and this comment:
Much of the “teen idol” phase girls go through is because they genuinely fear the masculine power they are witnessing in their male peers during puberty. They recognize that the boys are getting much stronger than them–and the more booming and deep the voice, the stronger the boy usually is. Plus Dad—-the most powerful male in her life, if he’s around—usually has the a voice deeper than all her peers.
All of this combines to make the girl want, at first, a less-masculine boyfriend–someone who has just enough testosterone to attract her, but whose voice is high enough to tell her “it’s ok, he’s pretty harmless, he’s not super strong.” The teen idol boys fulfill this function. Later, when she’s more sure of herself, she’ll turn to a more masculine man—unless she’s in arrested development and stays with the pretty boys forever (which is becoming more common as Dads don’t stay around, screwing up her normal attraction for men with masculine power).
As for older women who are actually attracted to younger men -- looking for boy toys? Stuck in a high school mentality/maturity level? Or looking for something less threatening after a bad relationship or two?