Women in their 40s have lived through a lot, right? I am going to go out on a limb here and suggest that no woman, or at least not many women, enjoy hitting the big four-oh. I will venture to say that turning forty is difficult for everyone. It really is that decade where you can’t call yourself a young woman or a young man anymore – no matter how you cut it. Your youth is gone, but there is still so much ahead – but are women in their 40s still attractive?
Women in their 40s: the stereotype “Mrs Robinson”
The Graduate is a classic movie from 1967 starring a young Dustin Hoffman. His character is seduced by the mature Mrs Robinson, played by Anne Bancroft, but he then falls in love with her daughter instead.
At the time, and still today, an older woman seducing a younger man was seen as taboo, and in the movie, the affair goes terribly wrong for all parties involved. There is a classic scene from the movie, where Mrs Robinson rolls a sexy stocking down her leg, “…her seductions are a well-honed dance that Dustin Hoffman gracelessly stumbles through, his hormones and polite desires stepping all over Bancroft’s light-footed appeal. That was, of course, the intent – playing Bancroft’s predatory confidence against Hoffman’s everyman earnest awkwardness.”
The older woman is seen as predatory for expressing her sexual desires – but have times and opinions changed?
What do young men think of forty year old women?
There is a thought that times have changed in recent years, and that more young men are pursuing relationships with older women. The terms “cougar” and “MILF” are much more common now than they were a generation ago. But what do younger men really think about forty year old women?
“Women in general are probably physically at their peak before 25,” says kheserthorpe on Girls Ask Guys. “A woman with the same style, makeup, fitness level looks better in her early 20s then she does in say, early 40s. If you took 100 women who were 22, and 100 women who were 44, the 22 year olds would, as a group, be more attractive.”
However, not all young men agree with that sentiment. “People are attracted to people, not ages,” says AskMen reader, mossgard. “If you’re over forty, take care of yourself and don’t let age define who you are or how hot you’ll be.”
The opinions of young men really do seem to be divided. “Yes and no,” says an anonymous Quora writer. “Women in their 40s are quite often past their prime and you can tell even by the way they dress. I am 34 at the moment and I find some women in their 40s attractive but this doesn’t happen very often.” Ouch!
What do older men think of forty year old women?
Sadly, lots of older men really seem to want to date younger women. “(Women) complain that men in their 40s all want to date a much younger woman. I found there to be a lot of truth to this, however depressing it may be. I wondered why men (40s and 50s) were so much more interested in dating women (who are) ten to fifteen years younger than themselves,” asks blogger Violette Gibson.
AskMen reader, Hierophant, says, “It depends on the man. There are older men who want younger women (and) can’t get them for whatever reason…There are also men who view anyone under a certain age as unappealing because they lack the life experience he wants in a partner.”
One thing to note, is that across the globe, women live longer than men, and this means a shrinking dating pool of men as people age. There are a few things that surveyed older men suggested that they wanted in a partner, including; looking attractive, taking care of yourself, having a nice smile, being approachable, not playing games, not being too serious and “making him feel like a man”.
Fertility in your 40s
One lousy fact of life for women (depending on your perspective, I guess) is that of course, a woman’s fertility is declining after 40, and she will cease being able to have children. This might be a negative in some situations, or it might be a positive, if both partners are done with having kids.
“All this stuff is hard-wired in our brains,” says journalist William Leith in this excellent article. “men tend to be attracted to slightly younger partners (who have more years of fertility ahead of them).”
He points to a study by scientist David Buss, an expert on human evolutionary biology. The study questioned 10,000 people and examined 37 cultures. “What he found was that ‘In all 37 cultures . . . women prefer men who are older than they are’.”
Should I date a 40 year old woman?
Yes. Go on. Life is too short to waste time dating people you think you ‘shouldn’t’. Women in their forties have so much to offer. I wrote a post about whether women were still attractive at 30. One of my readers commented, “Alyce, of course women are beautiful and sexy at 30 and beyond. But it’s also best to be realistic about what men with options are generally, although not always, attracted to.” Head to the article and check out the comments!
I also have a post on whether men in their 50s are still attractive. Here’s a more general post (men and women) on which age people tend to find the most attractive. You can see the answers vary so much!
Remember that age is just a number and that you are attractive because of your values, your passions and your love for others. It really doesn’t matter what you look like on the outside, it’s what’s inside that counts. No matter who you are, you deserve love. No matter what age you are, there is someone out there who will treasure you.
Go and find them! Best of luck.