A Dating Paradigm Shift For Women in Their 30s

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About Hugo Schwyzer

Hugo Schwyzer has taught history and gender studies at Pasadena City College since 1993, where he developed the college's first courses on Men and Masculinity and Beauty and Body Image. He serves as co-director of the Perfectly Unperfected Project, a campaign to transform young people's attitudes around body image and fashion. Hugo lives with his wife, daughter, and six chinchillas in Los Angeles. Hugo blogs at his website


  1. Im not reading this Hugo, you are over using the word “slightly” I think, to assert your belief that its different women do it. Bit like the difference between male and female sex tourists, the first group are evil the second are poor dears seeking romance.

  2. I’ll say this….one of the main reasons I deleted my OKCupid profile (besides having more luck offline) was that I was HORRIFIED at the emotional states of many of the men I was meeting. Many of them – if not all – were fresh out of a relationship or marriage and completely emotionally shattered. And these were men 39-44 or so. I’m talking completely emotionally and spiritually broken. It was too hard and too frustrating.

    As Megan, Nicole, and others remarked, men in their 20s and early 30s seem both less stressed and less intimidated by women’s success than their slightly older counterparts.

    I tend to think this is a rationalization. I think younger men date older women for the sex. Finito. The younger guys will tolerate whatever to get sex from an “older” woman. Few have any intention of developing something long lasting or substantive. Most men are not intimidated by a successful or strong or sexually assertive woman. We’re seeing more of the men that are because of the whole paradigm shift going on due to the economy. Men being out of work does a number on their ego. They need to feel they are providing somehow, and when they can’t then they feel inadequate.

    • I don’t think’s its just about the sex. In fact, the guys who have approached me in the last couple years, with a relationship in mind… have all been younger than me. The guys who were older than me, all about being bachelors forever.

      • I agree with you anon. The focus on relationships is just as strong with younger men than with older men (we are talking within 8 years difference), I think the “just looking for sex” myth of younger man-older woman relationships applies much more when the age difference is greater than eight years.

    • “I think younger men date older women for the sex. Finito.”

      Exactly. Hugo should ask his self selected sample of friends how many of their relationships with younger men have lasted more than 3 months.

      • I don’t date men in my age group (30s to early 40s). My demographics tend to cover men from age 20-28 and then from 45-60. Why? I have zero desire to go back to family and babyland. I want men who I can have fun with. Men in those two age ranges are interested in doing that with me. They’re also not all wrapped up in their careers which means more time for play as well.
        Do I think my relationships with the younger men will last forever? Hell no! But I don’t think the odds are good for any relationship lasting much beyond 5 years anyways. I am not looking for a life partner.
        Although the younger men have always appreciated my sexuality, they have also always taken the relationship far more seriously than I have. So I don’t think it has always just been about sex.

    • anonymous says:

      #Jeni —Agreed, the emotional state of these divorced and clearly traumatized 37-45 year old men is a definite downer on my dating life. Just met an interesting 30 year old who is actually, to my surprise, rather mature and ready for a serious relationship. That’s my reason for doing some homework on how viable this could be for me. Just call me Bobcat!

      #Hugo—Great article! Thanks!

  3. Black Iris says:

    What strikes me about this is how small an age difference is considered dating a younger man. Many women date a guy four or five years older than them without thinking about it. Dating a guy your age or five years younger than you shouldn’t be seen as such a big deal.

  4. Let’s not forget also, a man in his 20′s is ready for “action” a lot faster and a lot more often than the average 40 something year old man. While this may not matter so much in a “one night stand”, I’m sure it matters a great deal in a relationship.

    • Henry Vandenburgh says:

      Well, golly, you couldn’t tell this by some of us older guys. See carreza, anyway. I was talking to a [younger] guy who said he hated it when the woman wanted sex more than he, and I said, “huh?”. As usual, this is a stereotype, and it also looks like Hugo is running out of article ideas. Can we agree not to have any more articles on age differences in sex, what “promiscuity” is, etc.?

      • A least he isn’t writing about porn every day. The front page of this blog is dominated recently by articles about porn.

  5. Interesting article. My current girlfriend is 29. I’m 24. She is more educated and makes more money than me. She has also travelled the world and has lived in different countries. I haven’t been outside of North America. She can also speak more languages than me too. And I’m perfectly fine with all of this.

  6. This is ridiculous. The woman has to be very attractive to pull this off. A 29-year-old man might date a mid-30s woman, but he is not going to settle down and marry her unless she is much more attractive than the women he is used to dating or he is desperate.

  7. 32, Female says:

    Yes it is about the sex – for me at least. I’m not in a position in my life where I can stop and date a man for an extended period of time unless I know he has all of the makings of the one I want to marry. Ultimately, I’d like to marry someone in my age range. But right now I’m still focused on my career. if I wasted time in a relationship that’s not going anywhere, I would miss out on “the one”, and it would also divert my attention from building my career. But I still want to be intimate with someone. I still want to have sex. A younger man is perfect, because sexually, our age range is a perfect match. We’re BOTH in our sexual peak. Our sex drive is equivalent. Younger men tend to be a little more “all over the place”, and that is acceptable to me, because I’m not looking to tie anyone down. And….. luckily, I look like I’m 24.


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