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Phillips then interviewed a similar number of older women.
While the media is hyping the “cougar” phenomenon, they ignore the reality that in most age-disparate affairs the man is the older (sometimes, as in the case of Hugh Hefner, astoundingly older) partner.
” She’s 20 now, tall and graceful; she tells me that for the last eight years, older men have been approaching her.
“It’s not just me,” she adds, “it happens to most of my friends, almost regardless of what they look like or what they’re wearing.
We take it for granted that many men in their 30s, 40s, and 50s will be more sexually attracted to younger women than to their peers.
While most men and women alike are appalled by stories of adult men hitting on 12-year-olds, we still assume that men will “naturally” lust after young women just a few years older.
In other words, John Derbyshire (and a lot of other grown men) may be sexually attracted to underage girls—but they don’t get to blame that fetish on biology.
Even if it were “natural,” there’s nothing innocent or harmless or healthy about older men pursuing substantially younger women. While a few young women may be attracted to much older guys (often because they falsely imagine themselves to be “so much more mature” than “other girls” their age), most are like Amber—disheartened and disgusted by the endless parade of men 10, 20, or 40 years older who harass and hit on them. And even if they seem flattered at the time, it doesn’t mean the attention from older men isn’t doing great harm.♦◊♦Lynn Phillips, a psychology professor at New York University, did a famous study of young women (mostly under legal age) who were in relationships with significantly older men.In 2005, John Derbyshire, a much-admired right-wing pundit at the It is, in fact, a sad truth about human life that beyond our salad days, very few of us are interesting to look at in the buff.Added to that sadness is the very unfair truth that a woman’s salad days are shorter than a man’s—really, in this precise context, only from about 15 to 20.This is about the cultural cachet of dating a much younger woman—and about the difficult-to-deny reality that younger women lack the experience and wisdom to call their older lovers on their bullshit.Two recent books do a superb job of puncturing the argument that male sexuality is primarily a creature of evolutionary programming.University of North Carolina professor Martha Mc Gaughey’s (Routledge, 2008) makes the convincing case that our beliefs about male sexuality form the science, and not the other way around.