Hi Jake,

I’m embarrassed writing this letter, but since it’s anonymous, here goes…

I’m an older gay man, and being in your late 60s in “the gay world” is basically being invisible, especially when you’re attracted to young, hot “masc” types in their 30s and 40s. What ends up happening is that I spend a lot of my time in fantasy. Sometimes, it’s the only thing that keeps me going. But lately I’ve been wondering if I’m taking it too far.

When I am told that a repairman, plumber, or even delivery person is going to be showing up to my apartment at a certain time, I immediately go into a daydream that maybe this hot, young strapping lad is going to want to have his way with me. I’ve heard of crazier things, and it certainly happens in the adult movies I watch. So I’ve taken it so far as to actually… prepare, if you know what I mean. Just in case. If my fantasy were to come true, I need to be ready, right?

Needless to say, my ideal scenario has never even come close to happening in real life. In fact, usually the ripped, bisexual stud I was expecting looks more like The Whale when they show up at the door. I know it’s a total delusion, but I can’t stop myself from giving up the fantasy. Do I need serious help?

Sincerely,

Pipes Clogged

Dear Pipes Clogged,

Fantasy is a very powerful thing, and sometimes we can use it as a coping strategy when our current reality makes us feel sad, down, or hopeless. In your case, indulging in this fantasy is not hurting anyone, since you aren’t actually crossing any inappropriate boundaries with the UPS man. It also doesn’t seem like it’s causing you any harm, assuming your backside is not gasping for air amidst a constant deluge!

There’s some part of you that knows this is all delusion, and that Ronen Rubinstein showing up at the front door with a tool-belt is an unlikely possibility. That said, you’re choosing to do it anyway because it makes you feel good, and serves as a temporary relief. There’s nothing psychotic or truly deranged going on here, so no, I don’t think you need serious help.

We all choose our escapes, whether it be watching reality TV, drinking a beer, or hunting constantly on hookup apps. In this case, instead of turning on the porn, you’re creating the fantasy the old fashioned way, in your head. The question I have is whether or not you feel a great sense of disappointment after you realize that the reality was nothing like the Falcon video you had hoped for? If not, then it doesn’t seem there are too many negative consequences for your actions, despite some self-flagellation going on in your head (which I would encourage you to let go of).

While it’s true that gay culture is often youth-obsessed, it doesn’t mean that older guys can’t have really fulfilling sex lives, so I would also encourage you to not give up completely on reality, either. While adult-movie scenes don’t often happen in real life, it doesn’t mean you couldn’t find the sexual partner of your dreams some other way, as long as you keep making yourself available and vulnerable.

I would also make sure to keep working on creating connection and meaning in your life, through friends, family, etc., so that you can feel okay in your current reality as much as possible. Sure, it’s inevitable that we’ll want to escape sometimes, but fostering a daily sense of fulfillment or gratitude is an essential quest.

Lastly, I wonder if you’re holding yourself to a very high standard when it comes to being “clean” and “ready” for sex. After all, if the plumber comes by, and wants to clean some additional pipes, shouldn’t he be lucky to do that, whether you’re completely “ready” or not? Make sure you’re not holding yourself to a standard of perfection, or overly trying to avoid rejection, due to a self-worth issue.

The hot repairman is a trope that goes back to the dawn of civili-gay-tion, and I suppose if you are living somewhere like The Castro or West Hollywood, it’s not completely out of the question. After all, somebody has to win the Powerball jackpot, too, right? I’d just be careful not to put all your hopes and dreams on that one lottery ticket.

Ask Jake is our advice column by Queerty editor and Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist Jake Myers. If you have a question for Jake, please email [email protected] for consideration.

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Queerty’s licensed mental health professional helps readers navigate questions related to relationship dynamics, sex, gay culture, and more, all through a lens of releasing shame and living authentically.

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