Commentary by Jeff Richards, columnist-at-large
August 14, 2019
Is there a biological reason older men like younger women?
And you are not going to like the answer.
It has to do with species survival and being hard-wired to seek out those who stand the greatest chance of success in propagating the species.
As a male is able to produce sperm until his death, and in that younger women tend to be much more fertile, it stands to reason there would be internal mechanism built with the sexual urge that makes it more likely older men would be more naturally attracted to younger women. Pause to consider that, for most of our existence, the typical lifespan of a human was 40 years. It was important to reproduce, to have children who could take over the farm or the field. People died quickly from disease, cold, hunger and natural disasters. Our sexual hunger insured our survival.
However, what started out as a natural urge that eventually led to the establishment of the homelife, which of course led to communities and still later, nations, has turned into a fetish; sexuality has become more about personal satisfaction than public duty. We lavish in sexuality, especially during the age of liberation of vices, and it will most likely continue for the foreseeable future.
There is however, some level of hypocrisy in the way we view sexuality.
This latest period of scarlet-lettering of every middle aged or older male with the charge of being a sexual predator drives the behavior underground, where all human fetishes go, hidden, taboo, and even more dangerous. But at the same time, our liberal culture also celebrates pride in certain kinds of sexuality, but condemns others. For example, Miley Cyrus is proud of her ability to be open with her sexuality, but if you were an older male parading about having an open relationship with a younger guy, you would be most assuredly condemned by social media. It’s okay to be a teen bi-sexual, but it is not okay to be a millionaire who is attracted to younger women.
Whether it’s seeking out pleasure in dark corners with fellow seekers (like kiddie-porn sites), or using power and influence (i.e., Charlie Rose, Harvey Weinstein and Jeffrey Epstein) to subdue younger women and teens with the approval of fellow predators, it’s the same. We have a sexual fetish problem in our culture that in some circles is celebrated but in other circles it is not. The lines of discretion and decency are sometimes vague.
One thing that could help, and it’s a shame that we have to remind ourselves, but women must be treated with respect.
Women, by the same token, should be sensitive to the fact that using one’s sexuality to gain leverage, a practice that is as old as sex itself, is also equally manipulative and wrong in today’s society. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t be offended at a male’s forward gesture, and at the same time use use your good looks to get one’s attention or favor, and then act as if that is not what you are doing.
I have always said that if women didn’t care about their sexual leverage, why the makeup, why the perfume, the short skirt or the tight dress? Sure, it’s cultural now to be somewhat risque in our dress, but in the interest of honesty, it is a fact that women and men play the game of cat and mouse all of the time, to a greater or lesser degree. Whether its getting an edge at work or getting a bus driver to stop and wait, women use their beauty as they have always done, to gain leverage. In ancient times it was about survival, today it is a social game we play to our advantage. To be shocked that men are takers is to display one’s naiveté.
It is hypocritical on the one hand, to condemn older men’s attraction to younger women, while at the same time celebrate a teenage males decision to announcing his bisexuality, or for Katy Perry to promote promiscuity while attending a #MeToo protest.
But the two great rules we can all agree on that might help us resolve the predator epidemic is:
1. Teach young boys to always respect women. Period. I was taught this from an early age. I fully realize my life has been much easier because I adhered to this rule.
2. Teach all children that acting on impulses is not a good character trait. Most men will agree they can’t help but notice when there is an attractive woman nearby (as most women would probably admit the same thing with regard to an attractive male catching their attention). As my wife says, we’re human, its normal to notice, but acting on the impulse is what separates us from mere animal. If we make the distinction early with young children to refrain from acting on one’s impulses, we will all be the better for it. As a parent, it is your societal duty to reinforce this message for the betterment of all of us.
Nature pushes us into many directions, but we can all learn to develop the right disciplines along the way to keep us out of trouble. But we have to admit first that men have natural attractions to women, and vice versa, and that we all must be tamed for our own good.
It’s nature vs. nurture folks, let’s admit it and move on from where we find ourselves today.