It was found that for all ages males were willing to accept females that are slightly older than they are on average 4. Females demonstrate a complementary pattern, being willing to accept considerably older males on average 8 years older and were also willing to accept males slightly younger than themselves on average 5 years younger. This is somewhat different to our close evolutionary relatives: Male chimpanzees tend to prefer older females than younger and it is suggested that specific cues of female mate value are very different to humans.
Buss attributed the male preference for younger females to certain youthful cues. In females, relative youth and physical attractiveness which males valued more compared to females demonstrated cues for fertility and high reproductive capacity. Teenage males also report that their ideal mates would be several years older than themselves. Buss and Schmitt  stress that although long-term mating relationships are common for humans, there are both short-term and long-term mating relationships. Buss and Schmitt provided a Sexual Strategies Theory that describes the two sexes as having evolved distinct psychological mechanisms that underlie the strategies for short- and long-term mating.
This theory is directly relevant and compatible with those two already mentioned, Life History and Parental Investment. As they are the higher-investing sex, females tend to be slightly more demanding when picking a mate as predicted by parental investment theory. In contrast to above, in short-term mating, females will tend to favour males that demonstrate physical attractiveness, as this displays cues of 'good genes'.
Cross-culturally, research has consistently supported the trend in which males prefer to mate with younger females, and females with older males. Analysing the results further, cross culturally, the average age females prefer to marry is Males however prefer to marry when they are The results from the study therefore show that the mean preferred marriage age difference 3.
The preferred age of females is However, in some regions of the world there is a substantially larger age gap between marriage partners in that males are much older than their wife or wives. A theory that can explain this finding from an evolutionary perspective is the parasite-stress theory which explains that an increase of infectious disease can cause humans to evolve selectively according to these pressures.
Evidence also shows that as disease risk gets higher, it puts a level of stress on mating selection and increases the use of polygamy. Table 2 shows that 17 of the 20 countries with the largest age-gaps between spouses practice polygyny , and that males range from 6. In regions such as Sub-Saharan Africa the use of polygyny is commonly practiced as a consequence of high sex-ratios more males born per females and passing on heterozygous diverse genetics from different females to offspring.
Another reason that polygynous communities have larger age-gaps between spouses is that intrasexual competition for females increases as fewer females remain on the marriage market with males having more than one wife each , therefore the competitive advantage values younger females due to their higher reproductive value. Comparatively in Western societies such as the US and Europe, there is a trend of smaller age-gaps between spouses, reaching its peak average in Southern Europe of 3. Using the same pathogen-stress model, there is a lower prevalence of disease in these economically developed areas, and therefore a reduced stress on reproduction for survival.
Additionally, it is common to see monogamous relationships widely in more modern societies as there are more women in the marriage market and polygamy is illegal throughout most of Europe and the United States.
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As access to education increases worldwide, the age of marriage increases with it, with more of the youth staying in education for longer. The mean age of marriage in Europe is well above 25, and averaging at 30 in Nordic countries, however this may also be due to the increase of cohabitation in European countries. Social structural origin theory argues that the underlying cause of sex-differentiated behaviour is the concentration of men and women in differing roles in society.
It has been argued that a reason gender roles are so prevalent in society is that the expectations of gender roles can become internalised in a person's self-concept and personality. It is thought that a trade-off or equilibrium is reached in regards to what each gender brings to the mating partnership and that this equilibrium is most likely to be reached with a trade-off of ages when selecting a mate. Women and men tend to seek a partner that will fit in with their society's sexual division of labour. For example, a marital system based on males being the provider and females the domestic worker, favours an age gap in the relationship.
An older male is more likely to have more resources to provide to the family. The rational choice model also suggests that people look for partners who can provide for them in their life bread-winners ; as men traditionally earn more as they get older, women will therefore prefer older men.
Age-hypogamy defines a relationship where the woman is the older partner, the opposite of this being age- hypergamy.
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Older female—younger male relationships are, relative to age-hypergamous relationships older male—younger female , less researched in scientific literature. The picture often displays a stereotypical pairing of a divorced, middle-aged, white, affluent female dating a younger male with the relationship taking the form of a non-commitment arrangement between the partners.
Although age-hypogenous relationships have historically been very infrequent, recent US census data has shown an increase in age-hypogenous relationships from 6. There may be many reasons why age-hypogamous relationships are not very frequent. Sexual double standards in society, in particular, may account for their rarity.
There is debate in the literature as to what determines age-hypogamy in sexual relationships. A number of variables have been argued to influence the likelihood of women entering into an age-hypogamous relationship, such as racial or ethnic background, level of education, income, marital status, conservatism, age, and number of sexual partners. Another example illustrating the varying literature surrounding age-hypogamous relationships is research indicating that a woman's marital status can influence her likelihood of engaging in age-hypogamous relationships.
It has been found that married women are less likely to be partnered with a younger male compared to non-married women  in comparison to more recent findings, which provides evidence to suggest that previously married women are more likely to engage in an age-hypogamous sexual relationship compared to women who are married or who have never been married. Despite social views depicting age-hypogamous relationships as short lived and fickle, recent research published by Psychology of Women Quarterly has found that women in age-hypogamous relationships are more satisfied and the most committed in their relationships compared to younger women or similarly aged partners.
A recent study found that when shown pictures of women of ages ranging from 20—45 with different levels of attractiveness, regardless of age, males chose the more attractive individuals as long term partners. The "never date anyone under half your age plus seven" rule is a rule of thumb sometimes used to prejudge whether an age difference is socially acceptable.
In earlier sources, the rule had a different interpretation than in contemporary culture, as it was understood as a formula to calculate ideal age for the bride, instead of a lower limit for the suitable age. The half-your-age-plus seven rule also appears in John Fox, Jr.
Age difference in relationships.
In modern times, this rule has been criticised as being more accurate for men than women, and for allowing a greater maximum age for a woman's partner later in her life than is actually socially acceptable. I recently noticed that he was kind of distancing himself every time he became close to me. I wrote him a six page letter telling him exactly what I was seeing and how I felt.
After I wrote him this letter he told me I nailed the part of him falling for me and backing off. He then told me that he doesn't think he will ever get married. Now I don't know if that was him making sure I still wanted to be with him or if that was a way of trying to push me off. We are still together and I do want to maybe be married one day but, if he is bot wanting marriage then I am okay with that. What I do want to know is why he will not let me in and tell me how exactly he feels about me.
It is like pulling teeth to ask a question. With actions I see he cares but, as a woman every once in a while we would like to hear it as well. Since he said he doesn't think he will ever get married is that him saying he doesn't ever want that kind of commitment? When i met him 5 yrs ago the age gap was not a problem until now, 5 yrs later. This wasnt an issue until 5 yrs later.
Please reply, would really appreciate a different perspective because mine is tainted. Just be sure he wants the same things. At 20, his expectations and level of committment may be different to yours at I would talk openly with him to be sure he is as "there" in it as you are, and wants the same things for the future. You dont want to get hurt. Hi i need advice from someone please, i feel so frustrated with the relationship iam in now, there is 16 years difference between. Hi Purple a friend of my fathers, at 50, fell for an older sister of a schoolmate of mine she was Of course there were ructions when her parents came to hear of it and his sisters weren't too pleased either.
Age disparity in sexual relationships
He had never married and of course they thought he was a bachelor for life. But the two of them married and a happier couple you'd be hard pressed to find. They have 4 lovely boys. He's 60 now - claims his wife and boys keep him young and do you know the age gap to look at them looks younger now than it did when they were dating. But then he's very fit and he has a young outlook - if you know what I mean, he thinks young and has a great spirit and sense of fun.
And he's as proud as punch of his family. I don't think too many people would be happy if their 17 year old daughter was having sex with a 60 year old man.
If the younger party is about 25, they should have the sense to decide for themselves, good luck to them. It depends on what you both want out of the relationship. You need to look at the practicalities of it, IE. A 70 yr old man and a 20 yr old woman could have a happy relationship but if if a child came would the old fella survive long enough to see the child leave school? It seems logical for us women to date men 30 years our senior - at least that way we will be at the same level of emotional maturity as them!!
Ok now I know everyone is going to start shouting sexism but hey I just wanted to inject some humour on this sunny day: If you are happy and he treats you well then that is more than half the battle. I have learned this the hard way, that an unhappy relationship can engulf you and destroy your life so if you love each other and you are happy then celebrate!!
Age IS just a number! Hi Amada, it is wonderful that you have found love, age gap notwithstanding. Studies have found partners with more than a ten-year gap in age experience social disapproval. But when it comes to our own relationships, both men and women prefer someone their own age, but are open to someone years their junior or senior. While there is variation across cultures in the size of the difference in age-gap couples, all cultures demonstrate the age-gap couple phenomenon.
Is two years age difference too much? - The Student Room
In some non-Western countries, the average age gap is much larger than in Western countries. So does age matter? And do couples with large age gaps experience poorer or better relationship outcomes compared to couples of similar ages? These generally involve older men partnered with younger women. The limited evidence on same-sex couples , however, suggests the prevalence rates are higher. But what these trends tell us is that the majority of the population is likely to partner with someone of similar age. This largely has to do with having social circles that generally include peers of similar ages and being attracted to others who are similar.
Similarity entails many things, including personality, interests and values, life goals and stage of life, and physical traits age being a marker of physical appearance. Many of the reasons proposed for age-gap couples have been largely rooted in evolutionary explanations, and focus on explaining older man-younger woman pairings.
From this perspective, it's thought men's preferences for younger women and women's preferences for older men relate to reproductive fitness.
That is, the extent to which someone has "good genes" — indicated by their attractiveness and sense of energy also known as vitality — and the extent to which they are a "good investment" — indicated by their status and resources as well as their warmth and sense of trust. Although men and women place importance on a partner who is warm and trustworthy, women place more importance on the status and resources of their male partner.
This is largely because, with women being the child bearers, the investment is very high on their behalf time and effort in child bearing and rearing. So they are attuned to looking for a partner who will also invest resources into a relationship and family. But because the building of resources takes time, we tend to acquire resources later in life and so are older by the time we have acquired enough wealth and resources to comfortably provide for others.
So, women's attunement to status and resources might explain why some women may be attracted to older men. In contrast, there's evidence to suggest men value attractiveness and vitality more than women because, from an evolutionary standpoint, youth is seen as an indicator of fertility. Given men cannot bear children, evolution suggests they're attuned to younger women to enhance the chances of partnering with someone who can provide children.
But the evolutionary explanation is limited in that it doesn't explain why the reverse occurs an older woman-younger man pairing , or why age gaps exist within same-sex couples.