Why is ephebophilia normal for adult men of all ages but not for adult women?

Ephebophilia is the primary or exclusive adult sexual interest in mid-to-late adolescents, generally ages 15 to 19.
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Ephebophilia is used only to describe the preference for mid-to-late adolescent sexual partners, not the mere presence of some level of sexual attraction.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ephebophilia

Many girls and women say 'gross' when they see a mid-thirty man or woman being with a 16 year old boy or girl, but many boys or men are indifferent about it. Is this because ephebophilia is more common among males?
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Most Helpful Guys

  • I wouldn't say Ephebophilia is normal. A -preference- for adolescents is not normal. I'm sure it is more common among men, however.

    But that's not really the issue here. W hat is, is that most men do not find it odd that grown men would find mid to late teenage women attractive. There is, I think, no question that there is a major gender difference here.

    We might look, for example, at some charts okcupid produced based on what age men and women SAID they found the opposite sex most attractive at, shown based on the age of the person giving the opinion:

    https://i.imgur.com/Ijgzwsk.png

    Two major things to note here:
    - Women pick men close to them in age, but leaning in the direction of 'ideal'. Men's choices do NOT change with age. 49 year old men gave the same answer that 20 year old men did - that 20 year old women were the most attractive.
    - Beyond that, the 'ideal' age is different. For women viewing men, we might say the peak is around 30. Women below 30 indicate they find men a little older than they are the most attractive. Women above 30 indicate that men a little younger than themselves are most attractive.

    So for adult women to be interested in teenage boys would be very unusual. Most women indicate a preference for men close to their own age, to the extent they don't like men their own age, they like men physically closer to 30. On top of that, women, more than men, give weight to things like the partner's success, income, status - which teenage males have very little of compared to adult men.

    For adult men? Social views and ethics aside, it's not surprising at all. If men think 20 year old women are at their peak, a 16 year old girl is -pretty close-. Closer than anyone over 25. Men tend to care very little about things like a woman's success or status, so a young woman's lack of it does not dampen their interest.

    Now there ARE things that hold most men back from wanting to date, for example, 18 year olds. But less than women have.

    • One, did the men in the okcupid chart only choose 20, because the numbers 15-19 were unavailable for selection or is 20 truly the ideal? Two, are you saying the female's body is at her peak at 20 while the peak of a male's body is at 30 and therefore women are usually turned off by the look of underdeveloped male bodies age 15-19? Three, are you saying a guy's succes, income and status makes him -sexually- more attractive for many women?

    • 1) I don't know, but I suspect a little of both. I suspect 15-19 were not available, but I actually think the purely physical ideal for women may indeed be close to 20. That said, international model agencies tend to look for 14 year olds who look 20. My guess is that looking 20 is a plus, but being younger they are even more firm/flawless? Not sure. 2) I think something like that. Men hit puberty later, and pass through puberty for longer. a 16 year old girl is likely at her full height, full curves, hit puberty years ago. When I was 16, I was probably still 4" or more below my full height, penis still an inch or more below max length, even skinner then i am now, barely needed to shave, etc. You can even look at things like sports - you will see teen women who are at a world class level, the same is much less true for men. Male atheletes in power sports are still filling out in their early 20's. 3) I believe so, yes. At an attraction level, not a 'i like the perks' level.

    • I think you are mistaking the meaning of the word "normal" for socially or morally acceptable. However, that is not what "normal" means. In psychology, "normal" means "approximately average in any psychological trait" and in general it means "usual; not abnormal; regular". If its true that "most men do not find it odd that grown men would find mid to late teenage women attractive" then it is not "abnormal" and therefore its normal. Whether it would be considered socially acceptable or legal to practice according to that preference or not, is another matter entirely and merely provides insight into the external disincentive to act on the attraction. But, if someone on this site is asking an honest question about "what is normal", it is important not to muddy the waters. There is no benefit, and, in fact a great many consequences, around forcing a sense of shame or abnormalcy on a person for possessing a psychologically average attraction.

  • The quick answer is the enormous double sexual double standards in our society: it’s OK for men to pursue young women but not as OK for women to pursue young men. The biological explanations for most or all men being ephebophilic do not hold at all. On a purely natural biological instinctual level men are wired to mate with women at peak fertility which would be in their early 20’s, not in her teen years. Men have a biological instinct to avoid women who are too young, not ready for mating. Mating with a 16 or 17 year old would be too risky, the risk of miscarriage is too high. When you’re a man who wants to pass on his genes you want to select a woman who’s old enough, healthy enough, strong enough, resilient, genetically similar enough to be able to cope with the myriad stresses of carrying and delivering a baby and live to be able to raise it. A 16 year old will unlikely be able to fit the bill for this, she’s too young, there’s too much risk involved. An exception to this might be when there simply aren't any women in their 20's around and the only choice you have to mate with is a 16-year-old, then this would be a man having to make do with what's available, not necessarily what he prefers. So…why are so many men ephebophilic then? I think it has just about everything to do with a desire to have power and control over someone else, especially over women and the younger and less experienced she is, the better. It has just about nothing to do with a biological urge to spread his genes. If anything, the last thing men who prefer 16 year olds would want to have to deal with is an unplanned pregnancy, much less accepting the responsibility of being a parent.

Most Helpful Girls

  • Never. Using the word 'preference' doesn't make creepy, abnormal, and/or prejudice things okay.

    I agree that ephebophillia is more common among men seeing as your average woman wants a MAN, not a boy. Your average woman is turned off by a mentally underdeveloped adolescent and/or can look past her own sexual attraction or desires to realize that he's not entirely finished with his youth and she may not want to consume that with a serious relationship.

    • So you think women of all ages are sexually attracted to mid-to-late adolescents' bodies but are simply turned off by their minds? I don't know about that.

    • @Asker Not from what I've seen. I didn't say that, you put words in my mouth. I'm saying women are less likely to go seeing adolescents who tend to be premature and even childish for sexual, mental, or emotional intimacy.

  • It's not safe for children of any gender to be seriously and romantically involved with adults so much older than them. There are no excuses. It's still not a good situation for someone who's 19 to be with a 30+ y/o

    • I'm not proposing they should be involved with adults. I'm questioning why or if men of all ages have a preference for -how the anon girl has put it- mentally underdeveloped girls.

    • Sorry for misunderstanding :s

      It's because there's a sickness on society that fetishizes young women. We see it in magazines and the ways teenagers are encouraged to dress from places like Abercrombie and Fitch. And then we see it in things like the porn people choose to watch. As we all know men are far more likely to watch porn which is full of catagorization like "barely legal" "just 18" "teen". Did you know that the terms teen/college is the most popular term in 14 states and one of the most popular terms for users ages 18 all the way through 44?

      The link is to a site that helped with the study. Nothing dirty.

      www.vocativ.com/.../

    • Very few people would dispute that, BellePepper, at least in how modern society is constructed. But, that doesn't change the fact that whether the source of the attraction is biological, psychological, or sociological, no expert source denies the existence of the normalcy (in terms of it being a psychologically average trait across the species) described in the OP's query is, in fact, the case.

  • So, you're stating it's "normal" for men to have a PREFERENCE for their sexual partners to be in the age range of 15 to 19 years old? Is that what you are saying you believe to be true?

    • I didn't believe it until I came to this site and saw how many men write creepy stuff to underage or barely legal girls. Obviously, they have to think what they're saying and thinking is acceptable for them to voice it, don't you think?

    • So, men may like to look at young girls (they like to look at women of any age, really) but the word you are using, ephebophilia, is their preference for actual sexual partners to be of that age group. I do not think that is "normal" among the total male population, no.

    • Look at the chart kheserthorpe provided in his opinion and our commentary.

    • Show All

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What Girls & Guys Said

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  • Pretty much nature. Young girls mean fertile, old men mean secure and safe. That is the gist of it, if you really need to understand more I am sure it is right there on the Wikipedia page. But it is fairly instinctual and evolutionary. That being said, with progress in ethics, a longer life span, and differences in upbringing, it should be something that is avoided. However, it is not only wrong but also unhealthy to deny that 15-19 year old girls are hot. We just need t be responsible adults and appreciate the beauty and nothing more. Personally when I talk to a 16 year old girl I already feel like her father and there is no sexual interest, but it is easy to see the beauty.

  • being involved with a 15 year old is wrong. no excuses. 16 to 19 is fine tho (depending on the older persons age). its more acceptable for men because it makes more sense. women being involved with younger men seems weird. its like they're dating down, using their dating and sexual experience to control a young man. when you see an older lady with a younger man you think why couldn't she get a guy her age and have to cheat. she must be desperate to have to "sink that low".
    with men tho it makes sense. younger women are more explorative, easy going, younger skin, less baggage. for a duse you can look at it and make sense if it. you might not agree with it but it makes sense that he'd so it.

  • Not that young - Age different relationship only start to seem anyway normal once younger partner over 25.

  • Mind = blown

  • Men are historically attracted to feminine youth because, among other things, it suggests fertility. Women are historically attracted to more mature, established Alpha males because of their power and, presumably Alpha male DNA.

  • It's not normal. You've got a false premise in your question.