Enchanted by Youth: Why Older Men Love Younger Women. ~ Adam Sheck

Via on Jul 5, 2012

Midlife Crisis? Marry Your Yoga Teacher.

The idea of the midlife crisis is certainly something that we men face at some point in our lives, usually in our forties or fifties.

As we enter and begin to face the second half of our lives, we all have the opportunity to face our mortality—and this brings up existential issues.

What have I accomplished in my life? What do I have yet to accomplish? What might I never accomplish? What will I leave behind? What kind of person have I been and what kind of person do I want to be? Does my life have meaning?

Some men act out on the way to facing these questions—the stereotypes of men buying the red convertible, having affairs, getting involved with younger women, perhaps all of the above. And some older men might even choose to marry their yoga teacher!

Now I’ve never met Alec Baldwin or his lovely yoga teacher wife, and I truly have no judgments about his nuptials. I’m just using this as an example to get the attention of my readers (and maybe a tiny bit of search engine optimisation). Nor am I saying that he is having a midlife crisis, though this type of behavior may reflect that in some men. Mr. Baldwin is intelligent (love his blogging), handsome, talented, successful and obviously has had his choice of many women. Being with this woman seems to be for the best, at least evidenced by his latest fit and healthy look.

Anyway, that is the last I will say about Mr. Alec Baldwin, so let the bait and switch begin…and let’s get back to the topic of midlife crisis and the question of the day:

“Why are older men attracted to young women?”

Often, it’s about what might be called the rejuvenation mystery. 

The rejuvenation mystery is about recapturing lost youth, exuberance, energy and passion. In Roman times and probably earlier there was a belief that if an older person slept next to an infant, that person would somehow absorb youthful energies and rejuvenate.

More popular in our modern era is the idea of the older man/younger woman and now the cougar strategy of the older woman/younger man. Why is this so common? I would suggest that it is about the rejuvenation mystery seeking out its resolution.

Yes, for some, this is simply a preference. Yet for many, it’s an attempt to recapture and reignite those youthful energies, especially as we feel ourselves approaching old age.

The best advice I ever received about this came from my teacher, Brugh Joy (Joy’s Way, An Introduction to the Potentials for Healing). My interpretation of his wisdom is to enjoy dancing and flowing in those rejuvenating energies, yet don’t confuse them for something more than they are or something that they are not.

When I arrived at my midlife crisis in my early forties, I was enchanted by a substantially younger woman. Our time together felt like magic. I felt alive, exuberant and filled with the romantic high of falling in love.

Unfortunately, I was so full of myself that I also began another relationship, one with a yoga teacher friend. I was receiving a great deal from from both relationships, not to mention the excitement of juggling them. My yoga friend knew about the younger woman but the younger woman did not know about the yoga teacher—so there was an extra helping of drama to keep things even more exciting.

I was smart enough to realize I was playing with fire and heading for disaster. Yet I was also so inflated and high on the energies that I just didn’t care. I imagine this experience might be similar to the manic episodes some of my bipolar patients have experienced.

Needless to say it ultimately blew up. My heart was broken over the younger woman, my yoga teacher friend was deeply hurt by me and all of this tainted the next relationship I eventually entered. I experienced the lesson my teacher, Brugh, had shared with me years earlier. I confused my experience of the rejuvenation mystery with love and the potential for relationship. For this, I paid a huge cost.

If I had been a little more aware, a little more enlightened, I could have perhaps simply enjoyed the company of this ripe younger woman for what it was. We each had something to offer each other and if I could have accepted her gifts without projecting into the future, it might have been different. If I was able to stay centered and not create a romantic fantasy, I wouldn’t have set myself up for such heartache.

Yes, our internal psychodynamics played into it. My need to feel vital and powerful and perhaps her need for a loving, nurturing, successful father figure, kept it all in motion past the expiration date of the lesson. If I was more present and grounded, I would have believed her early on when she asserted that everything ends.

What I wanted was to create with her a world of love, lust and intensity. What I needed was to remember who I was, experience my vitality, creativity, passion and aliveness, be grateful to her for this precious gift, integrate it and move forward in my life. Alas, letting go—especially with that strong surge of intense neurotransmitters and hormones flooding my body—was not something I could do.

The lesson I learned has helped me to support many men as they enter this period of their lives. Some have learned from my story and let the energies burn without the need to act them out and inflict pain upon themselves and their loved ones. Some have been more stubborn, as I was, and needed to learn a tougher, although perhaps more lasting, lesson.

We are all less than perfect. On the good days, I aspire to walk the talk. There are also days I am woefully human and fallible. My path and my lessons are what help me to connect compassionately and empathically with the people I work with. I am no better and no worse.

My final answer on the question, “Should you marry your much younger yoga teacher?” If you love that person and want to build a life with together, absolutely! If it’s in order to feel younger and better about yourself, absolutely not.

 Bonus: Yoga “Tit for Tat” (viral funny video).

(This article appeared in an earlier form at the site, MenAfterFifty.com under the title: Midlife Crisis: Marry Your Yoga Teacher?)






Editor: Lori Lothian

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About Adam Sheck

Dr. Adam Sheck, the Passion Doctor, helps couples and singles bring back the passion into their lives and into their relationships. He is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Los Angeles, is certified in Imago Relationship Therapy and has practiced JUST enough Tantra to be dangerous. He blogs about relationships at thepassiondoctor.comand about issues facing men in the second half of life at www.menafterfifty.com. You can also find him on Facebook.


122 Responses to “Enchanted by Youth: Why Older Men Love Younger Women. ~ Adam Sheck”

  1. Eric says:

    ..I've been having "existential issues" since I was a teen. entering my mid-40's isn't going to make me do anything stupid that I didn't already do in my 20's and 30's. I cringe when I recall how I acted–much like your triangle experience.
    but I had to go through it–lose the women who I loved and who loved me and all the pain and remorse that goes along with that–to get here. it was all fear and ego.

    it's nice to be at a place of sanity & balance, where I know that the allure of "playing with fire" and acting out has no allure for me anymore. I can simply be present in a relationship, and love as best as I can–mistakes and all–with no "rejuvenation mystery" or shadow issues driving some twisted agenda.
    as you stated wonderfully, "If you love that person and want to build a life together", then the age doesn't matter.
    thanks Doc!

  2. Adam Sheck Dr. Adam Sheck says:


    Yes sometimes I find it amazing that we survived our youth, young adulthood and the rest of our lives. My motto now is to make NEW mistakes instead of repeating old ones.


  3. yogasamurai says:

    Hey Brother, I think there's a lot more to this – potentially. The archetypal "pull" here on both sides can be very, very strong – though not always acknowledged or acted upon? It always takes two to do this or any other dance. You are reflecting just on your side of it, but no one should think that these relationships are one-sided.

    I've spoken to lots of "younger" women about this phenomenon (and not because I've dated them, either!). I would say – because they would – that there is a growing interest by younger women in older men – and the reasons range widely, from the mercenary to the intellectual, sexual/emotional and aesthetic.

    A lot of young women are bored with their immature young men and they are hoping that their older guy can teach them something about the world. They may find him genuinely inspiring – he may elicit a powerful male archetype. Just as she may embody one or more of the female ones for him. Can they get beyond them – or play with them creatively?

    Ultimately, the only issue a younger woman considers is R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

    Are we talking about long-term relationships here? Mostly, no, I think. The fact is, for a guy who is in touch with his emotional needs, a younger woman is A LOT of work. You'll have to try to create balance across the asymmetries of this generational divide. So will she – but you're the elder party, and there are responsibilities that come with this.

    That balance can exist, though, depending on what emotional needs are being fulfilled, and whether there is a semblance of real compassion and love. Is it "normally" the way to go – definitely not. Ideally, you might appreciate your special connection, and the energy derived from it, without actually trying to "possess" it.

    Why not just smell the flowers for a lifetime – rather than picking one for a day, a month or a year?

    There's also a lot of sexism and double standards applied to these situations, when the parties do decide to go for it. Demi Moore isn't seen as someone suffering any "life crisis" – she's just free and she's hot, and she's "got it" and the boys want it – until they don't, of course, and then she melts down in public, goes to rehab, and hopefully reclaims her life.

    And note our contrasting language – "predator," "horny old man" versus that oh-so-chic and elegant phenomenon known as the "Cougar." Now who could possibly be upset with such a sleek and luxurious creature?

    Funny thing is, a lot of young women think older men are "Lions"! Alec Baldwin – a Lion. Hmmm, catchy eh? I'll accept Cougar, if you accept Lion.

    I am Man, HEAR MY ROAR!

    Cheers, Dude YS

  4. Complementary says:

    Part of the attraction is that older men/younger women are so complementary to each other. She does not compare her career success to his, and he does not compare his physical appeal to hers. Each are superior in their own realm. Neither feels threatened by compare. But proud of the gifts they can lavish on each other, his material resources and status, her youth and beauty.

  5. yogasamurai says:

    Ding ding ding! :o) My brother married a woman 15 years his junior. They worked together, and for a while he was dating the office "belle," while she was considered the dowdy and quiet Catholic girl. But she knew she wanted him, and she knew what he really needed, and she won him – big time. Three kids later, they are the most happily married couple I know, and they still have great sex. Then again, my brother's also one of the coolest stand-up guys I know, too. :o)

    Actually his seniority was a huge boon to her, he helped guide her early career choices, and she guided him in basic life choices – like getting bad influences out of his life. Yes, they complement each other very well.

  6. Complementary says:

    It is a funny feeling I find when I meet younger women, it is as if we are both there to serve and delight each other. I wonder if that is how it used to be between all men and women? Only half the people you met each day were aiming to get one up on you; the other half were there for mutual comfort and support.

  7. yogasamurai says:

    Maybe Adam will jump back in. He's in the trenches dealing with the gender war wreckage day in, day out!

  8. okay, into the fray…i left my husband almost a decade ago–he was 18 years older than me…no sooner had i departed, and he picked up with a woman 30 years his junior. LOL…I want to say this: I was dismayed. He and I parted ways when I had grown from girl to woman, from maiden to …queen? In other words, when after 17 years and two children, I was actually his EQUAL, it was not working…he wanted a girl to protect, care for and be fiscally in power over….

    just say'in

  9. MatBoy says:

    My reading of history and experience in 'older' cultures leads me to believe that much of this 'urge' is hardwired. How a man responds to these urges depends on his relationship to his urges and how he handles them. Each person is different and I believe the physical urges can be hugely different. I've never figured out what is really going on 'out there' and I'm not sure I'm all that interested. I have never come across a 'one sized fits all' explanation for any part of human experience. I see life more as a thick stew I swim around in never knowing what I will run into next.

    I'm convinced everyone else is in the same situation and trying to figure it out is futile. You've got to do what you got to do. Follow the younger women urge or let it dissipate without response. It's your call and you LIVE, here I mean aliveness and newness, through the consequences of your choices. Younger woman, older woman; married woman, unmarried woman; your wife, someone else's wife; you get to put it together however you dare. You'll never find the 'why' but you will learn something from your decisions. How much trouble and how much peacefulness do you want in your life? Each of us is different, each has to deal with his urges.

  10. Dave says:

    As Matthew McConnehey said in Dazed and Confused, we keep getting older and they stay the same…;>

  11. Barbara says:

    The societal implications of women needing to be young and beautiful to attract a man is really at stake here and it's annoying that no one seems to notice. What is wrong with women their own age?
    I find it really creepy when older men hit on younger women and expect them to be into them (and find it even more irritating when they are). The whole older man/younger woman thing really bothers and disgusts me. I understand all of these comments but I still want to shake the women and say "you're making things worse for us women by playing into this!"

    I also find the whole "daddy-ish" part disturbing— incest much?
    I would never date a much older man and find it really annoying when other women do it.

  12. Yogateacher says:

    How come so many articles written by so called "passion specialists" or "tantric healers" or whatever are so filled with creepery?

    It's not cool to be a creepy old dude and if you're out trolling for young ladies, that's you. We have to deal with creepy guys in droves every day, it's just not pleasant.

  13. Yogateacher says:

    Right yogasamurai,, I am not even deserving of some condescending mansplaining reply. That's so true. It's not easy bein an uppity yoga teaching beyotch in the world but somebody's got to do it.

  14. That's EXACTLY what we all do, my friend. It's just that on the good days, we can admit it to ourselves :)

  15. Yogateacher says:

    Oh geez, you guys are frickin hi-larious. Thank the baby jeebus I'm gay…but I think you all just made me that much gay-er . And no, complementary, the attention from dudes is not sought nor desired. It's just frickin creepy and a real daily pain in my ass. Some dude hit on me yesterday while I was helping my friend move. I was told I was smokin hot but needed to cuss less etc etc to which I replied I cuss cuz it feels good sometimes and leave me alone, to which he said " we should hang out". Ugh! It's so friggin funny, and super classic, that you think we all secretly want that shit. It's gross. And I'm 45 and that dude was probably 30. And I'm the "younger chic" to guys that are in their 50's and 60's at they gym. Ew.

    My point here is that I know the world is your oyster and all if you happen to be a dude, but be aware that you might very well be creepin some gal out. In fact, there's a damn high probability that you are. Just raising awareness…bein the change I want to see in the world and all. Peace out dudes.

  16. Yogateacher says:


  17. […] in love… with a younger woman? Enchanted by Youth: Why Older Men Love Younger Women (Elephant […]

  18. bennyk says:

    The topic is valid and important, however there is a weird assumption in this article: that yoga teachers are by definition young. What's with that? When I saw the title, I thought the article would be about how yoga teachers are generally vibrant and sexy, so a man can feel stimulated and satisfied by marrying a yoga teacher of his own age. Surprise, suprise,to find that the image of "yoga teacher" apparently implies youth. I'm a yoga teacher, and at 55, I get hit on by men of all ages. Try writing about that aspect of being a (female) yoga teacher.

    Creepy older men were probably always creepy but it wasn't so obvious when they had hard bodies and a full head of hair. There are also secure, caring, older men who ride through their mid-life crisis with dignity. The latter want a real relationship with a grown up woman, regardless of her age. They're not interested in girls with women's bodies. If a younger woman wants to hang with someone who has ego issues so that she can get taken care of and learn about the world, more power to her. Personally, I think equality is sexier.

  19. bennyk says:

    First, I wasn't pointing fingers. And if I'm totally in error, great. Yes, you do describe having dated a yoga teacher vs a younger woman, which would imply that the yoga teacher wasn't as young. However, the wording of the article is oriented in different ways toward the impression that yoga teacher = younger woman. If that wasn't the point then I don't understand the reason for the 3rd paragaph, the last paragraph, or, especially, the caption under the photo.

  20. lei says:

    mmmm Are people really this hopeless? Yes. Is it me, or are there not loads of ridiculous people in this world coupled up and entirely miserable? Living dull lives in front of television screens, eating microwaved dinners, and screaming for a wake-up call? Age? Who cares! Live you fools!

  21. rebecakasak says:

    Truth is that this is one more thing that’s been ruined by feminism. We know this by looking at the attitudes of people from societies that haven’t been feminist-wrecked yet.

  22. diro52 says:

    women have within them the 'life force'. Remember only a woman can bring human life into this world. For thousands of years man has believed , just being in the presence of a beautiful young woman would extend his life. So for me (60), I took a new wife 22 years younger who makes me feel 35, as she looks 20! I have discovered what Hollywood male celebs chase, the fountain of youth AKA the Hot young wife. BTW every young woman has a different peak 'life force' age.

  23. Caitlyn says:

    Only thing to say is this – I truly want to date and have a relationship with men my age, unfortunately they are busy dating women who are way younger. I am 42.

    If that is the scenario, how can older women who are beautiful, intelligent and have much to offer stand a chance with men’s obsession with youth?

  24. Jayne says:

    Is it just me or is the photo in the article of two guys kissing? The person on the right looks to be Asian and he has a slight stubble.

  25. Sandeep says:

    Great blog! I truly love how it’s easy on my eyes and also the information are well wrtietn. I am wondering how I can be notified whenever a new post has been made. I have subscribed to your rss feed which should do the trick! Have a nice day!

  26. melodie says:

    Love this,

    I'm the younger woman and men often want to start something with me but I can see the path is a rocky one.
    I enjoy their company but have trouble explaining it can be no more than friendship even when we both feel that physical attraction. We are just at such very different places in our lives..

    words of wisdom to help ease the blow?

  27. Melodie,
    Not sure that the blow HAS to be eased, sometimes just the truth is the best remedy. No need to be cruel, just direct about being in different places sounds very clean to me. If the man/men don't get it, it's then on them, not you.

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  29. Iris says:

    I just started dating an older man for the first time. I have never been treated so well in my life! I am 32 but look much younger, I have always been hit on by men of all ages. I still get asked out by 21 year old boys! The young ones have nothing to offer, they are just pretty. A lot of men my age still don't know what they want and I am so over that drama. The man I started seeing is very good looking for his age. He is happy and healthy which is very attractive to me. I couldn't be happier. He has children and the fact that he is a loving, responsible, caring person is also a big turn on. His ex wife is 14 years older than me but still beautiful, It just did not work out. i am very happy with my decision and am a firm believer that age does not matter, it's about the connection and what the person stands for that matters. :)

  30. rachel says:

    theres nothing difficult to figure out here-think of a 20 year old model in a bikini-now think of a 60 year old in a bikini…it really is as basic and as shallow as that!

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  33. Jim McMahon says:

    As men age our hormone levels decline. Having an affair or love relationship with anyone causes those hormone levels to rise again (pun intended). This in turn invigorates us and makes us feel good.

    Whether that partner is a young woman, your yoga instructor, or even your own spouse we do have the abiltiy to address this situation with knowledge and with heart., i.e.: equipped with this knowledge you could have an affair with your wife.

    As for me while I love the beauty of my yogini friends in class I place them off limits in order to preserve the sacred space of the yoga studio. Of course I'd likely violate that notion in a heartbeat if the right situation presented itself, but then wouldn't we all?

  34. funbarrel says:

    In the words of that fine band ‘The Hold Steady’:

    “Guys go for looks, girls go for status”

    That pretty much sums it up.

  35. Barabra says:

    I am a beautiful successful woman. I have so much to offer and so much love to give. The men my age that are interested in me are interested in my money and/or status not me. I am a very good looking woman for my age, but I now know that men interested in me are slime!!!!!

    They want to screw young women but they are expensive! :) lol no money to play and they are in love with you!!! Fuck you losers. Go fuck your sluts that only want your money and home!!! That is what you deserve!!!!

  36. Maggie says:

    The real reason that older men like younger women is that younger women tell shorter stories.

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  41. Erik Johnson says:

    Good article, but I think you missed the "Nature" aspect. Here is something I wrote earlier today on this subject.

    Some people say that men are attracted to youthful women because they are more beautiful, but what makes our brains determine what is beautiful? When I was a teenage boy, I was just as attracted to older women as I was to younger women, but when I hit my mid 30's, something "flipped on" in my brain which made younger women seem irresistably attractive to me.
    This phenomenon can be traced back to our early evolution. Hundreds of thousands of years ago, if a male human lived into his mid 30's and beyond, that male obviously had something going for him genetically. And it wasn't neccessarily that he was stronger, faster or smarter than other males. It had more to do with the fact that he was able to live so long without any medical care or even much hygeine to speak of. In the early days of human evolution, it was commonplace for anyone of any age to die from something as simple as an absessed tooth, an infected cut, a broken bone, or a ruptured appendix. So, for a male to live beyond the age of 35 was a rare occurence during our early evolution. He obviously had "good" genes."
    Nature wants these "good" genes to be passed on. Therefore, Nature built in a "switch" in the male brain which is "flipped on" sometime in their mid 30's, and it makes those males crave sex with women who have just reached breeding age. But why only younger women? Why does the switch not make us irresistably attracted to ALL women? It's because, back in the old days, a pregnancy by a woman in her mid 20's or older was almost always a death sentence for the mother. Only the youngest women were able to survive the trauma of childbirth because their young bodies were more resilient. And the chances of the offspring surviving increase greatly when the mother survives.
    This is why older men are attracted to young women. In fact, if you ever question why humans have a certain behaviour, just think back to how that behaviour would have helped us survive and thrive in the old days. For example: Teenage rebellion. What makes a child — who has loved his/her parents more than anything else during adolescense — suddenly hate those parents when he/she reaches breeding age? That is another "switch" in the brain which forced young breeders in the old days to leave the safety of their small group or tribe. Without this "switch," young breeders would have remained with the group, bread within the group, and subsequently, the human species would never have acquired the genetic diversity it needed to survive. Without diversity, any type of disease or condition which might kill some of the group, would kill all of the group.


    Erik Johnson
    Bristol, FL

  42. sheilapierson says:

    Great article…and enlightening in ways I needed it to be…thank you

  43. Achomu Lawrence says:

    All in all, there is always someone for everyone, says the Musician.

  44. realist says:

    Love yogateacher’s comments. I’m a 40 year old bi woman and I have zero illusions about any man ever wanting me. Male attention never mattered to me much anyway (maybe around age 35, but that’s it). I’m happy to be single, raising my kid. Nature is nature. I won’t argue with it.

  45. Daniel says:

    Another reason that we are attracted to people outside our own age range might be that we have gotten emotionally stuck somewhere in life or need lessons that are at a different level than is expected from our age.

  46. Mike Smoth says:

    Err, I am not sure why you have to fabricate such complicated physiological theories. The reasons are very simple. A young girl is attractive and she has a nearly virginal, tight, hot and wet spot that men crave for. I am so sorry if this sounds to vulgar and blunt but that's the reality. Don't waste your time coming up with complicated existential reasons. And guess what, for older women looking for younger men, it is the same. It is all carnal.

  47. Vic says:

    Our choices aren't solely based on the hypothesized benefits of having "new experiences in life" so we can have a rich full life, but on growing and maturing through those experiences. Those who miss or forego age-appropriate experiences and rites of passages, or who don't take responsibility for their actions during these experiences (for example, I chose to do this thing for these reasons), miss the real value of experience which we hope is increased satisfaction with our lives as we age. Aging isn't the problem–inauthentic experience sends us back to earlier developmental milestones we've missed, creating a desire in us to do them again … And with hope that we will learn that age's lesson…which will give us a new sense of mastery, comfort with who we are, and a constellation of more meaningful values.

  48. Simone says:

    Good grief. Get real; as Blanche said on Golden Girls, they want firm thighs and perky bosoms.

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