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Should You Date a Younger Man?

By Gerry Strauss
Posted On Sep 14, 2016
Should You Date a Younger Man?

While the concept is often fodder for the tabloids—ever since Cher first stepped out with her 22-year-old “bagel boy” at the age of 40—women in power have had boy toys by their side for years. From Demi Moore to Jennifer Lopez, this tendency seems to be getting bigger by the day, and shows no sign of going out of style.

“Women today are empowered… We can date whomever we want, whenever we want, and any age that we see fit,” says Laurel House, relationship author and the scribe behind the popular relationship website Screwingtherules.com. “Women have learned how to be in control and still be sweet and super feminine. We can still get exactly what we want. We’re learning the dance of ‘having our cake and eating it, too.’”

There’s something inherently appealing about a roll in the hay with a man at his physical and sexual peak. That’s just human instinct. However, it’s never entirely about the sex, is it? Why exactly do so many single women over the age of 35 seek out significantly younger men?

“Maybe she’s tired of the serious, stifling, uptight men her age,” speculates House. “She’s looking to have a little fun and to enjoy a feeling of renewed youth. A younger guy looks up to, adores, and prioritizes his older, wiser love interest. Or, perhaps she’s looking for a project—a handsome young man whom she can help mentor and guide to fulfill the potential that she knows he has.”

According to adult film veteran and sex educator Nina Hartley, there’s much for both to gain from the decades in between. “The benefit of dating younger is that a woman will have an enthusiastic partner,” Hartley says. “And the younger person will have a partner who knows her own body well enough to share information with him and won’t need his money, his ring, or his undying love and devotion. The younger person will have access to a higher level of restaurant, culture, and sophistication, while the older person will have access to a hot young body, interest, and enthusiasm. She can relive her own youth and rewrite her script.”

Meanwhile, Hartley recognizes a number of negative reasons why a woman might be hooking up with a younger man. A woman who dates younger, according to Hartley, could be “using a younger partner as an emotional crutch or a captive audience for her narcissism. She could be getting back at a previous partner for cheating or acting out of any ‘mommy-son’ issues… In short, doing it for any reason other than honest attraction to the person, not the age.”

Are these desires worth acting upon? Should women consider dating younger? Hartley thinks so, with reservations. “She should be self-aware of her motivations and reasons for doing so,” Hartley says. “Is she looking for a summer fling? A long-term, mutual, intimate relationship? Wanting to help a young man become a better partner for all his future partners?”

“You deserve to have fun, feel sexy, and be the priority,” concurs House. “But that doesn’t mean that the relationship won’t sometimes be awkward or frustrating.”

If things go further than good-old, noncommmittal fun, there are certainly challenges unique to dating a younger generation of man. Different cultural reference points, interests, and types of social lives may just be the tip of the iceberg, especially if families get involved. If parents or other loved ones don’t support the relationship, will you be committed to it for the long haul?

Then there’s the even-bigger elephant in the room: marriage and kids. What if, based on your age, you want these things sooner  rather than later? Will he agree? Is he even ready from an emotional or financial standpoint?

“If you are recently out of a long marriage and returning to the dating scene, you very well may feel confused, overwhelmed, and scared, in addition to possibly feeling unburdened and excited,” House says. “He may just be in it for fun while you’re looking for ‘forever.’ Or you may be in it for fun while he’s serious. Communicate your purpose to make sure no one gets hurt.”

Such details, of course, could potentially derail any relationship, regardless of age. Just like any other situation, if a couple is truly right for one another, such challenges can be overcome.

So, is age really that big of a deal? Maybe, but so are all of the things that matter most to a relationship. Do you truly love him… or even like him? Do you enjoy spending time together, even with your clothes on? Are you happy with him—today, tomorrow, and possibly long-term? According to Hartley, your choice should be an easy one: “If her reasons truly are not neurotic or harmful to herself or others, she should give it a go.”

So, ladies: It doesn’t matter if he’s 20, 60, or somewhere in between. It’s not about what the world says is right or wrong. Figure out if he’s right for you. Do that, and you won’t go wrong.