February 24, 2014

Why do gay men get gray hair earlier, if they're Peter Pans?

There's one big apparent counter-example to my theory that the gay syndrome is infantilization, caused by some kind of brain pathogen that slows / halts maturation in childhood (building on Greg Cochran's "gay germ" idea). And that is that gay men's health degrades much faster than normal men's. They die earlier, and they have worse prognoses for a given disease compared to normal men.

This is only a problem for the theory if we ignore the obvious -- their earlier onset of degradation is due to their wicked sexual behavior. It is physically corrupting, and their outcomes are proof of that. The root causes are number of partners and filthiness of the act.

Where else do we see evidence of their earlier aging, aside from the natural places to look like lifespan, prognosis for heart disease or diabetes, and so on? Their skin goes to hell a lot sooner than it does for normal men -- they start to look like mummies early on. That can be hard to quantify and find confirmation of in "the literature" or in journalism, though.

The other main sign of aging is de-pigmentation of the hair. For normal men, graying hair will become noticeable during their 40s and become fairly visible during their 50s. Ditto for women -- it is the normal timing for both sexes. During your 30s, you shouldn't have more than the occasional gray hair here or there.

I've noticed a common weird look among queers, where the guy will be in his 30s and already be noticeably gray, or fully gray-to-white by his 40s. Their bodies haven't totally broken down yet, so it creates a very incongruous look that is hard to ignore -- 50-something hair on a 30-something, 60-something hair on a 40-something.

Think of Anderson Cooper, whose hair began graying around age 20, and had further de-pigmented to silvery white before age 40. Dan Savage, another prominent queer, had dark gray hair by about age 40. Closeted actor George Clooney showed clear graying by age 35. Another closeted actor who played one of TV's first mainstream gay characters, Kerr Smith, was fully silver before age 40.

There aren't that many famous gays out there, and the above are only a small sampling of the gray-haired ones. That suggests a huge gap between normal and gay men right there.

To investigate further away from celebrities, I looked for academic articles, which I could not find right away. However, the most prominent gay magazine The Advocate ran a cover story on "Silver Foxes" in 2008. Skip past the first page of the drama queen story of how the author dealt with the discovery of his first gray hairs, and read what the people interviewed have to say. A sampling:

[T]he silver fox also encompasses guys in their 30s, even 20s, who are sexy, in shape, and have some to a lot of gray hair... As one 26-year-old told me, "It adds to their sexiness when guys in their 30s have gray hair..."

Gray hair is "cool now," says Andrew Weir, one of the fashion world's go-to guys for casting advertising campaigns and editorial features. In his work scanning the streets for "real" men and women to model for his client' projects, he says he's noticed a definite rise in the number of silver foxes. Forty-one years old and graying, Weir is one himself...

It's a trend that New York psychotherapist Brian Lathrop has noticed among his predominantly gay male clientele too. In the last few years, he says, his clients in their 30s and 40s have shown a greater acceptance of turning gray in a way that's markedly different from just a decade ago. "They're not treating it like a symptom of aging," Lathrop says. Instead, they're making it work for them. "It's not hypermasculine, but truly masculine."...

A sales executive who cut his teeth at L'Oréal, Pestorius says his colleagues there encouraged him to dye his hair when the gray came in strong at 28. He colored it every four to six weeks but eventually grew tired of the high-maintenance routine...

So I'm unprepared when Travis Parman, a 35-year-old media relations representative for General Motors in New York, sounds as blasé about his silvery 41-year-old partner, John Davis, a health-care consultant...

But it's Justin Conner -- unabashedly gray since his college days at Vassar -- who really surprises me. As he's only 25, I suspect he’s on the leading edge of a full-scale generational upheaval when it comes to men, gray hair, and age...

Jeez, unabashedly gray since college -- getting stuffed up the butt sure takes a toll on the body.

I'll take this article as confirmation of my hunch. They certainly aren't like-minded researchers whose work I'm citing because it supports my worldview. The whole piece is about how nowadays queers are starting to embrace the signs of their advanced aging and degradation -- own that mummy skin, girlfriend! Gray hair before 30? Hey, if you got it, flaunt it! But buried in this puff piece is some good on-the-ground data that you otherwise would not be able to find.

If this view is right, then the tiny number of normal men whose sex behavior resembles that of a queer should also show early graying of the hair. Porno actors are the only place to look, since no normal guy will ever have as many partners, nor dirty himself so much during sex, as a porno dude. Aside from anal sex (where, however, they are never the recipient), they also eat pussy and/or ass in just about every one of their scenes.

A year or so ago I saw something weird -- a porno actor who looked to be a normal 20-something guy, only his hair was entirely gray. "Huh," I thought. "Usually they make these guys take steroids, wax their nuts, take Viagra, etc. All signs of body dysmorphia -- you'd think they'd make a 20-something dye his silver hair a natural color." Keiran Lee, gray-haired before turning 30 (fully clothed picture). Let that be a lesson to any of you perverts who think there's nothing wrong with burying your mouth in a gash or an ass.

We already know that the main predictor of whether a man will get cancer of the oral cavity (after smoking) is how many chicks he's gone down on. Add head and neck cancers, too. They've even narrowed the pathogen down to HPV, the same one that causes cervical and genital cancers in women. Guys who hoover up a woman's fluids that contain HPV are in for a rude awakening.

That piece in Nature also notes that researchers are unclear if it's only oral sex that increases the risk of cancer, or if enough French kissing will do the trick too. Recall this earlier post that shows how recent a lot of our weird sexual behavior is, compared to what we did as hunter-gatherers. It wouldn't surprise me if many diseases turn out to be cryptic STDs, including from spit-swapping.

As for gray hair, I can't tell if it's due to a specific pathogen that attacks the cells that give hair its pigmentation, or some part of the brain that talks to those cells, or whether it's just one part of the broader breakdown in the face of so many stressors of the immune system. Or perhaps if the body senses that it is living an incredibly "fast" lifestyle, it withdraws resources from bodily maintenance and puts them into mating effort instead.

Whatever the mechanism turns out to be, it's clear that gray hair can now be added to the wider syndrome of advanced aging in the gay population. Condoning and even encouraging their warped behavior will only worsen their syndrome. But your typical fag-ophile is concerned less with preventing disease among gays, and more with broadcasting their own ideological purity. Being "on the right side of history" means more to them than whether or not they cluelessly egg on another AIDS epidemic.


  1. Drugs will make you get grey hair too. Queers use drugs more than regular people.
    The guys I grew up wth in the 80s who did the most partying all seemed together go grey earlier, especially the coke users.

  2. I wonder if gays turn gray earlier because of greater drug use, or whether it's a separate compounding factor. You'd have to look at gays who aren't that into drugs. My hunch is that it's a separate compounding factor, like how dirty needles were another risk factor for AIDS.

    In the '80s we had a national campaign promoting abstinence from drugs. Why not something similar aimed at homosexual youth? -- Just Say "No" to Sodomy!

  3. Interesting ideas here. Can't say that I ever gave any real though to a possible link between homosexuality and premature aging, but the observations that you have made do seem to agree with what I have observed. Some questions/thoughts:

    1. Is there any solid statistical evidence that we could use to support this? I know that there have been biometric studies of homosexuals (digit ratio studies, hair pattern studies, facial robustness/masculinity studies, etc). Maybe there might be something in that accumulated of data? Maybe someone showed people photos of gays and straights and a guess the age question was part of the list of assigned queries?

    2. As you speculated, I'm really curious as to the role of lifestyle in this. I'm not sure about massive quantities of sex (natural or unnatural) with large numbers of partners being the culprit. Promiscuity and hard living (drinking, drug use, poor nutrition, irregular sleeping, etc) do tend to go together, after all. It seems to me that it would be difficult to untangle the two.

  4. Haven't you castigated millennial youth for not having much premarital sex compared to their Generation X forebears?

    If kids today are playing it safe, they should experience on average a delayed onset of aging. I just find it interesting how you don't engage with the positives and negatives of the patterns you observe.

  5. "If kids today are playing it safe, they should experience on average a delayed onset of aging."

    I've always made it clear that they've missed nature's intended optimum, but in the other direction -- never maturing in the first place. And now that they're 25, they'd rather stay stuck in childhood than break free from their parents.

    Before oral sex became mainstream, wild living just meant having lots of partners, or being frequently active with a single partner. The promiscuous part would be a deviation from our hunter-gatherer past, but not the highly active part -- Pygmy dudes are going at it 5 times every night with their wives. However, it's good old fashioned cock meets pussy, nothing else.

    When Millennials do get active with each other, it leans more toward the distracting, non-reproductive, corrupting acts like oral. Hence their kneejerk response to natural pubic hair -- "Gross, I don't want to get hair in my teeth!"

    So clueless... "hair in teeth" couldn't be a clearer sign that you aren't supposed to be doing that.

  6. "Maybe there might be something in that accumulated of data?"

    I don't know about pre-mature aging. The anthropometric studies I found when I looked into it in 2012 were about the "gays as infantilized" theory, although the study authors didn't phrase it that way. They talked about them being feminized -- shorter, lighter, and lower BMI compared to straight men.

  7. Hey that was a good scene that you linked to with Keiran Lee. He did a really good job in that one.

  8. Maybe it's simply caused by too much pleasure, combined with the absence of the most common hetero-normative frustrations.

    Straights don't realize just how good gays have it, provided they don't live in repressive environments where they can't pursue unlimited mating and other self-actualization options.

  9. LOL, actualizing their selves into disease, early death, and lack of accomplishment.

  10. I was laughing at this because I thought it was a joke. But now I can't tell if you're serious, and I'm scared.

  11. I agree with 'outsider' as far as casual sex goes.

    You realize how easy it is for a gay guy to have sex? Go to a gay bar, make eye contact with two or three dudes. They look back, it's on. (I've been dragged to places like this--coworkers.)

    Meanwhile, straight guys trap themselves in sexless marriages, pay for advice about how to talk to girls, follow around women like lost puppies, pay for sex, and are generally frustrated.

    If this is where all that nasty sex gets them, it's obviously not worth it. I'm not 100% convinced that it ruins their health though. . .

    I run into a lot of wealth gay guys at work. Maybe wealthy people just take care of themselves better, as a rule, but these guys look like they keep it together pretty well. LOTS of drugs, too.

  12. There's also in some black-haired Europeans a tendency to start getting white hair fairly young. I had a few white hairs (white, not gray) come in when I was 14, and more when I was 22, with progressively more since then. But I'm close to 50 now, and the majority of my hair is still black. This pattern is common in my mother's family, and also goes with lack of male pattern baldness - an uncle died in his 90s and his hairline had receded maybe an inch on his forehead.

    Stress of any sort is bad for your hair, and the gay lifestyle does have its stresses, so that may be a factor, too.

  13. neanimorphia2/28/14, 7:00 AM

    i cannot find any convincing evidence that george clooney is gay. even the gossip-mongers are unusually restrained when reporting the rumors.

    as for the anderson cooper and dan savage, both look ~5-10 years younger than they are despite having had over three decades of gay sex.

    the evidence of premature graying in gays from the advocate article is weak to non-existent, too. it's just an article of spin, providing old trend conscious gays with a handful of ways to affirm the when-you-really-think-about-it wonderfulness of aging.

  14. Yet another great article! Fascinating idea here. I never know George Clooney was gay. I would like to add another great example: Charlie Crist, the former governor of Florida. He was long suspected of being gay, looked gay, whited very early, but finally married when he began to have presidential aspirations. No surprise really that he went from Republican to Independent to now running for governor as a Democrat. Another political example I just guessed (because Ive rarely seen a photo of him) is former New Jersey governor Jim McGreevey. Senator from South Carolina, Lindsey Graham is another suspected homosexual and appears to be graying a bit.

  15. What an egotistical SOB you are , calling straight men normal and gay men "Queer"? Get a life - 95% of ALL child molesters are Straight - do you call those men normal just because they're straight?

  16. I came here on a query wondering why a lot of people, both gay men and gay women, turned gray prematurely. It is certainly not a life style that are creator approved up and I'm sure their is a health consequence for such vile behavior.

  17. Great theories here. I thought I was the only one that noticed the very "mummy" like appearance of many gays. The skin on the face appears very taught and shiny, the jaw and eye sockets somewhat sunken in. Its certainly possible this is an immune system issue perhaps even HIV. But I am left with the impression that the lack of normal sexual contact with women has something to do with it. I have no scientific proof but perhaps its natures way of telling the body that you are missing the natural "nutrient" of normal sexual intercourse.

  18. I have also noticed the greying in this group of people, both male and female. I always pondered if it was due to stress from being queer, but this article made me think if a chemical reaction occurs in the body due to sexual activity with the same sex. By default humans are attracted to the opposite sex. Hence, perhaps when the body senses male to male or female to female bonding it reacts in ways we have not figured out yet, but, as in this theory, greying hair. To further this theory, I wonder if the body senses a persons inability or unwillingness to reproduce and starts to accelerate the aging process. Just a thought

  19. John McCain was heavily gray by the age of 36, if Wikipedia is dating their pictures accurately. Good riddance.


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