Feeld Notes is a column about a middle-aged woman who suddenly realizes she wants to have sex again—and the beguiling app she uses to do it.
A lot of young men like me on Feeld. Not to imply I get liked by a lot of men—ha!—but of the men who do like my profile, a significant percentage of them are substantially younger than I am. (As someone in her late 40s, I define “substantially younger” as anyone under 40.)
Listen, I’m not a cougar, an appellation that, by definition, suggests a certain predatory instinct. I don’t go looking for younger men on Feeld. Or elsewhere, for that matter. As I’ve explained previously, I don’t have it in me.
But I’d be lying if I said that that some part of me isn’t delighted to think that the pictures and the words on my profile project a sort of youthful exuberance. I don’t like to think of myself as “old,” not to mention “middle-aged,” and the attentions of younger men are both a salve for my insecurity around—and a mechanism to sustain denial about—the fact that I’m pushing 50.
Of course, this doesn’t come without some … complications. And as an “older woman” who attracts a lot of attention from younger men on this app, I have found that many of them share the same interest: sex with “mommy.”
I don’t know if these young men want to have sex with their own actual moms. They haven’t said, and I haven’t asked. I sincerely doubt it. But at least half a dozen men, in the few months I’ve been on the app, have asked me whether I’d be interested in playing the role of “mommy.”
(Mommy is the word they use. Or mom. Never mother.)
It’s not like these men acknowledge their mother-son fantasies from the get-go. The reveal takes a while. First, they explain that they have a desire for a dynamic in which they’re submissive to a female. A conversation might go something like this:
“What is it that you like about older women?”
“I like their maturity, and that they know what they want.”
A beat, and then, from him:
“I want to explore my submissive side.”
Sometimes this is where the story ends, which is to say that sometimes I simply have a fun verbal back-and-forth with a guy who wants to call me “ma’am” and asks what he might do to please me. (I have a long list.) Then we discuss different scenarios and sext with each other until one of us has to get off the app.
Sometimes, though, the topic of having sex “in character” comes up. The young man always initiates this part of the conversation.
“Do you ever role-play?”
“Not really. What do you have in mind?”
“I’ve always wanted to try a mommy-and-son-type thing.”
Another beat, an uncomfortably long one, and then, from me:
“I’m listening. But what does that look like, exactly?”
“I want to fuck you. I want to make you cum. I want you to praise me and boss me around.”
“I want to service you. And to be told I am a good boy.”
“I want to be nurtured.”
When a young man first said this to me, I didn’t immediately realize that it probably had something to do with my breasts.
I want to stop for a second and explain a few things.
One: I don’t mean to be glib. Really. Though I may know, intellectually, that there are men in the world who have these fantasies, encountering them in the wild is another thing altogether.
Two: I try not to be too judgmental. If my many months on Feeld have taught me anything—besides providing me with multiple, painful reminders that dudes can be really flaky and rude—it’s that there are lots of different types of people in the world who have lots of different types of kinks. This is a good thing. It’s complicated, and therefore human. And I have no desire to kink-shame. As Dan Savage once said, “Sometimes our erotic imaginations are as inexplicable as they are powerful.”
Three: I feel really challenged by all this. The mother-son kink, at least as it relates to my experience on Feeld, complicates my ideas about, and experience with, human sexuality. It asks me to reconsider my assumptions about people with fantasies of extreme taboos. It compels me to interrogate my unexamined squeamishness about domination and submission, at least with my playing the dominant role. The thought of it makes me uncomfortable.
Most importantly, perhaps, the mother-son kink (part of what is called “age play”) asks me to try to separate—and this is where things get really difficult for me—a fantasy about something that in real life is disgusting and perhaps even criminal but in this particular case is just that: a fantasy. A profoundly unsettling one, at least for me, but a fantasy nonetheless. As one book, Tristan Taormino’s The Ultimate Guide to Kink, explains, “Age play is exactly what the name indicates—play. If you have a desire to do age play, it does not mean you condone coercion, violence of abuse (sexual or non-sexual) directed at actual children by actual adults. Age play is fantasy between consenting adults.”
Fair enough. So why not just leave it there? Because I respect the vulnerability and candor that comes from these conversations. (As usual, any names, details, and specifics in this column have been changed.) I mean, in terms of taboos, this is a big one. And it’s probably not usually met with much magnanimity. A woman on Feeld or elsewhere might lambast a man who confesses to such a fantasy. She might unceremoniously and abruptly unmatch him, the virtual equivalent of turning tail and walking away. Or all of the above. I wanted to try a different tack.
A few weeks ago, after what must have been the fourth or fifth man confessing to having mommy fantasies, I decided to try to familiarize myself with the kink community’s “best practices” around age play. I figured I should at least try to understand what has been a somewhat shocking byproduct of the audience of younger men that I seem to be attracting.
My research (such as it is) was challenging and eye-opening. I ordered a few books about kink, but tellingly, any mention of role-playing within adult/child “age play” scenarios—what one book calls a “caregiver” fantasy involving a “little”—focused on older man/younger woman dynamics.
Then I went to Pornhub. Though I discovered that the ubiquitous pornography website has an entire section of “step fantasy” videos, I didn’t see anything about scenarios involving “mothers” and “sons.” And believe me, I looked. The website Kink Academy seemed promising—there’s an entire category of informational and instructional “age play” videos, including a subcategory of “mommy play”—but I declined to sign up for a membership to see them.
It seemed clear I’d have to learn mostly from very limited experience.
Speaking of: One night a few weeks ago, I was approached by a young, thirtysomething personal trainer in Australia who was interested in playing out a stepmother/stepson fantasy—18-year-old stepson with 50-year-old stepmom, he explained—and after thinking about it for a few minutes, I decided to oblige him, from the safety of my computer and my couch 8,000 miles away.
The “sex” we had took place in a kitchen. In my imagination, it was badly lit and modest —the kitchen of a lower-middle-class family from the 1970s or ’80s, the kind with a window with white, plastic vertical blinds over the sink and a puke-yellow refrigerator. The kitchen of my “fantasy” reminded me of a porn set. Which I guess it sort of was.
Anyway, as the story began, I was unloading the dishwasher when I asked for my stepson’s help in returning some cups and plates to a place high up in my kitchen cabinet. When he came into the room, he brushed his lower torso up against me as he moved to grab the dishware and reached up to place it on the shelf. Eventually, his hands reached for my hips, turning my body toward his. We began to kiss, at first, with trepidation—as his stepmother, I had to protest at least a little bit—and then, with deep passion and sensuality. The story continued from there.
I was both disturbed and sort of delighted by the whole thing. I mean, I love a good erotic narrative. And though I already knew that I am pretty good at sexting, this was my first time having sex with a Feeld match on the phone. (I did most of the talking.) But just as the Australian and I were getting to the good parts, where clothes were being slowly removed and body parts stimulated, the connection went dead. I messaged him: “I lost you. Call me back when you can. I wasn’t finished with the story.” I added a purple, smirking devil emoji.
A half hour passed. “Sorry my phone died and apologies for killing the moment,” he said. His tone had changed. “But yeah let’s try again another time I think.”
“Sounds good,” I responded. “Did you like it? I did—and it sounded like maybe you did too.”
A few minutes went by. Then: “I did and it made me a little uncomfortable too.”
Another beat. “But that’s my own insecurities to process nothing to do with u.”
I appreciated the honesty. And the self-awareness. I was also surprised to learn that I’m not above a little “age play” myself.
The Sundance Film Festival recently featured, in its short docs competition, a 15-minute short called Call Me Mommy. The film’s director, Tara O’Callaghan, follows an older Irish sex worker named Sinead Connell as she goes about her day, performing sexual acts for clients and taking care of her three children and a menagerie of animals besides. At one point, early in the film, Sinead, who looks to be in her late 40s, connects with a young man on her OnlyFans. As she takes off her bra for him, we hear her client moan breathlessly and appreciatively, “Ah, Mommy.”
So: This is very much out there. I’m not particularly interested in psychoanalyzing or pathologizing age play. (I also don’t think I’m equipped to do so.) Even so, I’m pretty confident that my brief interaction with the personal trainer was both my first and last foray into indulging in this fantasy with men, younger or otherwise.
This isn’t to say that if another guy broaches the subject, I won’t have a conversation about it. I might. But indulging such fantasies, i.e., engaging with them, is a lot different from talking about them. And though I know these things are not necessarily exclusive to each other, I’m much less interested in the former than the latter.
Meanwhile, the younger men continue to surprise me. The other day, one with whom I matched on Feeld messaged me and engaged me in a lengthy conversation. Eventually, he asked me to tell him all about my sex life, and in return, he’d offer praise and maybe send me naughty pictures of himself.
“I’ll worship you if you’re a good little girl,” he said.
“Good little girl?” I chuckled and promptly unmatched him.