My sex life overall is a pretty good illustration of the “U-shaped happiness” findings of social scientists, to the effect that happiness levels decline through one’s 20s and 30s and then start to improve after 45 or so. http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2008/jan/29/health.medicalresearch Had almost no experience in high school, but from the first week at college to the last it was a nonstop fuckfest. In senior year I cataloged my conquests,and figured out they were in the 130s. (A then-current Joni Mitchell song had a line “I used to count lovers like railroad cars, I counted them on my side; now I don’t count on nothing, I just let things slide.” From 17 to 21 it was a new trick every week or two, with plenty of short-term boyfriends along the way. I was well-enough hung, attractive enough, personable enough, to succeed as a twink. Just one look was usually all it took to snare a companion for the evening. But by my mid-twenties I felt like a total failure at relationships and withdrew into celibacy; what it took to attract male (or female) partners started to elude me as we moved from the hippie era into disco. From fun and games in my teens, by my mid-twenties relationships started to seem like all games and no fun-- endless prickteasing, mindfucking, jumping through hoops just to get a date. Just gave up in frustration and did not have a serious LTR until my late 30s. That was entirely monogamous, lasted several years, then a few more of celibacy… looking back, I didn’t have a decent year slut-wise between 1978 and 1998! (Which perhaps saved my life.) And then it was as if a floodgate opened, as in my mid-40s I fucked more guys than in the previous two decades combined. This had a lot to do with falling in with a party crowd, but it was the first time in twenty years that I felt like anything other than a square peg among gay men. After a few wild years, by 49 I was happy to settle down again with a partner. We play with others a few times per year which is all the variety we want or need. After three decades of sexual famine punctuated by a few feast years, things seem to be in good balance. So now that I’m old, happily partnered, getting as much sexual variety as I want, why are the frustrations of youth so much in my thoughts? Posting fuck pics here has exposed me to the same qualities that so discouraged me about men way back when. It seems like the approach/ avoidance pattern is deeply embedded in the male psyche: show sexual interest in someone only enough to get that interest reciprocated, then vanish without a word of explanation leaving the target/victim feeling like a fool. The phrases this behavior inspires in my thoughts are: “bullshit artists” “cat and mouse games” “give me the runaround” “fucking with me” etc. – and the feelings are horribly familiar from long ago. Alas the Internet has magnified opportunities for this kind of BS a millionfold. Trying to be empathetic about it, I’d say that there is an element of ambivalence and self-loathing with which almost every gay or bi man is infected and he has to overcome. Ambivalence about fooling around with guys translates into weirdly fucked up approach/avoidant behavior towards potential partners. This kind of thing from potential threesome pals is merely annoying now, but back when I was a single guy looking for love it was DEVASTATING. But perhaps it’s not gayness that is the issue, and younger straight guys are every bit as infuriating to women with the same kinds of games. Could it be that the balance between cooperation and competition gets badly disrupted in men in their 20s/30s? Seems to me that teens and 40+ guys are more likely to see sex as pure pleasure, let’s play, but the 20s/30s guys are so obsessed about proving themselves that their sex lives are more ego-driven than id-driven, more about being a winner scorning losers than about having fun. (Recent rude remarks about fat women here have only strengthened that impression, as they don’t seem to emanate from teens or old farts-- I'd sure as hell fuck one given the opportunity, even being 90% gay.) When I look back at old pics of myself, my attractiveness at different ages seems to have been quite uniform—and yet I was a success sexually in my teens and forties and a failure in my twenties and thirties. Now I suspect that this is not uncommon. For whatever reason, perhaps simply the sense of time running out, I don’t see the same BS level among older guys. They are more likely to know what they want, less likely to subject others to confusion because of their own ambivalence. Does the U-shaped happiness pattern relate to your sexual history in any way that might be worth sharing?