Teens dating young older adults


Doug is a wonderful man and we love him." While an age disparity like the 35 years between Hutchison and Stodden is by no means the norm, the recent openness around relationships involving huge age gaps -- especially the ' willingness to feature the Cox and Castimatidis nuptials -- suggests that they may be becoming less stigmatized. How does entering into a relationship with an older man before turning 18 -- or even 20 -- affect the young woman involved?"When you start stretching decades and you're talking about young girls, under 19 or so, it's probably problematic," said Dr.C., has looked at contraceptive use amongst teen girls and found that those dating men who are 3 to 4 years older are at higher risk of STD and pregnancy than those having sex with boys their own age.



Judy Prays, a 24-year-old graduate student living in Atlanta, dated older men from the time she was 16 -- intentionally. "I thought it was so romantic and glamorous and adventurous," she said. I was interested in the other person being in control of everything, being the smarter one, the stronger one.For her, they were positive experiences -- she even saw the potential for marriage with some of the men.For many women, though, these relationships look very different in hindsight.In 1999, Lynn Philips conducted a well-known study for Planned Parenthood in which she interviewed teenage girls mostly between the ages of 14 to 17 who were involved with men ages 21 to 29.

Philips, a social and developmental psychologist and professor of Communication at the University of Massachusetts, also interviewed adult women who had engaged in similar relationships when they were teens.

While several psychiatrists cautioned against judging relationships like Cox and Catsimatidis' without knowing the specifics and what each partner is bringing to the table psychologically, studies show that there can be long-term emotional repercussions for teen girls who have sex with older men. Ann Meier, a professor of sociology at the University of Minnesota, studied data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health and found that compared to teen girls with a same-aged partner, girls in 7th through 12th grades who had sex with a partner more than one year older had higher levels of subsequent depression and lower levels of self-esteem.