Emily, 32

We’re never jealous of one another, and when we’re together it’s very cosy and tender

I’ve always been attracted to older men, I just didn’t expect that attraction to endure. As I get older, so do the men I’m drawn to. I like the gaps in Samuel’s smile from his missing teeth, but he’s embarrassed about them. I think it shows that he’s had a lot of fun in his life. Often when I am out with him, people assume he’s my father. His eyes are beautiful and they dilate when he looks at me.

Samuel’s brain operates quite uniquely, and perhaps his unselfconsciousness has something to do with his age. We met on a sex app, and the first time we hooked up he dressed up for me afterwards in a pirate costume.

He wasn’t trying to be sexy; he’s just into amateur theatre and he happened to have his outfit on him. It was such a bizarre thing to do: who has casual sex with someone and then immediately shows them their amateur dramatics costume? The confidence! I liked him immediately after that.

I’ve been dating Samuel for six years, but I also have a partner called Leo who I’ve been with for 14 years. We live together and he’s my age; we met at school.

Leo and I had intermittent sex at the very start of our relationship but I always had the sensation that I wanted it more than he did. I was too cowardly to raise it with him. In a relationship there are things so painful you feel you can’t touch them. You tell yourself that not knowing is easier than facing the pain of rejection.

Eventually, Leo came to me and told me he is asexual. In some ways, it was a relief to know it wasn’t about me. Of course it’s hard, because I’m still intensely attracted to him. But we’ve adapted: Leo’s honesty about who he really is means that I can be open too, not least about my attraction to older men. For the past decade, Leo and I have had an arrangement where I am allowed to sleep with other people.

Samuel understands my situation because he has a primary partner too (she has no idea about me though). We’re never jealous of one another, and when we’re together it’s very cosy and tender. Samuel takes Viagra, so he doesn’t have any trouble performing, but perhaps what I enjoy most is our pillow talk. We chat for hours about the kinds of things most people would find deeply boring. Brickwork and board games, mostly. This may be the secret to our success: I am a 32-year-old woman but I have the hobbies of a 73-year-old man.

Samuel, 73

You might also be attracted to women decades older, but younger women don’t become invisible to you

Around the time that I met Emily, I had a part in a local theatre production, playing a pirate. I don’t think I had the complete costume with me the first time we had sex, but I certainly had the pirate bandana and a long, curly black wig. I dressed up in them both for Emily, who found it all very amusing.

It is a striking factor for me that she is a bright, funny person.

Sex has never been a purely mechanical thing for me. Currently, I am having semi-regular sex with four women, most of whom I met the same way I met Emily: online.

I have a personal connection with each of them, but Emily is definitely special among them. I see her as my secondary girlfriend.

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The thing about hitting 70 is that even though you may also be attracted to older women, younger women don’t become invisible to you.

I’m not a particularly gregarious person, and the fact that women seem to like me continually strikes me as something of a surprise. I certainly didn’t have much sexual success when I was in my 20s. I was a late developer, I suppose.

I have a live-in partner who is 10 years younger than me. She doesn’t know about the other women, and while the secrecy weighs on me, I don’t exactly feel guilty.

My partner works very hard whereas I’m retired, and I don’t think she wants sex as regularly as I do. She certainly doesn’t suffer any deprivations as a result of my infidelity.

I suppose I’m lucky to have got to the age of 73 and be having sex with four different people. But perhaps I’m not that exceptional. I don’t know what other men my age do in bed. You never really know what other people get up to.

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