The Case For An Older Woman

February 16th, 2010 by Christian Rudder

"Women older than me keep messaging me. Sorry, but that is not going to happen."—recent feedback from a male user

The above comment is typical. As it is, men between 22 and 30—nearly two-thirds of the male dating pool—focus almost exclusively on women younger than themselves. I'll be investigating this phenomenon today, with gusto and charts. Ultimately, I'll argue that they would be well-served to expand their search upwards, to women in their thirties and forties.

Because it has been a successful way to introduce previous posts, I wanted to put real faces on this demographic before I delve into a bunch of numbers. Pictured below are some single users in their mid-thirties or early forties, taken from the first couple pages of my own local match search. Nothing I'll talk about today pertains necessarily to any one of them, but I wanted to put forward some people to go with the statistical discussion.

The Back Story
Dating Preferences & Age

It's no secret that dating changes radically as you get older. As you can see below, the number of online daters peaks at 24, drops sharply at around 30, and then gradually tapers off, as the remaining singletons either find mates or withdraw themselves from contention:

The bar chart here shows how the woman to man ratio changes over time. As you can see, it's basically flat. In a better world, this would imply that older people don't necessarily have a harder time finding decent mates than younger ones, as the composition of the dating pool holds relatively steady from age to age. Put another way: a 45 year-old woman shouldn't in theory have a harder time finding a date than a 20 year-old, because the female-to-male ratios at those ages are equal (roughly 11:9).

Of course, we all know that 45 year-olds do have a much harder time, because the male fixation on youth distorts the dating pool. Look at how men have set their age preferences on OkCupid:

As you can see, a man, as he gets older, searches for relatively younger and younger women. Meanwhile his upper acceptable limit hovers only a token amount above his own age. a man, as he gets older, searches for relatively younger and younger womenThe median 31 year-old guy, for example, sets his allowable match age range from 22 to 35—nine years younger, but only four years older, than himself. This skewed mindset worsens with age; the median 42 year-old will accept a woman up to fifteen years younger, but no more than three years older.

A man's bias toward younger women becomes even more evident when we overlay his stated preferences with his actual messaging habits.

This next graph is what's called a heat map. It shows messaging concentrations by age; for each vertical age bracket, the greenest areas have the most messages, the reddest have the fewest, and the yellow have the average.

As you can see, men tend to focus on the youngest women in their already skewed preference pool, and, what's more, they spend athe median 30 year-old man spends as much time messaging teenage girls as he does women his own age significant amount of energy pursuing women even younger than their stated minimum. No matter what he's telling himself on his setting page, a 30 year-old man spends as much time messaging 18 and 19 year-olds as he does women his own age. On the other hand, women only a few years older are largely neglected.

So you can see how differently women think about dating and age, here are the corresponding charts for them:

Except in their early to mid-twenties, when they apparently want nothing to do with younger guys (i.e. guys who are still in school?), women show an admirable openness to both reasonably younger and reasonably older men. Notice also how a woman's actual messaging activity, shown in the heat map below, is roughly centered on her own age (as illustrated by the dotted "age parity" line).

This second chart also contains something very peculiar that we didn't see at all in men. Notice the vertical stripes at ages 20 and 29. These color discontinuities indicate dramatic changes in a woman's dating mentality: when a women turns 20 she decides it's okay to message significantly older men (i.e. the upper reaches of the chart suddenly become less red). At 29, a woman becomes even more open to older men and, in addition, stops writing the youngest ones. The typical 28 year-old women sends a small but significant number of messages to men too young to drink. The typical 29 year-old sends practically none.

In any event, here's what happens when we synthesize all the above data. By tallying the number of people interested in each age group and gender, we can get a dynamic picture of the dating pools. I've made a little javascript widget to illustrate what's going on.

The Shape Of The Dating Pool

a by-age distribution of men who would date an 18 year-old woman

men seeking women women seeking men

I was tempted to title this The Tides Of Longing. Move the slider to the right, toward middle age, and you can watch the pool of dating possibilities gather, crest, then drain away. Metaphors aside, we can evaluate the potential matches for a given age/gender by summing the area under the curve (AP Calculus, ftw!) I made these calculations in the chart below, and we can see that women have more pursuers than men until age 26, but thereafter a man can expect many more potential dates than a woman of the same age. At the graph's outer edge, at age 48, men are nearly twice as sought-after as women. Here's the data:

A woman's desirability peaks at 21, which, ironically enough is the age that men just begin their "prime," i.e. become more desirable than average. Following that dotted line out, statistically speaking, a woman's desirability
peaks at 21
you can see that a woman of 31 is already "past her prime," while a man doesn't become so until 36. As we mentioned above, after age 26, a man has more potential matches than his female counterparts, which is a drastic reversal of the proportion in young adulthood, when women are much more sought-after. Because men's dating preferences skew so young, and women's are age-equitable, men peak later, and have a longer plateau of desirability, than women.

So that's the lay of the land, and now I'd like to say why I think it could be different. In the next three sections of this post, I will show that an older woman's attitudes, both about sex and life, are just as good if not better than her younger counterparts', and hopefully I'll convince more guys to venture north of their current age-limits:

Exhibit A
Sex

Articles touting a woman's mid-thirties "sexual peak" have stalked the pages of Cosmo since time immemorial, but these articles typically cite clinical testosterone/estrogen/progesterone studies and attempt to make the leap to "sexual peak" from there—if they bother to cite any data at all. I, on the other hand, can make my claim by looking at a woman's stated preferences:

Ideally, how often would you have sex?
age of the population

This is a nationwide "age progression" of American women, a normalized heat map similar to the ones you saw above, but with an added geographical component. By moving the slider you can watch how attitudes become more sex-positive as the population gets older.

This older-women-are-more-sexual pattern repeats across almost every proposition. Here are a few more data sets just as sparklines (computed, like the map above, for our sample set of 100,000 women). Again, these are just a handful of examples; whether we ask about bondage or kissing, women are the most sexual in their thirties.

Researching this post, I also came upon an interesting complementary pair of graphs illustrating sexual dominance preferences. Younger men want to be dominated. Older women are generally interested in doing just that.

In addition their lack of physical inhibitions, older women have much healthier attitudes in two other areas of sexual concern: STD testing and contraception.

Is contraception morally wrong?
age of the population
How often do you get tested for STDs?
age of the population
These maps lead directly into my next topic:
Exhibit B
Attitude

There are two operative stereotypes of older single women: the sad-sack (à la Bridget Jones) and the "cougar" (à la Samantha from Sex In The City) and both, like all stereotypes, are reductionist and stupid and I've tried to avoid them. I hesitated beginning my case for older women with something about their sexuality, like I did in Exhibit A, because that territory borders right on cougar country. But the evidence there was too compelling to ignore.

On the other hand, I found no basis whatsoever for Ms. Zellweger's version of the thirty-something single woman. The data indicate that they are in fact way better adjusted than their younger counterparts. For example:

It might be hard to eyeball, because the bottom graph isn't steeply sloped, but women in their thirties are 4.0% more likely to be happy than their younger counterparts. As anyone who's been in a relationship with someone who lacks them can attest, self-sufficiency and confidence are awesome qualities in a match.

The graph below shows a similar trend, until a poignant drop at the end.

Either something very sad happens to a woman at 40, or something incredibly awesome happens at 39. Hard to tell. And I also want to say, guys, that just because a woman is older, she's not necessarily on the fast-track to marriage:

Exhibit C
Looks

The final thing I want to address is looks, because I think that is guys' most fundamental worry about dating someone older. There's no doubt that younger people are are more physically attractive—indeed in many ways beauty and youth are inextricable. That's why most of the models you see in magazines are teenagers, and turn-back-the-clock surgeries like face-lifts are so popular. There's no getting around this fact, and I don't want to hide it:

But, combing through the data, I intuitively felt like this graph didn't tell the whole story. So I dug deeper, and found something interesting. If you separate out the absolute best-looking women, almost all of whom are very young, and also remove the people you won't realistically want to date (the worst-looking women), you find that everyone else's attractiveness doesn't change much with age:

In other words, given that nobody is drop-dead gorgeous or drop-dead hideous, your average 25 year-old is roughly as good-looking as your average 35 year-old. for the vast majority of men, dating the absolute hottest girls isn't realisticYes, throwing out the prettiest of the pretty young things is a clumsy handicap to put on an age-by-age comparison. But at the same time, for the vast majority of men, the best-looking women are simply out of reach, so it's actually accurate to exclude them as possibilities. In fact, unrealistic male expectations inspired this article, so we want to do everything we can to correct for them.

Many of you are probably scoffing at the idea that many 35 year-olds are as attractive as many 25 year-olds, but there are social factors at work that you might not consider as you go through life making judgments. Most importantly: nationwide, thirtysomethings are much more likely to be married and therefore much more likely to have stopped optimizing their attractiveness. So the typical 35 year-old woman you see out in the world isn't representative of the single 35 year-olds who are still dating and looking good.

Anyhow, that just about concludes my case. Ultimately, you be the judge. Here are single women in their mid-twenties and women in their mid-thirties, all in the 70th percentile of attractiveness, side by side. The older women are on the left, in case you can't tell.

Of course, you could also do your own search and see for yourself. Thanks for reading.

721 Responses to “The Case For An Older Woman”

  1. F says:

    But what is the response rate? Compare this to the article about looks and response rate. The data showed that 2/3 of men went for the top 1/3 most attractive women but that the response rate from these women wasn’t as good as average-rated women.

    Please include similar data for response rate by age difference. I suspect that many men my age (late 40s) are indulging in fantasy messaging. They do wake up eventually but only after they develop health issues. And then they want us same-age women to be their nurses.

  2. anna says:

    I really do think it may be a fertility thing. I know some don’t agree on that but I’ve done my own experiment on the younger women older men and found out myself it wasn’t about men being shallow as I’d originally thought.I look 10x better in my 30s than I did in my younger years. I don’t even have wrinkles or look aged yet still I get ignored by most men after they hear how old I am. I think they want someone who is still young enough to have a lot of kids with them.

  3. gorgeous greeneyes says:

    Okay, I am 56 but I LOOK like I’m in my late 30′s (trust me – I get told that on a daily basis) I have been divorced for 2 years now….last husband was 8 yrs younger…been married 4 times to 3 men…widowed once …..The ages of the last men I have dated &/or had relationships with: 35, 30, 43, 59, 53, 37, 31, 46,…Constantly getting messages from age 22 up to 72 yr olds…..I prefer men in their 30′s because the have STAMINA and ar pretty to look at…I am gorgeous and I am very confident and the last man I slept with was 35 and he took my breath away….Tall, Goodlooking and sweet and I just loved talking sassy to him……oh and BTW he is a cop…..hmmmmmm
    Yes, I think younger men do love the confidence & sexy confidence of an older woman :)

  4. rossana says:

    I think older men are mostly a bunch of idiots & so the different matching .com etc…
    wake up the older men can for a while take viagra & find a younger women.
    What about all the women 50 and over who are fit attractive,used to be with men who were real men that can carry a conversation, they have knowledege.well travelled
    They still have a lot to offer ( without the blue pill), fisically, socially, Do you think that a 70 man look smarter if he has a bimbo accompany him ? He looks like a looser

  5. Anthony says:

    This is bit dated but I was looking at some stuff on Google and since I’m a member of this site (hardly use it) I thought I would add my .02

    I have never been married, 39, no children. Knocks against me? High School Education, job(s) not “Career”, etc, etc.

    I would like to have children, this is mainly my focus for women in their late 20′s. I do not want to be the father of children that aren’t mine. That is now shallow, I believe its logical.

    Most women I come into contact with have children from previous relationships. This is especially the case for women over 30. Are there single, childless women over 30? Sure but they usually have this idealized man in their mind and I don’t fit into the mold.

    So what this article is saying is I should skew my search age range higher. So what your telling me is I should forget having children of my own? Just because Kelly Preston is pregnant at 47, doesn’t mean every woman is capable of that and can handle it physically.

    Cause I’ll be FLAT honest, if I wanted to go out 7 nights a week, I could go out with fortysomethings all day, everyday. That is not desperation, your graphs are basically correct, there are more women from say 35-50 available for dating than those in their mid to late 20′s

    Hardly ideal and that’s why I have dated women overseas as well, there has to be way to cheat the system….

  6. bethel_grl says:

    First off- I think the economic times we’re in now isn’t helping.
    Second- Men seem very concerned about women’s fertility abiltiy in their responses to this article, but in my experience, a lot of men don’t even want kids, are 40 and still don’t know how they feel about them (?!), or already have had one or more and were never even married in the first place. Increasingly I am finding a number of men who are single parents and are raising their kids alone – very admirable (Where did all the wives go, I wonder).

    Anyway, I am 34, soon to be 35. Most people (men and women) I meet in day to day life generally tell me I look younger than my age. Great! I think in general people are aging better these days than in years past. That being said, I am not interested in dating too much younger because I know what I want, am successful and established in my career, and am past the point of dating just dating’s sake. I want to be a wife and mother, with the right man. Men younger than me just seem to want to “experience an older woman”, aka not my relationship style. I find the term cougar to be unappealing and I want NO part of feeling like I might be one. If I met a younger guy that was also interested in a future, then I would reconsider. I am most interested in men around my own age (say 32-42ish). Men complain that so many women my age have kids, but I don’t. I have never been married, either. For arguments sake, I have done everything “right”… go to college, study hard, get a degree, get a good job, be independent so you can take care of yourself, make wise, intelligent relationship decisions, don’t sleep around/don;t have kids until you’re married (duh), be realistic and honest (but not a freak!) about what my expectations are. And so I continue to search after my last relationship of 5 years didn’t work.

  7. Time_Is_Now says:

    This is fascinating. It has genuinely re-inspired me to try to learn some more statistics.

  8. Itapaje says:

    You have totally ignored the over 60 woman who is not dead, i really must inform you. Not dead, and probably quite sexually active. the geriatric generation might actually shock the yougsters–of 30-40. those under 30 are still children.

  9. Pat95120 says:

    I just wanted to say (and I know its late but I just saw the article) that I’m 25 year-old man, (since Pat doesn’t indicate a gender) and I’m currently “setting my limits” at 21-29. That’s +-4 years.

    My reasoning is that I’m still in school, but I’m graduating soon. To me, age doesn’t matter nearly so much as the phase of your life you’re in, and your maturity level. I’m NOT the same person I was when I was 18, 19, 21, etc. 24′s pretty close, but I’m different even from then.

    I think as we get older, we change less and less and so as I age, my range will widen, probably skewed to older people, actually. So when I’m 30, I think my range will be something like 25-38, and so on. Age is really just a guess at what phase of your life you’re in. I don’t perceive many 30 somethings wanting to date a guy who is just graduating/getting his first real job. I could be wrong, though. So I’d accept messages from anyone that feels they have something in common with me. In fact, I find myself looking at the profiles of women who are a year or three older than me more commonly than I look at profiles of those 2+ years younger than me. I’m probably the exception, not the rule though.

    And no, this article didn’t influence my opinion – it just showed me I’m close to the mark! Thanks for that! :-D

  10. phyllis says:

    This is funny, my fiance who I happened to have met on OKC, is five years younger then I am. I’m 37. yes, I don’t get as many messages as I did three years ago, but oh well. I still get carded at bars, still feel young, and that other stuff. I really don’t think youth and beauty go hand in hand. How many teen and people in their early 20′s do you see that have their mouths agape? I find the men that go for older women, want someone who is drama free, has worldly experience and can express herself more eloquently then any younger counterpart could.

  11. Taog says:

    I find it perfectly believable that the average 25 year old woman and average 35 year old woman are equally attractive. What about ten years from now? I guarantee that there will not be equality in degradation. I’m someone who is thinking about the future, not just my date for tonight. I’ll add that fertility means precisely zip to me. I don’t think there’s any rational reason to have kids, and women whose hormonally induced maternal tendencies overpower their capacity for critical thought are not appealing to me, regardless of age.

  12. Mack says:

    Thank FUCKING Satan I am GAY. Holy shit, men are repulsive. I’m young right now, but youth doesn’t last forever, and I’d rather have a mate based on enduring qualities. Plus women are just generally hotter, smarter, and sexier. Men are outdated and the inferior choice in every way. That’s why more and more girls are bi, and more men tend to agree that doing each other is fucking disgusting. That’s because they are fucking disgusting – just look at the replies on here. I encourage all fed up women, older and younger, to switch teams and squish the slugs between all these boys’ legs.

  13. Sheara says:

    I think this is an outstanding article. Do you have it available by PDF? I’m also wondering if you know references to any other research on this trend. Thank you.

  14. Typical woman says:

    When I was in my 20s and 30s, older men, 10-20, were always asking to date or marry me. It was instinctual for me to say no to them, I believes, because I did not think was the best deal for me. The best deal was and still is to mate with a man my own age. And believe that most women feel the same way. In reality, for a woman to agree to marry a man 10-20s oLder is very rare, even when there is money, or American citizenship involved. Much older men are wasting their time, and run the risk of being stuck paying child support, while the young ex-wife shacks-up with a man her own age. Even worse, he could be left holding the toddler, while his much young ex-wife runs off and marries a man her own age, who is able to provide for her and any children they my have. I’ve seen this happen enough times to know it is likely to happen, when a older man marries and has children with a much younger woman. Women gravitate toward men their own age as a rule.

  15. brian says:

    I stopped dating older women a long time ago simply because I realized that they would be messing and harassing me for dating younger women, Before that I always enjoyed dating women of all ages (I’m talking about adult women in case your a creep that likes to twist and misinterpret comments), I mean WHY THE HELL NOT!! It’s not the age It’s how you feel with them that counts. I wish older women would stop harassing men for dating whomever they want to because honestly it is really CREEPY. I think that if your a smart woman, you could learn more from my simple comment than this whole CREEPY graph mumbo jumbo.

  16. jim says:

    I love dating older women they are more confident happy intelligent not yippy comfortable with themselves and their bodies and lastly but not least they are great lovers!

  17. Ro says:

    As a young looking 31 year old woman I came to the internets to meet a man closer to my age. People usually assume I’m in my mid 20′s. Out in the real world the men that I get hit on and date are always under 30. This is not by choice, they seem to make the first move more often. My most recent dates/relationships where with guys aged 24-28. This said, age was never a factor then. I know I am more attractive than when I was even 3 years younger. This goes for the physical, mental and emotional. Yet with my age right up there next to my picture, I find I get hit on by far fewer younger men and a disproportionate number of men 10-20 years older. Go figure.

  18. Angel says:

    Thank you for this article. It shows what I ,as an older woman , know to be true. That I am more vibrant and sexy than I was in my twenties. I work out, take care of myself and by no means look my age. I am more confident, and centered than I was back then too.

    The problem is that men in my age bracket are so busy chasing their lost youth, that they can’t see us past the 20 something year old Barbie doll. I work part time in a sports bar and see it all the time.

    A word to guys my age….women my age will not take you seriously as a potential date/mate when they see that kind of behavior. I know i won’t! When I see that I begin to wonder what is wrong with him that he needs that reassurance, that stamp. I am more impressed by a man who is comfortable with his age and ready for a woman who can compliment him on several different levels, not just look hot on his arm.

  19. Lara says:

    Definitely not my experience… the majority of quality messages I receive are from significantly younger men (at least in terms of effort they are putting in).

  20. superlover says:

    I love older women. There is nothing sexier than a confident, successful, mature lady and usually that demographic falls within the 30-40somethings.

    This data is telling me what my personal experience has told me: Older women are more mature when it comes to sex, more grounded, more balanced, with less baggage and higher self esteem than younger women.

    All my guy friends think I’m stupid. I say: Let them compete for younger women who, on average: Don’t get tested for STDs, don’t use birth control, are less desiring of sex, more likely to cheat, have emotional baggage/issues and low self esteem.

    I’ll stick to my older ladies and enjoy a very fulfilling love life!

    “Men are outdated and the inferior choice in every way.”

    Unless you’re trying to continue the species amirite?

  21. Shelley says:

    As I read this, I am amused by the comments. I am a 49 year old white female who is getting divorced from a man 11 yrs. younger than me. I was 30 and he was 19 when we met. After 18 years together, (14 married), he stated that “He did not want to take care of me when I was old …). I honestly think that he was beginning to go through a mid-life crisis at 38. I have been married 3 times, 1st was 3 yrs. older, 2nd same and and 3rd as mentioned 11 yrs. younger. I am now looking at men my age and older, looks and age are not as important to me as they used to be, however two of my husbands were considered very good looking ( as I had been told on several occasions), byt I have learned they DON’T make the man!!! Age is relative to your state of mind, but that’s just my opinion. Thanks for the great info and all the RESEARCH keep up the posts. BTW, I am also a student in the field of Psychology.

  22. Saskia says:

    I don’t know whether to laugh or scream!

    I am a 45 (almost 46) year old woman, never married, no children. I was not half as attractive in my younger years as I am now. I would say I started to get more beautiful in my mid thirties and so far still seem to be on the upward curve. In the last couple of months alone half a dozen of men (both younger and older) have stopped me on the street to tell me that I was absolutely ravishing. My current lover is 28 and he can’t get enough of me

    Having said this, I know that I look a lot younger than I am and I am aware that whilst I will probably always be beautiful, there will be a point where I will no longer appear young and and all this attention will fade away. But as for now I can give any 20 year old a run for their money, correction, they don’t come anywhere near me in terms of attractiveness.

    My point being, that yes men want beauty and youth but there is no reason to have lost that by the time you are 25!

  23. HADOKENsucka says:

    I have no problem *IN THEORY* with older women, but I do have a few issues with this particular study (or more importantly, the implied notion that men are idiots).

    I have my range set around 18-28. I’m 24, so that means I go 6 years younger, and 4 older. It’s about average for my age, it looks like.

    The biggest problem with women that age is pointed out in this blog. Women like older men. That’s just the fact. And I don’t know about other men, but I know it. So what’s the point in me sending 3 dozen messages to women in their late 20′s or early 30′s? Most of them aren’t interested in me.

    On the other hand, younger women are very interested. Younger chicks message me back, they get online more, they are more likely to meet up.

    I’m not sure if this blog is trying to say differently or not, but women seem to start to sharply decline in attractiveness around 27. I rarely find a girl above that age who I find attractive… I used to have my upper range around 30 and I was just getting a lot of used-up looking women. Plus a lot of them have kids!

    Finally, especially regarding the women who like to have sex once a day more and more as they get older, doesn’t that also have to do with marriage? Chances are if a girl likes to have sex AND she’s single at age 40, she’s probably getting it from a lot of dudes all the time. No wonder they have to check for STD’s! Same goes for older women not looking for marriage, it’s probably because they sleep around…

  24. Ally says:

    Interesting information. I have two thoughts on the actual article:

    *You still have to convince women to date younger. I wouldn’t even date a guy my own age until I was in a place with a really small pool of folks eligible to date (people who spoke the same language), let alone anyone a year or two younger. There are some women who will, some who won’t.

    *It doesn’t state how many ‘conversations’ (or successful messages) men tend to get back from women much younger. I know y’all can statistically include that, and I’m interested in that portion. For instance, I get messages from men in their 40s. They get deleted. So, that was a waste of time, no?

    A few thoughts about the comments:

    *The biological explanation is a little bit real and a little bit bullshit. I know loads of folks who’ve had kids in their 30s and even 40s. Also, check some further health studies. Heredity, lifestyle, diet, and stress factors play a huge role in your body’s “real age” and fertility declines early in some women and later in others; same for men. Fertility and attractiveness are only moderately linked in modern society.

    *I’m a bit disheartened about the way people approach “raising other people’s kids” in these posts. I don’t date folks with kids because I don’t want kids (any kids) right now. Someday, but not now. It seems like everybody thinks they hate other peoples’ kids and will never be a step-parent, and that makes me kind of sad. My step-father was 27 when he married my 32 year old mother (They’d both been married once before), and while I’d like to think he found her small child (Me!) terribly adorable and precocious, I know he did, at the time, want kids of his own (She didn’t want any more). They’ve been happily married for 16 years, and, if you asked him today, he’d tell you 2 things: (1) He would’ve been an idiot not to marry someone he loved because it meant he couldn’t have kids in “The way he imagined” and (2) Anyway, he has a kid. I’m not saying it works out for everybody, but there are all kinds of families in the world. Why not see what happens with your life instead of trying to play the way in which everything you want will happen? That’s the lesson I’ve always gotten from their story.*

    *That said, I don’t mean to make it sound like I care about anyone’s dealbreakers. If you have a dealbreaker that you only want to marry someone who can play bass guitar, has one blue eye and one green eye, is fluent in 13 languages, looks like a supermodel, and smells like lilies when she wakes up, I don’t really care. I see all dealbreakers as the same. They are conscious limits we are setting for because we feel like we have to set some. The only important question to ask is, “Are they working for you?” If they are, keep at it. If they aren’t, change something.

  25. Pete says:

    I’m sure validity exists in this study but being male I disagree. I prefer older, more mature women. The only problem I’ve experienced is 45+ women are searching for a soul mate. As they age into their fifties more pressure is brought to the surface to move quickly and create a permanent relationship.

    Anway, the study and interpretations made for interesting reading.

  26. Ian E says:

    I wonder if the vertical stripes in the ” Where Women are Sending Their Messages” chart at ages 20 and 29 are due to women lying about their age. It makes sense given this data that a 32 year old woman may want to pass herself off as 29, but she likely wouldn’t limit her upper scope of men she was looking for. This would skew the 29 year old numbers as seen in that chart.

    Interesting stuff!

  27. Peter says:

    It was a long long time ago, but around about age 24 I found out that if you want to have a really good time, go out with women over 30. They are confident, they are much more relaxed, less Angst, more knowledge of the world, practically fewer sexual hangups (at least the ones that would go out with me) but lots more skill and more appreciative of a lad’s efforts to show them a great time and more likely to return the favour. And they know what they want and they can tell you. :-) We all really enjoyed each other.
    It’s also a sad fact, that (many?)(some?) women seem to drop off the sexual radar when they hit menopause. Completely lose interest. I am married to one. Queen Victoria style duty sex is not what I’d be interested in, so we don’t have any.
    On that basis I can understand why men in my age group might be looking for younger women to date, although I find the Hugh Heffner modus operandi quite grotesque. Doesn’t look like a loser to me, just grotesque – as a 79 year old woman with a 23 year old husband would.

  28. bleach says:

    This study really illustrates the danger of autistic manchildren trying to give life advice based on statistical data without any real consideration for human behavior.

    Older women have barren wombs, and little interest in having (more) children, anyway(see the pref. for contraception). Unless a man already has kids from an earlier, younger, mate, that renders the rest of these conditions irrelevant.

  29. jeffles says:

    What about the crazy factor? Single 30 year olds are usually batshit crazy!!!

  30. christina says:

    i’m 42. told i look at least 10 years younger by all types and ages of men. great. my age range is 32-44. i get younger and older men. i’m online regularly, so the guy who said older women aren’t online as often, maybe that’s a generalization, but i’m on here. to the woman who’s ‘done everything right’ i hear ya. i believe the odds are against us. there are fewer men out there that are interested, either they’re gay, taken, not ready and will just never be. let’s face it, marriage doesn’t have to be in everyones future. at this point, i just want someone to care about me, sit across from dinner with, cook and travel together, forget kids or let’s adopt, it all just seems so simple, but it’s not. good luck to everyone, love is a tremendous feeling and i hope we all have it on some level.

  31. older but better says:

    I am a 60+ year old woman who would love to find a companion near my age. Most of my messages are from much younger men….quite a few in their 20s. This makes me think they are only interested in finding a needy(?) old woman who has some money and would really appreciate their companionship and sexual favors. NO THANK YOU !!!!!!. I am looking for a mature and REAL man.

  32. MrZebra says:

    the problem with this highly analytical article is that “who you’re attracted to enough to pursue” has very little analytical character whatsoever.

    in other words, we don’t listen to our brains in these situations– we listen to out dicks. and that’s precisely what we SHOULD be listening to.

    the idea that we shouldn’t pursue a particular woman because she’s “out of reach” attractiveness-wise flies in the face of the concepts of effort, competition, sport, excellence… concepts that i, and a lot of men, relate to very well

    the idea that pursuing older women might be smoother and easier doesn’t take into account the idea that, sometimes, the last thing we’re looking for is smooth and easy

  33. MrZebra says:

    also, i’m tired of being called shallow because i prefer attractive women. what kind of physical partner i prefer has nothing to do with how deep or shallow i am. i’d be perfectly happy to talk to you about books if you’re brilliant and ugly. i just don’t want to fuck you. this has nothing to do with the richness (or lack thereof) of my intellectual and cultural life

  34. verrazanogirl says:

    I’m just wondering where the research is for those of us older than 36 or 48, the high end of your scales. While this research presented here is interesting, it does not address the issues/problems affecting women in the vicinity of 60 years old. While as men age they are usually looking for younger women, where does this leave us? How many 30 year old women are really looking for a 60 year old man … unless he has very deep pockets.

  35. Amy says:

    I am 48 and was married for 18 years and divorced for close to a year. I am very fit and look at least ten years younger. I have found I get instant messages from really young guys in their 20′s which I ignore. The messages are from guys 42 to 66. After being married to a guy 23 years my senior, I will not go older than 54. No way, no how. I think our prior experience plays into how we respond a lot. I have a 17 year old son so a man in their 20′S hitting on me is just wrong, but maybe if someone did not have kids they would be flattered. My sex drive is off the charts, so I can see how cougars function. Never be my style though. Interesting stuff. Thanks.

  36. VAL says:

    I can’t believe all the presumptions expressed here. My male friend of 41 recommended me to this site. I am 62 and everywhere I go, people don’t believe I am over 40. I have been married three times all to younger men. The last being 16 years younger and people thought he was older than me. Yes, I am fortunate to have good genes and a healthy appetite for sex. My exes keep coming back for more… I keep trying to find someone my own age but I keep getting interests from men in their forties. I politely reply, didn’t they notice my age in my profile and they repeated responded with, age is a matter of mind, I have had five children ranging age from 42 to 27. They just don’t care. I don’t look or act like the so called typical sixty plus. I guess I am supposed to be in a old folks home by now. I tried going to a senior center and got kicked out for not looking my age. What’s up with that?

  37. TAMMY LARSON says:

    I just find it hard to believe and really sad…older women are beautiful lovers..besides these men who think there too good or what ever are bound to grow old alone.Thats unless they have the money to buy love…..I do know forsure that im having a hard time..It’s just not fair,but life never has been….

  38. brian says:

    I stopped dating older women a long time ago simply because I realized that they would be messing and harassing me for dating younger women, Before that I always enjoyed dating women of all ages (I’m talking about adult women in case your a creep that likes to twist and misinterpret comments), I mean WHY THE HELL NOT!! It’s not the age It’s how you feel with them that counts. I wish older women would stop harassing men for dating whomever they want to because honestly it is really CREEPY. I think that if your a smart woman, you could learn more from my simple comment than this whole CREEPY graph mumbo jumbo.

  39. sixty and sexy says:

    I guess “older women” is a relative term, if you’re in your 20′s everyone is older. But as a Older Women age 60 I just want to say to all the men my age chasing younger women, get over it! Most likely you’ve been married and divorced and have kids a few years younger than your date. We women of a certain age are often the hottest lovers, we no longer have to worry about that pesky problem of pregnancy, there are no longer those off limits days, we are wise, emotionally mature, finacially secure and not looking to start a new family. To the dope who said his post menapausal wife is no longer interested in sex, it may have a lot more to do with him than with her homones. I recently ended a two and a half year relationship with a man 11 years younger than me, and he had to work to keep up.

  40. Ingrid says:

    funny how everybody thinks they are exceptionally young looking. I am a past middle age and I understand that it’s just a fact of life that older men want women who are 20 to 30 years younger than they are, but any older guy who at least pretends that he would consider someone his own age gets major extra points with me.

  41. luis B says:

    well im 63 and iam still very active and have been asked for my ID because they done beleave im that age and guess im 46 to 55. the lastdate and relatinship i had she was 43 and ttthe other was 45 i do competion dancing in sq dancing clogging and buck dancing, and there are 4o , 50, and 60 year olds that cant keep up w/ me. and the last one we made love 6 x’s in one day so im not over thehill and you feel what you want to feel in age.i compete at least 4 x’s a week and practice 1 to 6 hours a day and still going strong, so dont count us old men as you younger ladys say.and older men .know how to treat a lady and still open doors ,give cards and little notes and flowers and help around the house when its that time of the month for the women, because he understand in and does something about it for her, and i have impeckable taste in buying her clothes that i think she wound like and look good in. I love to shop for the one i care for . So there are alot of good thing older men know that younger men,dont even thik about , and the most important thing is open communications , not just (wam bam thank you mame) thell talk to you after making love and rub your back and relax you and do more for you than younger men would. so dont throught us older men under the rug you might be supprize what you have. Luis B

  42. Blondie says:

    This article ignores the over 50 dating scene. I am 61, active, sexy, and still can turn a guy’s head. But… on here, all I get is interest from the Viagra crowd. I’d love to find a 50-something guy that wasn’t looking for a 45 year old. I’m 61, but nowhere near dead, and don’t want a “companion” for my old age… I want a lover that’s going to be around for a while. What’s with the guys always wanting younger women?

  43. Desertphile says:

    Heh, I already discovered that older women are hotter.

  44. Imam says:

    This is the biggest bullshit ever. I was inspired by this entry to start talking to older women on this site. I’ve never been messaged by older women, never get responded to by older women, never meet older women off this site.
    Women 30+ aren’t getting messaged by younger guys because they prefer the 50-70 year old dudes in mid/three-quarter life crises.
    Fuck this entry. BS research and fancy charts with no actual application.

  45. Nina says:

    I have been telling everyone EXACTLY what your statistics say. It’s nice to have the research and statistics to back it up. I think 40+ men are actually looking for women 20 to 25 years younger then them. So, I get a lot of attention from 70 to 75 year-old men.

    Also, men who are heavy and out of shape still think they deserve a woman who is model thin. Most men seem so much more interested in the external then the internal.

  46. Warren Dew says:

    First, I want to say I find these analyses absolutely fascinating.

    However, I think the assumption that an equal age match is ideal is a very bad assumption. I’m 50, and my (only) wife is 40, we’ve been married 10 years and have two kids, and the age difference has been a huge part of the success of our marriage.

    Specifically, it was very helpful for me to have had the time to mostly pay off a fairly large house by the time we were married; the financial stability helped a lot with building a family. However, it was quite important that my wife was still young enough to have kids, even with a few years to settle into the marriage first. A significant age mismatch helped a lot with that.

    Perhaps the ideal would be for the men in their 20s to skip dating, or maybe to date older women for casual sex only. Then, some time in their 30s when they got financially established, they could switch to younger women and focus on a long term relationship. If enough men did this, the age peak for available men would shift upward, allowing both the large numbers of available younger women, who prefer older men, and the new older peak of available men, who prefer younger women, to get what they want.

  47. main linemama says:

    Older guys who relly crave younger women only have to look at Mel Gibson and Paul McCartney to see what kind of problems can occur. Even a ton of money can erase the differences in the age gap. When the older guy finally realizes that he has been played…..the pain and frustration is real. As a very well perserved older woman….I can tellyou men my age are losing theiir stride in bed with me…..I can only imagine what happens with younger women. A local builder has to have a trpphy wife….his second babe had a kid……and when he came home ….he found her in bed with a stable boy. Yes…the much older guy gets the young ones.,,,,but not for long. It takes a lot of maturity to know what makes a good relationship……too many men operate from ego and not the heart. They pay a huge price.

    Go chase the ver young ones and miss out on the real ladies your own age. Some of us are being appreciated by younger men who ar tired of the empty minded young one women who are looking for cars and designer hand bags.

    Some of us older babes can run cirlces around the younger women in so many ways. It takes a wise secure man to know that.

  48. Betsy says:

    Oh my, what an amusing post. Love the charts and graphs. And it convinces me that people in their 20′s think they are the center of the universe. I’m especially amused by the idea that women in their 30′s are “older women”. It sounds like you are talking about some strange foreign species.

    I am 47 and not looking to get married, and have never been looking to have kids. (It seems I have always fallen outside the bell curve.) I have always dated (or married) younger than me, and my two closest friends are married to guys 9 years younger. It’s not that unusual. I’d be happy to date anyone my age, but to join in on your generalization party, guys my age tend to be overweight and terribly boring to me, and if they aren’t, well then, they are dating someone 10-15 years younger. So, I end up with guys younger, without even trying. I just want to go out with someone as cool and on the same level of looks as me.

  49. Janet says:

    Only one REALLY older woman – over 60 – seems to have taken time to comment. I’m 70. Do I look younger? Dunno. Guys hit on me from time to time, younger as well as older. But guess what, I don’t want you! I have a much younger lover who is funny, sexy, very intelligent, caring, generous… You guys can’t match him.
    I’ve been married 3 times, outlived them all. They were older, as my former lovers have been. Ladies, go slow, but creep up on somebody really young. Not to marry or even have a very long-term relationship, just for FUN and affirmation. Don’t bother with charts.

  50. sue says:

    aging men should always be a bit younger than their woman so that they can keep up with them.