Are Men Attracted to Teen Girls Because of Their Fertility?

What are your thoughts on ephebophilia and the claim that it is natural or biologically programmed to be attracted to such young girls because of their “fertility”? What about men like Leonardo DiCaprio who even into their 40s refuse to date women over 25? Is all of this really natural to men or is it a cultural thing, a control and power thing, a lack of maturity issue to date women their age? It seems like people are attracted to all kinds of things that can’t be explained with the fertility argument and I’m tired of some men always bringing up this argument and feeling content with seeing themselves as such low creatures that can’t think beyond their urges like animals.

When people use the term pedophilia, they are usually thinking about adults experiencing sexual attraction towards any non-adult human target, including infants all the way up to late teens. When I use the term pedophilia on this site, I’m using it in this way.

Now if we wanted to be more accurate, there is a narrower definition of pedophilia that defines it as a sexual attraction only to children who have not yet started puberty. The term hebephilia is then used to refer to the sexual attraction to kids who are actually going through puberty (early teens), and the term ephebophilia is used to refer to a sexual preference for kids in their mid to late teens. To complete the package, we can lump all of these folks under the broader heading of chronophiles, meaning they are adults who are sexually focused on younger targets who fall into in very specific age ranges. We have the ancient Greeks to thank for all of these fancy words.

Now setting the fancy jargon aside, you’re asking if men are seeking out women who are significantly younger than them simply due to the fact that they want their women to be fertile. Well, given the fact that women are fertile from puberty all the way into their 30s, this theory doesn’t really hold up. But that said, we need to respect the role of cultural influence.

Understanding Cultural Influence

In some cultures, a man’s personal worth, success, and personal sense of satisfaction are strongly linked to having a large brood of kids. Often in cultures that emphasize the importance of having many offspring, there is also a strong preference to have sons over daughters. This preference is often strengthened by the ways the culture’s laws are set up. When family wealth, property, and other goodies can only be legally passed from father to son, then a man can easily feel distressed by only having a bunch of daughters. In cultures where the life expectancy is rather short and child-bearing is viewed as taking an obvious toll on women, it becomes quite logical to choose a younger woman over an older one (because the younger one will theoretically have more stamina and more time for bearing kids). In cultures which elevate males as being significantly superior to females, it makes logical sense to want to have as many sons as possible, because that will make you feel like a greater success as a father. Plus there is always the reality that some of your children might not survive until adulthood, so the more you have, the more secure you can feel that your family’s name, reputation, and influence will be carried on by future generations.

A good example of a fertility obsessed society is the ancient Jewish society that is the primary focus of the Christian Bible. In that culture, we find men having a strong preference for young female virgins. In general, men didn’t want to take on a wife who was not a “brand new” model, and since virgins were in high demand, a woman wasn’t likely to remain single for very long after she reached puberty. While this system sounds rather offensive to women today, it’s useful to understand that Jewish laws and social judgments revolved around who your genetic relations were, so things could actually become quite complicated both legally and socially if a woman were to bear offspring from multiple males. Women also felt that their personal worth was strongly linked to how many children they bore, so getting started young was attractive all around. The useful lesson to learn here is that we need to be less quick to condemn cultural traditions and beliefs that seem strange to us. Before we declare that arranged marriages are a “terrible violation of individual freedom” or that every older man who marries a young girl is “a sick pervert” or that people only ever take slaves because they are sadistic creeps, or that women who go around in cloth tents that hide everything but their eyes are being “terribly oppressed by female hating jerks,” we need to put more effort into understanding how someone’s own culture defines their behaviour.

Cultural influence has a massive influence in how your subconscious and soul define good and bad behaviours. When we accuse someone of intentionally doing bad without taking the time to understand how his culture has taught him to view his actions, we are not being fair. When we decide that a woman must feel oppressed and miserable just because we would feel that way if we were to suddenly behave the way she is behaving, we are not making a fair comparison. Your own cultural influence is a big factor in controlling how you react to imitating other culture’s traditions. While a woman who has grown up in an American culture might feel terribly oppressed wearing some of the clothes that she sees some Middle Eastern women wearing, the fact that the American woman is judging those things through a very different cultural lens is blocking her from understanding how a Middle Eastern woman actually feels about her daily attire. Until the American woman takes the time to listen to the perspective of women who grew up in the culture the American woman is criticizing, no reasonable assessment can be made.

Now cultural influence is an entirely different issue than biological programming. Just because a man’s culture has taught him to seek out female partners in a very specific age range doesn’t mean he is biologically wired to do so.

Understanding the Human Design

So what is the best age range to focus on when you are looking for a romantic partner? We can’t answer this question correctly until we understand how our Creator designed us to function. Anytime we’re talking about core mechanics, we have to turn the focus back to God and realise that He is the One who set up the rules for what humans need, and what conditions they need in order to thrive. This isn’t about being “religious”, it’s about being logical. If you want to understand the inner mechanics of a skyscraper, you talk to the architect who designed the thing in the first place. If you want to understand how humans function, or why they do what they do, you need to talk to the One who designed them.

Humans are designed to do best when they partner up with other humans who are in their same stage of life. But when I say “do best”, I’m talking about experiencing God’s idea of a satisfying intimate relationship. God designed human relationships to be far more satisfying when the two partners share a strong sense of identity, meaning they have a lot of the same perspectives, beliefs, concerns, and desires. Humans are designed to develop in stages, with some stages taking longer to get through than others. Every stage of life comes with its own challenges that everyone who goes through that stage has to deal with. For example, in the teen years, there are major hormone shifts to be contended with, as well as intense social dynamics with other peers. In the twenties, there are major shifts in how you perceive yourself as you experience a lot of pressure to decide who you want to be as an individual adult and what you want your life to be about. In the forties, your physical body starts slowing down and you start noticing that you’re no longer able to just “spring back” from physical stress or injury. By the time you enter the elderly stage of life, your own mortality starts feeling a lot more real as your peers start dying off all around you. Death starts feeling like a much more relevant subject to you, and you find yourself reflecting on your past and thinking about how satisfied you are or aren’t with how you’ve lived your life.

When you partner with someone who is in your same stage of life, your identity with that person will be automatically enhanced simply because you’re both going through a lot of the same challenges. When you partner with someone who is a different stage of life, your ability to identify with each other is automatically hampered because you are having to contend with different issues. The further away a person is from you in terms of life stages, the more difficult you will find it to relate to them or feel understood by them.

Now among people who are functional and not in a state of internal distress, it is generally considered unsatisfying and even off-putting to attempt to form an intimate relationship with someone from a different stage of life. But note that this response only happens if people are focusing on the goal of pursuing an intimate relationship for the purpose of feeling understood, known, and identified with. If instead some other goal is being focused on, such as having children, then the reactions will change. But when it comes to how humans were designed to function, pairing up primarily for the goal of procreating will not lead to an optimal intimate relationship.

No matter how mature a teen girl is, she simply cannot understand the perspective of a man in his 40s. She can try, and she can think she understands him, but many perspectives can only be unlocked by grinding through the years. Life experience is a vital issue to take into consideration when you are looking for an intimate partner. The goal is to look for someone who shares a lot of identity with you based on the way their life has unfolded. The details of what they’ve experienced aren’t the critical issue. What matters is the lessons they learned, and the spiritual, psychological, and physical impact those experiences had. For example, Marsha lost her leg in a car accident. Joe lost his on a battlefield. The circumstances were very different, but both people have had to deal with the trauma of permanently losing a limb and all of the stress that comes with that. Due to the fact that they’ve been similarly impacted by their past experiences, these two will automatically have a lot of identity between them. If they are both in the same stage of life, their level of identity will increase even more. The more identity there is, the more satisfying an intimate relationship can be.

The Influence of Trauma

Now I appreciate your frustration here, but it’s not fair to say that men are “seeing themselves as such low creatures that can’t think beyond their urges like animals” simply because they are claiming to only be interested in teens due to their fertility. For a man who is not being pressured by his culture to chase girls who are half his age, finding himself attracted to those girls and only those girls is usually a source of confusion to his soul. Since our souls have a strong need to view us as morally decent, a man who is honestly bewildered by his own sexual preferences can quickly latch onto the fertility theory as a way of protecting himself from having to consider other, scarier possibilities. No one wants to think, “What’s wrong with me? Am I a perv??” While some brave souls are willing to face these questions head on and start searching for help, plenty of others are too frightened to go there, and understandably so.

Once we can rule out the cultural influence issue, any man (or woman) who is making large jumps up or down the age ladder when seeking intimate partners is dealing with a case of their subconscious overriding their natural sex drive. Humans are designed to want intimate partners in their same stage of life. This is because humans are designed with a strong core need to feel known, accepted, loved, and understood, and simply being in the same stage of life makes all of these goals a lot easier to attain.

Your subconscious has an enormous influence over who you feel sexually attracted to in life. Your subconscious’ top priority is to protect you from harm. If your subconscious decides that your peers are a threat to you in some way, it can prevent any “chemistry” from developing. If you meet someone who you would normally be strongly attracted to, yet that person has some quality that puts your subconscious on edge, your subconscious can cause you to feel repulsed by that person instead of drawn to them.

Now if you’ve ever tried to talk to someone who is infatuated, you will have a sense of how powerful the subconscious’ influence is. When we are infatuated, our judgment becomes severely impaired, we start treating our friends as enemies the moment they say something negative about the target of our infatuation, and we’re impossible to reason with. In these cases, the subconscious is obsessing over a specific target that it feels has the potential to satisfy one of its core needs. Often there is a particular need that has become quite desperate by the time infatuation kicks in. It’s also interesting to note that infatuation can be focused on humans or animals. Due to so many subconsciouses developing an intense fear of other humans in these modern times, many people are becoming infatuated with their pets (especially dogs), and if you don’t play along with the adoration of “my furry child,” you’ll likely end up treated like an enemy.

Different Agendas

To your subconscious, an intimate romantic partner is a rather ominous idea because such a person is typically going to be given access to your most guarded body zones, as well being told a lot of highly sensitive information about you which they could use to really harm you in the future. For these reasons, your subconscious sees serious romantic relationships as very high risk endeavours, and since its goal is to protect you, it’s naturally going to try to control what kind of partners you go for. But here is where we come to a very interesting quandary, because protecting you is a goal that can be pursued in many different ways. To appreciate the choices your subconscious has to make here, let’s use an analogy.

Suppose you were walking through a field one day when you unknowingly stepped on a hidden land mine. The thing blows up, you get severely injured, and it takes you years to recover. Now you find yourself standing on the edge of another field. Do you just go for it? Not hardly. Your past experience has made you very afraid of walking through fields. Before you start walking through this one, you want to focus on learning about land mines: how they work, and how they can be detected. For you, gaining a better understanding of what happened to you in the past is the priority, and you’re not going to go strolling through any more fields until you get the past sorted out.

The logic being used in this field analogy is the logic that is being used in cases of pedophilia. For pedophiles, the focus on kids is a sincere attempt to better understand some horrible thing that happened to them during their own childhood. But not all men are trying to resolve past traumas by seeking out romantic partners who are significantly younger than them. Some men are trying to limit the level of intimacy that can develop because they associate intimacy with pain.

Imagine that you live in a large, six room home. When people come to your home, they can access all six rooms, and they assume that that is all your home consists of. But the truth is that your home has a huge, four room basement underneath it that can only be accessed by a secret entrance. In those four hidden rooms you keep all of the things that really matter to you. The décor and content of those rooms shows the real you, where as the rooms above ground are intentionally designed to give people a false impression of who you are and what you care about.

Now your attempt to mislead people is very effective, and most of the people who know you have a very false impression of you. This makes you feel very lonely and isolated. You eventually get fed up with having to always pretend you’re someone you’re not, so one day you take someone who you really like down to your basement and give them a glimpse of the real you. You expect them to be shocked by the revelation, and they are. You’re also prepared for them to be rather miffed by your grand deception, and they are. What you’re not prepared for is their mocking rejection of the real you, yet this is what happens. The visit goes terribly, you end up feeling devastated, and now the person who rejected you is out there telling everyone about your secret rooms and trying to use the sensitive information you shared with them to hurt you. Well, you’re not going to make that mistake again. When new friends ask about the rumours of your hidden rooms, you roll your eyes and say it’s just a bunch of ridiculous guff. Of course you don’t have a second, secret home under your actual home. What would be the purpose in something like that? The very idea is absurd.

This house analogy helps us understand a second kind of logic that is used in some cases of men (and women) in mid-life who seek out romantic partners who are in their late teens/early 20s. The goal here is to keep intimacy limited by seeking out partners who are too limited in life experience to even ask or care about certain issues. If your goal is to hide the real you, focusing on the late teens/early 20s is also attractive because people in those age ranges haven’t had the chance to solidify their personal identities, and this makes them much easier to manipulate. Another big advantage is the fact that by the time you are 20+ years older than your partner, they will likely view you as more of a parent than a peer, and this changes the dynamic of the relationship in a way that is advantageous for the older partner.

The parent-child relationship is an authority dynamic in which the parent holds the majority of the power. The parent is usually the one controlling most of the resources, but more importantly for the issue we’re discussing here, the parent is usually poorly understood by the child, while the child is well known by the parent. This imbalance of information and power puts the child at far greater risk of being harmed than the parent. For an adult who has been badly wounded in past relationships, choosing parental dynamics over peer dynamics can feel like a smart way to reduce their risk of being hurt again.

In a healthy romantic relationship, the two partners maintain a peer dynamic by keeping the power equally distributed between them. You cannot maintain equal power unless you also keep the sharing of information equal. As soon as Partner A starts sharing less sensitive information than Partner B is sharing, Partner A becomes more powerful. The more Partner B shares, and the less Partner A reciprocates, the more power Partner A gains. You cannot maintain a healthy peer dynamic unless the power remains equally balanced between the two partners.

Now let’s go back to the original design so we can understand how things are supposed to work. Intimate human relationships are supposed to have a peer dynamic. In real life, many romantic human partners try to maintain an authority dynamic instead. If you try to run a marriage on an authority dynamic, does that mean it will always become abusive? No. But is it going to be running the way marriages were designed to operate? No. We can’t deviate from the original design without missing out on some significant benefits. But in real life, many of us feel too wounded to try to stick to the original design, so we come up with alternatives that we think might help us.

Double Sided Issues

The problems in large gap relationships are always two sided. Right now you’re focusing on why the man is reaching so far down the age ladder. But you also need to ask why the young woman is reaching so far up the age ladder. When both partners want a big age gap to be there, that indicates that both partners are grappling with some significant psychological stress. Often the younger partner is trying to seek a parental dynamic to resolve some kind of stress with her original guardians. For example, a father who is absent or emotionally distant can cause his daughter to feel psychologically starved for fatherly male affirmation. She can then try to get that need met by dating men who are significantly older than her. The same dynamic also occurs in cases of young men dating older women–often there are mother issues at play in the background.

For the older man in these relationships, there are often significant fears present which make him feel too scared to attempt a relationship with a female peer. Men who have been dominated by females in the past, or abused in any kind of relationship (including professional relationships), can be inwardly terrified of sharing power equally in a relationship because they feel incapable of holding onto their fair share. Rather than start with 50% and run the risk of ending up with no power at all, some men feel more secure if they only pursue relationships in which they hold 80-90% of the power right from the start. The assumption here is that as long as they hold most of the power, it should be easy for them to escape if the relationship goes south.

Now the subconscious comes up with a lot of clever strategies which are quite logical in construction, yet they don’t work well in practice. The idea that you can protect yourself from pain by never sharing power simply doesn’t work. By hoarding too much power in a romantic relationship, you prevent the thing from ever flourishing past a certain point. Plus, when we hoard power because we are afraid of being hurt by our partners, we enter the relationship expecting our partner to trash us, and it’s impossible to build trust on this kind of foundation. The absence of trust guarantees that an intimate relationship will feel threatening instead of feeling safe. Even if your partner is nice to you, you won’t feel safe with them because you don’t trust them. When you’re hoarding power in an effort to protect yourself against someone who you are secretly afraid of, you’ll probably start acting abusive at some point, since you’ll be prone to overreact to any little thing they do that makes you feel more unsafe. So it’s a mess, but it’s one that is caused by very real, and often very severe psychological pain, and pain always deserves some degree of compassion.

Before we move on to another aspect of your question, realize that I’ve only discussed a few common strategies in this post. There is no limit to the kinds of mental associations a man can make regarding young women. For example, a man who is devastated by losing his daughter to illness in the past might pursue young women as intimate partners because they remind him of his lost daughter and he’s simply trying to feel close to her by partnering with someone who symbolizes her to his mind. The possibilities are endless, and we can’t really know what’s going on in someone’s mind until we talk to that person. Meanwhile, humans generally view romantic attractions to be very mysterious, illogical things when in fact there is always a specific strategy behind why your mind steers you towards certain partners and away from others.

The next time a man claims the fertility theory applies in his case, rather than see him as some grunting animal in heat, realize that, like most people, he is probably oblivious to how attraction mechanics work, so he’s simply repeating a theory that someone else proposed without giving that theory much thought. Often people don’t feel qualified to question the explanations they are handed by “experts,” yet we should always mull an idea over before just accepting it as accurate or applicable to our personal situation. Human behavior is always very logical at its core, but to dial into the logic being used for a specific behaviour, you have to see that behavior from the correct perspective. Souls have their own agendas which differ quite a bit from subconscious agendas. Some human behaviours are being directed by the soul, while others are being directed by the subconscious. Leaping up and down the age ladder is a strategy that is usually inspired by the subconscious, and if it is trying to keep its agenda secret (which often happens), a man will be prone to accepting any non-threatening explanation that is offered to him about why he’s behaving the way that he is. “I want a young woman because of biological wiring? Well, if you say so. I can’t come up with a better explanation right now, so I guess you must be right.

Career Actors

Now you specifically asked about Leonardo DiCaprio. Mr. DiCaprio is a professional actor who has spent decades working in the film industry. Based on these two facts alone, it’s pretty much guaranteed that he is currently in a state of severe psychological and spiritual trauma, with a hearty dose of physical stress thrown in. This is due to the fact that professional acting careers are extremely trauma-inducing, and it’s just not possible to acquire Mr. DiCaprio’s level of professional success without annihilating your personal well-being.

The movie industry is a brutal industry that couldn’t care less about protecting the well-being of its acting force. Human beings are grossly objectified by this industry, and a whole array of nasty punishments are used to prevent people from maintaining healthy personal boundaries. The only way to survive long enough to “succeed” in this field is to use extreme forms of suppression to try to tune out the fact that your soul and subconscious are so upset by the things you are doing. Suppression is very taxing to your system, and it requires more and more resources over time. It’s not just a “coincidence” that so many actors end up with multiple drug addictions and an inability to maintain healthy relationships. When you’re feeling tormented inside 24/7, you’re going to grasp at any tool you can find to help distract you from your own innards. You will also be incapable of holding up your end of a functional relationship.

Professional acting careers are very good at destroying people regardless of how successful they do or don’t become. But the few who happen to have the misfortune of becoming super successful get hit with a whole new set of problems. Being famous in this world is not a plus. Someone like Mr. DiCaprio will not be able to go anywhere or do anything without being hounded by people who are obsessed with him. There’s nothing fun about being constantly followed, photographed, filmed, grabbed, whispered about, stared at, and smothered everywhere you go. If you have the additional problem of not only being successful, but also being promoted as some kind of sex icon, which has happened to men like Mr. DiCaprio and Brad Pitt, then you have the additional stress of feeling like the world is only valuing you for your exterior. No human wants to be treated like an object, but this is exactly how you are treated once people decide you’re some kind of “gold standard” for the concepts of handsome or beautiful.

As a general rule, art-focused careers mainly attract people who are already in a state of psychological trauma. First they enter the field already in a state of mental distress, then they get traumatized even further as they try to keep their careers alive. Some careers are more trauma-inducing than others. Film acting is especially brutal due to the way it ends up trashing mind, soul, and body at the same time. Movie watchers rarely think about the psychological and spiritual fallout that occurs for actors that roleplay shady characters. Your soul needs to feel you are a morally decent person. When you are doing things in movies that your soul finds morally offensive, it is not enough to tell yourself, “It’s not me doing this, it’s just my character.” Your soul will still be very disturbed by what you are doing, and since you’re probably not going to receive any form of debriefing after playing a particularly upsetting role (and realize that many actors are forced to rehearse the same distressing scenes many times over before their directors are satisfied), your soul’s stress levels are going to continuously rise until you’re pretty much drowning in guilt and shame all of the time.

On a psychological level, your subconscious needs to feel like it is succeeding at protecting you. Every subconscious maintains body zone maps which indicate what parts of the body they are comfortable having exposed and touched, and which parts they want to remain covered and uncontacted. But if you’re going to become a “success” in modern acting, you’re basically going to have to submit to the same kinds of degradation that porn stars undergo: being filmed naked, being manhandled by strangers, and being forced to engage in physically intimate behaviours with people who you feel threatened by.

Since many actors enter the field already in a state of psychological trauma, they usually have many fears and wounds already in place which are going to be frequently triggered during their career. No one has time to put the entire production on hold just because you’re having a mental breakdown, so you either find a way to get a grip or you’re kicked to the curb.

In order to effectively convey a variety of emotions, actors rely on their own memory banks to help them recall those emotions from their own lives. This means they are constantly jerking their subconsciouses around by pressuring them to dredge up traumatic memories in order to do some brief scene, then submerge those memories again so the actor won’t come across as emotionally unstable to others. Such obtrusive rifling through negative memory archives is exhausting and infuriating to a subconscious that is trying to keep stress at bay.

On a physical front, professional acting is hell on the body. When you watch modern movies, many actors and actress enter the scenes looking like they’ve been starving for months. Their cheeks are sucked in, their hip bones are protruding, their stomachs are either flat or curving in where they should be curving out. Their clothes are often so tight that they can barely move. Female actors are often wearing shoes that are forcing their feet to jam into narrow, triangular forms while they attempt to balance on tiny stick heels. Often the leading actors look like they are in desperate need of a good steak dinner, and many of them look like their latest rounds of plastic surgery and Botox injections were overdone, thus their faces look uncomfortably stretched and frozen in place. When you are playing a character who undergoes dramatic physical changes over the length of the story, you are often pressured to grossly abuse your own body through starvation, overeating, or excessive muscle building, all for the sake of making your character seem “more realistic.” Plus there is the endless primping, poking, and prodding that goes on between every single scene. Ask yourself this: how many hours could you deal with many pairs of hands pulling, pushing, brushing, fussing, and dabbing at your face, hair, and clothes before you lose it?

The body really gets shafted in film careers. Not only do you have to grossly abuse yourself in order to even be considered for some exciting role, but you also have to maintain the abuse 24/7. You can’t just eat what you want between jobs, or you might run the risk of looking too healthy to qualify as “camera ready.” As we watch scores of actors pass in front of the camera, we rarely think about all of the plucking, shaving, scrutinizing, injecting, bleaching, colouring, starving, exercising, injecting, tanning, and medicating these people are having to go through in their daily lives just so they can have the opportunity to be filmed doing and saying things that make them feel personally lousy.

The reason I explained these issues is that Mr. DiCaprio’s career is so mind, body, and soul destroying, that by now the poor man is going to have many reasons why he is trying to avoid seeking out romantic partners in his own stage of life. Film acting piles traumas upon traumas until people feel like they don’t even know who they are anymore. So in Mr. DiCaprio’s case, it’s not going to be a case of biological wiring driving him down the age ladder, but a whole host of other issues that he is not going to have the chance to properly sort out until he removes himself from the line of fire. A fear of being known is likely a prominent factor in his case, and reasonably so, given that the film industry is notorious for intentionally misusing sensitive information. But when you have spent as long as he has in the industry, quitting can feel like a truly terrifying idea. The best we can hope is that he decides to change his priorities at some point and give himself a chance to recover.

This post was written in response to AnonymousWoman.