"When I finally found out how much younger he was, I was a little shocked," says Kimberly Schmitz, a 34-year-old communications and public relations director in Tucson, Arizona, of her now-fianc, Bobby Kern, 25, owner of a feed store and pet food distribution company in the same city.
"(But) he is such an amazing man that I decided to let his actions speak more than his statistics. He is the most mature and sensitive man I have ever dated." For Kern, the attraction is mutual.
NBC aired a reality dating show this summer -- "Age of Love" -- that pitted women in their 20s against women in their 40s in a battle for the heart of tennis star Mark Philippoussis.
Meanwhile, online dating sites like Go urge older women who seek younger men to "get what you want." Such pairings can and do work.
Mary Pender, 37, a high school special education teacher in Huntington Beach, California, connected with a truck driver seven years her junior who she met on an online dating site.
Though she'd always dated older men before, she "thought it was exciting to date someone younger" -- and, as it turned out, he thought it'd be just as exciting a match.
French claimed change had to come from women themselves, and said this generation had a responsibility to enforce that change.
Earlier this year French stunned fans when she showed off her dramatically slimmer frame after losing seven-and-a-half stone in weight.
"When women as a group are able to have their own economic and social standing and have a power base, they are now able to pick the man that they want rather than having to choose the man to support them and give them social status," Winter explains.But high-profile Hollywood couples like Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins (12 years her junior) -- who met and began dating while filming an on-screen romance in the 1988 movie "Bull Durham" -- have proven that life can indeed imitate art when it comes to matters of the heart.Theirs, however, is a real-life love story of an older woman and younger man -- something that is not so uncommon nowadays."There was no fear in dating an older woman," he says."I prefer to date older women, and for some reason I always have, even in high school.