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Men’s preferred minimum partner age: Let’s start with minimum age preferences reported by heterosexual men.In Figure 1, the solid black line represents the rule’s calculation for minimum acceptable range.When this question comes up in conversation, someone inevitably cites the “half your age plus seven” rule.This rules states that by dividing your own age by two and then adding seven you can find the age boundary: Take your age, subtract 7, and double it.But fantasies, of course, are not generally subject to public scrutiny and the rule is only designed to calculate what is socially acceptable —so this discrepancy is not necessarily a failure of the rule.For rule-related involvement (e.g., relationships), 60-year-old men are stating that the minimum acceptable age is around 40ish, which does map much more closely to the rule’s predictions.
According to the rule, for example, a 30-year-old should be with a partner who is at least 22, while a 50-year-old’s dating partner must be at least 32 to not attract (presumed) social sanction. Does it match our scientific understanding of age-related preferences for dating? Researchers Buunk and colleagues (2000) asked men and women to identify the ages they would consider when evaluating someone for relationships of different levels of involvement.The rule overestimates the perceived acceptability of men becoming involved with older women.Men do not show a linear increase in maximum age preference that matches the rule’s predictions.It’s a lot easier for a man to take out a carefree, responsibility free, baggage free, wrinkle free 28-year-old, which is why so many men try to go in that direction. Men want much younger women, but rarely do much younger women want older men.Put another way, if a woman has an array of other quality options closer to her age range, what incentives would she have to date a man who is SEVENTEEN YEARS OLDER? Before any 40 people get all hot and bothered about this – I am not judging. I do think people improve with age (my wife is nodding). She doesn’t need a guy who will be taking Viagra when she’s sexually peaking at 43..