A few years ago, Bill Maher, one of my favorite comedians, did a little routine on the titillating phenomenon of hot female teachers hook up with their male students. Being the brilliant mind he is, he summed it and the controversy surrounding it quite nicely.
“When an older male teacher sleeps with a younger female student, that is a crime. When an older female teacher sleeps with a younger male student, it’s a crime we didn’t get it on tape.”
It’s a funny, but fairly accurate observation. Whenever a story comes out about a hot female teacher sleeping with a male student, the knee-jerk reaction in many men, and even a few women, is pretty telling. We may act like we’re appalled in polite conversation, but in private, we’re thinking, “What a lucky kid! I wish I had teachers like that when I was a kid.”
We have an entirely different knee-jerk reaction when the genders are reversed. While it doesn’t make the news quite as often, it does happen. Most of the time, however, the knee-jerk reaction is entirely different. Most are appalled and disgusted, both in public and in private. We think and we say, “That man is a monster and a predator! How dare he sleep with one of his students? He should be hung from the highest tree!”
There’s no way around it. This is a double standard, something I’ve talked about many times before. It’s probably the most stark double standard there is between genders because it’s one of the few both sides agree on. A female teacher sleeping with a male student is kind of fun and titillating. A male teacher sleeping with a female student is a disgusting crime.
Now I’m not going to make the claim that this disparity is wrong. I’m not going to take the position of Men’s Rights Advocates and claim we should make the stigma between male and female teachers seducing students an equal phenomenon. It’s not. There are many reasons why it’s not and I’ll save those reasons for another blog post.
For this post, I want to focus more on the less obvious aspect of the teacher/student affair phenomenon. It’s one that actually manifests in many ways outside the classroom. It involves the age disparity between the couple.
A couple with a large age disparity is a bit less controversial, but it will still get people from both genders arguing about it. However, it’s still plenty titillating for both genders so I’ll try to focus on that component. Yes, there is a unique sexiness component to age disparity. Yes, I’m going to talk about it. If that makes you feel a bit uncomfortable, you might want to read my posts about sex robots instead.
Age disparity is one of those understated, but obvious issues that has always been part of our sexual culture. Men seeking younger women isn’t just an old, common tradition. It’s downright practical.
Even feminists and hippie types concede that for most of human history, it made sense for older men to seek younger women. That’s because for most of human history, women died at far greater rates due to complications during childbirth or pregnancy. A woman who survived two or three pregnancies was considered extremely lucky. A woman who lived long enough to seek the intimate company of younger men was downright rare.
This cold pragmatism has ensured that men seeking younger women is an inescapable component of our sexual culture. To this day, older men seeking younger women isn’t really taboo. When a rich man seeks the company of a beautiful young woman, it’s just shrugged off as one of those things rich people do because they can.
That’s why the idea of older women seeking younger men still generates this awkward reaction. It’s not so much that it’s taboo. It’s just new in the sense that it was an impractical practice until very recently.
Now, the concept of a “cougar” is a real phenomenon, so much so that MILF (mom I love to fuck) porn is big business. The idea of older women seducing young men may not disgust us, but it does get us thinking awkward thoughts.
Awkward or not, age disparity in romance is one of those things that occupies a nebulous region of our sexual culture. We understand why it happens. We’ve even conditioned ourselves to accept it in some instances, as the life of Anna Nichole Smith can attest. It’s just not something we think about and maybe that’s the problem.
Pragmatism aside, there are some legitimate reasons why younger women would seek the company of older men. Not all of those reasons have to do with wanting to inherit his money. Granted, that can be part of it, but that’s not always the case.
In an older man, a young woman can see someone who is experienced, established, and mature. As a man, I can’t help but concede on the maturity part. Having been a young man and having survived high school, I freely admit that young men can be immature little shits who don’t know the first thing about loving a woman. For that, on behalf of young men, I apologize.
Beyond the maturity aspect, an older man might actually know what the hell he’s doing when he gets a woman into his bed. Unlike a young man, who may know next to nothing about female anatomy, especially if he got his sex education in Texas, an older man has more experience in satisfying a woman. That experience goes a long way.
When the genders flip, some of those reasons still apply. It’s true. Men will seek the company of older women for that extra experience. True, an older woman is less likely to have the perky features of a younger woman, but perky body parts only go so far.
As a man, I can offer a bit more insight into this. I can’t say I prefer older women, but I can totally understand why men would be attracted to them. Younger women, especially those who are extra perky, tend to be more demanding. I’m not just talking about expensive shopping trips either. Youth in both genders tends to breed arrogance and arrogance can be a huge turn-off to a man, no matter how attractive a woman is.
In older women, men see someone who is a bit more measured and self-assured. They see someone who knows how to be independent. She doesn’t demand that they make her the center of their world. An older woman can take care of herself. She knows how to handle herself without whining for someone else to do it. A woman who can do that at any age will intrigue a man to some degree.
Between the sheets, the intrigue only grows. While younger women may make men horny, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll make them feel satisfied. Young women who lack in sexual experience may not know how a man likes to be touched, teased, and pleasured. I admit that male anatomy isn’t quite as complicated, but make no mistake, ladies. Experience does make a difference.
Whether you’re a man or a woman, age will play a factor in your sex life in some form or another. It may not always be direct, but it will still be a factor. At the end of the day, though, does it matter?
If an older man falls in love with a much younger woman or if an older woman falls in love with a much younger man, is their love any less genuine? Is the intimacy they enjoy any less meaningful? Granted, it isn’t always as titillating, but it can still have meaning.
In some respects, our culture and media create an artificial taboo of sorts. So many love songs, TV shows, and movies paint this ideal picture of love. It almost always involves two people who are relatively close in age. Add a little sex appeal and that’s basically the standard by which we measure sex and romance.
While that standard has its merits, it doesn’t work for everyone. Everyone’s tastes in sex and romance are unique. Some people are going to be attractive to different kinds of people for different reasons. In the end, so long as the feelings are genuine and not associated with Anna Nichole Smith, I think it’s still every bit as meaningful.