GA Voice - - Sex & Dating -

SAGE is a na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tion with 24 chap­ters in 16 states across the coun­try. The group is open to women and men and has events like so­cial hours and potluck din­ners as well as ther­a­peu­tic ser­vices like chair yoga classes, and also ad­vo­cates for poli­cies and leg­is­la­tion that will cre­ate a bet­ter qual­ity of life for LGBT se­niors. The At­lanta chap­ter is a pro­gram of The Health Ini­tia­tive.

At­lanta Prime Timers, on the other hand, is a men’s group whose na­tional chap­ter was founded in Bos­ton in 1987. The or­ga­ni­za­tion serves pri­mar­ily as a so­cial group, al­though it does work in the com­mu­nity as well. The At­lanta chap­ter has over 200 men in­volved.

“We have a mul­ti­tude of func­tions where peo­ple get to meet each other and con­verse, whether it be a potluck, we have lun­cheons in­side and out­side the Perime­ter, some peo­ple go to the sym­phony and have din­ner be­fore, there are the­ater groups,” says At­lanta Prime Timers board chair John Chris­tensen. “This month we’re go­ing to the Ponce City Mar­ket for a tour and a dis­tillery in At­lanta. All of this is for the abil­ity for peo­ple to meet each other.”

Chris­tensen says it’s a good al­ter­na­tive for those look­ing for friend­ship or ro­man­tic com­pan­ion­ship and don’t want to mess with the bar scene or dat­ing apps.

“We get re­quests from peo­ple that are re­tired or new to the area and they’re not into the bar scene and they’re not into some of the so-called ‘typ­i­cal’ meet­ing places for gay or bi­sex­ual men so they come to Prime Timers and through that they meet dif­fer­ent peo­ple,” he says.

And love does oc­ca­sion­ally bloom, as in the case of Rhodes and Cas­tro and an­other cou­ple Chris­tensen says met at one of the func­tions and just bought a house to­gether.

Apps and hap­pi­ness

Even if he had been look­ing for a love in­ter­est, Rhodes says he would have been wary about us­ing dat­ing or hookup apps.

“I’ve al­ways been one of th­ese kinds of peo­ple that when you get to a cer­tain age, I just as­sumed that if you were on Grindr or some­thing and some­body showed an in­ter­est in you, that they prob­a­bly thought that you had money that you could throw away on them,” he says. “I was just happy be­ing around peo­ple my own age in the or­ga­ni­za­tions.”

But just be­cause hookup apps might not be in the pic­ture doesn’t mean sex among LGBT se­niors isn’t ei­ther.

“With the peo­ple that I know in Prime Timers, it’s pretty much a go­ing thing,” Rhodes says. “Of course I’m older than most of the ones in Prime Timers, they start in their 50s pri­mar­ily, but they’re still hav­ing ac­tive sex lives.”

Rhodes is just happy be­ing with the man he’s with.

“The thing that I think is great about the re­la­tion­ship that I’m in is that we have so many things that we en­joy do­ing, but I’m not jeal­ous of him play­ing ten­nis four times a week and he’s not jeal­ous that I go to SLCA [Spir­i­tual Liv­ing Cen­ter of At­lanta] and I’m quite in­volved in their GLBT or­ga­ni­za­tion. Some re­la­tion­ships, and this is true at any

At­lanta Prime Timers

SAGE At­lanta

404-688-2524 ext. 116 age, peo­ple get to­gether and they start los­ing all of their other friends and it gets down to just be­ing two peo­ple. And I think some­times when that gets to be bad is if one of them passes away or a re­la­tion­ship breaks up, all of a sud­den you’ve kind of shut out ev­ery­body else in your life and it makes it very dif­fi­cult to start go­ing out again.

“It’s been a good re­la­tion­ship. We go to movies to­gether and play cards to­gether and we eat to­gether a lot. It’s real com­pan­ion­ship.”

Fe­bru­ary 5, 2016

Wil­liam Gar­cia and Richard Rhodes, who met at a SAGE At­lanta event, have been dat­ing for two years. (Cour­tesy photo)

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