Stickman commented on my article “To Condom or Not to Condom”, “why is it that older guys seem to be much less concerned about condom use?”
That got me to thinking about us older guys and whether what he said was correct.
I did a little research, but no way is it scientific. I have generalised, and it is mostly about my own experience, but it may be of interest, so read on.
The majority of us Heterosexual Older Travellers (HOTs like the acronym guys? Big smile) have been married before and gone through a horrific divorce, (there are no pleasant divorces, by the way) and the previous marriage or marriages were to farang women.
So we’ve all been fucked over, because that’s what happens to you in Farangland, your assets are cut in two if you’re lucky and you get one half.
We still like the ladies, and still take the odd lady out occasionally, and enjoy the interaction, but there is that memory of bad relationships always in the back of our minds. In fairness also, we don’t really fancy them anyway, after all they have to compete with a younger Thai woman, because that’s what we are used to now.
Another fact about us HOTs is that we are pretty fit for our age and get fitter after our first visit. I am fitter now than I was in 1996 when I first visited. On New Years Eve this year I was almost forcibly dragged out by three farang women. I danced all night – not ballroom – full energetic stuff. My legs are still aching, but 5 years ago it would have killed me.
By the way, although I seem to be in demand with the ladies, it’s nothing to do with my fantastic personality, or my looks, it’s all to do with me still being alive. The ratio of men to women gets less and less as one gets older. Men die younger than women on average in most societies. Bloody marvellous isn’t it? As you get older women get more like buses, you wait a long time for one to come along, and when you are no longer interested a fleet of them turn up.
Another thing that is different about us HOTs is that we are prepared to take a certain amount of risk. You all know the older guys who get really nervous about anything that is a little dangerous. You know the ones, they think you always drive too fast, they are too scared to fly on a plane any more, and they would never go abroad anyway because of all the terrorists. Ask them to come to Thailand with you and they shit themselves.
So, we are prepared to take a risk, we are fairly fit, we’ve been through the mill with a couple of ladies, but we still like them, and quite importantly, we are reasonably well off having accumulated some modest wealth during our working lives. (at least 50% stolen by the ex’s of course)
So we arrive in Thailand, and we are inclined to take one lady for the extent of our stay. We are more likely to stay with one lady because we are not as randy as we used to be, and jumping in and out of bed with a different lady every night is not very satisfying. Sex in itself is not the thrill it used to be for us. Having done it thousands of times before we need something extra to fully enjoy the experience, and a relationship is just what the doctor ordered.
So here we are in a relationship, and having to use a condom. Now there is a big risk here that after being with the same lady for maybe a week, you wake up one night, and think “Oh to hell with the condom”. She doesn’t stop you, and bingo you plunge in and Willy is on intimate terms with any viruses which happen to be in there swimming with you. I’m sure there are quite a few guys out there who have done the same thing. When you’ve been with them for a while you seem to disregard the risks because you feel you “know” her. The feeling that “it’s not going to happen to me” gets more powerful. There is a small voice in your mind telling you it’s risky, but you tell it to shut up. And the funny thing is that they feel the same way, and it is a much bigger risk for a woman. Human nature I suppose.
But we are prepared to take that risk. Why is that? Well the general feeling is that most of the diseases that are “on offer” are curable. It is embarrassing to have to go to the “pox doctor” and drop your pants, but he can mostly fix you up. So what if we get one of the dreaded ones that are incurable? Well, we are past middle age and we see friends of our age dying already. We have a lot less things to enjoy in which we can physically participate. We can no longer play rugby or football – the speed is gone. So we want to enjoy to the full the things in which we can participate during the years we have left. We can participate in sex, and it is very enjoyable. And if we do get AIDS, it takes about ten years to kick in, and then there are drugs to prolong life if it’s worth it. And an important point here is that we probably do not have sex whilst at home, or at least not very often, and are therefore very unlikely to pass it on. This cannot be said for the younger guys who get infected.
I accept that I have been lucky so far, and from now on I will get both myself and the lady tested (I know I’m clear, I’ve got my certificate already smile) before any unprotected penetration takes place. (Read my piece To Condom or Not to Condom). I know I will still be taking a small risk with HIV, and so do a lot of the older guys, but it is apparently a very difficult disease to catch from female to male anyway.
So my conclusion is that Stick was right. We are less concerned about condom use than the average younger male. I would qualify it slightly and say that it applies only to single older guys. Obviously older married guys wouldn’t want to take a little surprise back to the wife so they must be more careful.
Add to this that there are a lot of guys in Bangkok who are, it seems, quite adept at determining what disease they have and self-prescribing. Remember, almost anything is available over the counter in Bangkok. There are probably more amateur STD specialists here than anywhere else!