The best books for mature men who have sex with men

Loren A. Olson, M. D. Author Of No More Neckties: A Memoir in Essays
By Loren A. Olson, M. D.

Who am I?

I’ve been gay for half my life; the other half I was confused, questioning, and considered a pathologic deviant by the American Psychiatric Association. I am no longer confused, or considered pathologic or deviant. I’m a father, psychiatrist, and author who grew up in Nebraska. I was a good boy, followed all the rules, and lived the life that was expected of me. I fit in but I never felt like I belonged. I took back control of my life and threw off expectations of what I should be. I want others to believe that they can have a richer life by living the life they were meant to live.

I wrote...

No More Neckties: A Memoir in Essays

By Loren A. Olson, M. D.,

Book cover of No More Neckties: A Memoir in Essays

What is my book about?

In No More Neckties: A Memoir in Essays, Loren A. Olson, MD writes that fitting in is not belonging. Growing up, he tried to fit in, but he felt lonely due to conflicted sexual feelings and a poor body image.

In No More Neckties, Dr. Olson shares the story of his life and its hard lessons. He writes about intensely personal events: tragedy and loss, love and heartbreak, infidelity and betrayal, and the fear of aging. He explores being gay in rural America, stereotypes and misconceptions, religious dogma, empathy and forgiveness, and the need for self-acceptance. Through the memoir’s essay format, Dr. Olson invites the reader to reflect on their own life. He believes that sharing our stories removes the loneliness and isolation we feel and changes peoples’ minds about who we are.

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The books I picked & why

Young Mungo

By Douglas Stuart,

Book cover of Young Mungo

Why did I love this book?

This book was so good I immediately read it a second time. First, I read it for the story, then for the beauty of Stuart’s writing. 

Although the novel is set in Glasgow and I grew up in rural Nebraska, I related to the young Mungo in so many ways. He grew up poor in a single-parent home. Hyper-masculine values dominated, and he was confused and frightened by his romantic interest in another boy. 

It is a story of the bounds of masculinity, the push from and pull toward one’s home, and the dangers of loving another man. The story is so beautifully written I frequently thought, “God, how did Stuart come up with such beautiful or painful imagery!”

By Douglas Stuart,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Young Mungo as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A story of queer love and working-class families, Young Mungo is the brilliant second novel from the Booker Prize-winning author of Shuggie Bain

Douglas Stuart's first novel Shuggie Bain, winner of the 2020 Booker Prize, is one of the most successful literary debuts of the century so far. Published or forthcoming in forty territories, it has sold more than one million copies worldwide. Now Stuart returns with Young Mungo, his extraordinary second novel. Both a page-turner and literary tour de force, it is a vivid portrayal of working-class life and a deeply moving and highly suspenseful story of the dangerous…

Book cover of The Lie: A Memoir of Two Marriages, Catfishing & Coming Out

Why did I love this book?

When I explored coming out in my forties, I was lonely and searched for answers. I found nothing. So, I wrote my own book.

Gay people who’ve been in heterosexual marriages, especially those with children, face a predicament: a bad choice and a worse one. The Lie is a story of hope for anyone caught in the dilemma of either living a lie or leaving a family they love. Many consider suicide; many have attempted it.

The Lie is an emotional and honest story of Dameron’s coming out to live the life he was meant to live. He owns up to his past, sheds the shame and guilt, and seeks and finds forgiveness as he begins to live his life honestly.

By William Dameron,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Lie as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A candid memoir of denial, stolen identities, betrayal, faking it, and coming out.

Do you know me?, the email began, sparking tremors of fear that turned into a full quake of panic when William Dameron discovered that his selfie had been stolen by strangers. On social networks and dating sites, his image and identity-a forty-year-old straight white male-had been used to hook countless women into believing in lies of love and romance. Was it all an ironic cosmic joke? Almost a decade prior, William himself had been living a lie that had lasted for more than twenty years. His secret?…

What Belongs to You

By Garth Greenwell,

Book cover of What Belongs to You

Why did I love this book?

When I came out, I learned about the underbelly of gay life: man-on-man sex in public spaces. Desire led me there; guilt and shame pushed me away. In his award-winning, charged debut novel, Greenwell captures this antagonism between desire and guilt, shame, and regret.

Anticipation, multifariousness, risk, and anonymity that heighten eroticism draw men, gay or straight, single or married, who seek anonymous, one-off sex. Predatory hustlers like Mitko also go with led to an erotically and psychologically charged relationship with the object of the narrator’s desire.

More than a gay novel, What Belongs to You captures the tension between what we want and what we don’t want to want. It is sexy and tender, painful and pitiable, and always unforgettable.

By Garth Greenwell,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked What Belongs to You as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Startlingly erotic and immensely powerful, Garth Greenwell's What Belongs to You tells an unforgettable story about the ways our pasts and cultures, our scars and shames can shape who we are and determine how we love.

Winner of the Debut of the Year Award at the British Book Awards.
Shortlisted for the James Tait Black Prize.

'A searching and compassionate meditation on the slipperiness of desire . . . as beautiful and vivid as poetry' - Hanya Yanagihara, author of A Little Life

On an unseasonably warm autumn day, an American teacher enters a public bathroom beneath Sofia's National Palace…


By Andrew Sean Greer,

Book cover of Less

Why did I love this book?

The happiest people are over fifty years old. At fifty, I realized I had more days behind than I had ahead of me. I began to throw off what was expected of me.

At fifty, Arthur Less, the failed novelist in Greer’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book, felt the same urgency. He hoped to find new meaning as he traveled to Paris, Berlin, Morocco, and India. In time, he transitions from measuring time to experiencing it and discovers love.

Less is a satire that artfully wraps humor around Greer’s poignancy. While reading what masks as a travelogue, one hardly realizes one is reading about the hard stuff like loneliness and the fear of aging.

By Andrew Sean Greer,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Less as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


'You will sob little tears of joy' Nell Zink

'I recommend it with my whole heart' Ann Patchett

'This book is basically perfect' Dolly Alderton

'Charming, languid and incredibly funny, I absolutely adored Arthur' Jenny Colgan

'Marvellously, endearingly, unexpectedly funny' Gary Shteyngart

'I adore this book' Armistead Maupin

'Bedazzling, bewitching and be-wonderful' New York Times Book Review

'A fast and rocketing read . . . a wonderful, wonderful book!' Karen Joy Fowler

'Hilarious, and wise, and abundantly funny' Adam Haslett


Arthur Less is…


By Tim Murphy,

Book cover of Christodora

Why did I love this book?

Sometimes I regret not having experienced the sex and drugs enjoyed by my contemporaries who came out much younger in life. The Christodora brought me back to reality. The reality of those years was much darker than my fantasies.

Murphy sketches out the diverse group of intertwined characters that inhabit the Christodora, a gentrified building in Manhattan’s East Village. I wanted to be the artistic Mateo who pushes through life’s difficulties to live an actualized life. But I can’t escape that I could have been one of the AIDS victims for whom the activism Murphy describes was so critical. Or I might have been Hector, an AIDS activist who descends into substance abuse after losing his lover.

Christodora recounts the heartbreak of AIDS but ultimately is a story of the healing of broken lives.

By Tim Murphy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Christodora as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“A sprawling account of New York lives under the long shadow of AIDS, it deals beautifully with the drugs that save us and the drugs that don’t.”—The Guardian (Best Books of the Year)
In this vivid and compelling novel, Tim Murphy follows a diverse set of characters whose fates intertwine in an iconic building in Manhattan’s East Village, the Christodora. The Christodora is home to Milly and Jared, a privileged young couple with artistic ambitions. Their neighbor, Hector, a Puerto Rican gay man who was once a celebrated AIDS activist but is now a lonely addict, becomes connected to Milly…

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