Longtime reader in Colorado. For the last few months, I've been casually seeing a man, about my same age, who is in an open marriage. We met via Craigslist Personals, back before that ended. Started off as a massage client before our mutual attraction and friendship turned into him coming over, having great sex, pillow talk for a bit before he leaves. Some evenings coming over for drinks and ending having sex. It’s unspoken that we are both seeing others and this is just casual sex with some growing feelings between us. I’d get very sweet texts from him, regularly, about him missing me and general caring, friendly texts. I have been fine with what our relationship consisted of. I would consider myself to be GGG, not jealous and very cool with casual relationships. My problem came up a couple mornings ago, when I was looking around on Fetlife. He and I have both been on there, off and on. By sheer coincidence, I ran across a four-month-old post from him stating: "45yo professor and 18yo girlfriend looking for play with couples. She is hot, amazing tits and just loves sex. Would love to go to Mon Chalet as well. Send info and a pic."

Many emotions came over me...

1. He is 45 and dating a just-recently-graduated high-school-age teenager!
2. Eighteen is one number away from him being considered a pedophile.
3. He is completely exploiting this young girl via this Fetlife ad.
4. He’s a college professor and this is probably one of his students.
5. He is taking advantage of this young, naïve girl who obviously has daddy issues if she’s interested in a man that much older.

I immediately sent him a text including a screen shot of the ad and told him that although obviously very open minded about a lot of things, him fucking a teenager is fucked up and I’m done with him. His response: “Sorry, I am not perfect.” This also brings up for me that I’m grossed out that I’ve been fucking a pedophile for months now. Am I wrong to believe this situation is not right or am I not as open minded as I think I am? Am I making much more of this than I should?

Creeped Out By Old Prof

First let's pop over to Merriam-Webster for a quick second...

pe•do•phil•ia noun
- sexual perversion in which children are the preferred sexual object. specifically: a psychiatric disorder in which an adult has sexual fantasies about or engages in sexual acts with a prepubescent child.

Now let's go one by one...

1. She could've been a recent high school grad—or she could've been a senior in high school at the time or a freshman in college or a new member of the workforce.

2. See above. Pedophiles are attracted to prepubescent children—seven year olds, eight year olds, nine year olds. An 18-year-old woman... is a woman, she's an adult, old enough to drive, old enough to vote, old enough to enlist. Not quite old enough to drink yet, of course, but certainly old enough to get her hands on booze. And, if I may be crude, old enough to get her hands on dick. Large age gaps can be discomforting, I realize, and there's a big difference between 18 and, say, 22. And when a large age gap involving a teenager is coupled with a Fetlife post like that... yeah, it's gross, COBOP, and it's possible this young woman was (or still is) being exploited by your ex-fuckbuddy or others. But a large age gap doesn't magically turn an adult over the age of consent into a child—nor does it turn an adult fucking someone who's over the age of consent (even just) into a pedophile. (Also, the age of consent in Colorado is 17. It's 16 in whole lot of states—which doesn't make it okay for 45 year olds to fuck 16 year olds in, say, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, et al. But it's important that we not conflate "not okay" with "child rape." We can say that an age gap like that comes with a power imbalance that makes any sexual contact inherently exploitative—but then we're talking about a societal norm reinforced by a certain stigma/higher degree of scrutiny, not a crime punishable by a lengthy prison sentence/spot on a sex-offender registry.)

3. Yeah, this does seem pretty exploitative. It's certainly crass.

4. There's no way of knowing from that post on Fetlife—and your ex-fuckbuddy would have to be crazy to mention being a college professor in the same breath with check out the "amazing tits" on my eighteen-year-old girlfriend if he was actually fucking one of his students. But I suppose it's possible he's not just a creep, COBOP, but a thoroughly reckless creep. He could also be one those people turned by the thought of "getting caught," which means your screen shot may have made his... day. Let's just say it may have made his day.

5. Some younger folks are genuinely attracted in older folks—and if the Campsite Rule is honored (along with the Tea & Sympathy Rule), it's possible for a younger person not just to emerge unscathed/un-traumatized from a sexual and/or romantic relationship with an older person, but to learn, grow, and benefit from it. And while a young woman into older men may or may not have "daddy issues," she also has agency and the right to make up her own mind about who she fucks. But I do wish all 18 year olds—male and female—were required to read Caitlin Moran's essay "How to Tell the Bad Men From the Good Men: It wasn’t so simple at age 18" before sleeping with anyone, ever, age gap or no age gap.

Finally, COBOP, you ask if you're making more of this you should. Well, once you stop making this into something it's not—child rape—then what it is can come into focus: it's very deeply creepy and most likely exploitative. You were right to terminate your relationship with this creep, COBOP, and by doing so you let him know he'll pay a social (and sexual) cost for being such a fucking creep. But there's not much else you can do, seeing as everyone involved—so far as we know—was a consenting adult.


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