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Ms. Soletti said the lure for the men is that older women are more sophisticated and, frankly, more sexually experienced.
The women “are in their sexual prime,” she said. “If they can please her, they feel like they rock in bed.”
James Insinga, 28, managing director of a Manhattan real estate firm, said he finds younger women “are about getting married immediately, having kids.” He said the older women he dates are easier to talk to and more enticing, including an “adorable” friend of his mother’s (but it “would be dicey” to tell Mom).
Barry A. Farber, a psychotherapist and the director of the clinical psychology program at Teachers College at Columbia University, said “dating an older woman may free the man from the pressures of the ‘baby hunger’ that a relationship with a younger woman might bring.” An older woman, he added, “may well take him more seriously than a woman his own age and will overlook the relatively small flaws.”
It is not, however, a new idea. In 1745, Ben Franklin in his “Old Mistresses Apologue” advised men that “in all your Amours you should prefer old Women to young ones.”
“They are so grateful!” he added, rather indelicately.
And into the 21st century, men have started Web sites to chase and give advice about dating older women, such as Urbancougar.com, where “cub chronicles,” “cougar confessions,” cougars of the month and listings of “dens” are posted.
There are more men than women among the 200 that have signed up for the first International Cougar Cruise, a three-day sail from San Diego to Ensenada, Mexico, Dec. 4 to 7.
Rich Gosse, the organizer of the cruise and the chairman of the Society of Professional Singles, based in San Rafael, Calif., said that when he started running younger men/older women parties a year ago, the focus was on “cougars wanting the younger guy.” Now the men are “more excited about this phenomenon than the cougars.”
Not too long ago, Mr. Gosse said, a 20-something male wouldn’t admit to dating a woman over 40. “Now it is a badge of honor,” he said.
At a cougar speed-dating event at R. C. Dugans, a bar and lounge in East Meadow, N.Y., last month, 8 of the 10 men attending said they would date Patricia Polenz, a 48-year-old Northport, N.Y., divorcee with five children. Her first husband was 20 years her senior.
Ms. Polenz said the younger guys were “a little refreshing.”
“They are a little more eager to know me,” she said, “they are more willing to be accommodating than men my age.”
In fact, a recent study of 4,500 British singles conducted by Parship, a British online dating service, said 20 percent of men in their 20s and 22 percent of men in their 30s would date an older woman.
For the last six months, Andreas Anastasopoulos, 27, a graphic designer from Hamilton, N.J., has been dating Erin MacCord, 41, a divorced mother of three teenagers and a nonprofit development director from Burlington, N.J. Mr. Anastasopoulos said that women his age are into “immature partying and drinking, and being stupid and irresponsible” and he is “past that.”
He thinks her children are great. “I have younger sisters that are their age,” he said.
Brandon Solomon, 28 and a real estate project manager, sat next to Ali Addesa, a 44-year-old accountant, during the East Meadow speed-dating event, which was sponsored by WeekendDating.com. He said he would be willing to date 8 of the 11 women at the event, who were nearly old enough to be his mother, and wondered if they might consider him “a trophy.”
A booth away, Fred Guarino, 34, of Middle Village, Queens, and the owner of a heating and air-conditioning company, said, à la Ben Franklin, older women tend to be more appreciative, especially those “who have been married and divorced and have seen how bad things can get.”
“Young girls today, they take everything for granted,” he said.Continue reading the main story