It never occurred to me that in relationships with a significant age difference it’s the younger person that could be exploited. What could you exploit a younger person for? What do they have to offer that’s a valuable, scarce resource? Sex? Well, maybe in 1942. Today, there’s total oversaturation.
It’s like people are living a century ago. Ooh, he got together with a 40-year-old man at nineteen, poor victim. (Everybody knows who I’m talking about, right?). But what could the 40-year-old get from him that isn’t available to great excess on a million dating apps? What the younger guy can get from a successful 40-year-old, on the other hand, is harder to come by.
Disclaimers: I’m only talking about relationships between consenting adults, of course. And I’m not suggesting that all or even most such relationships are exploitative. Ickiness does happen but it’s not a rule. My own sister is married to an older guy, so I’m definitely not a hater of relationships with a decade+ difference. Or any difference.