If your friends or relatives find out you are involved with a younger man, they are either repulsed by your decision or approve of it.  “Look at sister-girl, she must be desperate to go and rob the cradle.  She needs to find someone who is her own age.”  On the other hand, some will say – “You go, girl – go get that fine honey!”

The controversy about women having younger mates is an age-old dilemma.  In Judeo-Christian culture, it has been tradition that a man is the head of the household and the primary breadwinner.  Women are to be submissive and obey.  And, as important, women are traditionally younger or in some cases – much younger than their male mates.  Maybe that is an issue of control more than the age difference because men are supposed to be older and wiser.  And, because they are the primary breadwinners, have more control over the household and its affairs. The concept of power in a relationship is for another discussion.

In some cultures, it is recognized that younger men / older women relationships have value.  Esteemed professor of Anthropology at the University of Delhi, Subhadra Mitra Channa, observed that in the Asian highlands, “All boys are initiated into sex by older women.” And she further reports that the Bhil people of India and Pakistan tend to have wives who are older than their husbands.

Women have been maligned and shamed for centuries if they choose a relationship with a younger partner. They call the woman a cougar, which intimates that she is perhaps taking advantage.  They call the man a “Boy-Toy” and he may be viewed as a weak man who is subjugated by an older woman for her personal pleasure.  This is coupled with being viewed as a “sugar mommy” indicating the man must be with an older woman because he is receiving financial support or that he needs a “mother substitute.”  There is even the rumor that if a young man has sex with an older woman, it will make him grow old, get some mysterious disease, or die while making the woman more beautiful and youthful.  In a word, she sucks the life out of the young man.

Lastly, in Danish culture, demographer Sven Drefahl found that having a younger husband shortens a woman’s lifespan. However, he was unable to ascertain why this phenomenon existed.  These, among others, are awful stereotypes and made most women throughout the ages shy away from relationships with men who are younger.

Women are challenging these and other conventional notions.  In the United States, the Women’s Movement in the 1970s started a definitive trend.  According to economist Melvin G. Coles of the University of Essex, men with relationships with older women who were at least five years their senior began to triple starting in the late 1970s in both the United Kingdom and the United States.  And in a 2003 survey, AARP found that 34 percent of women over 40 years of age were dating younger men.  This phenomenon is taking place despite the social norms that men should be older than women in a relationship.

Without the burden of what people think, let us look at what makes the trend of younger men and older women an alluring relationship:

  • More sex – women are venturing out to find more love, companionship, and sexual satisfaction.  The University of Michigan found that 31 percent of women between the ages of 65 and 70 remained sexually active.  Though the Michigan study did not say this, women in that age group know from experience that men in that age group are often suffering from penile dysfunction because of age and medical challenges.  Now we know there is more than one way to skin the cat, but we often fail to have an honest discussion about what that may mean.  However, with age comes experience and older women know what works, and what they want, and do not mind giving instructions to guide the man towards satisfying their intimate needs.
  • According to psychologist Dr. Marty Nemko, “On average, a man choosing a woman five years older is marrying his physiological equal, making it more likely they will age together.  A man increases his chances of sexual compatibility by marrying an older woman since her sexual hormones peak later.”  The Kinsey Report on Sexuality concluded that men’s sexual hormones peak at 18 and women’s hormones in their early 30s.  A man increases his chances of compatibility by marrying an older woman.  Other researchers report that women live five years longer than men and it is caused by biology, not lifestyle.”
  • More mature navigation to a happier relationship – “Been there, done that, and got the tee shirt to prove it.”  Most importantly, a fight is not worth it.  Older women are more likely to voice their unhappiness and have the patience to work through the issue without the drama displayed in their younger years.  By a certain age, one is more familiar with what makes one happy and has no problem with reversing the traditional roles in the relationship.  “I love you baby, but we are not going to do this.”  Oh boy, freedom to express how you really feel.
  • Become “Eye Candy” for boosting a young man’s ego.  It becomes a matter of pride for many young men to show that they were able to capture the affection of an older more experienced woman.  As important, the older woman can contribute to the economy of the household because she is more able to contribute financially.
  • No longer fearing pregnancy and child-rearing.  Not all men want children.  Having an older woman past childbearing age becomes a plus because the focus is on him and is not divided with other family members.

But Dr. Lou says: 

None of the statistics and theoretical constructs about relationships between older women and younger men are relevant if the relationship is toxic.  No matter the age difference, if there is no love and respect between the partners, age does not matter. It is about shared values, positive communications, and harmony.  It is not wrong for an older woman and a younger man to be in a relationship and even marry.  What will be wrong is to pass judgment because of some stereotypical notion and social norms about age.  

As a society, we should be focused on relationships that bring satisfaction and fulfillment.  Love has no barriers.  If the two people are attracted to each other and it is a healthy relationship – go for it.  We are in this world for only a short moment; we should not waste it because HE is younger than YOU.  Age should never be a factor in determining a successful relationship.  

Love is a beautiful emotion and should be enjoyed.   Ladies, do not be afraid to go the road less traveled if it makes you happy.  If your heart beats faster when he comes in your presence; if he puts a smile on your face that you cannot erase; if he is kind and supportive and does special things for you; and, if that man makes you feel good and special, then let nothing and no one turn you around.  

Just remember for your own protection, get medical clearance because HIV and other social diseases have not gone away. Get the paperwork or go together to the nearest medical facility.  If you need to do a background check, do so because you do not want to be a victim of fraud.  And, for god’s sake, do not lend any money.  Be careful.  Don’t be paranoid, but be alert and protect yourself.  Don’t be overwhelmed with love and trust.  You know, “I thought he loved me.” Predators come in all shapes and sizes.

Love is divine and if you have found the love of your life in a younger man – I say – “Let your friends and relatives eat cake because they are just jealous.”

Peace and blessings on your fabulous “Cougar” Love, 

Dr. Lou

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