I’ve been suffering in recent months from a little reminder that I’m not as young as I used to be, that my body is aging. The details aren’t interesting but, suffice it to say, I have been suffering chronic discomfort that has had a fairly profound effect on my mobility – and my mood.

I’ve been struck, as this has been affecting me, by an acute sense of my own mortality. I’m not dying. (Well, I’m not dying any faster than I always have been.) And this isn’t what will kill me. But it has made me feel sharply that death is, inevitably, the fate that awaits me.

Obviously, this isn’t news.

But the way it’s been playing out in my brain is interesting to me, intriguing, maybe a little surprising.

It’s often said that the reason older men tend to be attracted to younger women is because in those younger women, they’re able to glimpse (taste) a bit of the youth whose loss they mourn, because by connecting sexually with youth, they are able to escape, even if just for a moment, the creeping fear of death.

Although I’ve often had the sense that my erection is a counter to my fear of death, I’ve never been particularly attracted to youth for its own sake. In general, the women to whom I’m most attracted in real life tend to be my age or close to it. This isn’t to say that I don’t appreciate the benefits youth bestows on bodies, that I don’t find nubile flesh intrinsically compelling. I do. But I don’t often find myself lusting after young women. My appreciation for younger women tends to be much more aesthetic than sexual.

Lately, though, I’ve noticed a little change in how I relate to younger women, to their bodies, to their sexuality. I’ve been fantasizing just a bit more about those younger women, and not just about watching them, but about touching them, about possessing them sexually. I have the sense that this is a direct result of my own increased awareness of my own mortality.

So far, this change has been only a change in fantasy. I haven’t found myself actually pursuing younger women. But I have been thinking about it, and thinking about it in a way that’s an order of magnitude more… real… than the way I typically have, heretofore. Thinking about approaching younger women, about organizing my pursuits such that they might bring me in greater contact with younger women. I’m not sure I’ll ever actually do this. But I’m noticing the change in my brain.

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