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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Sexcapades: Robbing the cradle

Published: September 17, 2010
Section: Opinions

In high school, I dated a lot of older guys. I started with guys a few years ahead of me, moved to college guys, and by senior year, I was 18 dating a 24 year old. How many girls do you know who are hooking up with or dating older guys? In high school and college alike, it’s relatively expected that sophomore girls and senior guys will be together (that seems to be the average spread), but what about freshmen and seniors, or girls entering college whose boyfriends have already graduated? And of course, we cannot ignore the flip, with the older girl and the younger guy.

In college, what is an appropriate age difference? I’d like to say we’re all adults and we’re in college, but in reality, I’m not sure that’s true- and I speak from experience of sorts. The real question is: what 24 year old guy wants to be dating an 18 year old? Why can’t he get girls his own age? And yeah, as the 18 year old, it’s super cool to be dating an older guy, but in retrospect, when I think about it, if my senior guy friends were dating a girl who was still in high school, I’d think it was a little off, and most of them are only just turning 21!

Freshman year, one guy in my dorm dated a junior, while another dated a sophomore. They seemed so cool, and it was definitely a social push for them that they were with those girls. Two years is not a big difference, usually. However, sex can come into the mix in mysterious ways. The truth is that the majority of students, boys and girls alike, begin college as virgins. Knowing that fact, the mix of freshmen with older students in sexual situations becomes an interesting one. How many of us have been hooking up with someone who wanted to go a little farther than we were planning on? Imagine being in that situation, with someone who is older, more mature, and more experienced, and being pressured into having sex for the first time. The older partner may not even know that the younger one is a virgin, but that doesn’t make it ok.

Honestly, most people I know, myself included, would certainly consider in retrospect waiting longer to lose their virginity. Some have regrets about the circumstances, person, or timing, others just know that if they’d waited, it could have been better, no matter how much they cared about the person, or how ideal it seemed at the time. Personally, I definitely thought that my boyfriend and I were seriously in love, and going to be together forever. We were everyone’s idea of the perfect couple. Sex changed everything. We lost our virginities to each other, and for the three or four months that we made attempts at sex, until the ultimate end of our relationship, it never got better, and rather than bringing us closer, created a strain we would never recover from. Years later, it is a joke between us that we were clearly not meant to be, since the sex was so bad, but I secretly wonder if things would have been different if maybe I’d been older (I was 16, he was 18), or he’d had previous experience.

As a senior girl, I don’t know that I could personally ever go much younger. My last boyfriend was a year younger than me, although he was in my year here, and occasionally, even that created a few problems. I hear there are some hot freshmen this year, but often when I look at them, instead of seeing men, I see boys. Of course, it is to each his own, but I’m not sure necessarily what any significantly (emotionally) older person sees in a younger one, since that maturity can always create conflict.