Can Young Girls Really Seduce Older Men?

No, it’s just another lazy excuse of male weakness, writes Hugo Schwyzer.

Please note that this column may prove triggering for some.

Can a little girl really seduce a grown man?

I was asked that question this week by a friend of mine, a graduate student whose dissertation looks at evolving attitudes towards sexual abuse. In the course of her research, my friend met a woman in her 40s who, over a series of interviews, repeatedly insisted that she’d been a “little Lolita” in her own preteen years. Deborah (not her real name, of course) wanted to make it clear that, as she put it, “grade-school girls can have sexual agendas too.”

Deborah, now a mother of teens herself, told my friend that when she was 11, she’d started taking private piano lessons. Her teacher was a married man in his 30s, and he gave these lessons out of his home while his wife was away. Deborah was desperate for affection, and she thought her piano teacher was “very handsome.” She cuddled up to him on the piano bench, and eventually worked her way up to sitting in his lap.

One day, she felt his erection driving against her. Deborah had secretly read her mother’s copy of The Joy of Sex; she knew—or thought she knew—what an erect penis meant. As she put it to my friend, she “delighted in knowing he was turned on,” and began to move around on his lap. Her teacher moaned and clasped her tighter; Deborah reported that it “felt really good.” When it was over, he sent her home angrily. But he didn’t cancel their next lesson, and soon she was in his lap again. Their sexual relationship only ended when Deborah and her family moved away.

In Deborah’s telling of the story, she was the pursuer and her teacher the pursued. That she was a preteen and he in his 30s was irrelevant. As she insisted to my friend, “sometimes girls are stronger than grown men.” Deborah seemed to remember the relationship with a mixture of pride and shame, noting that her teacher seemed powerless to resist her. “He always told me it would never happen again. But it always did.”

I’ve told my friend to refer Deborah to therapy. But I wanted to write about this story because it fits in well with one of the most troubling aspects of the myth of male weakness: the idea that adult men might be powerless to resist the charms of a seductive teen (or even pre-teen) girl. Deborah isn’t the only person who believes that girls might be responsible for seducing adult men. Listen to the chorus of complaints about how provocatively teens and tweens are dressed, and you’ll hear at least a few notes of concern that adolescents might be sending the “wrong message” to adult men. Call it the “Lolita Myth”: the idea that pubescent girls have the power to cause men many times their age to lose all sense of right and wrong.


We see this theme in pornography. One of the staples of written erotica (both in serious literature and in modern porn) is that of the very young girl who seduces a much older man. A little Googling led to one website, “The Young Girl Erotic Repository.” It features an archive of stories, most of which feature the same thing: girls 12-16 (or even younger) seducing their uncles, teachers, pastors, and—astonishingly often—their own fathers. These little “nymphets” are invariably the aggressors, hungry for experience. The older men they pursue usually try to resist, pleading morality or common sense, but inevitably fall prey to the intensity of their own desire for these girls. It’s not hard to see that these stories are carefully crafted to alleviate the guilt of child molesters. But the mindset they reflect is one held by many who aren’t pedophiles.

I’ve heard stories like Deborah’s more than once. Most of the therapists I’ve talked to about this story have heard them as well. So I’m quite confident that some young girls (but far fewer than are imagined by a certain kind of pornographer) do try to seduce older men. Many children are hungry for attention, and many girls, sadly, have learned that the best way to get that attention is through their sexuality. And as psychologists have been telling us for generations, pre-pubescent children are capable of sexual feelings. In some instances, such as Deborah’s, a sexual encounter with an adult might genuinely “feel really good.” As I’ve written before, we make a huge mistake by assuming that the victims of sexual abuse never feel pleasure.

Rightly concerned as we are about the sexualization of young children, we need to be careful to remember that teens and tweens are sexual. Children and adolescents need the space and the freedom with which to develop their own healthy sexualities, free from the unhelpful encouragement to “be sexy” for others and from the equally toxic pressure to repress all of their desires until marriage. And one key way we help young girls develop a healthy sexuality that is theirs alone is by creating a culture in which they don’t see themselves as objects of adult male desire. That means the onus is solely on adult men to set and maintain good boundaries.


Some teens do want, or think they want, sexual attention from older men. But the reality that underage girls (be they 11 or 17) occasionally behave seductively towards older men doesn’t mean that older men can “be seduced.” The word “seduce” means “to be led away” or “to be led astray.” No adult is so weak that he (or she) is powerless to refuse sexual temptation, much less from a child. As powerful as the libido is, it is not so strong as to trump the will. Testosterone may drive desire, but unless a man has sustained significant trauma to the moral center of his brain, hormones can’t override the power to choose. (Hint: an erection doesn’t constitute significant trauma to the right temporo-parietal junction.)

Deborah’s piano teacher had a choice as every man has a choice. The fact that she was blatantly seductive doesn’t in any way mitigate his responsibility to have chosen differently, just as the fact that she may have experienced both power and pleasure from what took place change the reality that she was sexually abused. There is no ambiguity when it comes to sex between adults and minors. An adult always has both the ability and the obligation to resist a seductive child. A child may grow up, as Deborah did, with an enduring sense of responsibility for a sexual relationship with an adult. But what Deborah needs to hear is that no matter how sexually aggressive she may have been, she was not in any way the architect of what happened.

There is no gray area here. Grown men who outsource their self-control to grown women underestimate their own capacity for reflection and restraint. Grown men who outsource that control to little girls—even little girls with women’s bodies—use the myth of male weakness to justify the unspeakable.

—Photo MaltaGirl/Flickr

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. Girls become “sexualized” at a much earlier age than they did two generations ago. I have heard girls as young as 8 say that they like “wieners”–possibly because they have been interacting with some boy in their age range in an inappropiate manner. Add to that the fact that the media bombards tweens with images of intense sexual content. Katy Perry’s song “Peacock” ain’t about birds, and ten year old girls know it. Bratz dollas, which were popular a few years back, aren’t the “sexless” Barbie dolls that girls played with years ago, but dolls that present a teeneage girl’s image of being a slut. I’ve seen girls engage in relationships with older boys when they were as young as 10. Once a girl has learned about the birds and the bees and seems to like it, age is just a number to them. We need to educate kids better and establish taboos that are lines not be crossed.

  2. I’ve always considered myself as a Lolita. Since I was young I’ve always been fascinated with the seduction of older men, especially teachers. I’ve always wanted older men’s attention and not even the attention of boys my age. I could honestly care less about what they think of me. I’m 16 now and have a sexual relationship with a 32 year old, who in my eyes is still a bit young for my taste. I don’t have “daddy issues” and I honesty don’t consider myself a slut. It’s what I like. So, from what I’ve seen, men become powerless when a young, new body wants them. It makes them feel young again, and who doesn’t want their youth revitalised?

    • People who don’t attach their self worth to their age? No matter what their age is? What happens as you age yourself Naomi?

      Youth is fleeting, you can’t hold onto it. Men that date you to feel young again are still the same age they were before. And for the short term, you might make them feel good. But the don’t feel good because they value you. They feel good because they buy into the lie that your age, your young age, says something about their worth. Do you think that as you get older, you will make them feel the same way? What will you do when you are 32 yourself? Do you really want a man to want you because it’s your youth that makes him feel good? Your youth says nothing about who you are as a person. It says nothing about what you really offer. And one day, you won’t be so young anymore. And I know you won’t like this but 32 year old men that date 16 year old girls are really not the kind of men you should really want to be. They are not healthy men. You shouldn’t want to be used for your age. But your 16. And the reality is that despite how mature you think you are or how much you think you know, you don’t know nearly as much as you believe.

      Do the people who care about you know of this relatoinship you are having with this 32 year old man?

      I don’t think you are a “slut” either. Actually, no woman is a “slut”. Women have a sexuality just like men do and there is nothing to be ashamed with in that. But there is something not quiet right with your desire to seduce older men. And while you may or may not have “daddy issues”, there is certainly something going on that you are more interested in men much older then you then boys your own age. It’s not healthy.

      • Hank Vandenburgh says:

        As a senior (who has dated far younger women,) I find (or think anyway) that some of this is Misgerocy (hatred of seniors – which Haidt has documented in The Righteous Mind.) I’ve said before here that I think that many younger women do a memory revision when they realize that their past relationships with older men are socially proscribed. A very common relationship is for a male intellectual or artistic mentor to have a far younger erotic mentee. Yes, she’s going to leave him as part of her development– but…these relationships are going to go on to the end of time in our society. Let’s be accepting of them, rather than just play the norm cartoon.

        • But which seniors are being hated? Are Senior men hating Senior women which is why they date younger women or are Senior men being hated for purposely going for younger women?

          To me, it seems like we hate on older women more than we hate on older men. Hence why younger women WILL date older men but older men do not find as much value in their female counterparts as they do women who are younger than them.

          • Hank Vandenburgh says:

            An older woman is much more easy and fun in a relationship. And they’re frequently more attractive too. I do think there’s something to sibling rank order in terms of sexual preferences. I’m an oldest brother so I have an attraction to women my age or younger. I slept with one (1) woman older than I am, and the experience was hot, but, as I explained in another thread, I couldn’t make an energy connection with her. I don’t think we hate on older women at all, but I’ve never looked into this, so I don’t know. If you mean we’re not (as a society) as sexually attracted to them, I think you’re right, if we’re just going on surface. Haidt’s idea was that, in general, people disapproved of seniors (not sexually per se, but in a sort of moral, judgmental sense.) I do think that there’s a problem with excessive dating of younger women by older men (this is a patriarchal tendency – see Mormon polygamy.) This takes younger men out of the sexual loop, and socially isolates them– dangerous. It explains much about why the Middle East is wild (well probably because there are no jobs for younger men is more important.) But I’m not a Kantian so I don’t use the moral imperative, and I don’t see myself arguing for “policy.” So if the magic is there with a woman, maybe a man can be lovers with her– or perhaps others too.

            • I don’t get it Hank. You say older wome nare much more easy and fun in a relationshpi and they are frequiently more attractive too, yet you say you date women only younger or your own age. Can you see my confusion?

              You only slept with one older woman but I am sure you slept with countless younger ones even when you did or didn’t have the right energy for a relationship. (Correct me if I am wrong.)

              I do think there is a general hate for older women in our society. I think that older men like to believe they are better than women in general, whether older or younger.

              By the way, I don’t think we as a society are more attracted to older men sexually either. I just think there is a lot of media out there that really tries to push the idea that older men are just as sexy as younger ones because men do not want to largely loose their patriarchial power.

              Sometimes I admit i wish i was a man because then my sexuality would last much longer and I wouldn’t be hated on just because I got older. As a woman, I am going to be hated on for getting older. Even by men who are my own peers who wil lbelieve they are better than me just because they are men who have more privilage in the world as older men than older women are given. Men are lucky. Women are apparently just worthless unless they are young and hot enough of being worthy of a young or old man’s attention.

            • Hank Vandenburgh says:

              Erin, your sexuality and attractiveness are going to last as long as you want them to. You express yourself well and assertively, so I can only conclude that you’re attractive. I didn’t sleep with countless women. Being a young adult in the 60s and in my case thinking sexuality was spiritually pretty important, I did sleep with quite a few women, but, interestingly, I’d known the vast majority of them for years or months first. I hardly know anyone much older than me now. I’m 68. There’s a woman about 75 that I’d sleep with, I like her so much, but both of us are married. I’ve lived polyamorously much of my life, but not currently. I think we have it reversed in terms of attractiveness. We’re actually attracted to most of the people we meet, but we suppress it because of fear. I don’t think it’s anything like sexual commodification (in the best sense, what I’m talking about) it’s more like people all glow if you are in the right place psychologically. Do we have the energy, time, and caring to have intercourse, oral sex, or anything orgasmic with them all?– no! And deep sexuality is fraught because it makes us vulnerable to people we have it with. I don’t think that there are any whole people who think they’re better than you. There are people who take that stance, but, if they do, it’s a sign of their own injury. It’s ironic, not real. I guess I was trying to be funny with Haidt’s observation that people look down on seniors.

            • Hank Vandenburgh says:

              I guess I should also say that I’ve pretty much always been interested in having relationships as opposed to quick sex and leave.

      • Men and women can both be “sluts”. While the original definition of a slut was 1. an untidy or dirty woman 2. a kitchen maid, it has obviously since degraded into an insult lobbed at prostitues i.e. dirty which then came to mean a woman who sleeps with men/women she isn’t married to. But by that definition, a man who sleeps with women/men he’s not married to, can also be called a slut. But there’s already a good word that covers both men and women who do this: Fornicators. So technically, by definition, some women are sluts i.e. untidy or kitchen maids.

        ~The More You Know~

      • Well as naïve as you feel 17-till you think they matured, your reflecting yourself in this figure it seems .. I wonder how much effort you apply into shouting out against 18yr olds enlisting in the military? and rotc ie the military in schools molding them to help make this choice .. your so concerned about the relationship they choose, what about life long career decisions? Or the death that can result in a military choice . Unlike you the law and our Government has a different view then you about how old someone is to make an informed enough decision on their choice and holds them accountable for their decisions. I have been with a someone since they were 18 now they are 33 and I am 45 the most noticeable change is they do not want to go out as much . from my experience ..and can hold a better conversation because of learning about various topics not because they have matured she is a smart as always but like learning a new trade gained information to use with her mind, so I disagree with you .. you would allow them to make all sorts of other choices yet in a relationship one not ? or do you feel various other choices should be Taken away as well? are you also against military choices or any other life long choices? at least if they leave a relationship it does not result in a “bad mark” on their records, right?

  3. Notice how the author of this crappy article treats Deborah – who is a grown woman – like a child? Even though Deborah repeatedly gives her take on what happened the author completely dismisses her thoughts and opinions because they don’t agree with his world view. The author is a complete sexist because he discounts Deborah’s explanation of what happened. Even worse he pulls out the “psycho woman” card and says because her explanation of what happened with her piano teacher is not in agreement with his opinions he calls her crazy and says she needs therapy. Maybe this author would actually listened to women when they speak instead of calling them crazy when their take on things disagrees with him.

    • Hear hear! I thought that also. I also had an experience as a 14 year old male. I went after a 23 year old woman and seduced her. I planned it out and carried through with it. I knew what I was doing at the time and in hindsight, I wouldn’t change a thing. I lost my virginity to a woman who society and the law would call a rapist. She did not rape me in anyway, regardless of what the law or anyone else has to say. I did it on my terms and I’m glad I did. Do I need therapy Hugo?

      For me, it was kinda like That’s My Boy, only she wasn’t my teacher, just a hot older woman that I wanted to bang.

  4. Hank Vandenburgh says:

    This isn’t as bad as the comments and articles that scold men for sleeping with adult women when there’s a huge age difference, but it does demonstrate (without meaning to) that bodies don’t necessarily conform to laws and social norms.

  5. That’s unspeakable! I for one am glad you chose not to give her the sexually satisfying abuse she craved.

  6. You guys are all delusional. Females are the ones that decide which males they are going to have sex with period. You can pass laws and you can say it is deviant like you did with gays and that stopped homosexuality except it didn’t. Now your saying that girls having sex with older men are damaged and they need counseling and the men need to go to jail. But over thirty years ago when my brother married his now ex when she was sixteen and he was twenty six no one cared. Especially since it was her idea. Flash forward thirty years and he would go to jail today because she got him to get her pregnant so they could get married. Human’s have progressed a great deal in thirty years girls today are a lot more advance then they were thirty years ago because they are better fed and better educated. We also tell them that they are equal to men except of course when it comes to choosing sex partners then they are all victims. We spend time and money trying to stop the most unstoppable thing in the universe consensual sex instead going after the rapists, human traffickers and assorted abusers because it’s much easier to throw some teenager in jail for banging his barely underage girlfriend then going after organized crime and besides a lot of our financial institutions and politically organization make a lot of money off the slave trade. Why don’t you guys stop trying to demonize men and try accepting the idea that when it comes to consensual sex females are not victims. They are the aggressor and they always have been.

  7. Hi, how thoughtful to say such things I just would like to add what people fail to realize is the nature of and male and a female yes I do agree that he had a choice in the matter to stopping what happen but in reality u tell me what grown man could stop a young and beautiful growing girl from doing that ? Maybe in your dreams there is no shame in the desires that men have for women . Tell me how can a society create laws against men and there desire and on the same token create pornographic films movies and magazines exploiting the very bodies theywere suppose to be at least of what u call “saving their innocence”hthat’s very hypocritical if people understood the roles of which the very nature of human beings play there wouldn’t be debates about thus subject in reality I don’t care how religious u are how gay u are u will never be able to look in another man’syes and say you’ve NEVER desired to have sex be with or desire a younger woman this is just another topic that keeps people oppressed and confined to BS like this and
    Allah is the Best to know about His creation
    He knows best

  8. There is much grey area here. I am glad that someone finally brought this out in the open. Let me start by saying that the piano player definitely should of been able to resist the wiles of a eleven year old girl. However, despite her age, it sounds as if she was definitely the aggressor who tried to seduce and manipulate the piano player. She was the predator and he was the prey. Females often mature much earlier than males concerning the more complex areas of passion and sexuality. Men can often be very clumsy in this area. This is especially true of heterosexual males. This doesn’t mean that the piano player was a virgin. It just means that it is possible that he could of been immature in his emotional understanding of his sexuality and she may have been advanced for her age in this area. Therefore, she could have been the more mature one here who sought to get what she wanted at his expense by seducing and preying on his lack of depth in this area. Females in much different types of scenarios have been very often guilty of being the sexual predator in many situations. However, it most often goes unnoticed, because little is known about the nature in which female perpetrators commit their crimes.

  9. So, I read it all.
    First, I can’t stop thinking about how many students have Mr. Hugo “nailed”.
    Second, Mr. Erin, you could not be more wrong. Not only adults have the will power to resist temptation. Young adults have it either.
    You’re tripping badly if you really think that men are invulnerable to seduction, and you’re need a mental doctor, if you really think that men are the only ones to blame.
    And about “Naomi” up there: I’m pretty sure you have a life without any kind of pleasure. Sorry about that, but DO NOT try to drag down others.
    If “Naomi” is real, a lot of younger women (NOT CHILDREN) prefer older men for some reasons, as experience e and the chance to talk without some idiot asking her to expose herself, or anything like it.
    Mr. Hugo is as right as he might be, but you Mr. Erin, should look for professional help.

  10. Primal instincts and created laws are why people cross lines. She wanted it and so did he… We stop evolution by creating laws. What if older men are supposed to mate with younger women to create a superior species. Its natural instinct therefore it will never be stopped. I remember a long time ago two guys being gay was very forbidden, and now its no big deal to see. Eventually people will will accept older guys with younger females, even though currently it does make the court system a lot of money.

  11. in reading this and some comments theirs a vast difference in a preteen and an older teen preteens absolutely not mid teens rarely but15 to 18 the girls are often full grown physically and some emotionally and they do go looking dressing the part and even getting fake id setting internet identities so they are chasing and seducing
    and 18 is not a magic number as some people can be fairly mature at 16 and others i have met are still not at 35
    used to be just some men but women are showing there immaturity longer even after one or two kids by different men


  1. […] column at Good Men Project asks a simple question and gives an even simpler answer: Can Young Girls Really Seduce Older Men? […]

  2. […] another article he addresses the Lolita myth and the idea that men are helpless to resist the charms of a sexually […]

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