Psychology of dating older men
Those on Team Evolution point to the prevalence of the pattern as evidence that it’s universal, or nearly so.In a major study of human mating done in 1989, evolutionary psychologist David Buss found that in each of the 37 cultures he surveyed, men preferred to marry younger women, by an average of 2.66 years, and women preferred older men, by an average of 3.42 years.We also don’t know what string of DNA, if one exists, would keep this predisposition alive in humans today — nor how powerful it would be compared to social structural influences.The evolutionary biologist’s perspective is usually more nuanced than a random dude’s assertion that men “just prefer” younger women.The most attractive women earn 8 percent more than their average-looking counterparts, Daniel S. This is especially striking because they’re unlikely to be taking on less responsibility at work to care for young children — a commonly cited explanation for the persistence of the wage gap.Researchers from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco found “compelling evidence” that women experience age discrimination in hiring.It’s an accepted idea that men are evolutionarily predisposed to want to fuck women at the peak of their fertility — that is, in the first half of their twenties.
But because detailed birth, death, and marriage records from the Pleistocene don’t exist, we don’t have direct evidence for any evolutionary advantages tied to age differences.
And researchers suggest that the drive to seek younger, peak-fertility women is balanced by an evolutionary drive toward seeking a partner similar in age, which makes co-parenting easier.
On the other side of the debate are the social structural theorists, who hypothesize that the difference in preferred age for a partner is the product of societally determined gender roles.
But it’s trumpeted in unscientific terms — wildly overstating the claims made by practicing scientists — and disseminated with the aim of shoring up a system that benefits men rather than rigorously establishing what’s true.
It’s myopic to delve into this research without also examining the society that brought it about.