I'm a single straight male in my 40s. I date women in their 20s-50s. I hooked up with a 21-year-old woman recently, which is the youngest age I'd consider dating. Except after we had sex, she told me she was actually much younger than 21.ย I did not break the law. I live in a state which has a surprisingly low age of consent, and she is above it, but barely. This was not about me making assumptions about her age. She explicitly told me via text that she was 21, and that was the age she listed on the dating app where we matched. She looks 21, she told me she has a job, lives on her own, and shared several stories that would only make sense if she was 21. I realize now she made some of this up. I cut off contact with her immediately.

Even though it's not illegal, it still feels pretty bad. I honestly feel like crap. Even though what I did was not illegal, I honestly feel like maybe it should be. A lot of people would say I did something wrong by sleeping with a 21-year-old woman in the first place (or what I thought was a 21-year-old woman), or by not checking more carefully. (Should I have asked to see her ID or something?) But someone lied to me, and I had sex I would otherwise not have had, and now I feel sick about it. I can't eat, I've been drinking too much, and I just can't shake this feeling that I'm the worst and that my life is somehow over. The whole idea of sex seems disgusting to me now.

Is this as big a deal as I'm making it out to be? Is it appropriate for me to feel like something has been done to me, or am I just trying to feel like a victim? I didn't think that there was anything wrong with dating a 21-year-old woman, and I've always tried to be ethical when dating women younger than me, but now I feel pretty sleazy about it.

Worries Over Recent Sexual Experience

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