Should a younger man have sex with an older woman?

Originally Published: January 9, 1996 - Last Updated / Reviewed On: January 11, 2013
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Dear Alice, All my friends are always telling me that I should try having sex with a girl who is ten years older than me. I am 22 years old and my sexual partners have always been my own age or even a few years younger than me. Personally I don't fancy the thought of going to bed with an older woman, even though my friends tell me that I would learn a lot and would enjoy the experience. What do you think? I really can't bring myself to have sex with an older person. Am I abnormal or do you think I am right? Have you ever come across this type of problem before and, if so, what have you advised the people to do?

—Love the young one

Dear Love the young one,

It sounds like your friends are trying to say that many people believe that there are advantages to a younger man dating an older woman. There are a few historic tales of older women indoctrinating younger men into the world of sexuality. Some of the stories are as ancient as the gods, whereas others are modern love stories of lust and woe. Check out such movies as The Graduate or Harold and Maude. Many believe (and in some cases it may be true) that older women have more sexual experience, that they have a more varied sexual repertoire, and that they will appreciate a youthful admirer.

Sexual experience aside, different people are turned on by different things. One way to find out what floats your boat is to try different things, but that’s not the only way. There are plenty of sexual activities (or partners) that you probably don’t need to try in order to anticipate whether or not you’d be into it. It sounds like you know what turns you on, and what you find arousing. If it goes against your grain to be turned on by an older woman, then it makes no sense to try the experience. What works for your friends may not work for you. After all, there are as many different sexual needs and desires as there are people. Most importantly, don't participate in any sexual activity with which you are not comfortable. There are many other ways to be sexually fulfilled that will be more palatable to your personal tastes.

If it bothers you that you are not interested in sleeping with this woman (or older women in general), or if you are simply introspective and curious about yourself, it may be worth spending some time thinking about what it is about sleeping with people your age or younger that you find most appealing. What is your upper limit in terms of age? Or your lower limit? People have different reasons for their age preferences. For example, some people prefer to only have sex with someone that they could see themselves connecting with outside the bedroom. Some feel that a large age difference means being in different life stages and thus not able to connect as deeply. Other people find that they connect more with people older than them. Your feelings about age may be about your sexual desires, or age may have some other, perhaps deeper meaning to you. Exploring this with a trusted confidant or counselor may be helpful or interesting to you, as well. But whatever your reasons, know there is nothing “abnormal” about having some limits about age, even if those limits are different from others around you.

Alice