Can an Older Woman-Younger Man Relationship Work?

Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2022
older man-younger woman relationship
Are relationships between older women and younger men doomed? Or can they work?

Age should not be a barrier to love and companionship. There is no reason why a relationship between an older woman and younger man cannot work long term, provided both partners are committed and willing to put in the work.

As older woman-younger man relationships have become more common, especially on social media, people’s perceptions have changed and there is less judgement surrounding this type of age gap. Dynamics are similar to that of older man-younger woman relationships, which are more common and less criticized.

Why some older women like younger men

  • Older women can be attracted to younger men because they are in peak physical condition and are a natural fit for an energetic lifestyle.
  • Women who have remained motivated to take care of their health and stay fit could want to date a man who is a decade younger but looks almost their age.
  • Because of her greater relationship experience, an older woman may feel more capable of handling the ups and downs of a relationship, especially if she has been able to transform her insecurities into learning experiences for both her and her young lover
  • Because she has more experience in the bedroom, she may feel she can mold him into exactly the kind of lover she wants and have her ideal sex life.
  • Dating often gets progressively difficult for women as they age. Many older women date younger guys simply because most men of their age are either married, in a relationship, or not interested in dating.
  • Older women are often financially stable and independent than their younger male partners. There may be an exciting thrill of taking the lead and being able to control financial matters, such as buying her younger lover gifts, taking him out on dates, and even taking him shopping.
  • Younger men in their 20s have fewer things to worry about, which can make them more fun-loving and spontaneous.
  • An older woman may look forward to dating a younger man because it feeds her ego and self-esteem.
  • An older woman may have a nurturing nature, which the young man fulfills.

Why some younger men like older women

  • Younger men may feel like there is so much to learn from older women because they are wiser and better at coping with difficult situations in life. 
  • Older women tend to be more self-assured and self-confident, and not just focused on starting a family. This may be especially attractive to ambitious young men who want to expand themselves intellectually.
  • Young men often respect and admire the hard work, dedication, and persistence an older woman has put in to rise in the ranks of her profession or career. 
  • Younger men may want to see themselves as the hero, someone his partner genuinely wants and needs to have around.
  • The attention of an older woman may boost their confidence and self-esteem.
  • They may subconsciously crave a mother figure or parental figure in their life.

When the relationship can work

Any relationship between two people has its challenges, and older woman-younger man relationships are no different. At times, the gap in mindsets, financial security, goals, experience etc. that comes with May-December romances can be overwhelming, both in the bedroom and in daily life.

However, people fall in love with a person, not their age. As long as you are in love and for the right reasons, your relationship can work.


Which chemical is known simply as the "hormone of love?" See Answer

Can erectile dysfunction ruin a relationship?

impotence imposes on relationships
Erectile dysfunction (ED) can lead to a loss of intimacy in a relationship that can affect the mental well-being of both partners.

Erectile dysfunction (ED) can lead to a loss of intimacy in a relationship that can affect the mental well-being of both partners. ED is defined as persistent difficulty achieving and maintaining an erection sufficient for penetrative sex. Causes of ED are usually medical, but they can also be psychological.

Many men experience occasional failure to achieve an erection, which can occur for various reasons, such as drinking too much alcohol, stress, relationship problems or being extremely tired. However, it is estimated that about 1 in 10 adult males have ED on a long-term basis. 

ED can lead to a loss of intimacy in a marriage or relationship and affect the mental well-being of both partners. To combat this, couples can help deal with ED in the following ways:

  • Open communication
  • Couples counseling
  • Thorough knowledge about ED

Moreover, doctors and therapists can help couples manage the condition and understand treatment options.

What is the physiology of penile erection?

Erectile dysfunction (ED) can occur because of problems at any stage of the erection process. An erection is the result of increased blood flow to the penis. Blood flow is usually stimulated by either sexual thoughts or direct contact.

When a man is sexually excited, the muscles in his penis relax. This allows for increased blood flow through the penile arteries, filling two chambers inside the penis. As the chambers fill with blood, the penis grows rigid. The erection ends when the muscles contract and accumulated blood can flow out through the penile veins.

What causes erectile dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction (ED) can be caused by numerous factors including:

  • Vascular disease: Blood supply to the penis can become blocked or narrowed because of vascular disease such as atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).
  • Neurological disorders (such as multiple sclerosis): Nerves that send impulses to the penis can become damaged from stroke, diabetes or other causes.
  • Psychological states: These include stress, depression, lack of stimulus from the brain and performance anxiety.
  • Trauma: An injury could contribute to the symptoms of ED.
  • Medications: Several prescription drugs may treat a disease or condition, but can affect a man's hormones, nerves or blood circulation, resulting in ED as a side effect.
  • Operations: Operations for prostate, bladder and colon cancer may also be contributing factors to ED.

How is erectile dysfunction diagnosed?

Erectile dysfunction (ED) can be diagnosed as follows:

  • Physical exam: This might include careful examination of the penis and testicles, as well as checking the nerves for sensation.
  • Blood tests: A sample of blood is sent to a lab to check for signs of heart disease, diabetes, low testosterone levels and other health conditions.
  • Urinalysis (urine tests): Like blood tests, urine tests are used to look for signs of diabetes and other underlying health conditions.
  • Ultrasound: Involves holding a transducer (wand-like device) over the blood vessels that supply the penis to create a video image and see any blood flow problems. This test is sometimes performed in combination with an injection of medications into the penis to stimulate blood flow and produce an erection (penile tumescence studies).
  • Psychological exam: This involves asking questions to screen for depression and other possible psychological causes of ED.

How is erectile dysfunction treated?

The first step to treat erectile dysfunction (ED) is to find the underlying cause, and then, appropriate treatment can begin. The type of medical specialist who treats ED will depend on the cause of the problem. Once determined, numerous non-surgical and surgical options can help a man regain his normal sexual function.

ED can be treated in many ways, such as:

  • Oral medications
  • Sex therapy
  • Penile injections
  • Vacuum devices
  • Intraurethral medication
  • Surgery (penile implant)

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Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2022
Leshnoff J. Cougars and Their Cubs: Older Women Dating Significantly Younger Men. AARP.

Warren CAB. Older Women, Younger Men: Self and Stigma in Age-Discrepant Relationships. Clin Socio Rev. 1996;14(1): 62-86.