THE AGE TABOO: Older Women- Younger Men Relationships by Arlene & Sally B. Landsburg Derenski

THE AGE TABOO: Older Women- Younger Men Relationships

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From two family therapists who are involved with younger men themselves: a neat--if occasionally biased--exploration of a subject that's fairly hot these days. The arbitrary definition used here is a relationship in which the woman is six or more years older than the man (probably less and less valid as the couple gets older, but not a bad place to start). There are some interesting explanations of why all the hullabaloo: pressure seems to be caused largely by family and friends worried that their loved ones will be hurt by social pressure; and this vicious circle is compounded by mythical assumptions (e.g., the man is ""out for her money"" or the woman ""just wants sex""). But since the book's conclusions are based on 50 couples who volunteered to be interviewed by the authors, it's a pretty safe bet that we're hearing primarily from those who wish to promote their life-style (rather than those who are disgruntled with it and might therefore wish privacy). So the result is perhaps less than balanced: emphasis on the advantages of an older woman/younger man relationship (the woman's years of experience tend to neutralize the male training toward dominance, so that the couple approach each other as peers and avoid neurotic battles for control); and detailed analysis of sources of social prejudice against OW/YM relationships (the incest taboo, near-tribal programming toward sex for procreation only, cultural preference for youth). All the answers aren't here, then, but there are at least some of the right questions being asked; and those who are involved in or close to such a relationship will undoubtedly find this provocative.

Pub Date: June 16th, 1981
Publisher: Little, Brown