He leaned out, and I thought he was going to ask me for directions, but instead he asked me how old I was. ‘Damn, you got some big titties for such a little girl.’ He made this gross smacking sound with his lips, and sped away. “I want to know,” she asks, “why do older men hit on younger women?

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Added to that sadness is the very unfair truth that a woman’s salad days are shorter than a man’s—really, in this precise context, only from about 15 to 20.

Remarkably, the “family values” editors at America’s flagship conservative journal let this nonsense run, perhaps because they accepted what he was saying as gospel truth: 15- and 16-year-old girls are more sexually alluring to normal adult men than are women in their late 20s.

“It’s not just me,” she adds, “it happens to most of my friends, almost regardless of what they look like or what they’re wearing.

It makes me feel like I can’t trust anyone, like all men want just one thing. ” ♦◊♦ I’ve been writing and researching about relationships between older men and younger women since 2005.

While most men and women alike are appalled by stories of adult men hitting on 12-year-olds, we still assume that men will “naturally” lust after young women just a few years older.

In 2005, John Derbyshire, a much-admired right-wing pundit at the It is, in fact, a sad truth about human life that beyond our salad days, very few of us are interesting to look at in the buff.While the media is hyping the “cougar” phenomenon, they ignore the reality that in most age-disparate affairs the man is the older (sometimes, as in the case of Hugh Hefner, astoundingly older) partner.We take it for granted that many men in their 30s, 40s, and 50s will be more sexually attracted to younger women than to their peers.But Derbyshire wasn’t telling us a truth about women’s beauty—he was telling us a truth about the way we’ve socialized male desire.In my office, Amber is telling me a familiar story.She’s come to talk about her autobiography paper for my women’s studies class, and she reads part of her rough draft aloud.