There's a special word for women over 50 looking for young men: "Cougars." This phenomenon, while not necessarily new, it has taken on a new popularity in recent years.
The Word Cougar
Technically a "cougar" is a women younger than 50 - usually between 35 and 40, and usually imagined as being divorced. They are also often portrayed as having had plastic surgery, often comically so, and sometimes as being somewhat desperate.
However, as women are able to continue to maintain both an active lifestyle and appearance longer, women over 50 have become included in this phenomenon. Perhaps best epitomized by the character of Sarah in the very popular HBO series Sex & the City, even when she was being lampooned or caricatured there was still an element of the ingenue in her character. Perhaps because more and more women in the United States are reaching that age, the thought of pursuing young men doesn't seem quite as inappropriate as it might have in past years.
Women Over 50 Looking for Young Men for Many Reasons
What on earth could an experienced, secure, and independent woman want with a younger man? The reasons are many, ranging from the noble to the profane:
It's a common misconception that an individual's sexuality declines as people get older. While the amount of time and energy available to pursue it may decline, the interest is still there. Women over 50 tend to have more of both compared to their male counterparts, and so it is natural that they might look to a younger, more energetic man to fulfill those kinds of needs. While the younger lovers may not have as much experience, they make up for it with enthusiasm and usually the woman has enough knowledge of what her needs are to get them met one way or another.
The downside of this is that while the sex may be great, there is often a large divide in life experience that can keep the emotional relationship from growing, and this can cause an element of dissatisfaction that often leads to these relationships falling apart.
Another rather unfortunate phenomenon with older people is the tendency for men to divorce the women they married who were the same age as they were, and find a "trophy wife" to start a new family. One reaction many women have is to try and find a younger man to both make themselves feel more attractive and also to "show" their ex that they can find younger, stronger, and often more virile men to replace them.
Like any relationship based on revenge or desperation, this is not likely to end well. At the same time, it is certainly understandable, and can even be healing, much like the first sex one has after a divorce - sometimes it is the catharsis needed to get past a painful part of life.
Women over 50 looking for young men may also do it as a bit of a public service. They have the idea - often correct - that by spending time with them, the young men will acquire a more mature outlook on life. It's almost a maternal instinct, to take the young men under their wing and show them the ropes, getting them beyond the frat-boy mentality and into something resembling a man.
This can take many forms, from the etiquette of fine dining to the techniques of pleasure in the boudoir. It is almost like a hobby project, where the women are shaping the man into what she sees as his potential. Like any Pygmalion story, however, there comes a point when the student outgrows the teacher - and at that point, the two may part ways or enjoy a much different relationship as equals.
Regardless of the reason, older women going after younger men is yet another example of the myriad ways humans relate to each other. Whether it's Demi and Ashton or Vivica Fox's reality show "The Cougar", whether you approve or disapprove, it has become one of the facets of contemporary dating culture.