‘Ask Ophelia’ Question #2
A couple of weeks ago I received a question regarding something that has not been uncommon throughout history – the age gap. Many people wonder: what pair of ages are socially or even morally acceptable for a sexual relationship to exist?
“Is it possible for a youngish woman to consider making love with an old man? He was gorgeous when younger, now a ‘nice looking’ very old man. He still knows how to fulfill a woman, but he is old. A tongue is a tongue, and even better when it’s knowledgeable. What do you think?”
Here’s What I Think:
Whether it’s sexual orientation, gender, age, or the car we drive, all that really matters is one thing right? That we’re happy; that it’s what we want. But we have to be careful to assess our future happiness and not just rely on our feelings in the moment.
Regarding age and intimacy, just follow your intuition. If you’re attracted to the person and are inclined to get intimate with them, you probably should. You know what you want, and you wouldn’t be questioning it if society hadn’t put such a stigma on age gaps in relationships. You’re right – “a tongue is a tongue,” and having too much wisdom or experience has never been a hindrance in the history of sex.
However, don’t forget to think about the future. Think less along the lines of “What will my family think,” and more logistically like if you have the coping skills and strength to deal with any adverse reactions to your relationship. While we shouldn’t care what others think nor make decisions with more regard for others than ourselves, we must face the reality that our loved ones won’t always agree with our decisions and may act negatively accordingly. You may not be able to live with the guilt or responsibility of ‘losing’ someone you love because of a choice you made; or you may realize you’re happier because that person wasn’t a positive influence on your life after all.
Specifically when age is involved though, sadly other factors must also be considered before embarking on any geriatric love boats. One thing that we cannot control is age, and the biological and physical effects it has. If you’re in a place where you haven’t ‘gone too far,’ it may behoove you to think of the consequences of age and if you’re properly equipped to handle them.
Depending on how old/healthy the person is, they may have less overall physical ability, more fatigue, more medical issues, and in some cases may even be quite close to death without us knowing. You may spend a lot of time in the hospital with that person, you may not be metabolically compatible, and you may lose them a lot sooner than you would someone your own age. But you never know with life – young people die every day too.
Additionally, do you have kids/do they have kids? Will you be able to explain the situation to them? If it’s long-term, will you have the ability to have kids with the person if you want them later on? How do you see your future unfolding together? On the other hand, if it’s ‘just sex,’ then I can’t see too much stopping you – except if you fall in love.
I’m a firm believer that love is an incredible thing. If you’re already in deep and love someone, it shouldn’t matter what anyone thinks, what it ‘looks like,’ where you spend your time, or how long you even have together. You can’t control or suppress love, nor should you try. No one knows the future, but if you can’t imagine yours without that person – I think you know what to do. Otherwise sex is sex, and age is a biological timekeeper.