Q. I am in my 40s, and I am attracted to girls half of my age. I started feeling guilty because my kids are in their 20s, but I cannot stop myself. Every time I meet some of their friends, I feel this urge to flirt with them. I have also had a long relationship with a 22-year-old last year and had to end it because my neighbours started looking at me in disgust. How do I stop this?
Ans: You are not attracted to young girls but to how they make you feel. Having a relationship with young people can make one believe that they are smarter, wiser, more caring, less jaded, and young at heart. There is nothing wrong with feeling that way because, legally speaking, the age of consent in India is 18. Morally some people might object and criticise your preferences, but the legal system gives you the go-ahead.
Do you want to stop because you are uncomfortable with people judging you? Fear, approval, shame, and guilt are negative motivations to control behaviour. They might make your attraction even stronger at some point. What could help is to really understand what about young people turns you on. If you want to stop dating 20-year-olds, you could try dating slightly older women who behave like young ones.
Through role-play, you can even consider replicating the feelings that turn you on with someone a little older. Asking your partner for appreciation and praise also helps. We get more suspicious and cynical with age and forget that innocence and excitement can bring a spark into our lives and bedrooms.
Role-play is a great way to achieve that. In all this, remember that the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain contributing to self-control and personality development, is not fully developed until around age 25. This would imply that your relationship with someone younger than 25 will have a stronger impact on their personality development. Is this a responsibility you are willing to take?
The writer is an Intimacy and Relationship Coach, Founder of The Intimacy Curator, an organisation promoting self-discovery through emotional and sexual well-being (). (Have a query? Send it on )
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