Older men want younger women, science shows

Feeling the need for scientific research to back up the ‘dirty old men’ myth, Gothenburg University and Oxford University scientists performed a study on 400 lonely hearts ads to see how men and women choose their partners. What they wanted was to test some theories about how men and women pick their partners in general.

By examining these ads, they found out what any man in his right mind already knows (this applies to most, not everybody). Women search for solid resources and an established social status. As a result, men often include ‘large house’ and ‘economically independent’ in their ads.

Men search for younger women, only about 1 man in 100 searching for a woman of similar or older age. However, young women search for older men. Actually, almost all women under 60 search for older partners. After they hit that magic number, they start thinking about younger partners (yeah, really).

“When it comes to physical characteristics, it turned out that men and women were the same. Both used words like, ‘athletic,’ ‘beautiful,’ ‘pretty,’ ‘tall,’ ‘handsome,’ and ‘trim’ to the same extent, and this goes both for their descriptions of themselves and for the characteristics they were looking for in a partner,” says J├Ârgen Johnsson at the Department of Zoology, University of Gothenburg, one of the researchers behind the study.
“This might indicate that men have learned to respond to women’s interest in looks, therefore stressing to the same extent their attractiveness in the ads. The fact that both sexes focus on looks may also be influenced by our times, with the great fixation on appearance in the media.”

10 thoughts on “Older men want younger women, science shows

  1. Night Hawk

    This has been true for many decades. So either it has something to do with basic instincts or we’ve all been brain washed for hundreds if not thousands of years.

  2. Aaron

    Dear Gothenburg and Oxford Universities,
    Please fund the research for my theory that the Earth is round since we are going over things everyone knows its true.
    – Christopher Columbus

  3. Andrea

    Buss has published many articles on Human Mating Strategies. It is really amazing…My favorite is — “Strategic Self-Promotion and Competitor Derogation: Sex and Context Effects on the Perceived Effectiveness of Mate Attraction Tactics” (Buss & Schmitt, 1996)

    The biggest problem we face in understanding our (human) behavior, is that many do not want to acknowledge/accept that we are animals. We are not that different from all the other animals and people need to accept that….

  4. Rodney


    I totally agree on the amazing nature of all these strategies — how can people believe we’ve risen above? We have more complex, tuned behaviors then they do? Like that matters.

    Haven’t found the full study yet, but here’s the abstract – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8667162

    Main poinr –

    “Showing resource potential was judged most effective for men seeking a long-term mate, whereas giving resources immediately was judged most effective for men seeking short-term mates, confirming the hypothesized importance of temporal context in mate attraction effectiveness.”

  5. Andrea

    Buss has really done some amazing work… I don’t think that Humans are bound by biological outlines, however people don’t seem to want to give biology enough “credit”. As in, biology will cause a person to want to act a certian way [through instinct] but becuase we, as humans, have a much higher cognitive ability than other animals, we are able to think through things and make decisions. So just becuase we are programmed for specific behaviors, biologically speaking, does not mean than we can’t rise above.

    I am fascinated by the study of Human behavior, especially from a evolutionary biology standpoint and while it may be a little of topic, I recently read an article that was published only a few months ago that shows that the gene, AVPR1a, governs a receptor that regulates the brain’s production of neuropeptide arginine vasopressin (AVP), a hormone that contributes to attachment behavior with mates and offspring in males…. Ultimately showing that there is likely a genetic link to a Man’s potential to be monogamous. This is incredibly interesting to learn, however kind of depressing to me (as a female) that a man with lacking this particular gene (AVPR1a) is more prone to infidelity than a man with 2 copies of the gene.

    A link to the article of the study by Walum et al (in pdf format) is: http://www.owlnet.rice.edu/~bios201/2008%20what%27s%20new/Sept%202008%20Pair-bonding%20gene%20in%20humans%20article.pdf

    PS–if anyone wants an article but can not find access to one online (for free) then let me know because I have [almost] unlimited access to all the online databases through my University. I could download it and email you a copy.

  6. Rocco Espenoza

    Today While searching this subject matter this past couple days I came across your website an wanted to say that I like the effort. I hope to see more of the subject in the future. Way better seeing a site like this instead of just another one of those This Post type sites. Terrific Work!!

  7. the dude

    Ya think maybe we could cut out the snide nastiness over the issue then since it’s the same for everyone?
    No wait, that would use way too much common sense, wouldn’t it?

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