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Age Played

Joe Newton

I’m a single straight male in my 40s. I date women in their 20s-50s. I hooked up with a 21-year-old woman recently, which is the youngest age I’d consider dating. Except after we had sex, she told me she was actually much younger than 21. I did not break the law. I live in a state which has a surprisingly low age of consent, and she is above it, but barely. This was not about me making assumptions about her age. She explicitly told me via text that she was 21, and that was the age she listed on the dating app where we matched. She looks 21, she told me she has a job, lives on her own, and shared several stories that would only make sense if she was 21. I realize now she made some of this up. I cut off contact with her immediately.

Even though it’s...

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...ff contact with her immediately. Even though it’s not illegal, it still feels pretty bad. I honestly feel like crap. Even though what I did was not illegal, I honestly feel like maybe it should be. A lot of people would say I did something wrong by sleeping with a 21-year-old woman in the first place (or what I thought was a 21-year-old woman), or by not checking more carefully. (Should I have asked to see her ID or something?) But someone lied to me, and I had sex I would otherwise not have had, and now I feel sick about it. I can’t eat, I’ve been drinking too much, and I just can’t shake this feeling that I’m the worst and that my life is somehow over. The whole idea of sex seems disgusting to me now. Is this as big a deal as I’m making it out to be? Is it appropriate for me to feel like something has been done to me, or am I just trying to feel like a victim? I didn’t think that there was anything wrong with dating a 21-year-old woman, and I’ve always tried to be ethical when dating women younger than me, but now I feel pretty sleazy about it. Worries Over Recent Sexual Experience No one who read your letter — and no one reading my response — wants me to help you. No one wants me to write something that will make you feel better, WORSE, or less sleazy, because no one is rooting for you to get back on the apps. Sorry, WORSE, but people don’t have much sympathy for straight men in their 40s who claim to have accidentally fucked teenage girls. And that’s what we’re talking about, right? This girl was over the age consent in the state where you live, WORSE, but just barely; and the age of consent in the state where you live is “surprisingly low.” So, this woman — this girl — was under the age of consent in other states. Which means she was 16 or 17 years old. Now, most people will assume — most people will reasonably assume — that you, an experienced man in his 40s, should’ve been able to figure that out before you fucked that teenager. And if you didn’t figure that out, people are going to assume you didn’t want to figure that out until after you fucked that teenager. But in fairness to you, WORSE, and at the risk of pissing off every other person reading this column — please, God, tear off my fingers — there are teenagers out there who look older than they actually are. We’ve all known 16-year-olds who don’t get carded when they buy beer because they look at least five years older. Some of us were those 16-year-olds. On the flip side, we all know 21-year-olds who look like they’re 16. Some of us were those 21-year-olds. Something else we should all know by now: sometimes teenagers get on dating and hookup apps and lie about their ages. So, when an older person matches with someone who claims to be anywhere from 18 and 21 — whether the older person is two years older or two decades older — it’s incumbent on the older person to make sure the younger person is not a minor. For their own protection. And while there isn’t a lot of sympathy for straight guys who accidentally fuck teenage girls, if things went down the way you described them, WORSE, and you had sex you wouldn’t have consented to if you hadn’t been misled… then you have a right to feel violated. “Rape by deception,” obtaining someone’s consent to sex under false pretenses, is a hotly debated area of law, and cases likes yours — much older men fucking teenage girls — aren’t usually cited by advocates for making “rape by deception” a crime. But you were deceived, your consent was obtained under false pretenses, and you were violated. Very few people are going see you as the victim, WORSE, and most people will feel that if you were deceived by anyone — and that’s going to be a big “if” for most people — you deceived yourself. But people don’t get to vote on whether you’re allowed to feel awful about what you did (fucking a teenager) and/or what was done to you (being lied to by a teenager). This isn’t a primary. You’re entitled to feel how you feel. On top of those awful feelings, WORSE, you’re also feeling a lingering sense of panic about how much more trouble your dick could’ve gotten you into. If you were in another state, or if this girl was a tiny bit younger, you could’ve wound up on a sex-offender registry. In the time that elapsed between finding out how young this girl actually was and googling the age of consent in the state where you live, WORSE, your life must have flashed before your eyes. So, what do you do now? Raise the fucking floor. If you stop hooking up with women under the age of, say, 30, your odds of finding yourself in this situation again — your odds of running the risk of arrest and imprisonment again because a teenager lied to you — would plummet. And if you ever wind up matching with one of those rare 30-year-old women who look like they could be 17, ask to see her I.D. I’m a 35-year-old cishet woman who just moved back to a big southern city. While I do want a committed partner eventually, all I want right now is something casual. I want some good PIV sex and to experiment with ass play, light bondage, and maybe attend a few sex parties. When I moved, I skipped the apps and met the first four men that I’ve slept with through friends. All four cishet men were in their mid-to-late 30s and each either had issues with keeping it up or came prematurely. I feel frustrated, disappointed, unsatisfied, and kind of guilty for feeling this way. If I’m going to keep sleeping with dudes in their mid-30s to mid-40s, are unreliable boners something I should expect? Is there any way to screen for this or is sleeping with someone the only way to find out? If they do have issues lasting as long as I’d like, how do I let them know that I’m moving on without it being obvious that it’s because I want someone who can keep it up and last at least 10 minutes? Is it ok that I’d rather move on to the next guy than try and have these potentially sensitive conversations when I only want something casual? Do you think I’d have better luck finding what I’m looking for on the apps? Hardly Aroused Recent Dicks You don’t owe someone an explanation if you don’t wanna fuck them again. Ghosting on people is unnecessary and unkind, HARD, and casual sex partners are people, too. You can thank someone for their service without telling them why you aren’t interested in being serviced again. If a guy demands an explanation and you wanna give it to him, HARD, you can let him have it. And who knows? Maybe he’ll tell you that he was nervous or that he only has erection or endurance issues with new partners or that he immediately ran out and got himself some Viagra after that night. If you wanna give him a second chance, you can. If he disappoints you again, you don’t have to give him a third chance. As for asking a guy in advance whether he can get or stay hard, HARD, that could induce the kind of performance anxiety that makes it harder for a guy who can’t get or stay hard. So, fucking around until you find the guy or guys who can come through for you may be the better strategy. Also, you don’t have to wait to find a regular male partner before attending a sex party. Most sex parties don’t allow single men, but they welcome single women. The people you meet a sex party will have expectations similar to your own — no one goes to sex parties looking for a serious commitment — and since you’ll be able to watch guys servicing other women, you’ll be able to see which guys get hard, stay hard, and last a while. Having an affair with a married man. (I know, I know.) And while this might seem counterproductive to my position, I am trying to convince him to ask his wife to renew their efforts at marriage counseling. Not because I think it could save his marriage, it might be beyond saving, but I think he needs to make an honest effort at telling his wife what he thinks and feels and needs, and it might be a safe space for that. They tried it before, he says, and the sessions became all about her, her feelings, her needs, and I don’t think he’s really voiced most of what he’s going through with her. Instead, I become the dumping ground for all that, and while I’m happy to help him, I’m not a trained therapist. I also think he should ask his wife to open the marriage, because from what he describes, he’s not ready to leave her yet. (Financial considerations.) And marriage counseling might be a safe space to approach the topic. How do I get him and his wife to make the effort, so I can stop being their de-facto therapist? Mistress In Middle You can stop being their de-facto therapist right now, MIM. You aren’t obligated to listen to your lover complain about his marriage until he starts seeing a marriage counselor with his wife again. Set a boundary: “Dumping in me is fine, dumping on me is not.” And while you don’t mention how long this affair has been going on, MIM, I’m guessing it’s been going on for a while, seeing as you’re sick of being dumped on. (The dumping in must be pretty spectacular.) So, at this point, MIM, you’ve heard every complaint your lover has about his wife and his marriage a dozen times or more. You’ve patiently listened, you’ve lovingly consoled, you’ve fucking fucked… and now you need to tell your lover you’re done. Not done fucking him, done listening to him complain. You’re his mistress, not his therapist, and it’s unfair of him to expect you to play both those roles. A word of warning: You’re pushing your lover, who says he doesn’t want to end his marriage, to get back into couples counseling and say a bunch of things to his wife that can’t be unsaid and that could wind up ending their marriage. If you’re hoping to go from side piece to queen consort — consciously or subconsciously — you don’t want your fingerprints on their divorce. The other woman is always at risk of being blamed, MIM, but if your lover takes your advice and his marriage collapses as a direct result, you could wind up with the blame, not the man. Got a problem? Everyone does! Submit your written question for “Savage Love” now! Or…

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