Gender and Sexual Orientation Differences in Preferred Sexual Partner Age

Gender and Sexual Orientation Differences in Preferred Sexual Partner Age

Several studies have found that men and women have different age preferences when it comes to selecting romantic and sexual partners. Generally speaking, it appears that men tend to prefer somewhat younger partners, whereas women tend to prefer partners who are somewhat older. Much of this research has been interpreted through the lens of evolutionary theory, which claims that it was adaptive for men to evolve a preference for younger women because they're likely to be most fertile; by contrast, this theory suggests that it was adaptive for women to have evolved a preference for older men because they presumably have more status and resources.One thing you might be wondering, though, is just how stable these age preferences are likely to be across the lifespan. Do they change as we get older? And, furthermore, what about persons who aren’t heterosexual? How are gay, lesbian, and bisexual persons’ partner age preferences similar or different? A new study published in the journal Evolutionary Psychology offers some insight into these questions.

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As Gender Equality Increases, Male And Female Mate Preferences Become More Similar

Research from multiple countries around the world has found that men tend to place more emphasis on youth and beauty while women tend to emphasize status and resources in their search for sexual and romantic partners [1]. The sheer number of studies conducted and the diversity of the samples utilized suggest that these gender differences in mating preferences are nearly universal. The explanation for why these differences ever emerged remains a hot topic of debate, with some theorists arguing that they reflect an evolved adaptation and others that they are a product of persistent societal inequalities that favor men. A new set of studies published in Psychological Science appears to provide some support for the latter perspective [2].
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