This material was developed out of the personal experiences – in some cases tragic – of gay men, especially those in recovery from addictions who have faced issues of aging, feeling disconnected, becoming increasingly isolated, and struggling to integrate healthy sex and intimacy into their lives. It has been our experience that gay men in particular face considerable pressures as they age. Many feel increasingly invisible; others live with HIV/AIDS
and feel like “damaged goods.” Old companions like shame, internalized homophobia, distorted body image, and low self-worth impact how they view themselves and their place in the community.
This program is about having a conversation and forming connections. The groups are small by design, with plenty of opportunity to build trust and share. Groups are facilitated by trained leaders and peers. The men who have gone through this program have consistently found that increasing meaningful connection, along with engaging in honest, vulnerable dialogue with other gay men produces not only an improved sense of healing and self-efficacy, but changes in behavior as well.
The first week’s material brings an aging lens to the subjective experience of sex and intimacy among gay men starting with an exploration of core beliefs. This is followed in week two by the application of these concepts to body image and validation. The following weeks provide information, tools, skills, and guiding questions that build on themes of sexual arousal, desire and behavior, as well as intimacy and attachment styles.
Three of us collaborated to create this program. We are all gay men of differing ages and life experiences. Each of us has long felt the need for a more useful application of these concepts. We hope you find the program to be both meaningful and helpful.