In another study from 2001, researchers asked Dutch men and women between the ages of 20 and 60 about their age preferences for various types of intimate situations, ranging from sexual fantasies to marriage. Malouf of Endicott College wondered if testing the age differential hypothesis using a new source of data might yield more insight into the matter.
They, too, found that men predictably preferred younger partners than did women. To this end, they collected all available ratings of blind dates that were published in two well-known American newspaper columns: “Dinner with Cupid” from Both newspaper columns advertise for singles who are willing to give a blow-by-blow report of a blind date as well as a numerical rating in exchange for a free dinner at a restaurant.
Simply click on an image to launch the gallery Age difference: 15 years For several years, these two were held as an example of how major age gaps can work in Hollywood.
Beyond my own anecdotal assumptions, I also have many 50-year-old friends (and readers) across the country, who are well acquainted with the older man-younger woman phenomenon – even among aging boomers. “Not just a younger body in bed, but a trophy on the arm, a woman who is less likely to contradict him, a woman less likely to compete with him even inadvertently, and less need to compromise.
“Why would a man want a woman he can talk with intelligently? I looked at him and raised my eyebrows as he began to smirk. Most of these middle-aged men have been married before, and they view the younger woman as easier, lighter, and it feels good… But I love all models.” As nice as that is to hear, in my experience, he is the exception.
In a classic study of human mating from 1989, David Buss surveyed 37 cultures across 6 continents and found that in every culture in question, men preferred to marry younger women (2.66 years younger on average) and women preferred to marry older men (3.42 years older on average).
In addition, Buss collected actual age differences at marriage for 27 of the 37 cultures, and across the board men normally married women who were younger than themselves.