Middle-aged Gay Men Living in Proverbial Closet!

Apparently, there are more closet gay men on the planet than there are closets. All over the world middle-aged blokes are living one lifestyle while thinking about another. Many are married with kids and put on an appearance to convince those around them that they are just another Joe Average heterosexual son, brother, husband, father, and so on.

Middle-aged gay menCan a Man really become Gay in his Middle-age?

A question frequently asked in lifestyle forums is this; “Why do so many men ‘turn gay’ at middle age?” The answer to that is they don’t. Well not usually! Most have always been that way, or at the very least had tendencies that they’ve kept from the wider world, and perhaps even from their own conscious mind.

However, there has been some research that suggests a gay person can, in some cases, spontaneously (and sometimes as a result of therapeutic intervention), turn straight.

At what Stage does Sexual Orientation Set in?

A boy’s sexuality is defined early in his childhood and so becomes set, or hard-wired into his very being. What this means is that no one is actually ‘born gay’, but homosexuality is developed as the child develops. So how many grow up to become closeted gay men?

Mainly due to the still homophobic prejudice in many of the world’s countries, a lot of kids will acquire a strong denial about their true feelings. Some even manage to push their homosexual tendencies into the subconscious mind. Nevertheless, there comes a time when such emotions can no longer be suppressed.

The time to open up often kicks in around middle age, a period when a lot of closet gay men become man enough, and strong enough, to face up to facts. This is also most likely why there appear to be so many men ‘coming out’ after the age of 40.

Please take part in the Gay Poll

Just How Many Gay Men are there in the Wider World?

It’s actually impossible to know for sure how many gay men there are in any given country, let alone the wider world, especially with so many closets still out there! There are some figures brandished about though that make quite an interesting read. View Gay Stats here.

Is there a Cure for Midlife Gayness?

Any gay man will tell you there is no more a cure for his sexual orientation than there is for being human. And anyway, once an individual has become open and accepting about his sexual identity, he wouldn’t want to change the way he is for all the tea in China.

Being gay, at any age, is not an illness, despite what the ignorant cranks say. It is as much a part of the homosexual’s characteristic as ‘straight’ is to a heterosexual. And even though a person’s sexual tendencies may alter somewhat with age, this is neither a cure nor a curse, but merely a developmental stage that is largely out of their control.

Quashing the Myths

There is still a plethora of misconstrued myths out there about what it is to be gay. Anyone who’s living in ignorance, denial, or both, might like to read up on the facts.

If you’re a man of middle age and are having difficulties with your sexuality, but don’t know what to do or where to go for assistance, then don’t worry. There is lots of help, support, and advice out there for people just like you. YOU are not alone.

Site Update | December, 2012 – We’ve just opened a brand new forum for middle-aged gay men. This is an experimental forum to see if it generates any interest. If it does we can build on that for you. Please drop by and support our efforts by participating if you can 😉

Visit: The Midlife Gay Forum

We’ve also started a post which lists 3 popular gay discussion boards, and will be adding more resources for all things gay, as time goes by.

Visit: Additional Resources for Gay Men

Remember, you are only alone in this if you choose to be. Anonymous help, advice, or just a listening ear, are literally just a mouse click away 😉


By Toby Strowger | 50ish Site Contributor
Toby Strowger is a men’s lifestyle writer for 50ish.org

Protected by Copyscape Plagiarism Tool

Article Published and formatted by Andy Aitch – Webmaster of 50ish.org
You can follow Andy and site updates on facebook & twitter | Google+ Profile

Subscribe to 50ish Free Site Updates

Please Share this Post

Readers Comments

    Tim1968 says:

    I’m 48 and am fond of women as friends and companions but have little sexual attraction for them. I’ve been this way pretty much all my life and always found males to be desirable. Having been brought up in a strictly religious household i have always had so much of a struggle and deep inner pain about dealing with the truth of who i am. Even though i came out in my early 30’s I still have difficulty accepting the situation, daft i know but there it is. Now i am past my youth and i notice handsome young men everywhere i feel obsolete and alone. I know i need to kick myself up the arse and sort out my life, get fit and go out dating but the thought of getting out of my comfort zone is so difficult.

    Frank says:

    My wife and I started swinger after two years of marriage, both as bisexuals. Over time my desire for women, including her, diminished and my desire for men intensified significantly. It was ok when we were swinging, but now that we are older early 60’s, we stopped. I try sex with her and fail, but blame it on my age, which is a lie. I want to tell her that I need a man only, but fear how she and our children will react.

    Carl says:

    I need advice and help. I’m 57 married 23 years two kids… Gay. Had a BF she knows and was part of our family. He left me after 7?years…… Now I’m lost and deeply depressed. I also retired MILITARY… Have no friends especially Gay friends…. I’m screwed. I want to go live s gay life but I don’t know anyone. Have no family…. Kids grown….HELP

    Phil says:

    I’m 54 now but aged 21 I was certainly attracted to men in their 30s and 40s while I had little to no interest in men of my own age . So it’s not that unusual in my opinion . I also know a couple of male couples who have good healthy relationships in spite of an age gap of twenty five years or so . But generally what I’ve seen is that younger guys who are new to this quite often have relationships with older men at first but eventually move on to being with people nearer their own age . That’s certainly been the case with me . After all of you tend to like guys who are 40 / 50 then it just could be that you continue to like them when you’re 40 / 50 yourself . So I don’t think it’s anything to worry about as I see it .

    jay says:

    I am 22 but am struggling with my feelings for men, the this is though I find I am only attracted to men in their middle age, arounds 40 to 50. I am not attracted to guys my own age at all. I’m sure I’m not alone in this, but it’s been very difficult for me to find someone to explore these feelings with.

    Rich P says:

    I am 50 yrs old have had gay tendencies desires for men sexually. They seem to go away for awhile but do come back. I have had these desires throughout my 17yrs of marriage again on and off. Any advice.

    Glenn muldoon says:

    Like so many here I have compelling reasons for staying in the closet…a loving wife, children, a successful life in a small town.also like many here, I crave sex with men. I am thinking of hiring a male online escort after a lifetime of denial, but don’t know how to start. How does it work? Will it stay private? Does my relative inexperience make me vulnerable and or ridiculous. Does anyone have info or suggestions? I just want to have some gay sex before it is too late

    Doug says:

    I am 59 and men have been interesting to me since I was about 12. Never acted on it until high school and college. Just “hook ups” for release and curiousity, never anything emotional. At 21 I married because “it was time” and was married for 37 years until my wife passed away 2 years ago from along illness. I have 2 grown sons, siblings, and a lot of in laws in a very small town, so I am still leading a straight life, and probably always will.
    I am in a very new relationship with a single man 19 years my junior that I have know for along time. and is in the closet. We both understand and respect each other on this subject, hard as it is. This is the first “relationship” I’ve had with another man, and it feels free and enlightening. I feel happy after 4 years of much sadness, but can’t tell anyone why I am happy.
    I guess the reason for my submitting this is to tell young gay men to be who you are, not what others think you should be. I’ve spent 40 years feeling guilty and deceiving everyone close to me. Don’t make the same mistake, We do have to live with the choices we make, sometimes for a whole lifetime.

    Kelly Warmoth says:

    I am 59 years old and was married for 37 years until I lost my wife this past year. I have 2 grown sons, siblings, and in laws, and live in a small town. I will probably never come out of the closet because I don’t want to hurt my family. Guess what, I’m 60 and gay! Never going to happen.
    I had encounters in high school and college, a few while I was married, never emotional, just release. No one ever knew. Now I’m on my own and want to explore that side of myself. I am in a fairly new relationship with a man 19 years my junior, who also is in the closet, but is as free as I am. It’s our choice, and we respect each others reasons. It’s hard after such a sad last 2 years to be happy, but not to be able to tell anyone why, to be able to say you’ve found someone.
    Being gay in the 70’s, 80’s and even 90’s was not as acceptable as now. I guess the reason for this post is to tell young gay men not to make this mistake, be who you are, tell your family who you are, and chances are they will accept you and the partner you find. I’ve gone through over 40 years of guilt and deception, and will continue with it. Don’t let this happen to you, it’s a hard life to live, and we really do live with our choices.

    Joe says:

    This article ignores the driving force in a lot of situations: older women want les and less sex on the average, and guys treat the sex urge as just that. It is easier and simpler to find a sex guy bud than go through the craziness of sex with another woman while still married.

      cheryl says:

      I disagree with you because I didn’t know & I always tried to always be a loving wife who was “there” sexually for my misogynistic closeted bisexual husband. He refused to be intimate with me and always made excuses. He cheated on me for 20+ years until I figured out he was gay.

        Jack says:

        That is sad, having various partner can cause infections so get checked.How was he misogynistic to you ?

    aml says:

    at 65 is that way over middle age at 50ish I started being curious married for 44 years. is there such a thing as bi sexual really??? or are you really always just been in closet and cant come out.

      doug says:

      I am 62 my interest in having sex with men was when I started to watch Gay movies. I agree with aml I have been in the closet all my life and can’t come out

        Glenn muldoon says:

        I am trying to DISCRETELY find a professional “escort” in a nearby city, but I am afraid of being victimized or outed. Have you considered this option? It makes me sad to think of you never being truly who you are, just because society is so rigid.

      Frank says:

      I have my doubts about bisexuality too. I called myself bisexual, but all I really desired was men.

    Middle Age says:

    I don’t agree with this “either you are Gay or your or not” narrative. The fact is, men in middle age just find it easier to get ess ee ex from other men if they are willing to make the transition. Wives sex-drive turns off, they are more selective about giving it out. Sometimes it is just easier to find another man who has the same sexual goals.

      cheryl says:

      Not true! Sometimes, loving wife whose always been a loyal wife is deceived & lied to & USED sexually!

    Dave says:

    I am also a 56 year old just widowed, I have been think inking of being with men for 40 years. I go to the beach and see them playing with themselves and I get disgusted. I want a discreet relationship with a quiet MAN just to experiment. I an in central east Florida.

    Ran says:

    I have read everything, everywhere, trying to live with my yearnings for another man. I preceive my problems with this is not only that I do not want my family and friends to lose me as they know me, but I do not want a relationship. I do find men attractive but only want to please them and yes,sexually. I am masculine and am attracted to only other masculine men. I will remain in the closet forever but am so tempted to act on my “needs,” that I barely make it through the day without thinking of it. I would like some peace from this but not at the expense of my family. Your thoughts may help. FYI, I am 60 years old.

      Phil says:

      I posted a reply to a previous post and I’m not clear whether your situation is the same as the other guy’s, i.e. married with a wife, because “family” could mean extended family (like children) or wife and children. If it’s a case of wife and children the reply remains much the same, you’re in a very difficult situation and there is no easy solution because acting on your attraction to other men will ultimately undermine your situation. Very few people ever manage to have a “double” life, they either get found out and that causes trouble, or they become troubled themselves because they are being dishonest with their near ones. Also it does tend to be the case that people start by thinking that they just want physical relationship / fulfillment, but then they end up wanting more than that, for example to spend time with their sexual partner outside the bedroom.

      But if on the other hand by family you mean relatives other than a partner (for example you might be divorced with children) you have no dilemma for you’re a free agent. There are people out there who just want a physical relationship and who will leave it more or less at that and you could pursue such a course privately without harming anyone including yourself. Children for example don’t need to know everything, but having said that they are often surprisingly accepting of unexpected developments in their parents lives.

      This might sound like a very mixed answer, but I’ve had a lot of experience and I can assure you that it works like this.

      Good Luck.


        Brian G says:

        great advice Phil. I think, regardless of hetero, or homosexual, rarely does attraction start at anything but a physical level first. As you stated, it may start out that way, but not at all uncommonly, the attraction grows stronger. The relationship may end up in public places. It’s really hard to hide a real attraction to another. You can experiment, but sooner or later, you have to be honest. At least with yourself. Others happiness may depend on it. Thanks Phil

      Glenn muldoon says:

      Couldn’t have expressed it better. I am considering a professional male escort in a nearby city, but struggling with the fear of victimization of some sort. I wish there was a blog or forum addressing the do’s and don’t of utilizing professional services. This might also work for you.

    Jessie says:

    I am a 56 year old man. I knew I was gay when I was 13 years old. I had a huge crush on a male classmate. I dated men exclusively until I was 25 when my family put pressure on me to get married so i met a woman and got married. Now at 56 I am grieving my mistake wishing I could date a man but not knowing where to go or what to do. I am very depressed and I do not know where to go or what to do!!!!!! To you young gay men do not let this happen to you.

      Not Telling says:

      Jessie my man, that’s a sad, sad comment but cheers very much for posting it. Attitudes are so much different now than they were 43 years ago but I don’t really think ‘coming out’ as gays call it, is much easier today than it was back then. Hope you find happiness my man. Best of luck to you.

        Jessie says:

        I appreciate the kind words!!!!!!! Thank you.

        Glenn muldoon says:

        Yes! Coming out was completely unacceptable and unknown in the 1950’s. Better to be DEAD than queer. In fact, I was great a grown man before I heard the term. Society made it clear to me that a maggot was the lowest form of life. Worse than a drunk, or rapist. Now, at 70, Iwant to find a way to see what I’ve missed, but I am terrified to try. Hiding had been my life.


          Frank says:

          I can relate. In the early 1960’s when my parents came home and caught me in the bedroom with a guy, obviously by our erections in our jeans we were playing. That night I heard dad arguing with mom that he does not want a “queer” son. I was devastated. Ironically, I found out years later after he passed away that he and mom shared men. I cannot figure out why he hated the idea when he did the same thing.

      Scott says:

      I’m in the same boat
      Not sure if it’s too late

    Skinnyribs50 says:

    Hiya. I hear and read a lot about how being gay is not a lifestyle choice, but many gay men in the closet are married with kids. So it seems it is possible to make ones sexual orientation a lifestyle choice? Or maybe my observation is a bit silly and narrow minded? I’m open minded to corrections on that 🙂

      Pickle says:

      Skinnyribs50, I think ur trying to be controversial? Some gay men choose to live the life of a straight man for selfless reasons or for reasons of safety (see Nigeria in the news recently?). A lot of them probably love their wife and kids if they have any. That doesn’t change the fact that they’re living a lie and what a sad state of affairs that is. Bit of compassion doesn’t go amiss. It’s not always easy or safe to come out for some men the reasons being many. Pickle.

        Differentstringz says:

        Killing men or women for being gay is wrong

        Wronger than most anything that ever happened

        Personally tho, i do not agree with having sex for the sake of
        Lust only.

        That bring us down to the level of dumb dogs.

    lee says:

    I am a 50 year old man with a wife and two teenagers. I have always had homosexual tendencies and was in a short lived relationship with another boy. We were teenagers. I was so far in the closet that I could not find the door to get out. My wife knows about my past. However the person that I was in a relationship with, I had lost contant with him almost 35 years ago. Last year I found him on Facebook. I called him and we meet up for dinner and had had a good time talking. He is openly gay and(for the very first time) we went to a gay bar. I was very comfortable there. My friend made a pass at me and I told him that I was faithful to my wife. I have never in 25 tears of marrage strayed or cheated and would never mess around with another woman. My friend and I live 100 miles apart from each other and I am going to be in the area where he lives next month. I am very hesitant on seein g him again since I really miss him and I don’t know if I have enough self control not to do something that I might regret later. Part of me wants to be with him very badly and partr of me wants to just aviod even talking to him or tell him that I will be in his area. I don’t know if anything were to happen how it would effect my marrage since my wife and I tell each other everything and have no secrets. What should I do? Is any else in this situation? What have you done?

      CatMan says:

      That is a very open and honest and sad post. It is also very brave even with anonymity. I think this page gets a lot of readers but not so many posters such is the nature of the topic.

      Thank you Lee for your comments and also to Mr X, Dallas Artist, WTF and AJ, all of whom have made me feel a little less freakish about my hidden thoughts.


      Phil says:

      You are in very deep water in my opinion; I’m 52, and in a civil partnership with a man of 64. We’ve known each other for more than twenty years. When we met he was married, he and his wife had agreed that their marriage would eventually end, but only after their children were grown up; they lived under the same roof and got on perfectly well on a platonic basis and had done for some years. So I met him with her knowledge and consent, though I was myself initially mislead thinking that they were about to divorce. In the event their arrangement fell apart rapidly; in spite of all their good intentions and their agreement, it so happened that I suffered a minor injury (I was scalded), my now partner was upset, and his then wife simply couldn’t handle his being so attached and concerned about someone other than her. And that was in a relationship where all of these matters were out in the open to a large degree. My second example is that I got to know a closeted man fairly recently; he mailed me after I posted an advert on a site called “realjock” (I was looking for a tennis partner). We met a few times, nothing untoward occurred, but then his wife happened to look at his mail after he’d failed to log out and although this isn’t the only factor he’s now in the process of ending a 30 year marriage. I feel for you, I really do, but it’s my experience that we get but one life and unfortunately we have to live with the choices we make and there are consequences to those choices; having our cake and eating it is rarely an option, not least because most people cannot handle sexual infidelity and women in particular can’t deal with men being attracted to other men; it completely undermines their sense of self worth, and that they cannot deal with.

      Differentstringz says:

      Maybe you just want to be with him but not sexually?
      You can always sleep together and that’s all.
      Do guy stuff like you did when young together too.
      Maybe that all it is?
      Women are lovely (ok some arent), but, you won’t hurt your wife if you don’t cheat on her.
      Being with an old friend for want of the old friendship isn’t cheating.

      Loving a man isn’t a crime.
      It just shows you that you are a free man.
      Love your wife too.
      It’s a short life and no one needs to go out thinking love was a joke .
      No one.

      I like both sexes and think I am Very fortunate to do and have done so.

      Brian G says:

      I am 55 years old, and Lee, you hit a nerve in me. Don’t worry, in a good, however perplexing way. At my age I to experimented early on. I also pursued my curiosity as an adult. I don’t know, things in my world have kind of gone flat. No passion between my wife and I. I certainly don’t seek “same sex”, but the thought seems increasingly hard to ignore. I am a professional, and do worry about my peers. My three children are adults. I believe they’d want me to be happy. My wife is very dependent, and I would find it nearly impossible to ever leave her. Once in a while I see the fella I was with. It always strikes the same nerve. “So what’s going on? What are you doing a little later?”. Even if I don’t say it, I think it.

    DNA says:

    A very well written article on a subject that is hardly ever talked about even though it’s a real live situation. It’s one of those issues that are swept under the carpet in an attempt to keep closet gays locked in the closet of shame.

    DNA Dan

    AJ says:

    Gee, look at how many FB likes this one page has got in the short time its been up. All of a sudden I don’t feel so alone in my plight even though my fellows are but latent friends of cyberspace.


    WTF says:

    Don’t you think this ‘gay’ topic should be laid to rest now? It seems to be dragging on forever. This is the 21st century and no man should have to hide or hold his head in shame for being homosexual. It’s about time people grew up and learned to live and let live.

    I think there is some truth in the assumption that those who let their issues with gays be known to the world, are probably closet gay themselves. How else do they find themselves reading articles about closet gay men if they weren’t searching for such material – Helmut???

      AJ says:

      Well said my friend, well said.


        DarkSide says:

        Hello AJ. You don’t know me, but a few minutes ago i posted in your new forum for middle-aged gay men. Not sure if i will return but thought i would say hi to someone else in a similar situation.

        Thank you.

          AJ says:

          Hi DarkSide. I have seen your post in the forum and also sent you a private message. A problem shared is a problem halved my friend 😉


    Dallas Artist says:

    Around middle age most men are secure in their careers so coming out may not be a problem at work, but I think one of the biggest reasons closeted men come out at middle age is that the kids are out of the house and on their own. If he has been closeted all this time, the sex life with the wife has probably gotten either infrequent or routine if not stale.

    Helmut says:

    I actually think gayness is an illness and I’m not homophobic man or religious person or anything like that, honestly I’m not. By definition same sex relationship are not normal and the way a lot of gay men act and dress and talk reinforces the strangeness of the condition.

    Sorry, I’m not mean to be controversy and I’m sure a lot of gay men and women are very nice people. I think the comments are open for all viewpoints and that is why I posted my viewpoints. Guess we will see if or not the site approves my remarks or not.

    Peace to all.


      Dallas Artist says:

      Well put Helmut. I see your point, homosexuality is not normal, to you, because you are not homosexual. Heterosexual sex to me is extremely unnatural to me because I am homosexual. No homosexuality is not an illness anymore than heterosexuality is an illness or lefthandedness is an illness or red hair is an illness. It is nature and a combination of genes at conception.

        Helmut says:

        My dear friend, is ‘normal’ not what most people do or most people are? Most peoples are not the gay people so they’re not the normal people. Just saying about that. Thank you.

        Peace to all.


          Andy Aitch says:

          Hello Helmut

          Whether or not your definition of ‘normal’ is correct in it’s translation, that doesn’t mean there is anything ‘wrong’ if someone is considered not normal, as you seem to suggest. The example about red hair that Dallas gave is a perfect case, and the list of examples is endless of course.

          Andy Aitch (Webmaster)

      AJ says:

      People like me exist because of people like you. I wish that wasn’t the case but it is the way it is. Hope you are able to open your mind one of these days my friend.


    Mr X says:

    I’ve had what you might call “tendencies” all my life since from about early teens, or before even, and they’ve never gone away. I’ve never acted upon these feelings though. I don’t actively fantasise about other guys but sometimes the thoughts come in to my mind anyway. Being a happily married family man these thoughts will always remain just as thoughts, and anyway, my heterosexual feelings are way stronger than my homosexual feelings, so it’s not so difficult to snap out of these occasionally provocative moods.

    Good article though and nice site overall.

    Rob says:

    I am 56 and have always identified as gay ( or at least other) since I was , god, 6 years old, and now I’m getting interested in women! Just a little… not enough to have a relationship but enough to want to explore a bit.

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this. For more on cookies, you can view our Privacy Policy (link at the bottom left of page).