When women are younger, they are often advised to stay away from "bad boys" who "only want one thing" and who are definitely poor marital prospects. While this is sage advice for unmarried women of childbearing age, it might be misleading advice for women who have been there and done the family thing.

What do we mean by "bad boy" and why are they sexually exciting to many woman? The classic bad boy has been captured in the movies by the role James Dean played in "Rebel Without a Cause" and the young Marlon Brando memorialized as the leader of a motorcycle gang out looking for trouble in "The Wild One". Both young men were bold anti-establishment heroes of the 1950s who rebelled against authority. They attracted women with their sexuality and need for feminine warmth and guidance, sort of the type who brings out the seductress and mother in many woman.

Thank goodness enough women choose more stable, hard-working, responsible men, capable of becoming dependable breadwinners and good fathers. However, we find a popular theme in novels is the ongoing yearning for the bad boy that is sometimes consummated in affairs. This bad boy is never someone you can reasonably hope to have a meaningful long-term relationship with and is an exceedingly poor candidate for a life partner.

What do we mean by "bad" goes back again to youthful upbringing, where parents properly council daughters not to give "it" away, as men "won't buy a cow if the milk is for free". However, woman over 50, most now disinterested in procreation, may be missing out by continuing to avoid the bad boys they find attractive, but poor candidates for "something more." That expectation of a quality that signifies "something more" keeps them from sharing an exciting evening where they can be "bad girls" and do some very exciting "bad things" ☺

As we enter our 50s and 60s, there is something about taking the time we have left more seriously and being more realistic about what is pleasurable to understand a balanced exchange. It seems that many woman carry a vestigial message about saving themselves for the right person, and miss opportunities to engage available men by being freer and more open sexually.

After all, most humans experience chemical bonding after a few repeated sexual encounters that can stand alone as an important experience and actually develop into something more. So paradoxically, when less concerned about connecting with the right man, women may actually increase the likelihood of forming greater emotional attachments. Perhaps, a better saying for more mature women is... "it might be better to give some of milk away rather then have it go to waste."

About the Author

Harry K Wexler

Harry K. Wexler, Ph.D. is a research and clinical psychologist and the director of the Center for Aging Sexuality and Meaning in New York City and Laguna Beach.

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