Q: I'm a guy who is attracted to women who are usually at least 10 years older than me. I'm more comfortable around them and even more sexually attracted to older women. Is there something wrong with me?
Ans: There is absolutely nothing wrong with you. But the fact you are questioning your age preferences means that you have been socialised to believe that attraction to older women is not right. In a patriarchal society, you would probably not feel the same way if you were a younger woman attracted to older men.
The rights and wrongs of attraction are mostly contextual and dependent on the power structures and dynamics of the environment around us. When we judge a relationship with an age gap, we assume that one of the parties will manipulate the other. There is a power imbalance. These kinds of imbalances exist not only with respect to gender and age but also those of wealth, caste, religion, life experience, emotional maturity, education.
We try to match people based on similarities to avoid conflict but truth is that for many people relationships work best when they teach us something and make us grow as individuals. Maybe these women make you feel you are growing and learning.
Maybe they are making you a better person and that’s what attracts you to them. Maybe you match their emotional maturity and feel more of an equal.
Yes, some people are averse to risks and challenges and prefer getting into safe relationships that are conforming to social norms. They prefer learning at a slower pace or maybe not at all. Sometimes we hear the same people complaining about how their relationships are flat and boring. Are they unhappy? No, just more aligned with validation and approval of social norms, maybe less curious.
(The writer is an Intimacy & Relationship Coach, Founder of The Intimacy Curator, an organisation promoting self-discovery through emotional and sexual wellbeing (www.theintimacycurator.com). (Have a query? Send it on firstname.lastname@example.org)