Having your cake and eating it: Ever since a 15-year-old Mike Hanson was kissed by a 16-year-old girl at a school dance, he has wanted to date older women. But why?

Ever since I was 15 when Judy Romack - 16 - kissed me at a school dance, I've wanted to go out with older women. She was only my senior by a year or so, but it didn't matter. She was older - an adult, almost - and she fancied me. I was the envy of all my friends.

That was until Jeff had an affair with the school's secretary a couple of years later. Now that was really impressive. She wasn't just older, she was a woman.

Jeff became our hero. While we struggled and begged for even the most innocent affection from girls, Jeff was having a mature and physical relationship with a woman. He captivated us with tales of romantic dinners, weekends in the country, and sex. It made him more of a man in our eyes, yet we never forgot that he was only 17. He was one of us, just a teenager, living the wettest of our dreams.

That is, in essence, the allure of older women. Being with them makes us feel like mature men of the world because they take us seriously when the rest of the world doesn't.

It is probably a good idea to point out the thrill of dating older women only applies to men between 15 and 30 who date women five to 20 years older. If you're 50 and the girl of your dreams is 59, sorry, but that doesn't count. Once you reach the twilight years, age becomes irrelevant.

So why do we want to go out with an older woman? Partly to look like men, without having any of the responsibility. This is something we want as soon as we hit puberty. We begin looking for the quickest way to grow up without doing anything foolish, like getting jobs or acting our age. We shave much sooner than we need to, and spend our savings buying cars. And we dream of dating older women.

Initially, the appeal is purely sexual, as is everything with adolescent boys. Our society is filled with sexual myths. The myth surrounding older women is that they're experienced, uninhibited, and, well, good at it. Really good. Most myths are false, but this one is true.

The attraction is fuelled by the theory of sexual prime. It is said that women hit their peak in their early thirties. Men peak at 19, although most women would argue we reach it at 13 and stay there until we get married. It would appear that Mother Nature herself was dictating such coupling. Guys, get wise. The fact is that older women are sexier.

Malcolm Charles, a 28-year-old computer network salesman, says he has preferred older women ever since he was 21 and in the Navy. He started a romance with Anna Ruth, a 35-year-old lounge singer. For him it was another rite of passage into manhood, similar to those the Navy was putting him through. Now he dates older women almost exclusively.

'The problem with women my age is they're only interested in what you do and how much you make,' he says. 'The last girl my age I dated asked me what kind of car I drove. That was her second question, right after 'How are you?' '

I am dating an older woman, and I can say it's more than just sex. Older women, generally speaking, are more fascinating. They have their own lives, history, careers, ideas. And as Malcolm says: 'They're more interested in your personality and your character than your income.'

He's got that right. This is because they've achieved independence, financially and otherwise. Women over 30, or even 40, have learned to maintain relationships while pursuing meaningful careers. Most are no longer looking for a man who will provide for them.

Malcolm recently dated Diane, a 40-year-old computer consultant. He says it was the most secure, yet free, relationship he's ever had. That's because Diane had chosen long before (when he was still in short pants, no doubt) not to marry or have children. Therefore he never felt trapped. There was an emotional commitment, but it didn't necessarily mean the long walk down the aisle. It made their relationship more relaxed and enjoyable.

'We never had the talk,' says Malcolm. 'You know, the 'Where are we going? When are we going to get married?' talk. We just had a good time. There was no pressure.'

If I'm to be completely honest, that's a major part of the attraction of older women. Often it means no tying the knot, no changing dirty nappies, at least in the foreseeable future. So it's a good way for us to have our cake and to eat it too. All the sex and companionship we want, without ever having to get down on one knee. More often than not, such requests would be rebuffed anyway. A lot of older women who are single are that way by choice. They don't want to get married either.

But here's the catch-22. At least the younger man has the choice. Although we can merrily sow our wild oats, most of us look forward to the day when we throw a ball to our sons, or read bedtime stories to our daughters. We're secure in the knowledge that can do it any time.

Basic human biology means, however, that women must have their children by a definite period of time. If your woman is much older, it can become a problem. It was for Steve Owttrim. Now 29, he fell in love with Katy when he was 22. She was 36 at the time. He dreamed of marrying her and raising little Owttrims, just not right away. But if he was going to, then he had to do it much sooner than he was prepared to.

'I wanted to marry her, but not for a couple of years,' says Steve. 'I had just graduated and wanted to work for a couple of years and get on my feet financially before I got married and started a family. I wanted to wait until I was around 30. But if I waited that long it would have been too late for Katy.' Her biological clock became a time bomb and it eventually blew up their relationship.

It's unfair to say women in their mid- to late-thirties never want children. Some do, and by that age, they want to start immediately. As younger men, we can't ignore it. We have to ask ourselves: 'Do I marry her now before it's too late even though I'm not ready, or do I dump her and find someone my age even though I love her?' Not an easy choice.

But social gatherings are the worst problem. While our friends look at us like men, her friends still see a child. When Malcolm was out with Anna Ruth and her friends, he felt uncomfortable. He was just out of puberty while they were all approaching menopause. The gap between their likes and dislikes was massive.

'All her friends were so much older than me,' he says. 'They all had grey hair, and all they talked about was their careers, homes they owned - the things my parents talk about. I had nothing to say to them. And when I did, they just looked at me like I was a child. If I disagreed with them, they didn't take me seriously.'

And still there is The Look. The 'he-must-be-a-virile-stud' look as we walk into a room with an older woman on our arm. Sure, it's a good way to brag about our sexual prowess without saying a word.

But believe it or not, that can become tiresome. We don't like to be dismissed as toy-boys. One of the reasons we like older women is because they take us seriously. Jokes like 'Do you have to cut his meat for him?' or 'Isn't it past his curfew?' really spoil our delusions of manhood.

The double standard in our society dictates that it is all right for old men to marry girls young enough to be their granddaughters, but women who date younger men must be brazen hussies, hot to trot, or have some personality defect because they can't find men their own age.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The older women I've dated, or I've known through friends have been smarter than most people. They know who they are, what they want, and how to get it. Older women are the most self-confident people I know. And in the end, that is probably what is most attractive about them.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Parts Advisor

£16500 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the leading Mercedes-Ben...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer

£27500 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Telemarketers / Sales - Home Based - OTE £23,500

£19500 - £23500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Experienced B2B Telemarketer wa...

Recruitment Genius: Showroom Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This global company are looking for two Showro...

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor