PHOTOS: 40 Things Every Gay Man Should Do Before Turning 40

Getting older is never easy. For many gay men the idea of turning 40 is nothing short of terrifying. We ask ourselves the big questions, “What have I done with my life? What have I accomplished? Why is no one responding to my OKCupid profile?” Our life experience checklist will continue to grow as we get older. Here are 40 things every gay man should do before turning 40.



1. Go to a gay pride parade.


2. Get over your body issues and be a go-go dancer for a night.


3. Dress up in drag.


4. Dress up in leather.


5. Accept that you will never have sex with Jake Gyllenhaal.


6. Go to a gay wedding.


7. March in solidarity with your gay brothers and sisters at a protest rally.


8. Go to an LGBT Film Festival.


9. Donate to The Human Rights Campaign, The Trevor Project, Gay Men’s Health Crisis or other gay advocacy organization.


10. Go to your class reunion and finally talk to the straight guy you were obsessed with in high school.

New 11


11. Expand your horizons. Find a fetish.


12. Read And the Band Played On, Tales of the City, Running with Scissors, Middlesex, and A Single Man.


13. Stop wearing t-shirts that are two sizes too small.


14. Date someone that is at least 10 years older than you.


15. Date someone that is at least 5 years younger than you.


16. Know your queens! RuPaul, Vaginal Davis, Divine, Lady Bunny, Dame Edna, Jackie Beat, Sylvester, Alexis Arquette, Candy Darling, Miss CoCo Peru, Leigh Bowery and The Lady Chablis.


17. Stop being afraid of lesbians.


18. Live with a boyfriend.


19. Go to a Broadway musical.


20. Go to an NFL, NBA or pro baseball game. (Yes, really!)


21. Go to therapy.


22. Have sex on a beach, in a park, in an elevator, on a roof, in a car, in the desert, and your parent’s house.


23. See these films: Weekend, The Broken Hearts Club, Trick, ShortBus, Get Real, Longtime Companion, The Celluloid Closet, Milk, BridegroomThe Rocky Horror Picture Show, The Boys in the Band and The Wizard of Oz.


24. Volunteer at an LBGT Senior Center.


25. Be in a monogamous relationship.


26. Be in an open relationship


27. Take a same-sex Latin, Swing or Ballroom dance class.


28. Stay friends with a former lover.


29. Break out the cheesecake and watch every episode of The Golden Girls. (Add a pint of ice cream if you can make it through the spin-off, The Golden Palace.)


30. Have sex in a foreign country.



31. Have sex with someone who doesn’t speak English. (All the better if you can combine this with number 30.)


32. Sing a Steve Nicks song at karaoke. (And it can’t be Landslide!)


33. Make peace with your parents.


34. Know your status. Get an HIV test.


35. Go to an adult bookstore or movie theater. (We recommend wearing close-toed shoes.)


36. Fall in love.


37. Have sex with a woman just so you can say you did.


38. Take your boyfriend home for the family Thanksgiving.


39. Stop manscaping everything!



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  • Cam

    So many of these were so scattered and senseless that I was wondering what was going on. Then I see one of the things you “Must” do is “Go to Therapy”.

    Ohhhhhh, I get it, YOU’RE a mess.

  • jimbryant

    I honestly couldn’t be bothered doing most of those things. I don’t march to the beat of the gay drum. In fact, I don’t march to the beat of any drum.

    I don’t like being told how to live my life by anybody, including other gay people.

  • hylas01

    Someone got paid to “write” this? My list would be something more like, 1. Open a Roth IRA, 2. Max out your 401K, 3. Get a clue!

  • Rockery

    Nothing financial like owning a home?

    Are we all messed up> Is it a requirement for a gay man to need therapy?

    No mention of riding a pony?

    Please blur CK’s face at all times, he scares me. Also fix the caption from “old” to “older”

  • MikeE

    “have sex with a woman”?

    why the fu@k would any self-respecting GAY man feel the “need” to do that? “because I can”??? I can jump off a bridge too, but I’m not going to put that in my bucket list.

  • betrthanu84

    I’m 30 and married. Does this mean I should get a divorce so I can have an open relationship and date these older/younger men?

    Who ever wrote this is a generalizing ass hat… but I do look great in drag.

  • RandallSM


    Superhot pic for #11; for real and not for fake. I’m going to masturbate to it after I school you in the world of psychology; you see, a fetish is something that is ingrained in your psyche from a very young age. Unless you are child, and even then a highly intelligent one, one does not “find a fetish.” One can accept a fetish by the age of forty, which would have made for a much better submission than the wannabe-buzzfeed-clumsy one that’s already up there.

  • boring

    41. Learn proper HTML coding.

  • MikeE

    @boring: Well, they have to learn how to read and write first for tha…OH MY GOD! it’s Paris Hilton seen eating crackers with some bare-chested straight guy!


  • sfbeast

    Yikes !! Can’t believe how many of these I have done. But then, I’ve already passed 40.

  • MisterDemand

    Cant tell if i find this humorous or offensive

  • middleagespread

    I have done almost everything on this. If I may add my two cents, to help the younger people on here. Keep your credit as perfect as possible. Always try to keep learning, this has been proven to help with the aging process. Enjoy ur moments, time does go quickly. Don’t worry what others think u should do, listen to ur inner voice, it will guide u in the right direction. Here’s to ur personal happiness!!!

  • viveutvivas

    Jeez, lighten up curmudgeons! It’s supposed to be tongue in cheek, as you would have realized if you had ever left your mother’s basement and got socialized.

  • jkb

    @viveutvivas: I know, right? They should add another “to do” specifically for this board: stop bitching about everything.

  • Stefano

    Too late i’m 45 years old ! :-P

  • CaptainFabulous

    Not too bad, over 30 of them under my belt :)

  • Eric Auerbach

    @jkb: You and viveutvivas are the only ones sounding like bitches here.

  • MikeE

    @viveutvivas: You’re absolutely right! NO one should have an opinion on any topic that even slightly differs from yours. Let’s stop contradicting viveutvivas, guys.

  • Kangol

    Wow, I have about 36 or so under my belt. I’ve never been a go-go dancer, never taken any of the dancing classes recommended, never dated someone 15 years younger, and never sung a Stevie Nicks song at karaoke, but I’ve done all the rest.

    Getting the HIV test should be first on the list, and a regular thing.

    Supporting LGBTQ organizations should be second on the list, and a regular thing, no matter what your age.

    Preparing for your future, in terms of health, retirement, and so on should be third, no mater what your age.

    Also you could make this 40 things before age 50 too!

  • Eric Auerbach

    @MikeE: I want to agree with you, MikeE, but I have to wait until viveutvivas tells me I can.

  • KentSF

    Have sex with a woman – just to say I did?!? You must be fucking joking. Gold Star Gay, Baby!

  • Dixie Rect

    Sex with a woman? Who wrote this awful list? Get therapy? This list is ridiculous, just like Queerty.

  • AuntieChrist

    @jkb: I have learned the hard way never disagree or criticize these um people. They rip you to shreds or call you a troll or some such other nonsense. If you do have an original thought or opinion it’s best to lie low and not make a fuss. They spook quite easily. Me. I try to find humor in things but I am quite old. 53 and in gay years that’s 203 LOL

  • MikeE

    @AuntieChrist: I’m the same age as you. I still don’t find this list either funny or enlightening in any way.

    And by the way, those you are flattering as having “original thoughts” are always the first to trash talk others on this board. And they often make comments that point out their internalized homophobia.

    If you think self-loathing is a positive attribute, well, live with it. But don’t complain about other people.

  • AuntieChrist

    @viveutvivas: The comments section of Queerty reminds me of the movie Mean Girls. I watched it for the first time on telly about a month ago. What can I say, I was bored. I found your comment to be quite funny.

  • AuntieChrist

    @MikeE: I did not say the list was funny. I found parts somewhat amusing, others rather demeaning. I thought the mothers basement crack was funny. I just don’t see what all the fuss is about. A lot of people here make mean vicious remarks that seem a bit over the top. I thought this to be a forum for an exchange of ideas and opinions, There appears to be little sense of decorum and in many instances an all out attack. People here draw conclusions as to the character and psyche of an individual based on an anonymous comment. I just want to have fun. We are all strangers here or did I step into a family that has rules that I am not aware of?

  • leZilla

    Have sex with a woman just to say you did? Yeah because women aren’t actual human beings with emotions of their own. How disgusting.

  • sgsinhi

    Sorry, I draw the line at Stevie Nicks!!!!!

  • Stefano

    @MikeE : “And by the way, those you are flattering as having “original thoughts” are always the first to trash talk others on this board. And they often make comments that point out their internalized homophobia.” You are so right. That’s why i don’t take comments too seriously (or i try).

  • Stefano

    @IeZilla : good point.

  • frankie_q

    Fuck off

  • sprocket

    The only one of these I did before turning 40 was the last one. But at least it was the most important one.

  • Eiswirth

    I wouldn’t do half of these things if you paid me. Perhaps whoever composed this list thought he was being helpful; I see it as arrogance on a grand scale.

  • OtisDaddy

    From the tone of some of these comments (big surprise) it looks like this piece really hit a nerve with some of you! LIGHTEN UP! Life is way too short, or does that offend you, too?

  • dougmc92

    have sex with a woman- THAT’S horrible advice….who writes this shit???? I’d also advise against telling a High School crush in certain ares- Jenny Jones events can and do still happen- if you’re certain he’s gay friendly…OK, otherwise- keep it to yourself!

  • amaurys

    i’m shocked, I have actually done all of this …..exempt sleep with a woman …. there are some lines even I won’t cross.

  • Palto

    @hylas01: I know right? I’m 49 now started my 401K when I was 16 years old. Have the same great steady job for 34 years. I also have a pension. I wonder what kind of life these younger gays will have when they get older. It seems like they never plan for their future. But this nonsense they bicker about.

  • jwrappaport

    Great piece, although there should be a serious version that includes the bit about IRAs and such. One big thing I would recommend: know the laws and know your rights wherever you are. Or date a cop or hunky vet to make sure you’re protected.

  • kinseyfiles

    LOVE #33! LMAO!

  • ErosCorps

    Ok i’ll say it, where is #22 from i gotta watch that movie LoL

  • a308936


    Ha. Yeah. Same here!

    As for this list… meh. I get the humor in it but hope that no one takes it seriously.

  • bledoutcolor

    What the hell list? Go therapy? Have sex with a woman? Who wrote this offensive crap? Does queerty employ Brian Brown part time nowadays?

    Some us are happy with being kinsey six gay, and wouldnt want doing something so out of our nature to be on our credentials. There are a lot of men who couldnt function sexually with women in the first place, and its rude to imply they should. Regardless of what some people say not everyone is bisexual and thats fine, just like being bi is, but I dont get the push within some gay spaces for gay to try heterosex. Its kinda offensive and hurtful.

    Also great point earlier about women being people with emotions too. This list is offensive both from a gay and a feminist perspective. Women arent experimental playthings. Most probably wouldn’t like to be used sexually by queer men anymore than they would by straight ones.

  • clintlemoyne

    Before you turn 40? Once again, Queerty writers illustrate their view that anyone over 40 is irrelevant.

  • DistingueTraces

    Well I guess it’s too fucking late for me then. Oh, well.

  • Jersey2013

    At 47 the only two I haven’t done is sing Stevie Nicks at karaoke, but I’ve sang to her many other places and I’ve never watched Boys in the Band. All the others I’ve covered. Thankfully the sex with a woman was at 18 so it was having sex to say I had sex. We ended up together for 3 years and are still great friends.

  • Degas

    Wow, go to a gay wedding, but not get married before 40? Seriously?

  • GayTampaCowboy

    My god, why do so many guys take an article like this PERSONALLY! Guys, it’s called a “fluff” piece. It’s not news. It’s not a declaration by some PhD. It’s a fun, light-hearted post to garner conversation – it’s NOT a LAW!

    My god, are there so many uptight homo’s out there that have NO sense of humor?


  • bledoutcolor

    @GayTampaCowboy: Being a fluff piece doesnt excuse the heteronormativity and sexism (not to mention ageism) in the article. Especially on an LGBT oriented site.

    People are taking it personally because it says EVERY gay man in the title, then tells them to see a therapist as if all gay men are damaged, use women for sexual bragging rights, and date people older or youngr than themselves not because of attraction or because they genuinely care about them but as a checkmark on some stupid bucket list.

    Its not that we dont have a sense of humor, its just that sweeping generalizations and insinuations that gay men need to go to conversion therapy and suggestions to use women as exotic sex experiments for bragging rights are just really not funny. If you dont see where people could be pissed with this article on a queer site of all places then I dont think i can help you.

  • spiritkub

    To help folks become familiar with the concept:

    [hyoo-mer or, often, yoo-] Show IPA

    1. a comic, absurd, or incongruous quality causing amusement: the humor of a situation.

    2. the faculty of perceiving what is amusing or comical: He is completely without humor.

    3. an instance of being or attempting to be comical or amusing; something humorous: The humor in his joke eluded the audience.

    4. the faculty of expressing the amusing or comical: The author’s humor came across better in the book than in the movie.

    5. comical writing or talk in general; comical books, skits, plays, etc.

  • Elloreigh

    I’ve done 21. Well, 18 plus 3 that were negatives that I never did in the first place. Most of the rest are so completely ridiculous that I don’t feel I’ve missed anything.

  • Elloreigh

    @spiritkub: It’s not that we’re unfamiliar with the concept of humor. It’s that we don’t find this humorous.

  • bmwblonde

    Do any of you ageist baby-boys at Queerty know what a “pleonasm” is? (No, it does not mean “begging for an orgasm”.) Well, for all you out there in the post-literate generation, what it REALLY is, is a gratuitously redundant phrase, like: “dishonest politician.” (Or from advertising, my personal favorite: “free gift.”) So, what other kind of gift IS there? Hmmm. So my pleonasm for today: shallow Queerty story

  • TheBigOne

    This has to be some type of joke just to get gullible gay guys to respond…

    I don’t do drag, my parents don’t need to know about my sexuality, I’ve dated men 40 years older than me (and love the experiences!), won’t bother doing anything with anybody younger than me, I’ve traveled to foreign countries and have met men :-)

    Most of the stuff on this list isn’t necessary to live a happy life.

    All you have to do is treat other gay men and women with respect and stop being such self-loathing bitches all the time :-)

  • Aires the Ram

    Yes, as one commenter said, this is a ‘fluff’ piece, meant for entertainment. But, what I take umbrage at, is that the article suggests that: 1. you have to do these things BEFORE 40, and cannot do them after. 2. that there’s something inherently “better” about being under 40, than over.
    I’ve done many of the things on this list, some of them before 40, and some of them after. I’m currently 55 years of age, and I like my life much better now, than I did at 35. The “It gets better” campaign doesn’t only apply to teens, it applies to those 39 year-old gay guys who think their life is almost over.

  • Codex

    Even though I’m not American, I’ve done most of the things on this list. Do i win a prize? ;)

  • srousel

    I guess they forgot #41… Get a sense of humour.. Jessss.. no need to have get your knickers in a knot!!

  • Charlie in Charge

    Still no answer on what movie the pic for 22 comes from. Anyone?

    Lists like these are meant to be fun y’all. I don’t plan to ever have sex with a woman, that doesn’t mean I need to get mad at the list.

  • The Chief

    It bothers me that I have done so many of these things, especially since I’m not gay. It’s a good thing the list if “just for fun”.
    Actually my gay boy friend has done most of these things!

  • payme2begay

    How could you leave out Have sex with your Pet? Come on it is 2013.

  • troops79

    Even for a fluff piece, this article is idiotic. Or I’m the most boring gay man ever. Or both, I suppose. But I have zero desire to ever dress in drag, date someone way older or younger than me (but I wouldn’t have dismissed the possibility if I had found someone that was one or the other and that I was attracted to and found interesting… ie I wouldn’t dismiss it outright but I wouldn’t seek it out just because, either), sleep with some rando foreign dude that I can’t even communicate and I would NEVER have an open relationship. Oh, and Jake Gyllenhal does nothing for me.

    But that wasn’t what really what annoys me about that list. What does is the fact that the intro suggests getting older is crisis inducing (I’m not 40 yet but getting there and not worried about it one bit) and that this list of 40 things are what qualify as “accomplishments” in a gay man’s life. I’d suggest talking to that therapist of yours about how you measure accomplishments in your life. (and yes I get humor, I just fail to see how this article qualifies as humorous.)

  • cmhbuck

    Age: 43

    Things I haven’t done but should have (I guess):
    22 (I’ve only done one of them)
    23 (though I’ve seen most)
    25 (Unless VR counts)
    26 (see 25)

    I’m a bad gay. I suppose. lol.

  • Niall

    I plan NEVER to do some of those things listed here, guess I’ll have to endure my sad unfulfilled gay life by the time I’m 41 :(

  • willji

    Very amusing – I am surprised that some people have bothered to make derogatory comments or take it seriously in any way…why be so negative?

  • Jackhoffsky

    Very few people are hard-wired to try (and fully accept) both a monogamous relationship and an open relationship… even at different times of life. It’s not a “gay” thing, it’s not even a “guy” thing. It’s just a ‘who we are in our DNA’ thing. Some people can try both (those tend to be more experimental in life), but most are just either one or the other.

    One isn’t better than the other. So the two entries should have read “make peace with your friends who enjoy an open relationship” and “understand couples who enjoy monogamous relationships.”

  • ethandavid

    I’m pretty sure transwoman Alexis Arquette does not belong in a list of drag queens. (I know she used to do drag, but….)

  • Lvng1tor

    Not one to normally go so negative with my response but. Fuck this idea of before 40. Not everyone was able to do all these before 40. 40 is not old and 10,29 and 37 are just plain stupid, ignorant, stereo typed or offensive. Ya know what every gay man just needs to do in their life? Just what every person on the planet should do. Love themselves and not prescribe to bullshit lists meant to pigeon hole or tell you how to live your life. Btw I’ve done everything but #10 it doesn’t apply to me. Most of these are not what they are cut out to be.

  • quilad

    Really ?? TO BE QUITE HONEST THIS is pretty stupid. I get that this is just a fun article, But if I were to follow any of these steps. I would be single,probably catch an std and a drug issue along the way.. I’m a fun open gay man,,But this list is not what gay men really do and should be known to do lol

  • BigRedEO

    As a 50 year-old-man who came out at the then unheard of age of 15, before the explosion of AIDS, I can say I’ve done some of these things. I also have NOT done some of these things. But the one thing I won’t do is let a website tell me what I as a gay may should or should not have done before the age of 40.

    Let each man decide his own journey.

  • fetishguy75

    Just wanted to say thanks for the complement. I’m the guy getting his toes sucked in the picture. That was a fun day! Glad you liked it!

  • fetishguy75

    @RandallSM: @RandallSM:
    Just wanted to say thanks for the complement. I’m the guy getting his toes sucked in the picture. That was a fun day! Glad you liked it!

  • prince_charming

    Well I’m not 30 yet and have done a few of these, but some I just wouldn’t bother with. I just wanna be an individual. Is that so wrong?

  • cognitojoe

    I only did 26 of them. I have to say the the movie “Weekend” is amazing and I really think you should watch it, its available to stream at Netflix and it is a movie that changed the way I think about myself. I will NOT have sex with a woman just to say I did. The concept is disgusting to me. For me, the thought of having sex with a woman is as gross as a hardcore redneck repiglican man trying to consider f[*]cking a dude. Its just not going to happen. And lastly, I know I wont have sex with Jake Gyllenhaal but you cant stop me from fapping to his photos.

  • cognitojoe

    @MikeE: I agree mike, I wrote in my comment that the concept of having sex with a woman is as repulsive to me as a straight guy thinking about having sex with a man. It kind of perpetuates the idea that homosexuality is a choice. I didnt like that one but I thought the rest where humorous. @MikeE:

  • cognitojoe

    @Charlie in Charge: @CharlieinCharge and ErosCorps, the movie in #22 is called Weekend. Its an amazing movie, you can see it on NetFlix.

  • philatonian

    41. Stop reading “listicles.”

    Some of these are fun.

    Some are just silly. Namely all the “have a relationship with…” I guess I’ve got a lot of relationships to cram into the next two years. And I’m so over the monogamous vs. open thing. Some people just aren’t monogamous and believe it or not, some gay guys have actually never been curious about open relationships. You might as well tell me to be straight. Oh wait, #37, you did.

  • lgwolf

    Done them all except for 27.

  • Louis BL

    Fred Tatoué St-Jean

  • Robbie Martinez

    Most of these I’ve done already:)

  • Jim Beshear

    To late but I have completed 20 or more of the -30- items.

  • William Howell

    Checked all of them off my list.

  • Gentaro Ramadhan

    These sound like they were written by some straight guy who had only seen gay men in movies…

  • Mario Francisco Garcia

    “Have sex with a woman so that you can claim that you did” What? Who in the world wrote this garbage?

  • Richard C. Solis

    This is the reason STRAIGHT people have problems with GAY PEOPLE…. Sad.

  • sweisend

    Ok you stuck up idiots, this is meant to be fun and funny and a laughable read. Stop taking it so serious, a lighten up! Pull the stick out of your asses!!

  • Zombie_Killer

    I’ve done most of these except
    #30 sad to say that I never had the opportunity to travel out of the country definitely my loss!

    #32 I have never and will ever sing KARAOKE!!!!!!!

    #33 I tried to make peace but my brothers let it be known to everyone that I was DEAD! I ended that lie when I attended my mother’s funeral and squashed that rumor.

    #34 I have to answer YUK! I am like 7UP NEVER HAD IT, NEVER WILL!

  • Hermes3X

    For the people inspired to reply things like “scattered and senseless” or “I don’t march to the beat of the gay drum.” OR “I don’t like being told how to live my life by anybody, including other gay people.” There is one important addition to the list that many folks over 30 have learned, and so it wasn’t added to the list, but obviously it should have been there:

    41. Stop taking yourself so damn seriously and thinking that your gay ‘journey’ is the only one that matters.

    This kind of list is what it is, like a list of the 10 best tequilas, or 10 things you must do if you visit New York. It isn’t insulting to recommend that you go to one of the worlds best museums while in NYC, even though some folks absolutely hate museums. Because these kinds of lists are only meant to be thought provoking and in any regard are going to be highly subjective. If you take offense at that, you probably should read number 21 again.

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