From a guy's perspective, I can agree with both of the above but would suggest more subtle shades of grey to the black and white.

Hotness does indeed appear to be indirectly proportional to age but of course that applies equally to men as it does to women. There are other factors that relate to age also which are contributing factors.

As the lady pointed out, younger people are often more impressionable. To deliberately take advantage of this apparent vulnerability would be at the extreme end of what I see as more of a continuum. Life experience gives us (generally) the ability to deal with situations differently and perhaps more effectively than we would have done at an earlier age. Therefore, an older person would supposedly be able to take the lead in a situation and devise solutions that a younger mind would not necessarily think of, or conversely advise against a course of action that would seem initially desirable but one that experience has shown is inappropriate.

Assuming that both parties subscribe to the cultural ethic that the man is the problem solver, the provider and the protector (out-dated perhaps and something that many would argue against, but being an older man I am perhaps a little old-fashioned), it is then reasonable to suggest that in a relationship where the man is older than the woman, he will through life-experience be able to act out this role more effectively.

This can be cynically viewed as manipulative behaviour (and I am sure that in many cases that will be true) but I would strongly believe that in the majority of cases it is simply both the man and the woman falling into those roles.

The suggestion that women mature faster than men is, I believe, only relevant up to the point at which both parties are considered to be fully mature. For example, my mother and father have a seven-year age difference. They have been happily (I believe) married for almost forty years. My father is still the problem-solver and decision-maker and through his working life and military experience has a great deal more life experience than my mother. Having said that, due to illness he can no longer work and my mother is the major provider. My grandparents had a similar age gap and were together for many decades.

My fiancée and I are nine years apart in age. She is young and attractive and exciting in ways that I have not been for a long time. Without her I would not have done many of the things I have done recently and for that I love and respect her. She respects my advice and experience when helpful and that helps me to maintain my self-esteem. However, she is also physically larger than I and in a straight fight would kick my ass :-) In addition to this, she has progressed from being my subordinate (we met at work) to being a Deputy Manager while I am now working for a different company, at a lower level and earning considerably less than her :-(

We have a mutually supportive relationship in which we are both developing. I can tone down her youthful enthusiasm with a little caution, she can liven up my placid acceptance of the world with her excitement. Together we are virtually unbeatable.

When I met her I was recently divorced from a woman who was the same age as me. We looked at things from similar angles, made similar mistakes and ended up in a terrible mess. We had debts, no life and were going absolutely nowhere. She is now married to a man ten years her senior, is incredibly happy and owns her own home.

Having said that, I have to admit that I have let my eyes wander across the curves of one or two young ladies, offering a little smile in the hope of making their eyes light up in that special way. Even at my age, there is something extremely satisfying about making an attractive young lady smile. That is something I am confident that both men and women have in common.