- The Washington Times - Monday, September 29, 2003

NEW YORK (AP) — Demi Moore is not alone. Close to a third of unmarried American women in their 40s through 60s who date are going out with younger men, according to one of the most sweeping surveys ever conducted on the dating habits and sex lives of midlife singles.

Sex on a first date? Only 2 percent of single women in the age group approved, while 20 percent of the men were amenable. Frequency of sex? Sixty percent of the women and 45 percent of the men said they hadn’t had any in the past six months.

The survey, sampling the views of 1,407 men and 2,094 women ages 40 to 69, is being released today in AARP’s magazine.

The magazine has conducted large-scale surveys before, said editor Steve Slon, but never specifically targeting singles.

“Usually when people talk about singles, it’s about people in their 20s and 30s,” he said.

According to the survey, 60 percent of singles ages 40 to 69 are women, a majority of them divorced. Forty-two percent of the men and 24 percent of the women had never been married.

Among the hundreds of findings in the survey, Mr. Slon was most surprised, he said, by the large portion of women who reported dating younger men — a trend recently glamorized by 40-year-old actress Demi Moore’s romance with actor Ashton Kutcher, 15 years her junior.

“There seems to be no stigma now for dating men a few years younger,” Mr. Slon said. “Twenty years ago, women didn’t have the jobs. Today, they have the jobs; they have the money; they can call the shots.”

Among the men, 66 percent said they were dating younger women.

For both men and women, the top reason for dating was to find fun and companionship. Only 11 percent of the men and 2 percent of the women cited sex as the main motive. Only 10 percent of men and 7 percent of women cited marriage as the No. 1 goal.

“That reflects a very different mind-set from the past,” Mr. Slon said of the relatively low yearning for marriage. “It reflects a comfort with oneself, a reluctance to get too entangled with someone else.”

Nearly 30 percent of the singles reported difficulty finding dates, and said they would be delighted to start a romance if they could find the right person. Mr. Slon said the survey indicated that many singles in the age bracket were attending mixers and using online dating services.

The survey was conducted for the magazine in June by Knowledge Networks Inc. Its margin of error, for questions asked of the entire sampling, was 2.4 percentage points, and slightly higher for questions directed at subgroups.

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