Age, sex stereotyping can lead to hot water

Elyana Barrera

Pop culture has given us many stereotypes about the way age relates to how a person is supposed to act sexually. These stereotypes may be entertaining to watch in a movie or TV show, but how well do they translate in real life?

Recently, the most popular of these stereotypes has to be the “cougar.” Cougars can be defined as sexually experienced older women who “prey” on younger men for their virility. With yesterday's season three premiere of “Cougar Town,” this is definitely one stereotype that people enjoy buying into. The myth associated with cougars is that they are confident and powerful females that are knowledgeable in all things sex-related. However, you don't need to be older to be confident and powerful, and as much you may protest, there is no such thing as a sex goddess or god. Every sexual encounter is different and requires different types of effort.

The other common age-related stereotype associated with women are “Lolitas” or “school-girls.” These stereotypes are of younger women who encompass wide-eyed naivety and sexual curiosity and are also sought out for their virginity.

Younger women aren't the only ones being stereotyped. “Twinks,” typically young, slender gay males with boyish features, are also seen as alluring because of their youth and cuteness. And although many may seek Lolita- or Twink-like qualities in an older partner, the reality is that in most situations, trying to engage in a sexual relationship with anyone younger than 18 is considered statutory rape or sexual assault.

Older men may not have a nickname, but they are also sexually stereotyped. Older men tend to conjure up images of Don Draper — a strong silent type who always dresses his best. But if the “Mad Men” character has taught us one thing it's that those older, strong silent types may be hiding many secrets, like being married, or a secret identity. And engaging in sexual acts to a married man can lead to trouble if he's not your husband.

While it is obvious that maturity and sexual maturity have some correlation, to expect every older person to be sexually experienced and to expect every sexual partner younger than you to be an eager virgin wouldn't be wise. Remember to always speak with your partner about both of your expectations, and don't engage in any illegal sexual act. Although fantasizing and role playing can be great, you should never feel pressured to try to fill a sexual role because of your age.

Printed on Wednesday, February 15, 2012 as: Favorite sexual stereotypes can create dangerous situations outside fantasy