Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Age Is Nothing But A Number....

My first historical, The Merry Widow, was released yesterday through Red Sage Publishing. The novella revolves around an older woman/younger man relationship which is instigated by a case of mistaken identity. Writing the story was a lot of fun and the first involving an older heroine and it won't be my last because it was so much fun to explore the inner dynamics of what brings these two together and keeps them together.

While outlining this story, as per my usual process, I researched this non-traditional relationship which in modern time many believe is some kind of sudden phenomenon. But in actuality it isn't. In fact there have been many famous and powerful women throughout history who took younger lovers or in some cases married them. Some of them include:

Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine & Henry Plantagent (11 years)
Queen Elizabeth I & The Earl of Essex (33 years)
Khadija & the prophet Muhammad (15 years)
Audrey Hepburn & Robert Wolders (7 years)
Anais Nin & Rupert Pole (12 years)
Christabella Wyndham & King Charles II (*was his wet nurse)
Catherine The Great & Grigory Potemkin (12 years)
Helena Rubenstein & Artchil Goureilli-Tchkonia (20 years)

Admittedly, these types of match-ups were not as prevalent as older males marrying younger women. But of course as many of you already know, the basis for many of these relationships was a desire or need to have children. And considering the precariousness of carrying a child to full term in the past, a man's best bet for an heir and his spouse's overall survival was choosing a younger women.

Have times changed? Even though the U.S. Census states that more men tend to marry younger wives, research shows that older women and younger men match-ups have made substantial gains. According to the 2000 U.S. Census, 12% of all marriages were between older women and younger men. And in the 1998 Census figures, 18% of women lived with a younger man. And among women 35-44 that figure increased to 29%. In another survey conducted by the Los Angeles Times, 23% of women married younger men. And that number increased to 41% for women aged 35-44.

So what changed people's thinking? Well, of course we've moved out of the stone age when it comes to health care, but researchers believe its because of a change in society's attitude. Older women are not like their past counterparts, who if unmarried, widowed, or divorced and over the age of thirty retired to some country manor. Nope. Today's older woman is more financially stable, more confident and in a sense doesn't give a whit about what their neighbors think.

On the other hand, why do younger men suddenly find older women so appealing? According to one sociologist, younger men have always found older women attractive and the number reason isn't because of sex. Many of them cited the woman's maturity, her ability to take care of herself, the fact she wasn't into head games, and her overall personal comfort level as the basis for the attraction.

So if older women have always been attractive to younger men, why didn't they openly pursue it? It simply boiled down to societal pressures. Young men were ridiculed or questioned about their intentions toward the older woman he was attracted to, dating or considered marrying. Many of them were wrongly accused of being gigolos or predators looking for easy prey. Instead of genuinely being interested in a May/December relationship for nothing more than financial or sexual gain.

Of course, no relationship isn't perfect and neither are older woman/young man match-ups. But thank goodness society has evolved to the point that age is nothing but a number:)

* * * * *
Victorian England is a man's world. And no one knows this better than Phillipa Jones who must fight society's conventions along with chauvinistic ship captains and a greedy yet undeniably handsome Viscount to keep her late husband's shipping business afloat. One moment of weakness and a case of mistaken identities will place her in a compromising position, which will see everything she's worked for come to ruins including her reputation. To read an excerpt, visit Red Sage's website


Kate Hill said...

Great article, Koko! Congratulations on the release of The Merry Widow.

Anonymous said...

Congrats on the release! Well, in this matter, I can kinda relate. Many of my cousins are married/dating guys younger than they are. As you stated, it has to do with the woman's maturity, and also her priorities and what she wants from life and men at that point. I actually spoke with one of my cousins-in-law who's dating my older cousin (she's 8 years his senior), and he says that girls his age aren't as grounded and settled down as older ones, and their vision of life and love is what captures younger guys.

Lindsay Townsend said...

Super article, Koko! Many congratulations on the release of THE MERRY WIDOW.

Sandy Sullivan said...

Sounds interesting. I'm all for the older women, young man thing. My husband is only 2 1/2 years younger, but I definitely see the benefit to this.

Bekki Lynn said...

Fantastic blog, Koko.

As you know, my current series is OW/YM.

I love the whole concept of how two people can come together and the age reversal factor is the least of their worries.

And yeah, I like it when the woman is spooked by the fact that the man while younger, can see what is beneath her exterior, but doesn't run and hide from the faults he's seeing. She's beyond wanting a man to see her as a perfect sex object or the perfect trivia partner.

They're mature enough to recognize the importance of what is going on between them and riding it out to see if it means something.

My second son prefers older women and the one he's seeing right now is only two years older and it's actually interesting to watch up close and personal to see how they connect - it's not all honey, especially when they worked together.

Savanna Kougar said...

Koko, congrats on the release of MERRY WIDOW.

Fascinating blog, and thanks for talking about the social dynamics.

What I've read, also, is that the sexual drives of younger men and older women are often more compatible.

Koko Brown said...

Thanks everybody for the congratulations

Koko Brown said...

Thanks for the personal insight danielucha1310

Koko Brown said...

So true Bekki! Why is it usually the woman who has a problem with the age thing and men seem to be oblvious?

Bekki Lynn said...

I think it's society. Like you were talking about last night, girls were once thrust into marriage with much older men at a very young age.

Much of the old stays with so many as it's passed down from generation to generation. Tradition.

Even then, happily ever afters had a different view than they do today. Arranged marriages, marriages for convenience - the women accepted it because it was the norm -- this was their lot in life and it was better than being 18 and considered a spinister.

Today, women take their destiny in hand, they control it, or try to. Times have allowed them the freedom to do this.

When you have both partners happy with the relationship, the HEA can't help but better in so many ways.

Nightingale said...

As an older woman who dates younger men, I really enjoyed this post.

Koko Brown said...

Thanks Nightingale:)

Savanna Kougar said...

Bekki, so true ~

When you have both partners happy with the relationship, the HEA can't help but better in so many ways.

Right now, if I were interested in a relationship, I'd go for a younger man... definitely.

Lindsay Townsend said...

A friend of mine, who is 88 and had 3 marriages, says the OW/YM is the only way to go because women 'last' longer than men.

Donna Marie Rogers said...

Congrats on your new release, Koko! My first eRed Sage release, HOT FOR TEACHER (June 1st), is also an older woman/younger man story. And I'm working on a second. I'll be 42 this year, so suddenly this type of story appealed to me...LOL

Kayelle Allen said...

My husband is a full 3 days younger than I am. =^_^= I've always had an interest in this type of story. My book Alitus, Tales of the Chosen had hero in his mid twenties and the heroine was in her late forties -- although since she was an immortal who aged each lifetime, no matter how old she might be at her rebirth, her human heroes would always be "younger men". Great article and congratulations on the Merry Widow!

Randall Lang said...

Hi Koko!

Great subject. Older women have been a fetish of mine since I was old enough to fetish. I spent much of my youth searching for "Mrs. Robinson", and by the time I found her, she was younger than me. Sigh! Where were those women when I was young? I even wrote a book about the subject, Pleasure's Choice, Older Women, Younger Men . Hot stuff! See it on my website at or at the publisher,

Delicious Romance From Cerise DeLand said...

As women live longer--and men learn how to, a disconnect will exist in age paring. AND I AM THRILLED IT DOES!
Thanks for the good insights.
Cerise DeLand