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January 12, 2005

Comments

daz

If you read the book the movie is based on ("Off Magazine Street by Ronald Everett Capps), you will see that most of the plot for "A Love Song for Bobby Long" was added at the screenwriting stage, including the whole part about Pursey being 'innocent' (and Bobby being her father, and Lorraine being a singer etc etc etc) so it is pretty much a hollywood creation despite it's origin in a novel, with all it's moral lessons inserted.

On your topic, if you think that young girls are need to be treated differently by older men, aren't you effectively saying that you don't feel 18-20 year old women should be considered by society to be adults? If they are adults, then they should be free to date and be dated, in the adult age range. In that case, why should a man, be he 20 or 50 treat these women as anything but adults? Sexual attraction happens between adults and it is legal, right and natural.

You seem to view this age group in women as one that needs to be protected, do you feel about boys the same age? Would it be the same problem for an older woman to feel sexually attracted to a 19 yr old boy for you as the inverse scenario is? Your article seems to be a plea for a move to the age of 21 as the age of consent.

What bothers me is that there seems to be a stigma attached to the age group in question here. Society has no problem with them having sex among themselves (18-20 yr old boys and girls) and accordingly, refer to them as adults, able to make decisions and stand for crimes. BUT, if this person decides to have sex outside their age group, we view it with disdain, more disdain accorded the farther out of the age group the party in question is (we'd be a little uncomfortable with a 29 yr old dating a 19 yr old but a lot more with a 49 year old).

If they're adults, then it's game on and they can do what they like according to their own decisions, they have just as much right to be duped by someone with less than honorable intentions as any adult does. The state offers me as an adult zero protection from harm in society, why should other adults be offered more? No one thought about all this in the mad rush to make youths into adults for the sole purpose of selling products to them did they?

Hugo

Daz, adulthood is not an either/or. Legally, turning 18 conveys a whole plethora of rights. But actual maturity is a process that is independent of the acquisition of legal agency. It's absurd to claim that an 18 year-old is as equipped for a sexual relationship with a 40 year-old as he is with her. What I object to is asymmetry.

mythago

Sexual attraction happens between adults and it is legal, right and natural.

You kinda gave yourself away with the last two there. "Legal" is not a synonym for "right" or, for that matter, "natural." (It's natural for somebody to decide to take things they want, even if they belong to you, but I doubt you would agree it should therefore be legal for me to steal your car.)

And you're quite mistaken if you think the government offers you "zero protection from harm", unless you've actually found and moved to that elusive Libertarian utopia.

Lynn Gazis-Sax

The notion that "legal" and "right" should be synonyms is actually one of my pet peeves on sexual matters; it either leads people to advocate a government which is way more of a busybody than it properly ought to be in the bedroom (because, darn it, everything that's wrong has got to be made illegal), or else an incredibly weak sexual morality where you don't even apply ordinary interpersonal ethics (such as honesty, integrity, taking responsibility for your actions, doing unto others as you would have done unto you), but simply assume all's fair that's legal.

daz

Your example makes no sense Hugo. It's been wrong and unnatural to take what isn't yours since the invention of private property so where do you get the notion that stealing is natural? My example stated that it is right, legal and natural for adults to fall in love, all supported by society now and for a while now.

And I'm curious to what protection the government offers me relationship wise. Is there somehow they can stop my heart being broken? Can they tell me if the next person I date is right for me? Exactly what would protect me from a smooth sexual predator that says all the things I want to hear then takes advantage? You seemed to think I was implying protection from harm a la the police but I was talking about protection from harm emotionally and after the fact help is not protection any more than abortion is a contraceptive.

Lynn Gazis-Sax

It's been wrong and unnatural to take what isn't yours since the invention of private property so where do you get the notion that stealing is natural?

It hasn't ever been both wrong and unnatural to take what isn't yours. Wrong, yes. Unnatural, no. It's very common for people to steal. It's even more common for people to want to steal, and restrain themselves from doing so. That doesn't sound unnatural to me. Our nature isn't especially thoroughly good and moral.

My example stated that it is right, legal and natural for adults to fall in love, all supported by society now and for a while now.

In general, yes, it's ethically acceptable for adults to fall in love, legal for them to do so, natural for them to do so, and supported by society for them to do so. But the boundaries of those four things aren't identical.

It's natural for many adults to also fall in love with people slightly under the legal age of consent (you don't have to be a pedophile to want to have sex with a seventeen-year-old in a state where the age of consent is 18). It's illegal and unethical for them to act on these feelings.

It's legal, natural, and ethical for gay people to fall in love with people of their own sex, but it isn't exactly altogether supported by society.

A plushy fetish comes naturally to rather fewer people than wanting to have sex with a seventeen-year-old (where the age of consent is higher), but it's legal to indulge and does no harm, and can fairly be called ethical.

It's legal and natural to fall in love with an 18-year-old, when you're much older. Whether it's ethical to act on it depends on circumstances. Questions about when such relationships are likely to be positive, and when their effects are likely to be harmful, aren't settled by simply noting that the thing is natural and legal.

Johnny

Hey... I got a FABO idea!!! FOR THOSE WHO WANT TO BASH OLDER MEN THAT ARE WITH YOUNGER GURLS, OR VICE VERSA EVEN. It is not LEGALLY, or even BIBLICALLY wrong for 2 CONSENTING people of ANY AGE to get together. Regardless, or ANYONES studies, views, BIASED opinions, or VICTOMIZATION POLLS... all that matters is that 2 LEGAL ADULTS choose to be together. It doesn't even matter if you believe they are mature enough, or what their motives are for doing it. It is EVERY INDIVIDUALS RIGHT, to MAKE MISTAKES that they learn from. It is THEIR LIVES. Why don't you try GETTING A LIFE OF YOUR OWN, and leaving people alone to live THEIR LIVES, as the CONSTITUTION that people FOUGHT, and DIED to have says they can? People like you are the reason that we are losing our rights. If you don't like something... DON'T DO IT, but shut up already with all your WELL WORDED, backed up by the facts you CHOOSE TO SEE "BS". I was married at 23 to a woman 19 years older than me. We had a great relationship for many years. It ended... not becuase of AGE, but just like any marriage can end, by mistakes made by us both, and not putting enough effort into righting things. We are even now still friends though. I am a God fearing person, but would not feel guilty MARRYING, or SLEEPING WITH a woman 20 years, or even more OLDER, or YOUNGER than me. You make young women out to be sexual victims for having a relationship, and/or sex... because the partner is older? That is both absurd, and not factual at all. I don't know where you grew up at "PERHAPS A MONESTARY?", but MOST teens even... are MORE SEXUALLY ACTIVE, than their older counterparts. I had more sex from 14 to about 27... than I'll have the rest of my life probably. All that matters is that to people love, desire, or agree to be together. It isn't ANYONE ELSES BUSINESS what they choose to do mutually. There is a term used BROADLY for people like you... who want to MIND EVERYBODY ELSES BUSINESS FOR THEM, and try to MAKE everyone else FEEL AS THEY DO, with their little supposed FACTUAL STUDIES, and OVEREXAGGERATED DOCUMENTATION to prove it. They are called PROFESSIONAL IDIOTS... and the name suits them. I don't care what anyone does, as long as it isn't hurting others, or illegal, or intruding on my personal rights... the way some of you people want to do so badly. I wish you folks had a 19 y/o daughter. I'd ask her out... just for spite, and challenge you to find one thing legally, or biblically wrong with it, or say anything to me about it even. It would be up to your 19 year old ADULT daughter to say yes, or no. Not parents, teachers, the government, or anyone else for that matter. They can share their opinions with her, but SHE IS AN ADULT, it is HER DECISION to make. You speak of an older man looking at a young woman as a sex objest only? How about an older adult, looking at a younger adult woman as a brainless child, with no ability to reason, or make decisions on her own. YOU HYPOCRITICAL people you. Is your attitude, or treatment of this young woman... any less degrading, or damaging to her than theirs? I look at each person, as the unique person they are. I don't care if they are 18, or 81, and lets get real here. In all honesty... SOMETHING attracted you to SOMEONE to ever start a relationship. Very few people see a man, or woman walking down the street, and say OMG... their MIND is so beautiful!!! I'll just bet they got a cheerio personality to!!! You folk would be funny... except people like you eventually gather enough other PEOPLE LIKE YOU together to steal yet another God given, and constitutionally approved right from us. Go buy an island, and create your own PERFECTLY CONTROLLED... POLITICALLY CORRECT, BRAINWASHED little world. You can have your own little inquisition even, like Ferdinand and Isabella did, back in 1478... during the Spanish inquisition. They knew what was best for everyone else to. Why does so many people want to try to tell EVERYONE else in the world... HOW THEY SHOULD LIVE, and WHAT THEY CAN DO? You want to help these poor girls? Did it ever occurr to you that maybe THEY DON'T WANT, OR NEED YOUR HELP? I wasn't traumitized, or emotionally degraded by making love to an older woman... and I wanted her attentions, the same as I would want any other womans. It wasn't a power thing, or security at all. BTW... Why aren't the younger males victim to the perverted old women? Going along your way of thinking of course? Or maybe your selective on who is a victim, and who you bash???? I hope I made you folk mad that choose to sit in judgement on other individuals, and what they should, and should not do. I don't want, or need people like you liking me, or as friends. To me, your nothing but well worded communist, trying to abolish even more of my rights. To those that aren't trying to make a wrongful issue out of this subject. I apologize... This letter isn't for you. I was recently asked out on a date, by a woman over half my age younger. I am not drooling, or pasting her panties on the wall. I am just nervous, because I am afraid I may appear too narrow minded, or old fashioned to her. I see now that compared to many here. I am a liberal wonder!! sigh... While I do not see it as wrong. I have never dated anyone younger than me, and was browsing to find couples who had a vast age difference "the woman being younger", that shared online, and see how it worked out for them. I didn't expect such blatant OLDER MALE BASHING, such strong assumtions that young women were unable to fend for themselves, or such a narrow minded 1 sided view on the subjest by so many. Oh, BTW... she said I had a cute butt! So much for the poor young victim that needs help... lol I think kissing pets on the mouth, and reusing dishes they ate out of for humans after they are washed is disgusting... but I don't condem, or try to make anyone that does it not allowed to do it... IT IS THEIR RIGHT. No offense to everyone else. I rarely speak out at all, but OMG... I am so sick of junk like this... I need to move to Russia. They have more rights now, than Americans do. :rolling eyes:

Lynn Gazis-Sax

Hello? Johnny? Did you read the couple of comments just above yours? The ones saying that "legal" and "moral" aren't the same thing?

When, oh when, will people on the Internet get the clue that talking about whether something's a good idea isn't the same thing as trying to outlaw it? And that having the right to do something isn't the same thing as having the right to have no one criticize you for it?

Honestly, I don't even have a big problem with older man/younger woman relationships as such (provided no one's the other person's boss or teacher or something), just with the arguments like yours that say no one should be allowed to criticize them.

DaveTheRave

When, oh when, will people on the Internet get the clue that talking about whether something's a good idea isn't the same thing as trying to outlaw it? And that having the right to do something isn't the same thing as having the right to have no one criticize you for it?

My emphasis - you can only really judge relationships individually; I think Johnny's wrath might be toward the generalisations thrown around here. If you disagree that a relationship with an age gap is "not a good idea", you're already generalising. You cannot generalise about two individuals and how they get on in their relationship. Every relationship is unique.

DaveTheRave

If you disagree that a relationship with an age gap is "not a good idea"

....should read : If you think that a relationship with an age gap is "not a good idea"

Dannette

From 11 years experience,I being 21 at the given time and he being 53.
Do the math.
He has never asked me to mary him. We have children from previous relationships.We have a 3 yr. old together. He was married 18 yrs. first time and 8 the second go round.
I have never married not because I chose not , I just have not been asked.
It is not my placed to ask. Man has to understand I came from old school.
I am a hateful person. This came with all he has put me through. I was once quite and let him hit on me boy, did that change with 911 and some jail time. I did not call them so he would go to jail but to get him some anger managenent. But the system fails us all. So don't think one minute to ask the Judge to help he blows you off and makes the other pay a fine.

My better half is hatefull to me from time to time. He does try to do well for us. Yet, I hear about it later.
I do desire a finer house a new van but those are desires not necessities at this time. I am afraid to ask of anything from anyone.
I love him dearly but sometimes I want to give up and move on. He has always let his son(now 18) tell lies on me and try to let him run over me but I don't let him.
It is true that older men try to be your boss but he don't get by with it.

Age was never an issue in my side of the family. Mother was 14 dad was 30. Grand father was 50 step-grandmother was 30's. I have always be educated coming from older parents and grandparents.
I have always desired to be around older people. People I know that are my age seem lost.
Some day I plan to write many books to try and give direction to others so that they may not take the path we took because we had no map.
Life is like needles, thread and material they may be little things but if you take the three and work them to gether you can make something awsome.
Something of great worth that will carry on for many years to come.
To God be the glory,
Thank you,
W,JD

Johnny

Exactly. I was speaking primarily of the GENERALIZATIONS. Every relationship, IS VERY DIFFERENT. TY :)

Johnny

Hey, not wrath intended. I just was a lil miffed at being kinda made 2 feel like a pervert, or a manipulator by many peoples words, when SHE, is AGGRESSIVELY wanting me to try dating her... just becuase I am an older male, instead of an older woman in the same situation? Sorry about the wrath sounding thing. heh :oX

DaveTheRave

Johnny, I hear you. I think a lot of people fall into the trap of generalising when discussing the age-gap in relationships; they say things like "well, I saw one relationship that didn't work out, therefore I think the age-gap is bad", or simply they think the older person is taking advantage of the younger person (hello? So when exactly to you become an adult?) - or it just doesn't gell with their political ideology very well (i.e. feminism).

mythago

daz, it would help if you stuck to your original comments instead of going back and pretending you said something different.

just becuase I am an older male, instead of an older woman in the same situation?

Who said that it's OK for older women to date younger men but not vice versa?

Tom

Hugo - what a wonderful, thoughtful post. I had become so used to the uglyness that too often passes for discourse in the "blogosphere," that I was honestly taken aback by the care and wisdom with which you approached this personal issue. Thank you.

Rebekah

Hi! I am trully in love with a man that is 13 years older than me. I'm 20 and he's 33. I love him and he's the only person I want to be with. I find it so easy to talk to him about anything and his age never crosses my mind. I don't see why people have a problem with the differences in age between couples. Everyone is different and everyone shouldn't be the same. I find it hard to have decent relationship or conversation with someone my age. Lots of younger women can handle relationships with older men because of the way that they are raised. I was raised around a lot of adults and travelled all over the world ,and certain situations and environments make people change. I love the man that I am with and couldnt be any happier with anyone else. I know he's the one

renee bishir

I can tell you from my experience and other women's comments That you are very wrong in saying younger women want older men. I am 35years old and very much attracted to younger guys. I think that for so long women have been controlled by men and now that they have become more independent they can make real choices. Women are no different than men. they want the freedom to make decsions in what future they want to shape jobs, friends and of course young men. Wome do not age as fast as men and as a women gets older she desires to have sex more frequently and most older men can not preform as much and younger guys are eager to learn. so I have to comment that most guys that truly want younger girls are in deniel and probably in midlife crisis. look at my website I can have as many young bucks as I want. chantellamere@hotmail.net. prefer younger guys like most of the girls. any how I think most girls do it because they need a dad or sugar daddy.

SmartCookie

Hi, I am a girl in her mid twenties. I need some help. My question is at the end of this post. I am finding it increasingly hard to find someone my OWN age to be with that fulfills me emotionally, mentally, intellectually. I am not sure whether the attraction and ease I find in being around (some) men who are older is because I didn't have a fully 'present' father figure (although I did still have one) or whether it is simply because I am an intelligent person and find the maturity, wisdom, heart and wit of some older men significantly more attractive than the fart and sex jokes of SOME younger guys who do not yet know their own minds and hearts. I suspect that no matter what my 'father figure' experiences may be, I would have been drawn to EMOTIONALLY intelligent and 'thinking' men (and people) no matter what. I cannot help this.

I have to say though, in the defence of the twenty something men, there are some who DO have heart, maturity, compassion, kindness. I am finding this more as I go through my twenties. In my teens yes I would say the vast majority of young guys are a bit idiotic and immature and don't think with their brains if you know what I mean, however there are now some diamonds starting to emerge from the coals.

I am currently with someone my own age who does have those nice qualilties I mentioned, however I do not feel the same womanly 'glow' around him that I have felt being around the 2 older men I have been attracted to in the past. I guess because with these other men I had a genuine friendship, connection, and because these relationships were inspiring and interesting to me. I genuinely felt validated, glowing, actually seen, and I guess you could say felt more like a beautiful, smart young 'woman' rather than a motherly figure which I sometimes feel with guys my age (I mean after all, everyone has their sexuality and their ego, of course I would feel better being in the presence of someone who makes me feel like a beautiful intelligent queen rather than being around a little boy you feel like you have to look after like a child). I do not really feel like this (like a mother) with this current person, but I do find myself still really hoping and wishing for the kind of conversation, inspiration and intellectual stimulation that I seek. This person is certainly not stupid and is quite mature and very kind and would be a great person to start a family with age-wise. I could not realistically see myself starting a family with someone in their forties or fifties, even though mentally I may be more attracted to them. This is purely from an age perspective and I do believe that age DOES matter. Maybe not if we are talking about a couple only but if I want to have children I want their parents to be about the same age, not 30 years apart. Me knowing this was the main reason I held back in anything developing further with these 2 older people. However I am sill finding my heart and mind seeks something I am not getting. My question is - should I stick with this kind, gentle maturING young man (after all, surely he will mature even more and may blossom more as he gets older and wiser) or follow the nagging feeling that says to me "Go and find someone you feel emotionally, mentally more connected to." I don't feel that "crazy in love" feeling about this person and wonder if this MAY come OR whether the "in love" feeling I felt about one of these older men was more infatuation of an ego kick for me (although it felt a LOT more meaningful than that). Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Danielle

Well, I've only been in one age gap relationship, and it's the one I'm currently in. I'm 18 and he's 25. We've been friends for two years and dating for 8 months. And I can honestly say that I'm in no way scarred or troubled. Not in need of daddy love, nothing like that. Our relationship is exactly like the ones I had with guys my own age. He treats me with respect, never talks down to me, and I don't feel exploited in any way.

Jake

I think Hugo is going a little off the hook here. There is a lot of talk about how the sexual overtures from older men can wound young girls, but I would hazard to say that "wounding" isn't the right frame of reference. The first time *anyone* male, or female, realizes that someone of the opposite sex that seems out of their world has an interest in them is a kind of perspective changing experience. If it's my aunts foxy 43 year old friend rubbing her breasts against me at a concert, or like in another example listed above a supposably "safe" man making a pass at a newly budding young woman (what exactly is safe, and what is safe? As a man for me safe equates into relative, everyone else I assume sees me as fair game.) the end result is that we, as human beings, come fully equipped with a brain capable of comprehending and dealing with these situtations. If we cannot, then it is not a failure of our age, our experience or our minds, but one of our socialization.

To put it bluntly, even in todays age men and women are still reared differently and probably will be for the as long as we exist as a species. There is a lot of talk in your blog about things such as being respectful of certain types of relationships, or not taking advantage of trust and while I agree that these are all *excellent* points for anyone to follow, there also comes a time when a young person has to stand on their own feet and accept the fallout of being a sexual being, or at the very least an object of sexual desire.

Trust me, I know all about being objectified - women are just as guilty of it as men and to pretend that they are not is to feed into the female myth that was established not by women, but by men. I see the colors of this in your post and it sort of bothers me because it comes across as almost *anti-feminist*. Someone can correct me if I'm wrong but I am under the assumption that the core of feminism is the right of women to make their own choices? There is no rule book that says that are only going to have to face choices that they would like to, or that they will not be faced with dealing with situations that they find repugnant. Men have never gotten a free pass on either of those, so I dare say that in an equal society, both genders will probably experience equal degrees of both. Of course, our society is *not* fair, so we have the chips falling all over the table to sort of speak. I know plenty of middle age women who's only serious decision of the day is what they are going to cook for dinner, while their spouses are out trying to wrangle in their second mortgage or find a way to pay for their kids college, or just put food on the table. I keep looking, but the best I can find is a situtation where both duties are shared, never have I found one where the roles were reversed. I'm sure they exist, there is always an exception to the rule, but to claim that there is parity on this issue is just blowing smoke.

All that being said, I wonder a little bit if your blog post is not just espousing attitudes that it *seems* are coming right form a deeply ingrained patriarchal instinct.

"Little girls need to be protected, they can't make their own decisions, men can manipulate them, strong men can make them do things against their will, experienced men will wrap them around their fingers, etc."

Quite a stretch of paraphrasing there, but I have to admit that's mostly what I am reading from you. Personally, I find it both sage advice and a load of crap. If women are any more subspectable to these things than men are it's not because of their genders, but because of the way they are raised. Most likely raised by people who have the *exact same* attitudes about relations between men and women. Can we say hello to the vicious circle?

As I stated above, I have been on both sides of the age equation in relationships and I have found both good things and bad things about each one. For the old woman I felt a great deal of warm, trouble free, affection. She had seen it all, been there, done that, and wasn't phased by it. She had some emotional baggage as can be expected from anyone who's lived till middle age, but at the same time she had learned how to handle it. It was great to be with her, she was fun to be around, easy to get along with, smart to talk to and luckily for me I suppose, a very generous and attentive lover. In fact the *only* reason it didn't work out was because of a reason of biology. She was 42 and I was 30. I wanted kids, her kid was already out of the house and she wasn't sure she could have another one. We could have adopted, but that wasn't in my game plan. Perhaps it was selfish of me, but hey, I have just as much of a right to reproduce and cherish my offspring as the next person on this rock, don't I? It'd be hard for anyone to disagree with a woman making my decision, but of course in these types of relationships they wouldn't have to, a 42 year old man is quite capable in most cases of siring children.

Which brings me to my latest relationship - I am 31 and she is 21. We are a bit apart, but not so much that we dont overlap in matters of pop culture, or generational touch stones. We have a lot to talk about. She finds my stories enthralling, I find her witty and enthusiastic. She wants to have children, as a 30+ year old man I find the idea of settling down that way very attractive. She wants new experiences. I am a vertiable catalogue of things she has never done. She has a thirst to know the world, I am a bit of a pedagogue and we feed off each other in this respect. And yes, we have completely awesome sex. Except in this case I am filling in for her what the older woman did for me in my previous relationship.

Quite frankly, she is getting a lot out of this relationshp. She doesn't have to struggle with a boy that doesn't know how to express his feelings or show his grattitude for her, nor does she have to deal with the drama of being a substitute mother for a man that lacks direction or motivation - not solely afflictions of the young man, but of course more prevelant there. And finally there is the way that I simply *feel* about her. I have been in love before, I have loved deeply and lost. Out of the two of us I think that perhaps I am the one that knows most intimately how fragile these ties can be when they are put to the test and because of that I cherish the affection that she gives me and she knows it by how completely I give my heart to her. I can honestly say that it wasn't until I had been burned by my own reticense to share my heart with a woman that I finally understood that you lose far more by withholding than by giving in. There is a socialized instinct in younger men to hold their cards and their feelings close to their chest and to put it bluntly - it's a shitty way to walk into an intimate relationship. Alot of pain and some heartbreak have disabused me of that notion of manly virtue and this younger woman is reaping the benifits.

So yes, while I have never seriously contemplated it before, perhaps there is something to be said for the younger woman/older man romantic ideal. At least far more than you're giving credit for. It seems that saying these things are difficult, or rather, dangerous, is more than a little trite to me. All relationships are dificult and possibly dangerous, there is no such thing as a "sure thing". We're all adults here and we know this, right?

The approach I think that would be best to take would be to try to detect what is it exactly that makes these types of relationships desirable, even perhaps socially so. You did have a point when you pointed out that within a given age spread, such pairings are considered actually fairly normal. So what is it, are the female parts of these unions poor put-upon ingenue's or are they merely getting something that they need or want from these relationships? I doubt any of us could succesfully paint with such broad strokes to cover the entire gambit of these relationships, but I would still be willing to pet that upon inspection we would find more of the later and less of the former in most cases.

Anyway Hugo, I didn't intend to bash you sensless with my verbosity here, but I did have some ideas that I wanted to get down. I hope even if you disagree with them, you atleast can see my perspective as someone who's been both the younger and the older man. I also think that perhaps your little essay was a little misnamed. To me it seems that you're not so much talking about the suitability of these younger woman/older man relationships, rather than the predatory tactics that *some* older men (and I've seen it from older women too I may add) use to snare themselves a younger partner.

I mean, after all is said and done, if two people enter into a relationship with complete honesty - can anyone rightfully say that there was any exploitation going on? Personally I have found that the age gap relationships that I have been in did more to foster honesty and openess than the muddled, feeling your way through life together, same age relationships that I had. If I had to put a finger on it, it would be that there is something about having a partner that you feel like you can rely on their experience that engenders a more trusting relationship.

Lynn Gazis-Sax

what exactly is safe, and what is safe? As a man for me safe equates into relative, everyone else I assume sees me as fair game.

Back in the day when I was a budding young woman, I definitely expected that I was entitled to assume that, for example, my priest, or, for example, my teacher, was safe and didn't see me as fair game. I didn't assume that someone counted in the "supposed to be safe" category just by virtue of being ten years older, but I assumed it extended beyond just relatives.

Emma

I'm a 25 year old woman who is having an affair with a 61 year old man. I was instantly attracted to him the moment I met him. He made me weak in the knees. The sex has been out of this world. He treats me with respect and also has allowed me to feel comfortable enough to open up and explore my sexuality. Before I was repressed...now I am a vibrant, sexual woman. I am much happier now than I was before I met him. I do worry about WHY I am with him though. I wish I could psychoanalyze myself. I was molested as a child and had a bad relationship with my father as a kid. I don't *think* I am looking for a father figure....at least not consciously! I am just attracted to older men. I know that our relationship will not last forever because of our age difference, but I am enjoying every moment of it. I think he wonders why he is attracted to younger women too. Once when he had too much to drink her told me that he would do anything to protect me and said "My God, I am older than your father, you are just a child." Human beings are too complex to place into categories though. We are both enjoying ourselves and hope we last together for a good long time.

john

It completely depends on the individuals. To arbitrarily make a statement that a 40 year old and an 18 year old could not have a successful relationship is, i'll be polite, ignorant. They're ignorant because they've never experienced it(no frame of reference)I probably would have agreed,no, i would have agreed that such a union was immoral or unhealthy. However, i found myself in this exact situation. Life experience is just how far down the path you are. It depends on what and how you've experienced it. In this case she's experienced far more than i have in my 40 years. the only advantage or disadvantage i have is the ability to regret. I couldn't begin to tell you the fun we have but above all, is the way we look at life and how easy things could be if everyone approached it the same way. I'm not trying to convert anybody and i would agree that this may work for maybe 1 in a million (maybe less) but i've never experienced such pure unadulterated love in my life. I've told her that if she ever has second thoughts or feels like exploring elsewhere, that i would step aside.Those who may say that we're fulfilling needs in each other only need to look at their own relationships.If someone told me 27 months ago that i would be in this situation, i would have told him/her that they were crazy. But here i am (happy as a clam)And i'll be honest, this is way beyond sexual. But i would agree with the masses that in most cases, it's probably dysfunctional.So in closing, i would submit to you that it can happen(well it does)but very infrequently.Oh by the way, i have a respectable job and by all accounts,a hell of a good guy.(and i've never had any predilection towards young women.

SmartCookie

Hi,

I was just wondering Hugo, ten years ago when I was 16 just turning 17 I slept with a man who was 29 or so and I still feel that even though I was legal (in my country), he should have known better. I feel resentful and anxious when I see him, which isn't often, but the thought of it now really affects me and I almost hate what he has done as he basically influenced me and I felt as though I should it for some reason (he said things to me like I'll just put this condom on only to 'stop myself'(?), but then proceeded to have sex with me, which I did not stop). On the other hand though I also think to myself that technically I was legal, and I suppose capable of making a decision, so am I to blame, or him? I feel violated almost, and resentful, as I myself approach the age that HE was at that time, I think to myself how the HELL could you try to exert your influence like that over a 16-17 year old (myself now getting close to the age he was at then, I feel so much wiser than a 17 year old, so at the time he had infinitely more power, and I hate him more as I grow older and realise how much wiser he was than me at the time). Even so, if I hadn't placed myself in that position I guess it wouldn't have happened, so do you think he is to blame for taking the opportunity of sleeping with a 16-17 year old who he might have felt was adult anough to make the decision herself, or do you think he should feel morally bad for knowing he was trying to sleep with someone infinitely more innocent and inexperienced, who was having sex for all the wrong reasons? I can't help hating him, and myself slightly as I ask myself, Why on earth did I do that? (it's like I'm looking back in time at a little girl). I think that people are responsible for themselves but could he not exercise moral judgement in KNOWING I was naive and maybe deserving protection? Or as soon as a person is legal is just a sex free-for-all for any guy no matter how much older they are? Do you think the resentment I feel is justified and do you think it's about individual responsibility or should the older person in this case have acted better? I now think of him as a disgusting, sleazy a**hole with no moral compass, now it's 10 years on and I'm wiser and can see how gross he really is. I guess in my own mind I still beat myself up over it and wonder how I should be feeling about this and the best way to FINALLY move on in my own mind (as you can see it has affected my thoughts for years).

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