Older men, younger women

Lou Paulsen wwchi at SPAMenteract.com
Tue Nov 7 00:22:41 MST 2000

-----Original Message-----
From: Philip Ferguson <plf13 at it.canterbury.ac.nz>

>Come visit a non-puritan country and try seriously telling people that
>there is something monstrous about older men and younger women.

Just for fun, I did a Yahoo search for "old men" and "young women".
Interesting what you come up with.  Here, for example is an article about
puritan Zimbabwe, posted on a site in that uptight puritan bastion, Denmark:


And here is an excerpt from on article about life in puritan Guinea:


"We found that one of the main reasons for this shift (of young women to
older male partners) is that if young women are going to risk becoming
pregnant, they want a partner who will be able to help support them and
their children. If young women were sufficiently informed about
contraceptive methods and had access to acceptable services, their interest
in a partnership with an older and wealthy man might be reduced. (However,
the fear of pregnancy as a result of contraceptive failure would remain;
such a fear is justified when no safe abortion services are available.)

"Another reason that sexually active young women become involved with older
partners is to find a spouse. Although educated young women increasingly are
becoming economically independent, women are often under intense pressure
from their parents to marry as soon as they have reached the common age for
marriage, and older men are more likely than younger men to be ready to
marry.  ...

"The shift to older partners has important implications for STD
transmission. Since older men are more likely than younger men to have an
STD, women increase their risk of becoming infected when they have sexual
relationships with older men. If a young woman becomes infected and
subsequently has sex with a peer, she may transmit the infection to him, and
he in turn may transmit it to other young women. This issue has not yet been
addressed in discussions on AIDS prevention in Guinea.

"Another consequence of young women's shift to older partners is that men in
their 20s find a shortage of partners their age and thus look for much
younger women. This probably contributes to an increased demand for very
young partners. "


Here is an old man chasing a young woman in Afghanistan, but of course
Afghanistan is well known to be puritan:

"A family who had lived in Iran for five years and went back to their home
in Farah province after the Mujahideen took power in April 1992, told
Amnesty International how armed guards of a Jamiat-e Islami commander
entered their house in early 1994 to take their daughter for the commander.

    "We were a farming family. There were 10 of us in the family. One
Jamiat-e Islami commander who had three wives came with his armed guards to
our house asking to marry my sister who was 15 years old. My brother
objected and told him that as a white-bearded man he should not seek to
marry such a young girl. But the commander's guards beat my brother. One of
the guards pointed his Kalashnikov at my brother's arm and fired a shot. His
shirt was covered in blood. We were forced to give my sister away."  Full
text at


In 1914, in an argument over raising the marriage age to 16, this argument
was raised by a non-puritan in the pages of Al-Ahram:

"Young, healthy women have an abundance of robust blood that emits an
invigorating stimulus which permeates the frail bodies of elderly men, heats
their languid blood and activates their feeble organs. Scientific lore cites
instances of old men whose white hair regained its colour and whose teeth
grew back in as a result of cohabiting with young women. There can be no
doubt that a girl's health at the age of puberty is at its prime and,
therefore, will have the most powerful effect on men than at any other time.
Thus the husband benefits with the improvement of his health while the wife
benefits from his money and status." In light of these arguments, the doctor
maintained that the legislature should retain 14 years old as the minimum
marriage age for women, which was the age already stipulated under Egyptian
law at the time."  (And it was in fact left at 14.  Full article at
http://www.ahram.org.eg/weekly/1998/388/chrncls.htm  .  But is this relevant
to today?  Maybe not.  On the other hand it relates to what Yoshie just
wrote, so I'll leave it in.)

Phil, your "old man" and "young woman" are abstractions, just like the "two
men" from whom Duehring attempted to derive social relationships, and whom
Engels derided so mercilessly.  But in the real world of patriarchal class
society, things are more complex, and less benign, as these examples

L. Paulsen

More information about the Marxism mailing list