And there's one area in which younger men have probably had more experience than their seniors: using condoms. Younger men came of age in the era of AIDS, and many have never (or rarely) had sex without a condom. This is definitely not the case with older men, who may be petulant and resistant about using them; they see themselves as being "spoiled" by the years and thrills of unprotected sex. And, worse, they may not really know how to use a condom—it's not quite as idiot-proof as the package instructions lead one to believe. A younger man may have learned condom basics in health class; he and his buddies may trade information about which brands are best. Ask yourself: This evening, would I rather trade memories of the Watergate hearings or discuss the merits of self-heating lubricants?

Perhaps the most stunning thing I've learned is that, eventually, any age difference ceases to matter. What I ultimately found in Bronson is someone who shares not only my interests but my values, none of which, ironically enough, have anything to do with age: friendship, fidelity, faith, a love of family, shared beliefs and priorities. It's a side benefit that he's made me proud of the fact that I remember watching the live broadcast of the first man walking on the moon, that he laughs when he hears how I kept murmuring "Shut up, Walter!" because Walter Cronkite had an uncanny habit of speaking at the precise moment an astronaut (on the moon!) made a comment. His interest in my stories and the way he values my perspective makes me feel sorry for the women I know who keep quiet when certain historic events come up, as if owning up to "being there" devalues them, and so is something they hide or lie about.

And for that, I say youth is not always wasted on the young.

More about sex, love, and getting older:


Next Story