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

Via Adam Sheck
on Jul 5, 2012
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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.


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

  1. Harry says:

    By what you say, you left him and then were dismayed when he found someone a lot younger and more attractive than you? So, close to two decades into the marriage and you felt like you wanted to be treated as an EQUAL? So the whole relationship had shifted? It was no longer the relationship you had both entered? The dynamics had changed? You became the queen and you didn't want him having any kind of "power" over you? Guess what? You changed, he remained the same. How terrible of him to do that to you.

  2. Harry says:

    You turn everything into a negative. You sound like a hateful old nag. You are disgusted with everything. Maybe you suffer from depression? Maybe you just to hate to see someone having a good time? Maybe you've forgotten what it is to be young? Maybe it's time you looked inside yourself?

  3. Harry says:

    Maybe if more women had to worry about being left alone and not having any relationship opportunities, they'd be less quick to divorce their husbands. Divorced men often end up with a lot of expenses related to the ex-wife and kids, if they have any. Perhaps the younger women they can date is a fair consolation. And like his money, house and car, as well as his kids, you'd like to take that comfort and consolation away, too? Why am I not surprised?

  4. Harry says:

    That's your problem.

  5. Shannon says:


  6. Does that mean you have had similar experiences?

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  9. 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

  10. sheilapierson says:

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

  11. Achomu Lawrence says:

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

  12. 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.

  13. Triston says:

    Victim? No where did she say victim? The yoga teacher threw that in there. You don't have to be victim to be harassed, bothered or bugged. Victim implies, how you are using it, with your contempt and defensiveness, and the snarky responses that followed, that the woman is a victim. She is the recepient of unwanted attention by sleezy older dudes, and believe me, there are many. Men who think they are all that, when if many cases, the come across as entitled and thinking they have earned the right to bother women,and that younger women will be attracted to them. The poster didn't say she wasn't taking responsibility for her environment, and interesting that you are blaming her for who she has to deal with. Wow, your response was very telling and actually very sad- blame the woman for having to deal with jerks. Wow. You come across as blaming the ladies for somehow attracting a##holes, even in casual encounters. Women get approached and bothered and we have to try and be polite and say please go away. Yet you see that as being victims? And seeing the repsonses below, see you have an agreeable audience.

  14. Triston says:

    Go for you !! The replies to your post were just an example of exactly what you were describing. I posted a response and we will see if it shows up.

  15. 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.

  16. Samantha says:

    It's very clear you are not a biologist, or not a very educated one, since a women's fertility is at its peak in her mid to late twenties. It seems like you are trying to justify dating teens without saying it straight up. Just saying… your post can be taken the wrong way.

  17. Samantha says:


  18. Tracy says:

    Nice!!! Thank you for sharing! As an older woman dating a younger man, it's my biggest fear! It's good to know there are men out there willing to look past their egos and love just to love!!!! You have given me hope!!! 🙂

  19. mmm says:

    "Men need physical and visual stimulation to get aroused sexually, women usually need feelings of safety and caring, nesting, and to admire their partner in a slower burning build up to sex (Unless they're drunk)." – What???? Perhaps you are just very unattractive so a woman has never been hot for you? All the women I know, including myself, need physical and visual stimulation to orgasm. Feeling safe and admiring someone does not make a woman wet. I really can't get over your perception of women. Uh, and women like porn too. It's like you are writing about some madonna ideal you have about women and not actual women. Also, I was never turned on by old men when I was in my teens and twenties. The few women I did know who dated older men used them for their money and then laughed about them behind their backs and had sex with hot guys their age in order to get actual sexual satisfaction. They did like the vacations and presents and trips to nice restaurants the old guys provided. But turned on by their mentoring? Uh, nope.

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. Simone says:

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

  23. tanya says:

    Honestly I feel sorry for any woman young or old that ends up with any Man in this group. The article lost me the moment it was clear that it was totally except able for men but women are cougars. Its deplorable really the whole article is just justifying parts of the ego self that one does not want to let go of.

    I have a fair number of younger men that approach me. I have always had a strict 5 year rule, which I am quickly adjusting as I find men in my age group, whom I can tell by the responses above you mostly are, are still seeped in the old patriarchal paradigm. Younger men seem to be not so programmed to this and I actually am treated more of an equal in relating.

    The man whom finally to say what the hell , I m going for it!! I am stable I love myself, my life is established, I do not NEED a damn thing from him. He is kind he is sweet, he talks to me tenderly and mystically. He is 16 years younger than me. He acts more mature than any man near my age that I have met in the last year. I struggled with this. It was not a "cougar" (I hate that term).

    He has his life together , he loves himself and there is not a thing he needs form me to make him complete either.
    Its pretty radical but we like each other.

    I am at the most confident and sensual and emotionally balanced place that I have ever been in my life. He is quite lucky because I feel more sensually alive and charged than ever, and he has the stamina of his youthfulness to accommodate.

    And I have never had a lick of surgery. I take care of myself and believe in the power of Tantra.

    What about people being together because its thr right thing for the time. I expect bliss form our union but i am letting go of outcome.

    Good day Souls may you all find Love and acceptance and wholeness and honoring of your self first , so that one day you can honor others in reverence, not in what you have to gain.

  24. tanya says:

    Honestly all this is why ^^^^^^^^^ why we have such skewed ideas ^^^^ I understand it is programming …. you cannot help it …. soon the day is soon… awareness will be prevalent.