I’m dating a younger man and sex is more fun than it’s ever been

Karen Krizanovich
Daily Mail
8 Min Read
Young man embracing senior woman holding red paper heart against black background
Young man embracing senior woman holding red paper heart against black background Credit: Photographer: Jan Jefferson/moodboard - stock.adobe.com

First, you should know that I have a thing about straight noses. And that’s where it started, seeing his attractive classical profile as he walked in front of his desk.

It was a summer afternoon in London and I was interviewing for a job in an office still simmering from the day’s heat. The interview wasn’t going that well. The whole day seemed a washout except maybe for this handsome guy.

On my way out after the interview, I stopped at his desk to say hello. I heard music coming from his computer speakers, and asked if it was the theme from a film I liked.

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Turns out, it was. We chatted more about movies. Against the odds, I got the job and we became friends.

Little did I then know that “meet cute” over film music would lead to a relationship. He was good-looking but in his 30s, while I was nearing 50.

Yet when I heard the plot of the new rom-com, The Idea Of You, in which Anne Hathaway plays a 40-year-old mother and divorcée who falls in love with the 24-year-old star of a boy band — in short, beautiful older woman gets together with equally beautiful young man — I was strongly reminded of my own dalliance, and now long-term relationship, with the man I met that day in the office.

In the film, we see that the pop star Hayes Campbell, played by Nicholas Galitzine, is immediately smitten, almost breathless.

Hathaway’s glamorous art gallery owner, Solène Marchand, is bemused but interested, reeling with disbelief at her own feelings.

When the romantic thunderbolt strikes, you just go with it. As Solène says to Hayes: ‘If you get a shot at happiness, you take it and I will too.’

Who wouldn’t take a leap of faith to be happy?

Attraction is not bound by age. In fact, it can be created by mere kindness and proximity, or romantic chemistry, or all of the above.

Honestly, I didn’t notice his youth. Asking him about that time, he says he didn’t think of me as an ‘older woman’. This wasn’t cradle-snatching; nor was he after a cougar. I wasn’t rubbing my hands together saying: ‘Oh, fresh meat!’ Neither of us was looking for a relationship. It just happened.

The younger man/older woman dynamic has been a popular trope for decades, but traditionally comes with a big old dollop of disapproval. Her age is either fetishised, or he is a victim of her predatory ways. Think The Graduate with Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft (1967), or Daniel Craig and Anne Reid in The Mother (2003) or any production of Sunset Boulevard.

Yet Hollywood often catches the spirit of the times before the rest of the world catches up, and The Idea Of You ditches the old cliches for a more nuanced approach.

Instead, it shows the heartbreaking problems other people cause when they think a woman is too old for her partner, or that her partner is too young to know what he’s doing.

In the real world now, of course, it’s not so unusual to find an older woman dating a younger man. My own relationship with the “toyboy” — a word I never use — has lasted seven years. And yet some people still feel upset by our ten-year age gap, as if it’s personally their business.

In The Idea Of You, Solène’s ex-husband strongly disapproves, for example, and while my own has not rolled his eyes at me, I’ve often been on the receiving end of sharp comments and crass assumptions from others.

When strangers discover we’re “boyfriend and girlfriend”, they don’t hold back their opinions. “Is that your son? Are you really together?” Even my mother asks whether I’m “still dating that boy?” with a gleam in her eye. She likes him but thinks he is too young for me.

And if people say nothing, I can still often read their thoughts on their faces. ‘What on earth do you think you’re doing? is the gist of it.

We, on the other hand, think them ageist, provincial and meddlesome.

If there has been an explosion of older women dating younger men recently, we can blame dating apps.

I found trying to date anyone “age appropriate” online quite impossible. When my last relationship broke up, I went on every app available and had drinks with a much larger variety of men than I would ever meet in real life. I tried to date men my age, but they showed no interest whatsoever. My guess is they wanted a younger woman. I look okay naked, but of course I’m not 19 years old.

I think lots of men have been burned by divorce and bad relationships and don’t want someone who reminds them, in age at least, of their ex. I think they want someone more impressionable, and we older women know our own minds too well.

Not that I’ll ever know why I was rejected: I got precious little feedback from these men. One shook my hand after we had drinks and simply said: “Thanks, bye.”

Another, who owned a turkey farm, sent me a bizarre video of him having sex with a young woman who was wearing exotic gold jewellery and not very much more. I assume he was sending a message that he didn’t need someone like me.

The older men I met just seemed, in general, brittle and indifferent. Meanwhile, the young men were practically forming a queue.

Which led me to another discovery while on these apps: a lot of this trans-generational dating is simply about sex on tap. Perhaps it was naive not to realise sooner, but we women in our 40s, 50s and even older are like catnip to young men who are genuinely eager to have new sexual experiences. Far be it from me to judge.

And yet Young Movie Music Guy turned out to be a long-term prospect. Lucky me. Yes, he is fit, with a full head of luxurious rose gold hair and great legs, but he’s also funny and forgiving. And perhaps most surprising of all, he fast became my best friend.

One thing I learned from my last divorce is that if a man isn’t your friend, he can’t be a good partner.

Yes, he may be great in bed, wonderful looking, stylish and exciting — but he’s not going to be there for you when it matters if he’s not a kind man, too.

He won’t, as my partner does, come with you to visit your mother in a nursing home. He won’t take your niece to the hospital when she comes off a horse, or go to the airport when the airline loses your luggage. He may be ten years younger than me, but he’s a better cook and he makes me laugh on a daily basis.

Yes, there are cultural differences — we listened to different music in our teens and watched different television — but since I’m American and he’s British, there were bound to be cultural differences anyway.

Not that my attraction to him is all mental and emotional. When it comes to biology, there are many pluses to dating a younger man.

Everyone wants to know about our sex life but they’re all afraid to ask outright because maybe they also don’t really want to know. I suspect the first thing someone thinks when they see us together is: ‘He must be good in bed and she must be having the time of her life.’ Well, yes and yes.

Certainly, sex can be the glue to any relationship, but also the sticking point if it stops happening. But intimacy doesn’t have to be mattress-pounding sex. It can be a silly word, a funny face or a loving touch in the morning before anyone is awake enough.

Whenever friends do ask about our sex life, my age is obviously the central topic. Doesn’t menopause cause a problem? Do you find you’re just as confident? Doesn’t he tire you out? Aren’t you annoyed by his constant demands for sex? Actually, no. None of those things.

Other friends will say that it must be great not to worry about erectile dysfunction, bald patches or trying to find a hole punch to let out his belt — things they’ve admitted they are experiencing with their husbands.

Look, a younger man is typically fitter than an older one and that means the sex will be better.

But here’s the thing: my boyfriend comes from a generation where fitness is important. Staying fit is something they want to do for themselves, while many men of my age find the whole thing a nuisance. So, yes, there is no waiting for blue pills to work and no fretting about either of us being disappointed.

When friends ask if he wants to have sex more than me (and frankly it isn’t any of their business), I tell them no. I genuinely haven’t felt outgunned in that department.

Then again, I am not afraid of instigating it. My mother’s advice has served me well: “If you’re not in the mood, do it anyway because you’ll soon get into the mood.”

I can honestly say sex is more fun than it has ever been, and I am sure other people are jealous!

Like Solène and Hayes, however, we also spend a lot of time talking. We don’t pretend to get along, we actually do get along.

We try to make the other person happy without denying happiness to ourselves. Since there are no children either from this relationship or any previous ones, we have the time to devote to each other without interruptions.

We also have time to be silly — a luxury that so many people do not create for themselves. Being silly and having time is sexy. Wanting to spend time together is also sexy. Win-win.

There’s another plus to dating a younger man, which is that he has less emotional baggage than someone older. Because of that, they encourage you to let go of those old things you’ve been hanging onto. He sees you as someone new, so you start seeing yourself that way too.

Sure, go ahead and call him a toyboy. Say that I’m the cat that got the cream. With a younger partner, I feel I have a new future. The horizon is wide, with plenty of possibilities and ideas that I simply didn’t have before.

For me, right now, I’m having a wild old time. I have a successful, nurturing relationship that provides the foundation of a great day-to-day life.

Like Solène and Hayes, it feels as though we are destined to be together, no matter what the naysayers think.

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