Today we launch a special Sex After 50 series that will include a week of blogs, videos and stories about sex, love and dating after 50. This first video features Michael C. Bryan, a gay 50-something single looking for love. In addition to the video, we asked Michael five questions. His answers are below. Check out our other Sex After 50 stories here.
Huff/Post50: How has sex and dating changed for you after age 50 compared to the way it was when you were, say, in your 20s?
Michael: My past sexual life is pretty wild. I was a sex worker when I was younger and I worked for years in nightclubs in the Lower East Side of New York City. I found myself in many, many compromising positions (literally). I learned sex is liberating and freeing and is so much fun. As a sex worker it was all about my being in control. I was the one calling the shots. I was proving my sexual prowess to everyone and being provocative to gain attention (and it worked). Now, I don't feel a need to prove my sexual prowess. I know what I've got and I know how to use it. I know what I want. I think that's the great thing about sex after 50. I don't feel the need to apologize when I am making sure my needs are being met. Sure, of course, I respect my partner's needs as well, but my needs are first and foremost. As a gay guy I talk about this a lot with my female friends. They no longer feel guilt over making sure they have orgasms and are feeling good. They are no longer willing to forsake their pleasure for other men. And they are also questioning how the sex and emotional link works for them or not. Being over 50 and having sex means never having to say you're sorry for being the first one to orgasm.
Huff/Post50: What's the biggest challenge you face in today's dating scene?
Michael: Making peace and loving where I'm at while also transcending any limitations I (or society) put on me to act a certain way when it comes to my age. It's all a self-imposed mindset that I place on myself. The moment I start to feel I need to act a certain way and be a certain way then I'm doomed. I compare and despair. I do the tired 'oh, it's so hard to date at this age' dance which is just boring. I can't go there anymore, but when I do I just remind myself to fully love where I am and then I'm golden. Plus, I can fit into 30-inch jeans at my age and that's cause for a party.
Huff/Post50: What's the biggest myth surrounding sex and dating after 50?
Michael: This will be hard for anyone under the age of 40 to understand, but sex as you get older is just sex as you get older. It's not more complicated than that. But if you would have said that to me at 25 or 35 I would have said to myself 'ew' but now I say, 'sex is sex is sex and age is really only a state of mind.' What's funny is that when I feel how sexy I am and feel good in my skin without trying to prove it to anyone, then I never get any shit from people because they feel what I feel. But when I try, that's when I have an epic fail! Ha. But it's true. There is also another thing that I've found funny as I've gotten older. People look at me differently because of my sheer biological age. As if I know something more, or that I have this gravitas even when I don't feel it. When I started to realize that then I realized, 'Okay, then. This is something I can work with.' Everyone I meet now fuels my empowerment sexually and that's the amazing part of getting older. I've earned this place to say 'I'm hot shit' and everyone supports that. Especially me.
Huff/Post50: Who was your favorite sex symbol growing up?
Michael: This is gonna make me sound SO gay but Farrah Fawcett. She was sweet and entirely uncynical but also knew how sexy she was. She wasn't afraid to flaunt what she had, but she was also super smart and knew how to play the game. She wasn't ashamed of her beauty. She celebrated it and she didn't care how many people judged her. She loved who she was. And she only felt this way because of the constant judgment of her as this 'dumb blond' so many labeled her with. She used her beauty to inspire herself and her sense of easy sexuality which was a large part of her private and personal life. I only know this because I met her when I was 15. She was the kindest, sweetest and naturally sexiest person I'd ever met. We talked for a half an hour about everything. I'll never forget how she touched my arm when I told her how pretty she was and she said, "It's never about the outside, darlin'. It's always about the inside." Been my mantra for much of my adult life.
Huff/Post50: What celebrity older than 50 would you describe as totally sexy today?
Michael: I would never, ever have said this two years ago but to my shock my after-50 badass inspiration has been Madonna. As a gay guy I felt it was my duty to love her but after seeing her live on the original Virgin tour in the 80s, I fell out of like with her. All of my super cool friends said she just made silly music that wasn't about a lot and that it wasn't very advanced. That much better artists deserved more recognition than her. But then something happened. I turned 50 and I was having a hard time loving my age. I struggled for so long before 50 to come onto my own and I kept condemning myself for not being a bigger success. I was so angry it took me so long to get it all together. And I was really mad at Madonna for feeling at 52 what I only had begun to taste at 51. But then for a full year I listened to her music. Really listened to the lyrics. And I've come to see how she is the ultimate self-help guru of pop music. All her music is about moving, striving and not getting caught up in the past. To make your own life, your own reality. And I realized the reason so many people make fun of her is because she refuses to play the victim, refuses to be cynical and is a hardcore romantic about what we are capable of doing in this lifetime. She is 57 and is in amazing shape and couldn't really care how many people dis her. She loves who she is and she isn't going to change to please anybody. She celebrates life and she celebrates where she is in life. Are her efforts sometimes to be relevant faintly pushed? Yes, they are. But look at where she is. Look at what she's done. Look at what she's accomplished. Personally, her music and lyrics are helping me to become my own version of a male Madonna after 50 and I couldn't be happier. Time for me to rule the world.
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