I get the appeal. He’s hot. He’s mature. He takes care of himself. He’s not stupid like high school boys and he understands you more than you understand yourself. But ask yourself this reality: Why is a 25 year old man dating a sophomore or junior in high school? That’s at least a whole decade worth of difference and a whole world of life experience between the two of you. We’ll discuss the legal aspects of dating someone older than you, but first, let’s focus on:
While it’s uncommon to find a minor (a minor in the state of California means under the age of 18) girl have a partner who is 6 years or older than she is, the risks are greater for her than if she was dating someone who is closer to her age range. Minor teens are much less likely than women in their 20s and 30s to have a sexual partner who is six or more years older; in 1995, 7% of sexually active minors had a partner that much older. While a very few percentage of sexually active minor women have partners six or more years older, a recent study reveals that young women in such relationship are at unusually high risk for pregnancy. These young women are significantly less likely to have practiced contraception at last intercourse than are minor women whose partners are within two years of their age, and not surprisingly, they are much more likely to get pregnant.
In fact, the pregnancy rate among minor women aged 15-17 whose partners are six or more years older is nearly 4 times that of minor women whose partners are within two years of their age. In other words, if a 16 and 18 years old are dating, they’re 4 times less likely to get pregnant than if the 16 years old girl was dating someone 22 years old or older.
Again, why? Why are young teen girls dating guys much older than them? I asked around and here are some typical answers:
Being a 16 yr old teen i prefer the older men 18+ because they are more experienced in how to act around a girl, they also have this charm about them. They know what they want and due to this they are definitely more confident in themselves. When a guy is confident the girl will not doubt him, and this makes the girl like him much more as a sense of security/safety. I think money might have an impact, but not a big one as it is the confidence and experience which is the main point of why girls like older men.”
We want security, independence, and comfortability. I have dated guys my own age, and I can't seem to find much of that in the ones I have dated. They have yet to figure out that girls strive to be treated like a lady, and they are clueless to the fact that sex is not the only thing in the teenage girls mind (though, i know it is on MANY a girls mind, that is no lie) But older men seem to have more experience in the world an know from past experiences how girls like to be treated. "
The typical appeals seem to be that the older men are confident, secure, and because they are older, they’re more worldly and experienced than teen boys. Well duh… a 26-year- old man certainly has lived longer than a 16-year-old teen, and so therefore have had the advantage of time and experiences to be confident, stable, and secure! Let’s think up a common scenario. You’re a 15-year-old girl and your boyfriend happens to be 19 years old. I wish I could say that “age ain’t nothin’ but a number” but in this case, it’s more than that. When you are a few years older, four years won’t make a big difference – but for now, there’s a huge maturity gap between the two of you. You may be mature in your own terms, but look at it this way: you don’t have your license; you are legally restricted by how many hours you can work as well as different types of jobs, you can’t vote, or smoke. Moreover, you’re just starting getting used to high school while he already graduated. He’s living on his own, doing his own things and discovering more of what he wants in life. He’s had a heck lot more life experience than have you have.
Let’s set up another common scenario. You’re a seventeen-year-old teen girl on the cusp on womanhood and he’s more or less 30 years old. You’re about to graduate high school and going on to the next phrase of life; you've matured more and have a bit more experience in life. But still, let’s face it: the relationship is still weird. Take a good look at the kind of relationship we're talking about here. There are nearly two decades of life dividing the two of you and I have to ask, “What on earth can you guys possibly have in common???” I ask this with extreme caution because I, along with every parent reading this answer, fear you will say there is a bond in the worst possible way (yep, I mean sex) and that will force me to retort with words like; statutory rape, lecherous intentions, borderline pedophilia and ewww gross. Honestly the whole thing makes me want to yell, "Get out of this relationship, date guys closer to your own age and enjoy your youth!" Chances are, he enjoyed his youth, a youth he lived 15 years ago!
I can state with great confidence that most normal well-adjusted 30+ years old men (and more than a few men in their late 20’s) would run to the nearest psychologist if they ever seriously thought about having that kind of a relationship with a 17 year old child. Any man that old involved with a girl who is so much younger most likely suffers from one, some, or all of the following personality quirks; he is immature, he is an under-achiever, he has low self esteem, he is a control freak, he is in an early mid-life crisis, he is emotionally confused, he routinely strays from socially accepted norms, he’s creepy, etc… When all is said and done the dude is just not right. By dating someone so much older, you are missing out on being with someone who is in the same phase of life that you are; someone with whom you can share the joys and pitfalls of discovery.
This isn't to say that what you feel aren't real and sincere; it's real to you. And it is not to say that his feelings for you aren’t sincere. He may sincerely believe that there is nothing wrong with the age difference and he may really feel for you, but that is not enough. In this situation the sub-text of the relationship means more than what appears on the surface. It isn’t the sincerity or depth of the feelings between you that define this relationship; it is the underlying motivations for his (and your) pursuing it that really count. Why can’t he relate to women his age, or even women only 10 years younger? What role does his being older play; does he look after you, control you, or in some other way take charge? What about his exes; are there any, and if there are some were they all teenagers as well? The answers to these questions will speak volumes.
When you seek to justify this relationship to outsiders you may often find yourself stating that you’re just really mature for your age, and hey, that may even be true but this guy is also really immature for his age and that just can’t be good. Now at this point in the game, in a last attempt to justify your love you may defensively ask why people frown upon a teen dating an older man but have no problem when someone in their 30’s dates someone in their 50’s. The answer here is simple; life experience. People in their 30’s and 50’s have both lived life as adults, are likely both established in their adulthood, have finished school and are grounded in careers, basically they have become peers in the eyes of society. People in their teens and 30’s are not peers by any stretch of the imagination and do not share this wealth of life experience; a teens’ life is just starting while a 30 years olds’ life is in full swing. Oh, and P.S., the "love of your life" could go to jail for a very long time. See our note on age of consent.
A Note on Age of Consent:
Age of consent is the age in which a young person is legally able to consent to sex. The age of consent in California is 18 years old, and depending on where you live, the AoC may be less than 18 years of age (in Georgia, it’s 16 years old). In most countries, until you reach this age it is illegal for somebody to have sex with you, however old they may be. Sometimes the law is slightly different when the partners are of a similar age, but there is usually still a minimum age below which sex is always illegal. Age of consent laws are there to prevent minors from being exploited by adults. Although it’s safe to say that if you have sex with someone your own age and you are both minors, it’s not considered a ‘reportable’ mandate (unless there is evidence of abuse). If you are having consensual sex with someone younger than 14 years of age, then your health care provider must report it under California law.
For information can be found on:
When Consenual Sex is deemed child abuse in California
Age of Consent: what it means
California's Age of Consent
Dating Young Teens