Appropriate age range for dating
From a sexual attraction standpoint, I challenge you to stand me shirtless next to Sophia Loren in Look, Steely Dan probably couldn’t talk at all to "Hey Nineteen" because they admittedly had "nothing in common." Not because she was too young to name an Aretha Franklin song (which, like, come ON, Steely Dan); the idea that people are what pop culture references they know reduces falling in love to trading trivia. A lot of women have told me they won’t date younger men because of maturity issues, and that’s probably where the idea of a prohibitive "age gap" comes into play for a lot of people.As anybody who’s ever had to play "What are your top five favorite movies? A fantastic woman several years my senior recently told me I should only date older men, because even though I’m 28, "being in your twenties is a form of functional retardation." I think there’s a grain of truth there, if only because I don’t know anybody who looks back and thinks, "Man, how awesome was I in my twenties?Although this is a fun rule of thumb, what does research say about age preferences for potential mates?There are two things that predict a preferred partner’s age: (a) your age and (b) your biological sex (male vs. From an evolutionary perspective, it makes sense for women to prefer mates with resources and to like partners who are more established, both of which are more likely in older partners. It turns out that, on average, women tend to be married to men a few years older than themselves (2-5 years).A fifth of a 20 year old’s age would be four years, for example, so they could date someone between 16 and 24 (four years older or younger).Based on this system, someone who’s 60 would have a 12 year margin, so the age range would be 48 to 72.A 17 year old girl dating a 31 year old man may raise an eyebrow but a 31 year old woman dating a 45 year old man probably wouldn’t.According to some, you can determine your appropriate dating age range by only dating someone who is within a fifth of your own age.
So for a 24-year old, the upper age limit would be 34 (i.e., 17 * 2).
A common rule of thumb, at least on the internet, is that it’s okay to be interested in someone “half your age plus seven” years.
According to this rule, it would not be creepy for a 30 year old to date a 22 year-old, but an 18 year-old would be off-limits.
With some quick math, the rule provides a minimum and maximum partner age based on your actual age that, if you choose to follow it, you can use to guide your dating decisions.
The utility of this equation is that it lets you chart acceptable age discrepancies that adjust over the years. Let's examine it: How well does the rule reflect scientific evidence for age preferences?