For her, they were positive experiences -- she even saw the potential for marriage with some of the men.
For many women, though, these relationships look very different in hindsight.
"The irony is they find out after the fact that these men were 'sowing their wild oats' with them." Older women interviewed about the relationships they had as teens felt quite differently.
"They had very little good to say at all when they were older: many were angry, really angry," Philips said.
Child Trends, a non-profit organization in Washington, D.
As the age gap increases, Manlove explained, the likelihood of using contraceptives decreases.
Judy Prays, a 24-year-old graduate student living in Atlanta, dated older men from the time she was 16 -- intentionally. "I thought it was so romantic and glamorous and adventurous," she said. I was interested in the other person being in control of everything, being the smarter one, the stronger one.
The teenagers didn't believe they were being exploited, and no one reported feeling like a victim.
Among the perceived benefits of their relationships were admiration from their peers and their partner's material assets.