By Tiger Devore, Ph.D.

Women have been fighting for equal rights as long as history can record the battle. However, there are plenty of successful and independent women in Las Vegas, and as they gain financial and emotional independence from men, their sexuality begins to resemble what has traditionally been seen as more male in its expression than traditionally female.

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One aspect is the phenomenon of older women taking on younger male lovers, once seen only as the territory of older men with younger women. It used to be that older women coupling with younger men remained hidden. Now cougars may get a wry smile, but it is more accepted today. The media really wants to pay attention to Demi Moore and Madonna, the 50-something women with the 20- and 30-something man.

In the retirement community, the need for companionship and the comfort of love continues after the loss of a long-term partner. Women still outlive men, so its not uncommon for seniors to be in relationships where an older woman enjoys the company of a man who is younger than her, but are really peers in other ways.

So what’s the truth? In reality, some prejudices do play out in fact but sometimes its important to realize that these can also be healthy, loving relationships.

Often the high sex drive of the younger man may be just right for the older woman who is biologically more interested in sex for pleasure, rather than for procreation. Just as is true for men, after a divorce, dating someone younger can be invigorating for a woman, making her feel young again after the trauma of divorce. The psychology behind this is that many times after divorce, the newly free person will go back emotionally to the age they were when they last dated, and be a better match emotionally for a younger partner. Some women are very clear that they really want to date a younger man so that they can have the kind of dominance and control in relationships that allows them to feel more secure. There may be other emotional challenges: the younger man’s difference in maturity may be a hindrance to socializing with the peers of the older woman; there are issues of shared experience, like the music or television shows or political history that isn’t shared in the relationship. Sometimes none of these considerations matter at all, and the younger man is simply attracted to older women and always has been. This is a natural category of sexual type, and those relationships can last until the death of either partner, which isn’t always the older woman.

So watch your prejudices: their love could be real and very long lasting, despite your judgments.

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