Many gay/SSA folks experience a delayed or “second adolescence” in adulthood after keeping our sexuality secret in our first adolescence when we unconsciously adapted to the heteronormative culture around us. When we finally do find safe masculine circles, whether within YOB or elsewhere, conversational topics like sex or masturbation, or shared male experiences like nudity and cuddling hold great appeal — if not laced with some of that adolescent immaturity or a tinge (or bucketload) of obsession.

But second adolescence is more than just talking too much about penises or underwear. What about dealing with the heartache of other male friends, particularly other “Side B” ones, who have hurt us? What about our lack of Side B peers or role models growing up? How has what we lacked in our first adolescence affected our lives and growth today?

Join Tom, Ben, and Will for a dispersed yet also focused look at this phenomena of “second adolescence,”  finally putting a name to this nebulous thing that we’ve all noticed in our community and in ourselves for years!



Can you relate with this concept of “second adolescence” in adulthood? How would you describe your original adolescence, and how has what you experienced (or did not) affected your growth today?

About the Author

  • Hi Tom, Ben and Will,
    I just finished listening to your podcast and, as usual, I loved it. I have several comments to share:
    The second adolescence is not limited to gay people, many of my straight friends have experienced the same thing. I think that it has to do with anything that is unresolved over the course of our lifetimes, often issues from adolescence, that are processed when we are ready to deal with them. One of my close friends in University had an absolute phobia of the showers, bathrooms and locker-rooms because of the size of his genitalia (very small) and, although comfortable around other guys in many ways, felt anxious and threatened by any situation that would expose him. In our case, we have a secret and this secret prevents us from bonding with our friends in many important ways. This can be crippling for some, it was not for me. I always had male friends and I guarded my secret from them. That burden had an emotional, psychological and physical cost for me.
    The other comment I want to focus on was the notion that “we” are not just defective (I think it was Ben who mentioned this) but we are also gifted. Many of my friends have come to me over the years because of my emotional intelligence and they would have never shared their stories with any of our other friends. Our past struggles allow us to mourn with those who mourn, laugh with those who laugh and empathize with the crosses and burdens all our brothers and sisters carry– that is a gift from the Lord.
    Finally, women are special. There are many stereotypes of gay men that make us quite effeminate. Yes, I am not a paragon of masculinity but most men aren’t. However, women are quite different than us. They bring a different perspective to almost everything. I have lived with one for thirty years and with a daughter, soon to be 27 years. Their uniqueness is something to be valued, treasured and learned from.

    • Thanks for your thoughts, Daniel! May read an excerpt of this comment on our next podcast with this crew. I love including listener feedback, whether it’s via the comments section or the YOBline! Your thoughts on straight people also experiencing something of this phenomenon is good to hear. Ultimately, growing up is hard for most people! Certainly not just the gay ones.

  • Hi, I was intrigued by the title of this podcast as I have published a memoir called “Lost Adolescence.” In a nutshell, I have a rare condition popularly called “delayed puberty;” essentially, I did not go through puberty until my mid-twenties. Though I remember being attracted to men as a small child and being “all thumbs” with both men and women especially in my teenage years it was not until I was treated (with Testosterone injections) that sexuality became an issue…and I was married and in a Fundamentalist seminary at the time. Suddenly, the introverted kid who was afraid of everyone became super jock who wanted muscles and fighting…and men. Of course neither the marriage nor the seminary experience were successful…I was a frustrated, angry Gay guy in the closet for the next twenty years. After all that, I remarried having honestly discussed all of this with my new wife, but after a few years was betrayed by a male friend who “came on to me.” We were able to put it behind us but the damage was done. All that to say that I found some parts of the podcast revealing and I must admit that my mind and emotions (in my Sixties) remain somewhat adolescent…I hope that will change. Thanks for your work, it is appreciated. Deano

    • Thanks for sharing vulnerably with us, Deano. I may share some of your comment on the next YOBcast with this crew. Appreciate your perspective on this “delayed puberty” in a whole other way from what we discussed.

  • I myself like the term 2nd as opposed to delayed. I think the idea that its a 2nd time around in a sense because for all intents and purposes we did go through a full fledged physical adolescence in our teenage years. We just didn’t get that relational emotional bit that bounces back and forth with our peers.
    Not only that, but for those of us who experience bisexuality we went through the whole thing once already with our opposite sex attractions and then once we come to terms with our same sex attractions as an adult we have to go through it all over again

  • I can certainly relate to the concept of second adolescence.
    Between my own insecurities as a man, cultural stereotypes and definitions, and my religious convictions, I felt like an outsider to my (male) peers – yet yearning to belong. In my late 20s, the Lord has been leading me through a process of healing from these wounds of the past. And, yes, I have experienced a certain thrill, even obsession at times, desiring to live out those things I felt like I missed out on with my male peers then – to just be one of the guys, having fun, free to be me, accepted for who I am. Now seeing that intimacy and vulnerability need not mean something sexual, and being able to experience these things now with close male friends has been part of the healing for me. There is a certain re-learning process that needs to take place now too – as I enter into intimate and vulnerable relationships (and while the focus has been on finally developing these with male friends, thank you for the encouragement not to neglect such relationships with females too). Also, a re-learning process as I come to a fuller understanding my body and my sexuality. And in this re-learning process, to integrate all of this according to God’s designs and a virtuous life. Better late than never, eh 😉 God is good!

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