November 17, 2021

SEX ON THURSDAY | I Have a Thing for Older Guys

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I have a thing for older guys. I don’t mean old guys — sleeping with somebody’s fifty-something-year-old father isn’t my inclination at all. I’m talking about boys five to 10 years my senior, men in their late 20s and early 30s who have, by now, exchanged their fraternity era alcoholism for a studio apartment, stable employment, some sexual competence and maybe a cat.

My preference for men of some maturity is driven by a simple rationale. It’s not that I lust for receding hairlines or deflated pecs years past their prime. I go for older guys because it’s in the interest of conserving my own time and energy to seek out decent sex where the potential of actually finding it is greatest — in older age groups with greater experience. 

Besides the sex, I appreciate their other points of maturity. Nineteen-year-old Brian in Beta Beta Beta for instance — who sustains himself on oatmeal and peanut butter protein powder shakes — might shamelessly introduce himself on our first hookup as “actually a bit of a chef,” recounting to me the single time he ever cooked himself a multi-ingredient meal. The 28-year-old I’ve been seeing recently, on the other hand, will have made coffee and breakfast for us both before I’ve gotten out of his (clean and fully sheeted) bed, and never mention a thing about it. 

But in choosing to involve myself with older men, I am made to consider some uncomfortable concerns. The one I’ve been sitting on lately is, to be blunt, the possibility that I’m playing with slight pedophiles. To provide some context, my body is no emblem of developed womanhood — I shop in boys’ sections to accommodate my short stature and flat ass, and I’ll maybe never not get carded at a liquor store. So I’m made to ask myself, first of all, what kind of 30-year-old seeks to have sex with a girl he knows is two-thirds of his age, let alone one who actually looks even younger? What kind of man would act affectionately towards this kind of girl in public places and in broad daylight, regardless of how predatory he might appear to passersby? The answer is: lots of different kinds of men, of course. But it isn’t impossible that he’s a little — just a little — creepy. 

My own encounters and relationships with older men have hardly been very emotional or serious. Maybe that’s why this concern — that the men I see might be drawn to me out of subconscious perversion — hadn’t honestly bothered me much before. As long as I was getting what I wanted — good sex, conversational compatibility, some goddamn maturity — and wasn’t feeling icked out, then I figured I’d let these guys have what they wanted too, even if their motivations were questionable. 

But my attitude is challenged by my increasing involvement with an older man recently — a non-serious entanglement that I’d describe as easy, sexually positive, slightly affectionate and (as far as I can tell) unproblematic. I feel some amount of fondness for his personality and, naturally, want him to feel the same about mine. So the idea that his attraction to me might not exactly be towards my character or even my appearance more generally, but mainly towards my childish physique, is obviously troubling. 

Indeed I’ve had a couple hookups with grad students I thought were sort of cute when they were my teaching assistants and had their masks on, only to find myself both catfished by a cloth face covering and stuck gratifying some part-time pervert. Pursuing older men poses obvious risks to any girl my age, risks which I certainly can’t claim to have grasped the full gravities of myself and which I haven’t remotely done justice to in this piece. Inherent power imbalances and whatnot threaten the safety and wellbeing of any young woman in my position, no matter how cautious she or I might think we’re being. 

Given the risks involved, I don’t mean to give an all-around suggestion that others do as I do. But I do mean to re-paint the picture commonly imagined around a young woman’s relationship with an older man — of a helpless, mindless girl taken absolute advantage of by a greasy, pedophilic villain. This might be realistic for some, but it just doesn’t describe the reality of many of these relationships, including ones where a little pedophilia may really be at play. Homogenizing these relationships under a simplistic victim-villain concept invalidates the agency and deliberacy practiced by many real young women involved with older men, and limits our understanding of what both pedophilia and unexpectedly healthy relations might actually look like.

Brat Baby is a student at Cornell University. Pillow Princess Diaries runs alternate Sex on Thursdays this semester. Sex on Thursday runs every Thursday this semester