strange but it really works.

Try trading the porn you like with a friend who has totally different tastes. Once you’ve watched it, have a conversation with your friend about what he likes about it and try to express what you liked and didn’t like about it.

You’ve spent years developing your patterns and wiring, so be patient with yourself. It will take time to broaden your sense of what’s appealing. Eventually, you will move from porn into the real world. Maybe you go to a sex club environment, where it’s easier to move from partner to partner without feeling so self-conscious. Maybe you try activities where you don’t need to get an erection, like sucking someone’s cock or making out.

With older or less muscled sex partners, you may never experience the ringing euphoria that you feel when you’re with your ideal body beautiful young fantasy guy. But you owe it to yourself to try and grow past this limitation. This is our community’s version of the straight man who’s only interested in teenage Catholic school girls. I think there’s something developmentally arrested about it. It takes commitment, focus and courage to trust that we can get inspired to 
have rock hard erections by guys outside our erotic comfort zones.

Finally, I would say this: You wouldn’t be attracted to yourself if you met your twin somewhere. What if you were attracted to someone like yourself? What if you found your own body hot? What if you got excited about the idea of having sex with yourself? Do you think that would impact the way you felt about yourself? I hate this phrase with a passion, but it kind of fits: you might have a different kind of self-esteem.

Hell, it’s worth a try.

Kirk Read can be contacted at kirk@daddyhunt.com and welcomes letters seeking advice for this blog.


Tags: Relationships, Advice, Dating Tips, Hunter's View, Sex
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Kirk, baby,

That was a brilliant response, really. I'm one of those guys who doesn't really have a very specific "type," (outside of eliminating the unhygienic and morbidly obese) so friends of mine who have the same problem as "Average Joe" have asked me for advice on occasion and I've never known what to say. Now I do, thanks to you. Really, job well done!

All my best,

What a great post! I agree that as a community we greatly limit our erotic potential by only focusing on images of certain types of men. As individuals, we have the ability to move beyond that.


Such a great response K.
I personally can use the answer even though my question would be different. I can physically get off on a range of different guys, say in a club or my fuckbuds, but I've set ridiculously high standards for "the one" that I'd want to have as the main-man in my life. Needless to say, I've never had a main-man in my life! I can see it won't happen until I break some mental habits.
Cheers D.

It's interesting to note how this issue gets perceived by various people. I've been told that I'm "too picky" because I'm <strong><em>only</em></strong> interested in men with facial hair. I myself don't see that as a problem. And if I could create a clone of myself that was a relentless top, I absolutely would do myself. *grin*

I have a somewhat similar problem. I'm only attracted to people with penises.

Seriously though, the older I get the more types of guys I'm attracted to and, oddly enough, more young muscle guys are attracted to me now than when I was a young muscle guy myself. I don't know how that works, but it does.

The term “developmentally arrested” is the way psychiatry used to describe homosexuality. If we could just move beyond this arrested stage in our psycho-sexual development, the argument went, we could graduate to “mature” heterosexuality. It was bullshit then, and Kirk's argument is bullshit now. Sure, lots of gay men have managed to marry and have sex with women in an attempt to please their parents, church, and society, but did they actually change? Rarely.

Although people can sometimes experience shifts in the physical qualities that stimulate them, including even the gender of one's partner(s), I believe that one's type range remains fairly stable over time. I also find that those with wide type ranges have little understanding of or empathy for those of us whose type ranges are narrower, leading them to offer glib remedies that only serve to help them feel superior. I also believe the elements of one's type range, the chemicals that add up to chemistry, are more complex than some simple, societally dictated standard of beauty.

To the man who, like myself, has a relatively narrow type range I can only offer a suggestion to look at other factors aside from physical traits you find attractive in men and focus on those instead of emphasizing only what is missing. I know I have encountered men who at first glance were at the far edges of my physical type range, yet whose personality, intelligence, wit, compassion, or whose strong desire for me lit a spark of desire in me for them.

Finding a suitable mate is always a statistical challenge for gay men, considering that at best ten percent of the total male population of the world is likely to share our same-sex desires, and most of those will not be men we would choose as partners, either because they're already taken or because they're not sufficiently within our type ranges, physically or otherwise. Those with wider type ranges will have the advantage of finding more men attractive, and I'm happy for their good fortune. Those of us with narrower type ranges might appreciate more those relatively fewer men who turn our heads and perhaps be less likely to stray, knowing how hard it truly is to find the right one.

For once Kirk, you've made an intelligent response! Never thought you had it in you. I'm pleasantly surprised.

If it can only get thru to some of you, how absolutely wonderful guys you've passed up because they were not of the ethnicity of your narrowly defined range...

I wonder if some of you realize there's a very fine line between bigotry and preference.

I'm 46 and my lover and I have been together 4 years now. I'm caucasian, he's Afro Caribbean. Had I not expanded my range I would never had met the love of my life. And my life would have been the poorer for this.

Kudos to you Kirk!

I feel its as simple as "people create their own prisons" out of fear or ignorance, we put up walls to our happiness. The psychobabble is an explanation if you lean towards the academic side of things, however, socially, behaviors can be changed by the individuals who have them. It's as simple as conditioning, if someone is unhappy because of their unrealistic and narrowed criteria for a mate. Then, simply, they need to work, WORK to change that or be miserable. I'm assuming most gays have been around the net for awhile, most every chat room is the same with the same characters, only the screen names are different. Without fail, the most miserable, sad, depressed guys are those who insist on unrealistic expectations, "sex only after 5 dates." "I only date young guys," etc. Well no one gets more angry then they if you suggest that they might be setting these boundaries because they've modeled them after str8's...not gays. Oh well another subject...One of the benefits of being a human is that we can change our ways, our expectations or our desires. It has nothing to do with instinct, just unrealistic expectations of reality.

With 2 insightful and VERY wise posts this week I'm gonna have to add "Just like Kirk" to my already expansive and eclectic range of "types". And the follow-ups are great to read too!

Strict "types" - physical as well as behavioral - IS are recipe for loneliness and disappointment. From a therapeutic perspective, having a type is a great way to dodge real love by dismissing a huge percentage of men in a very tight market. If the available men aren't up to your "standards" - or those who meet your "standards" are unavailable to you - then your emotional immaturity kind of suggests a steady diet of escorts. And yeah, chat rooms are full of miserable guys who are simply addicted to searching for an empty dream or an idol to worship. Schoolgirls get over much the same thing around the age of sixteen.

We are human and we all have the capacity to change into more loving and more lovable men. As we become more open to loving we usually find our "type" quickly becomes many types, with fewer stereotypes. I see muscles as a just another fetish: a fetish I don't really like. To me it reads porn-inspired, shallow and narcissistic. I can care for a guy with a gym body but more often than not I see a frightened or unattractive dude who's all pumped up and just looks ridiculous. Hey a shallow-chested dude might not have an attractive essence either but at least you've got somewhere to rest the ashtray after sex!

"Not just gay men". WRONG! Straight people may have fantasies, but when it comes to idealize looks, fixate and limit themselves to one specific stereotype and live by it, gay men win all the prizes. BY FAR.
This "average joe" you are answering to... a living example of what I just said: More worried about finding girlish-looking boys and having sex with them than trying the see the real person inside a man. I feel sorry for him because let's face it, he's not getting any younger. He's going to live a lonely life and die a lonesome death.

Dear Kirk, who are you? Why do people write to you for advice and tell you how wonderful you are? Do you get paid for this? How much? Have you a vested financial interest in all this? Is that why you direct us to "other sites". I'm only asking. -S

Loosen up Sickofant! Can Kirk help it if he's too fucking much? No way! He's so good he doesn't even have to try! We love you Kirkie baby!

I agree, sickofant's nasty incisive questions are typical of a culture of hatred for success that has caused the current recession in Our Great Nation.

OK its the ELECTRIC CHAIR for success-hating sickofant!!! Then burn again in HELL, wiseass!! LETS NUKE EUROPE!!!

Hi Professor, we met on the Edmund White blog. Has he been released yet?

I'm sorry BB, still no word. All we can do now is pray.

I totally disagree with the advice given.
You can take a horse to water but you cant make it drink.

What a bunch of hooey. So, we can 'force' ourselves to be attracted to people we aren't? I guess that means all of us single guys should start dating chicks. I mean, a heavy, older, bearish guy is just as unattractive to me as a woman. But under your postulations, with enough 'training' we can be 'retrained' to be attracted to those we are not. Isn't that what the 'gay-away' people believe?

Granted, I think that most people have broader 'tastes' than they think they do. But please. It is foolish to believe that you can 'change' to whom or what it is that you are attracted. Is the writer being unrealistic yes....is he likely to go dateless or sexless if he INSISTS that the men he date be, "...young, beautiful muscle studs"...yes. But expecting him to, slowly, quickly or not, change his tastes so completely as to be attracted to other, heavy, older, bearish guys...not bloody likely.