When it comes to sexual preferences, age isn’t just a number—it may also be a turnoff, especially for women. At least, that’s what a study out of Finland suggests.
The researchers asked men and women to list their age preferences for partners they’d consider having sex with, as well as the actual ages of the partners they did have sex with.
The findings? In general, men—regardless of their age—said they had a preference for women in their 20s, while women tended to prefer slightly older sexual partners. (Find out if age really matters in a relationship.)
As people get older, though, some more specific preferences do come into play.
For each year a woman aged, the youngest partner she’d consider went up by 4.5 months. Men’s crept up by only two months, leaving a bigger window.
For instance, the average, straight woman in the study was 35 years old. And the youngest guy she’d consider having sex with was 27, and the oldest she’d deem sex-worthy was 46. But the youngest she actually had sex with was 33, and the oldest 38.
As for guys? In the study, the average age for male respondents was 37. The youngest woman the average 37-year-old guy would consider having sex with was 21, and the oldest was 49. But when it came to actual partners, the youngest was 31 and the oldest was 37. (Here are 5 scary things that happen to your penis when you age.)
So while men might express interest in younger women, their actual sexual activity hews closer to their own age range, the researchers say.
What might be responsible for differences in age preferences? The researchers noted that several factors might be involved, from the role of gender equality to the possibility that women choose mates based on long-term partnerships versus one-night romps.
By Elizabeth Millard