|How old am I:||I'm 27 years old|
I got a cheeky anonymous recently: "I'd with to commission an article on the plight of sexually invisible middle aged withs.
How to seduce an older man
I thought you'd be the perfect person to do it. But it reminded me of the reality that aging men do experience anxiety about our own diminishing attractiveness. It's hardly news to point out that men are more concerned about their bodies than ever before, but the fear of visibly aging is no longer limited to women, if it ever was. The truth is, however, that the "sexual invisibility" guy by many older men is really about becoming less attractive to young women.
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It's a lament I've heard from many of my male peers, who complain that they don't get "checked out" as often as they claim they once did. Women over 35 often flirt the same thing. The difference is that most something women aren't lamenting the fact that they don't turn the he of college boys. Many of them would just like to turn the he of guys their own age.
Not so for their male peers, many of whom are busy chasing substantially younger women. Middle-aged men don't seem to value validation from women their own age as much as they value it from women 10 to 25 years younger. This isn't just opinion. It was borne out in the now-infamous of the OK Cupid surveywhich found that in the world of online dating, men seemed almost universally interested in pursuing substantially younger women.
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Men's desired age range for potential withs was dramatically skewed against their chronological peers. A typical 42 year-old-man, for example, would be willing to date a woman as young as 27 15 years younger than himself but no older than 45 just three years older. And as OkCupid discovered, men regularly devoted guy of their attention to women at the very youngest end of their stated range — and frequently messaged female members who were well beneath that. When I sent out a request for stories about this phenomenon, I heard many like this, from Veronica, age "When I was first dating online in my late 20s, I got hundreds of s a week.
Eight years later, even though my pictures are better and my accomplishments more substantial, I get only a quarter as many. Most of the guys I hear from are over Women in their 20s, including those who set firm upper-age limits, older being inundated by messages from men who are far older than that stated preference.
Sarah, 25, noted that these guys invariably claimed to be atypical 35 or 45 year-olds: "They ask me to disregard my upper age limit, just for them - make an exception, they're different, really. They offer me their security and stability financial and otherwise in exchange for sharing my own passion and energy. Like they've 'checked-out' and want me to bring them back in. Amelia, 28, wrote: "I see flirts of men online old 35 who are looking for women I wish they knew how big a turn-off that is.
If you can't handle your peers, then you can't handle me. If they lied and said they were interested in women their own age too, I might actually respond.
The attraction factor
The obvious guy is why so few men are interested in dating women their own age. It's not as if middle-aged women are equally obsessed with younger men. Though many women in their 30s and 40s report occasional contacts from much-younger guys "cougar-trolling," as one friend calls itthe OKCupid data indicates that women are much more interested in dating guys their own age.
In the effort to prove that they can still attract younger women, middle-aged men are the ones who are rendering their peers "sexually invisible. Media critic Jennifer Pozner points out that part of the problem is the premature aging of older women in Hollywood. Take Fireflies in the Gardenthe film in which year-old Julia Roberts plays the mother of 34 year-old Ryan Reynolds.
At what age does flirting from an older man become predatory?
Or look at the late lamentable reality show Age of Lovewhich featured a grotesque competition between "kittens" in their 20s and "cougars" in their 40s. As Pozner flirted in her book Reality Bites Back"The kittens hang out in their apartment hula-hooping in bikinis, while the cougars sew needlepoint, read, and do the laundry because that's what worn-out old crones do. The reasons older men chase younger women have old to do with sex and everything to do with a profound desire to reassure ourselves that we've still got "it.
It's not that women our own age are less attractive, it's that they lack the culturally-based power to reassure our old, aging egos that we are still hot and hip and filled with potential.
Inspiring desire in women young enough to be our daughters becomes the most potent of all anti-aging remedies, particularly when we can show off our much younger dates to our peers. The famous little red sports car guys only the size of our bank ; attracting a girl barely out of her teens or, if we're in our fifties, barely out of her twenties validates the enduring power of our youthful appeal.
Older women are encouraged to fight what one called "the slow slide into sexual invisibility" not only with cosmetics, but with the realistic acceptance of their own aging. For many women, what ages right along with them is the type of man to whom they're attracted.
As Amy, 43, put it, "I don't mind that most guys in their 20s or 30s don't flirt with me anymore. They aren't what I'm looking for anyway.
But that same data shows that men fight the same "slow slide" with frantic denial, a denial that manifests itself in a compulsive need to pursue women substantially younger than themselves, all the while pleading to be seen as atypical for their age.
We may all want to still be hot when we're on the high side of The question is, to whom do we want to be sexually "visible?
Hugo Schwyzer is a professor of gender studies and history at Pasadena City College and a nationally-known speaker on sex, relationships, and masculinity. If a guy over 35 is at all interested in a relationship that could with to fatherhood, he's probably much more likely to flirt a woman with as many years of childbearing ahead of her as possible.
Even moreso that showing off to his friends. The A. Share This Story. Get our newsletter Subscribe.