Emma*, a 32-year-old journalist living in New York City, doesn’t believe in dating older guys, or even guys her age. Her preference is men who are in their 20s.
“Guys my age come with a lot more baggage,” she says with a shrug. “They’ve been in long-term relationships, and some of them are even divorced. They have really complicated commitment issues. Younger guys are just easier — and a lot more fun.”
Emma isn’t the only woman who feels this way. According to Match.com’s 2016 Singles In America survey, which surveys 5,500 single people each year, 26 percent of women were open to dating men 10 years younger than them or more. The idea that younger women should aim to find older, more successful men is definitely antiquated in 2019. In fact, new data shows that in 40 percent of households these days, women are the breadwinners.
It’s worth noting that for LGBTQ couples, an age gap is more likely to be overlooked. “There’s much less judgment about age gaps in non-heterosexual relationships, because we don’t have the same preconceived notions about what’s ‘appropriate’ and what’s not,” she explains.
For women seeking men, though, old-fashioned gendered ideas around age still persist for many. And it’s not just society passing judgement; some women are hesitant to date younger men because of a few specific fears, according to Jillian Turecki, a New York-based relationship expert. “Women often believe that these younger guys will be immature, or not far enough along in their careers or personal development,” she says.
If these insecurities resonate with you, you’re not alone — but they’re worth overlooking for a lot of valid reasons. Let’s take a closer look.
The surprising advantages of dating younger guys
“I find that younger guys are so much faster to have the ‘what are we’ conversation,” Emma explains. “In fact, they bring it up. The last time I seriously dated a guy who was older than me, he was incredibly squeamish about this conversation. He had lived with a girl for a few years and he kept saying he wasn’t ready for anything serious yet.”
Turecki confirms that Emma’s experience isn’t unusual. “I’m finding that younger men these days — well, many of them — are more inclined to commit. Sometimes an older man, especially if he has not been married, is stuck in his ways and not as committal.”
Another advantage? Better sex. “Younger men tend to have higher sex drives,” explains Turecki. “And as women, our sex drives tend to peak in our 40s.”
Of course, this isn’t the universal experience: Jane*, a 28-year-old woman living in San Francisco, said she still finds the majority of her romantic success with guys her age or older. And yes, that includes sexual success.
“Most of the great sex I’ve had recently has been with older, more experienced guys,” she says. “I find the younger guys I date are still working out a few things in the bedroom.”
What younger guys see in older women
We know what older women see in younger men, but what do younger guys see in women who are more than few years their senior? Quite a bit, as it turns out.
“I love dating girls who are older than me,” Sam, a 29-year-old man living in New York, says. “Honestly, they’re so much more emotionally and mature, not as insecure, and our conversations are incredible.”
Sam’s experience isn’t unusual, according to Weiner, who has talked to plenty of men who love dating older women. “Many younger men are attracted to older women because they’re often more confident and authentic than their younger counterparts,” she explains. “The mature woman focuses less on trying to win a man over and more on enjoying the company of a man who’s sexy, fun, smart, and grounded, no matter his age.”
In other words, it shows a lot of confidence to date a guy who’s younger than you — and few things are more attractive than confidence.
Dating younger guys isn’t just not a bad idea — it’s a really good idea. But that doesn’t mean insecurities won’t arise. Emma admits that a few of her friends have given her a hard time about it, mostly because the guys she dates aren’t as “accomplished” as she is. “Frankly, I think my friends are being a little sexist. Would people get on a man for dating a less accomplished woman? I doubt it.”
Emma adds that when insecurities arise — and they inevitably do — she simply reminds herself that she’s doing something that makes her happy. “It’s hard to argue with happiness.”
Turecki advises anyone who might be feeling insecure about dating a younger guy to try their very best to own their experience and their happiness. “As far as society is concerned, dating younger men is so much more common than it used to be,” she says. “If what you have is a big connection with someone, embrace that. Don’t turn down the opportunity truly love and be loved.”
Amen to that.
*Names have been changed to protect innocent daters.