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Older Women Younger Men (Reprise)

Guided by my new friend Jesse, I’m rethinking my previous “Older Women Younger Men” blog post, in which I  warn women to be wary of dating younger men. It’s true that OW-YM relationships can be predatory, Jesse says (pointing out that piranhas lurk on both sides of the gender gap) but there are many ways in which women come alive in sensitive, loving, passionate relationships with men who are younger by 10, 15, 20 or even more years. She’s right, and I’m here to make amends.    


Our society has adapted to interracial unions, interfaith unions, homosexual unions, and unions of older men with women young enough to be their daughters — or granddaughters. Only one real no-no remains: relationships in which women are older than their lovers.  

Most of what we observe about OW-YM relationships is tied to our fascination with movie stars. What’s vastly more interesting is that ordinary people – folks who are not in thrall to the paparazzi — fall in love without regard to age and circumstance.  

The societal barriers to the OW-YM romance option are huge. Few of them are male-generated. My adult son has confessed a consuming adolescent crush on his high school teacher that lasted for years, and young men routinely lust after movie stars twice their age. It is the woman who is most likely to manufacture obstacles. In that giddy moment when she realizes she’s the object of a younger man’s interest, she may receive his attentions eagerly, but she’s just as likely to fall back on old myths, mores, and fears.

  • My family and friends will hate that I’m with him.
  • I’m a place-holder for what he really wants – a younger woman.
  • I can’t possibly get naked with a younger man.


Senior American women, ever alert for that perfect 3-year age span, have spent decades believing that a relationship with a younger man can only lead to calamity. It dies hard, the notion that to be loved we must exude vulnerability and have the perfect body, which these days means slightly more than skeletal and gym-toned to a fault.  It’s time for us to get over this. 

Women in their forties, fifties, sixties and beyond are beautiful.  Not “beautiful for their age,” but simply beautiful.  I want to say hot, too, whatever that means. If it means dynamic, spirited, radiant, and sexually alive, then hot it is. Your grandma wore shapeless dresses and low heeled Oxfords. I’m betting YOU have a pair of stilettos.


Some years ago, my friend Alicia had a friend named Matt who was nine years her junior.  She never spoke of him in romantic terms, and dismissed his flirts as affectionate brotherly attention.  They kicked back, drank wine, laughed at each other’s jokes. They went to movies and concerts, picnics and parties.  They read each other’s minds.  

One day she told him how fond she was of a certain senior man she’d been dating.  There was an uncomfortable silence. Then – a torrent of jealous rage. “I think my jaw actually dropped,” she told me.

You can argue that Alicia was unreasonably clueless, that she should have Googled “testosterone.” She knows now, she says, it was devotion to the 3-year rule that prevented her from thinking of Matt as a lover. She believed wholeheartedly that he just “liked” her.    

Alicia, a tall, slim Hungarian beauty, eventually married a great guy with the proper senior credentials (he’s 68, she’s 64). Matt married, too; his wife, whom he appears to adore, is twelve years older than he.  Alicia thinks of him sometimes and wonders….


A woman should never assume that a younger man views her as the sum of her birthdays. A caring, sensitive man who has the good sense and maturity to ignore societal pressures chooses a woman for who she is, for what she excites in him, not because she fits a niche. If Jesse has her way, society will cap its nervous-twitch insistence that OW-YM relationships are somehow tipped in favor of the male. Someday, she hopes, it will be obvious that it’s the man who is enriched — by the intellectual, spiritual, and sensual gifts an older woman can bring to the relationship.  

I am committed to this idea, and I have Jesse to thank. She has lots to say about the “beauty, intelligence and inherent eroticism” of older women. Read her wise and literate thoughts at

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'Older Women Younger Men (Reprise)' have 13 comments

  1. April 22, 2015 @ 1:45 pm Antonia

    I’m reading “The Invisible Bridge” by Orringer. It’s about a man who is significantly younger than his beloved. He’s 24 and she is 33. It is just the loveliest story. It made me rethink my opposition to older women with younger men. There is no sense that Andras, the novel’s protaganist, is even conscious of the age difference. The novel keeps on giving detailed references to how much he loves her body as well as her soul.

  2. April 22, 2015 @ 1:37 pm Teddi

    Every woman and I mean every woman should have a fling with a younger man. It makes you feel fabulous and even if it doesn’t work out you still have the good memory that you turned a younger man on.

  3. March 29, 2012 @ 2:24 pm Pollyanna

    I can’t do this. My mother was a lot younger than my father, and I modeled on that.I like older men. The idea of being with a man even a year younger is a turn-off. Maybe I’m just not wanting to work hard at seeming young and dressing young and staying out late, which you often have to do when you are with a younger man.

  4. October 29, 2011 @ 9:05 am Older Women Dating Younger Men | Cougar Dating Spot

    Do you have any idea how many older women dating younger men there are? An AARP survey showed that one-third of women over the age of 40 are dating a man younger than she is. This trend of older women dating younger men is growing and if you find yourself in such a relationship, you’re not alone. Older Women Dating Younger Men [Kindle Edition] 2.99

  5. October 15, 2011 @ 8:00 pm Cougar Camp | Cougar Dating Spot

    Want to know more about why younger men are so attractive to an older woman and why younger men can't resist them? Read Valerie Gibson's pioneering and fun-filled book Cougar: A Guide for Older Women Dating Younger Men. if you're a cougar (at any age) get ready to find out how to stalk, catch and enjoy the perfect younger man! Valerie takes the reader on a witty, informative and laughter-filled romp through all the excitement, satisfaction, and pitfalls of dating younger men.

  6. September 23, 2011 @ 9:57 am Sienna

    Nanette – What a wonderful story! I’m truly happy for you – and him. Clearly, your partner is not only perceptive but also a man with unshakable belief in himself and in you. That you’ve enjoyed many relationships is much to your credit, and perhaps precisely because you have known many men you’ve learned how to approach and sustain a healthy and fulfilling relationship. Your story is testimony to the fact that chemistry can bring together two unlikely people (by our culture’s standards) and make it work. Enjoy!! And thanks so much for reading my blog and for sharing your experience.

  7. September 18, 2011 @ 5:55 pm Nanette

    Thanks for your blog. I am enjoying what you have to say and I’m pleased that you’ve changed your stance on OW-YM relationships. For four years now I’ve been living with a man 28 years younger than me (I’m 57, he is 29), and so far it is working out great. What differences we have seem to have little to do with age differences and more to do with personality. Who knows what the future will bring for us? But then again, who knows how long any relationship will last. I’ve been married twice (5 yrs, 10 yrs) and have been in relationships with men older than me (2nd husband was 15 yrs older), the same age as me, and a fair amount who were a bit younger. I hadn’t gone looking for a younger man, in fact I kept turning him down because of my own hang-ups, but he stuck it out and has won me over. I’m glad he did.

  8. September 17, 2011 @ 2:25 pm Sienna

    Denise – I love your spirit, and I heartily agree that when women our age go into the dating game expecting things to turn out well they mostly will. Thanks so much for your comments. I hope you’ll come back for a visit now and then. It’s encouraging for all of us to hear from someone with such a positive attitude.

  9. September 17, 2011 @ 8:55 am Denise

    I am a 60 year-old woman who decided that the key
    to getting the right guy is to be the right woman…same at any age. So, I lost 25 pounds, joined a gym, revamped my wardrobe to sexy and fun, got a nip and tuck and adjusted my attitude accordingly. I have been dating men ranging from
    44 to 74 and, although a number like 60, throws some off, I have found that men still want what they always wanted and a good number are not turned off by a number, but turned on by confident, attractive, sexy, fun, smart and energetic. Found if I forgot about the number and just worked at being the best me possible, that I’m actually more attractive to the opposite sex than I was at 40. By the way, when your head is in the right place and you live a healthy lifestyle,I’ve found that everything down there works just great for me and very often true for the man as well. My best advice is ignore the number and be the best you can be…drives the guys crazy!

  10. June 24, 2011 @ 9:26 am Madame X

    Now here is a truly interesting idea. I am ready. Not for a kid, though. I don’t want to babysit. And never one of those studly men who likes to walk around strutting on the beach showing off his shaved and oiled pectoral muscles. About 8 years younger would have to be my limit.

  11. May 27, 2011 @ 4:05 pm may

    I agree, I am so tired of being alone.looking for soulmate.

  12. May 12, 2011 @ 10:38 am Patsy R.

    I would be happy with a younger man or an older man, or one just my age.

  13. April 2, 2011 @ 10:49 am Ricki

    I’m somewhat conflicted on this issue. While I think it can work sometimes, most of the time it is short lived. Although I married a younger man (only by 5 years)he has always said he was attracted to older women because they were wiser and more interesting. A twenty year difference becomes more of a problem as you age. While 30 and 50 might work for a while, 40-60, and 50-70 become a lot more challenging. Energy level and health being two of the most obvious. It’s a nice ego boost for a while but the reality is fleeting.

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