Teenagers dating older men

The girls stressed the emotional pluses even more, saying that their older partners were more considerate of their feelings and made them feel special.They believed their partners would be more faithful than boys their own age because older men were finished "sowing their oats." "They really give adult men far too much credit," Philips said.For her, they were positive experiences -- she even saw the potential for marriage with some of the men.

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The teenagers didn't believe they were being exploited, and no one reported feeling like a victim.

Among the perceived benefits of their relationships were admiration from their peers and their partner's material assets.

Lee Cohen, a child and adolescent psychiatrist who is based in New York.

"It's probably not healthy, or not the most 'normal' relationship.

While several psychiatrists cautioned against judging relationships like Cox and Catsimatidis' without knowing the specifics and what each partner is bringing to the table psychologically, studies show that there can be long-term emotional repercussions for teen girls who have sex with older men. Ann Meier, a professor of sociology at the University of Minnesota, studied data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health and found that compared to teen girls with a same-aged partner, girls in 7th through 12th grades who had sex with a partner more than one year older had higher levels of subsequent depression and lower levels of self-esteem.

"If they're with a male who has more power and status," because he is older, "this might make it harder for young women to say, 'No I don’t want to have sex,'" Meier said.As the age gap increases, Manlove explained, the likelihood of using contraceptives decreases.Judy Prays, a 24-year-old graduate student living in Atlanta, dated older men from the time she was 16 -- intentionally. "I thought it was so romantic and glamorous and adventurous," she said. I was interested in the other person being in control of everything, being the smarter one, the stronger one.I was interested in letting them drive." Prays said she never felt any of the men she dated were manipulating her and added that sex was not the focus.She argued that these relationships are too harshly criticized.In 1999, Lynn Philips conducted a well-known study for Planned Parenthood in which she interviewed teenage girls mostly between the ages of 14 to 17 who were involved with men ages 21 to 29.

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