Society doesn’t so much as bat an eye when a man — say in his 30s — shows interest in a woman in her early to mid 20s. It’s almost expected that he’ll find a younger woman sexy.
But is there a double standard in the gay community?
The Right has consistently tried to label gay men as deviants, predators, or even pedophiles. Is it possible that some have become overly sensitive in an effort to dispel those horrible accusations?
We got to thinking about this after we came across a Reddit thread in which a gay man in his 30s confesses to debilitating shame because of where his sexual attractions fall.
In his post titled “Is a (older) bear into twinks ‘disgusting?’”, user brtw82 writes, “I know all the mantras. People have preferences, age is just a number and so on. However, I constantly feel like I’m judged and I’ve started to think they are right. Maybe someone in his 30s with a bear look into young looking guys is really disgusting.”
He goes on to fill in some key details — he’s attracted primarily to young men in their early-mid 20s, but has met harsh criticism from both gay and straight friends/family.
“A friend told me clearly that my ‘twink fetish’ is ‘disgusting,’ I should stop ‘raping kids’ and I should see a doctor. One of my closest friends (who has two teenage sons) subtly told me that I was not welcomed anymore at his house. My mom never said anything, but she constantly asks if I have found a nice guy of my age to marry and have kids.”
And when he sought refuge in what he thought were like-minded peers, it was hardly any better.
“I tried to look for new friends in the gay community and I thought I found some in a gay sport team. They were guys around my age and body type (muscle otter/bear). Nice guys to hang out with, but not attractive for me. Again, the honeymoon ended when they found out about my preferences. Some were not really friends and were just trying to get in my pants, so they kept telling me that I should try a ‘real man’ (i.e. them). Others just ‘bullied’ me and told me I was pathetic, that I wanted a sugar-baby, that I had to compensate for my size and so on.”
Now he’s at his wit’s end, and is considering psychiatric help.
Many have chimed in to offer words of reassurance that there is nothing wrong with being into younger guys, so long as it’s legal and consensual.
“That is just wrong,” said one commenter. “Every time you say something like that, a young looking twink who is into bears cries alone into his pillow.”
And one young man offered this: “I’m a younger guy (24) and I have a preference for older, more experienced guys. You sound like my type, tbh 🙂 There’s nothing to be ashamed of,” adding, “it may be that the word ‘twink’ is what’s setting people off. There’s nothing wrong with saying you like younger men.”
And he might have a point — while many embrace the word ‘twink,’ it does connote ‘childish’ or ‘naive’ to others.
Either way, there is no reason brtw82 should have to experience degrading shame for being into young men — life is way too short for that.
Here’s some of the best advice he received: “Dude you’re thirty, you’re not old. You’re not doing anything a straight bachelor isn’t doing. My 24 year old sister is dating a 46 year old and no one is judging him. Your ‘friends’ sound like judgmental pricks.”