NYC Psychotherapist Blog

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Saturday, July 4, 2020

Relationships Between Older Women and Younger Men - Part 1

I've been discussing older women's sexuality in my recent articles (see my articles: Who says Older Women Don't Enjoy Sex? and Many Older Women Who Were at the Forefront of the Sexual Revolution Are Still Sexually Active). In this article, I'm focusing on relationships between older women and younger men.

Relationships Between Older Women and Younger Men

The Old Double Standard About Older Women and Younger Men
More than 40 years ago, writer and feminist Susan Sontag wrote an essay for the Saturday Review called "The Double Standard of Aging" in which she called out the sexist social convention that aging enhances men's attractiveness but detracts from women. In her essay, Sontag indicated that men might be the ones who were primarily perpetuating this sexist double standard, but she also urged older women to stop acquiescing to it. 

Years later, in an attempt to explain the popularity of older women and younger men, Newsweek called 2009 "the year of the cougar."  The image of the "cougar" was an older women who was sexually obsessed and who preyed on younger men.

Not only was this description crass and disrespectful, but it painted an inaccurate picture of older women's sexuality.  In addition, it left out the real story of why many older women often prefer younger men as well as why younger men often prefer older women.  

Defining older women, who prefer younger men, as "cougars," paints a picture of older women as predatory, but this image didn't start in 2009.  As early as 1967, in "The Graduate," Anne Bancroft portrayed Mrs. Robinson as a conniving older woman who manipulated Dustin Hoffman's character, a young college graduate, into having sex with her.  

The movie and the image of the older woman who preys on young men became so popular that the term "Mrs. Robinson" became a term synonymous with sex-hungry older women who go after younger men.  

Although, in the movie, at first, Mrs. Robinson seems beautiful, sexy and sophisticated, subsequently, just below the surface, she is shown to be an older woman who is deeply troubled and unhappy.  She is revealed as a desperate, clingy woman who is someone to be pitied rather than admired. And, of course, eventually, Dustin Hoffman's character leaves her for her younger daughter.

Although the stereotypes of older women as "cougars" and Mrs. Robinson-type women have diminished, these stereotypes still prevail in certain circles, especially in sexist popular media that still seek to demean older women.

In more recent times, many older women and younger men have become more open with revealing their preferences for each other, and see these preferences as natural.  

Specifically, many older women feel more compatible with younger men because these women are still vibrant and open to new experiences and they want men who match their energy, enthusiasm and curiosity about life.  

This is not to say that older men can't be just as energetic, enthusiastic and open to new life experiences. In fact, especially among the Baby Boomer generation, many men are living healthier, more dynamic lives.  But there are fewer older men because women tend to live longer than men.  So, it makes sense that many older women would prefer younger men.

Younger men often say that they prefer older women because they're more mature than younger women.  They say that older women have more life experience than younger women--not just sexual experience, but everyday life experience.  In addition, according to many younger men, older women "know what they want" in life and, as a result, they're generally more confident because they have learned from their life experiences.  

Generally speaking, older women aren't still striving to make it in their careers or worrying about motherhood.  Many of them have already dealt with these issues and they're in the next dynamic phase of their life, all of which makes them more attractive to many younger men.

More about relationships between older women and younger men in my next article.

About Me
I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR, AEDP, Somatic Experiencing and EFT therapist (see my article: The Therapeutic Benefits of Integrative Therapy).

To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist.

To set up a consultation, call me at (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.