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Arts & Culture

Savage Love: The Boys in the Bandwidth

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I am a gay man and have been in a relationship with my GGG boyfriend for more than three years. We are in our early 20s and have a good sex life. I just discovered that he has been engaging in what can only be described as cyber infidelity. He had a secret e-mail account, posted on Craigslist M4M, and also had an Adam4Adam account. About once a week, while I was at work in the evenings, he would exchange photos and engage in conversations with other men. He claims he never met with any of them and it was just to exchange photos. He let me look at his secret e-mail account, and there was nothing that pointed to any physical meet-ups. I asked him to delete his accounts, and he did. I am completely shocked, as we have an intimate and loving relationship. He is ashamed and understands that his behavior is wrong. I understand if he wants to look at porn on his own time (I certainly do), but the quantity and secrecy of his actions is obviously not healthy. We have major life plans together, and I don’t doubt that he is committed to me. Where do I go from here, and what steps should I take to make sure it stops?
—Stressing Over Cyber Infidelity

It isn’t true that your boyfriend’s actions can “only be described as cyber infidelity.” They could be described as “harmless online flirtations.” But you’ve chosen to slap the “infidelity” label on his actions, SOCI, and now you feel compelled to have a full-blown my-boyfriend-cheated-on-me meltdown.
Try looking at it this way: If your boyfriend regularly stopped at a bar to have a cocktail, and people flirted with him, and he flirted back—and that’s all he did—would that constitute an “appletini infidelity”? If some guys looked him up and down in the locker room, and he looked those guys up and down back, would that constitute a “cardio infidelity”? No and no—and a boyfriend who flipped out about those sorts of interactions would be regarded as jealous, insecure and controlling. So what difference does it make that your boyfriend did a little online flirting? Is it that your boyfriend jacked off thinking about these other guys? You jack off thinking about other guys when you watch porn. Is it that he jacked off thinking about and interacting with guys he could actually have IRL? Lots of guys in monogamous relationships—gay, straight or bi—jack off about people they flirted with in bars and gyms, i.e., guys they interacted with and could have IRL.

Here’s what you should do, SOCI: Ask your boyfriend to knock this shit off because it goobs you out. But don’t round this “online flirtation” up to “cyber infidelity” unless you want to make yourself miserable, and don’t police your boyfriend’s online activities—snooping is the only way to “make sure it stops”—unless you want to get dumped.

I’m a gay man who is about to turn 35. Somehow, 30 didn’t bother me, but being halfway to 70 is freaking me out. The gay world is obsessed with youth and beauty, and once you’re not young and hot anymore, your life may as well be over. If you don’t have a tight ass and ripped abs and a hot cock, you have no value and nothing to contribute. Why is the gay world so shallow?
—One Very Enraged Romantic

Ed Murray was 58 years old when he became the mayor of Seattle. Larry Kramer was 52 when he inspired the founding of ACT UP. Bayard Rustin was 51 when he organized the historic 1963 March on Washington. Harvey Milk was 47 years old when he was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Barney Frank was 41 when he was first elected to Congress in 1981 and 73 when he retired last year. Neil Patrick Harris was 41 when he won a Tony Award for starring in the Broadway revival of Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Jonathan Capehart was 40 when he became a member of the Washington Post’s editorial board in 2007. Tony Kushner was 37 when he won the Pulitzer Prize for Angels in America. George Takei (77), RuPaul (53), Andrew Sullivan (50), Andy Cohen (46), Jared Polis (39)—I could go on.

If you don’t think gay men over 35—or 50 or 60 or 70—have anything to contribute, OVER, then it’s not the “gay world” that’s shallow, it’s you.

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