Both Men and Women Prefer Dating Younger

Both Men and Women Prefer Dating Younger

Add this to the annals of studies that confirm things we already know anecdotally.

A piece in Time Magazine cites numbers from the Are You Interested Facebook app that concludes that, among 35,942 users ages 30 to 49, a woman was five times more likely to show interest in a man who was five years her junior, rather than one who was five years older.

Men’s preferences are shaped not just by looks but by fertility, which is why many have 35 as a cutoff.

Similarly, among 26,434 men ages 30 to 49, 42% wouldn’t even consider a woman if she was older than him. However, if contacted by an older woman, men wouldn’t necessarily turn her down. The data shows that a man is only 22% less likely to respond to an older woman than a younger woman if she initiates contact.

This is the exact same observation I make in Finding the One Online. Namely, that if you look at a typical 40 year old man’s search preferences, it will generally read 27-35. And if you look at a typical 40 year old woman’s search preferences, it’ll generally read 35-45. However, men’s preferences are shaped not just by looks but by fertility, which is why many have 35 as a cutoff. And while women will write 35-45, they will almost always prefer a man her age or younger.

There are WAY too many exceptions to this for us to fight about, so please, let’s not. Let’s just agree that women, like men, prefer dating younger, that men are receptive to emails from all sorts of women, and that both genders are equally driven by youth and beauty. The difference is that women also care about money, career, education and height, which makes their dating pools shrink proportionately.

Read the full article here and share your comments below.


Join 7 Million Readers

And the thousands of women I've helped find true love. Sign up for weekly updates for help understanding men.

I hate spam as much as you do, therefore I will never sell, rent, or give away your email address.

Join our conversation (246 Comments).
Click Here To Leave Your Comment Below.


  1. 211

    After reading the responses here.  I don’t see the message getting through to anyone.  People will do what works for them.  I am no better.  I see American women insisting that all older men are fat and out of shape and that women are better at keeping themselves in shape.  That’s not the reality I see every day.  I see far more out of shape 30 to 55 year old women than out of shape 30 to 55 year old men.  But then, this is a military town.  Many active duty and retired military like myself.  Even if we aren’t in peak condition, we tend to be in better shape than the women.
    And because younger men love to date, but usually not marry older women, that provides an easy escape from reality.  I see many American women stating stuff like Ges who has the attitude that a guy older than her is unappealing, and thinks all women think like her.  But they don’t, especially from other countries.
    Also this false notion that younger women only date older men for money…but then brags that 27 year old’s alter their profile to say 38 and of course it’s because he’s after true love…right?  It couldn’t be the bad economy and a young guy trading his youth for money?  Couldn’t be that he’s got student loans that need to be paid.  Couldn’t be that he is striking out with women his age, for some valid reason, and he finds older women easier to deal with.  It couldn’t be simply because older women treat him better…could it?  Oh it could?  Oh, well then I guess a younger woman might find older men appealing for the same reason, right?
    My preference, at 50, would be a women no younger than 38, but no older than 43.  Arbitrary numbers not set in stone.  And a good thing too since I was introduced to a former Brazilian model who is now 27, whose slightly younger first husband, also American was a complete ass and chauvinist pig, which is why she moved back to Brazil.
    I am also talking with a 37 year old Filipino Nurse living and working in Vancouver Canada.  She prefers guys 5 to 15 years older than herself, though she did step outside of that once when she met a man 5 years her junior and had a son with him, but he too did not treat her well after the first initial few years.  In her experience guys 5 to 15 years older treat her better.
    Both are Adventists, which I am also, which makes it hard to find a good mate, especially for men, and especially for older men.  And yet I find these two.  The nurse wants me to move to Canada, but I have 2 more years of schooling.  Have talked with her off and on for several months.  Just met and am getting to know the 27 year old Brazilian.  Funny thing is, I have more problem with her age than she does mine.  Both women have their own money.  They don’t need a man for his money.  Good thing since I am a student.  And yet they are still interested.
    I guess in the reality is that if you are a fisherman, and trying to catch a Bass, but only Perch are biting, you can have Perch for dinner, or move to an new location and hope you catch a Bass there.  The one option that seems the least likely is that the Bass will suddenly start biting in the first location.
    I think it’s funny in a way that I have the same problem that some women in this age range say they have.  Men in their preferred age range don’t show interest, but people above and below that age are interested.  I get older women interested but I’m not.  And, women younger than my preference are interested.

    1. 211.1

      I don’t have to many “numeric” preferences.  I couldn’t care less about height, I never looked at income on and I put a 20 year age span in my profile.  10 years plus or minus my age.  The biggest number that concerns me is mileage.  I don’t want a long distance relationship.  My limit on miles is 50, then I changed it to 35, because so many guys 100+ miles away were writing to me.  The guy I am seeing now lives 48 miles away, and even that is stretching things a bit, but I guess that’s just something to learn to live with, work out etc. 
      However, I think we are entitled to our preferences.  I don’t get the height thing at all, but if a woman want a man to be taller than her, she is entitled to that preference, and I don’t understand the vitriol directed at women for that preference. I think its a big exaggeration that ALL women want tall men.  I have stated many times that I don’t care about height, and I have been called a liar on this board for it.  I have also been told that I am holding out for a gorgeous, rich, athlete, and I NEVER said anything REMOTELY resembling that, but  for some men, their narrative is that EVERY woman wants a 6 foot tall athlete, and that’s their story and their sticking to it.   Then they give some anectdotal story about how this girl said this thing to that guy and blah, blah, blah, and there you have it, proof that EVERY American woman is like this.
      Same with age, if a man wants a younger woman and that’s his preference, he’s certainly should be badgered for his preference either.  However, it’s very rude to go on an insulting rant that older women are useless and worthless.  Just say that’s your preference.  Your younger woman will eventually become older.  Not older than you, but older none the less.  These men who say women are worthless after a certain age, how long do they think they can keep trading in for a newer model ?
      Both people might have a harder time if they are going to be pulling out measuring tapes and check birth certificates instead of looking at the PERSON, but they are still entitled to that preference.

      1. 211.1.1

        I don’t buy into older women having no value.  I don’t buy into the notion that a 20 year old always has ore value than a 30 year old and a 30 year old has more value than a 40 year old.  For me, at 50, a 40 year old has more value than a 20 year old.
        I stated in another post that while I am always attracted to younger women, the age range i prefer stays the same in relation to my age.  At 37 I would be attracted to women up to about 10 years younger, so 27.  At 45 it would be down to about 35.  Ages not set in stone.  But a woman who has the most value to me is younger, and yet not drastically different in age, in my opinion.

      2. 211.1.2

        Good post Sparkling Emerald  #211

        Rusty LH   All the best with your Brazillian model and your long distance contact in Canada . Im glad your preference is working out well for you

        Im always amused guys who post on Evans site, which is designed to uplift women in the dating area, who taut the benefits of younger foreign women.

        Im foreign but Im not originally from an economically depressed country. 

  2. 212

    Most of the comments in this thread deal with the experiences of, and women’s perceptions of, men who want to date younger women. I’m running into a different issue with my online dating experience. I am a DWM, 54, in Los Angeles, interested in dating women my own age. My posted range is 48-55, but what I’m finding is that >80% of the women in this range are looking for men up to 10 years younger. They’re not interested in a contemporary. This seems like a recent thing – and I wonder what’s behind it.

    1. 212.1
      Peter 51

      Nick, They are looking for sex. Toyboy is not that old  a term either even though its already dated.

    2. 212.2

      I really don’t get that either.  I wonder if it’s just a PC thing (I hate that term BTW), of women thinking “Well if men can get younger mates, so can I”.  Thing is, in a couple, only ONE person in the pair can be younger.
      At my age, (59) I don’t think a 5 year gap in either direction is a big deal.  Before my OLD subscription ran out, I put 10 years plus or minus my age, as my preferred age. Even THAT wasn’t set in stone.  If I met a guy 11 years older than me, and we were a good match,  I would give it a shot, but the very few men that I did meet that were more than 10 years older than me, were very old ACTING.  Moved slow, talked slow, low energy levels. 
      In my younger days, I always gravitated towards older, and generally refused to date younger until I got in my upper 20’s, but then only by a year or two, and my second husband was about 2 years younger than me.  Didn’t seem like an age gap at all, at 32 and 30.  He left home at 17, I at 18, we both had been on our own a long time and were very independent, so with our similarity of life experiences, we were essentially the same age. 
      When I was doing OLD, I got a couple of hits from college age kids.  Ewwwww.  I don’t get the cougar thing at all.  (And since I ignored these kids and never met them, they could have all been fakes, or they could have just been pranking around with their college buds, or whatever) 
      However, to each their own.  People are entitled to their preferences.  People are entitled to pursue their preferences.  If they get that sweet, youngster, well then good on them.   If they could just pursue their sweet young thing without coming here and saying derogatory comments about worthless old hags/disgusting ole men that would even be better.

    3. 212.3
      Karmic Equation

      Women are just as visual as men. Most just won’t cop to that. I will since status, money, degrees are NOT what attracts me :)
      I’ve dated younger than me since I divorced 8 years ago. One man was 6 yrs younger (for 6 yrs), another was 13 yrs younger (for about a year); currently just broke it off with someone 17 yrs younger (about 10 months). My dating profile however lists men 40-55. I’m 47. Men as young as 20 contact me. Most of those cubs are not unattractive and think middle-aged women are easy scores [rolls eyes]. I delete those messages. But it was really tough saying no to a 21 yo who was betting looking than most movie stars and a 26-yo who looked like Channing Tatum. But I said no nonetheless. lmao
      I’m more active than men my age and look a lot younger than my age…and since I’m not attracted to status, which is what most men my age have, but rather to looks, I have a tough time finding men my age attractive. The few that I DO find attractive, e.g., who look great for their age, are off dating real 30-somethings not a 40-something woman who looks 30-something :)
      That’s just a long way of saying, do you look good for your age? In LA, I think many women do the P.S. (plastic surgery) thing. So they’re looking for younger men BECAUSE that’s the reason they got P.S. in the first place.
      If you want to date your peers, and you’re average looking, you might want to expand your geographic area for dating. I had one date with a man (I live on the East coast) whose last relationship was with a woman in Santa Barbara. He was alright looking for 50. But he did the photoshop thing or used predominantly old pics of himself in his profile. 3/4 of his pix were very attractive. One not so much. I wrote that off to it being at an unflattering angle. When I met him, the unflattering angle shot was what he truly looked like. [sigh] I tried.
      By all means shop your pictures. But you should add current pix of yourself. And if you don’t like the current pics of yourself. Hit the gym or do P.S. Online dating is a photo-first impression, so you have to play the game as it was designed.
      And FTR, while I’ve started writing P.S. as an option for both men and women, I’ve never done it myself. I just have good genes :) In my youth my oily skin made me acne-prone, but that same oily skin is keeping my face unlined now. I have contemplated lipo, but haven’t pulled the trigger on that :)

      1. 212.3.1

        I look at things from a different perspective. It amazes me the number of women who will admit that they don’t find older men attractive, or even men their own age attractive. To me, you seem to be like spoiled kids whose parents allowed them to eat sweets instead of healthy food. Now you are hooked on the sweets and don’t realize the damage that awaits your future.

        First let’s get back to the fact that you don’t find your peers attractive. I have news for you, men are no different. If you think younger guys don’t prefer beautiful women their own age or younger, you are nuts. What they find attractive in older women is the fact that you are easier than their peers. You may not think you are easy but he looks at it from the perspective of how much harder it is to get a girl his age in bed. They hold the power in a relationship with you because they know you want them. They know the score. They know their youth holds value. They expect you to be far more generous with your money, and most older women are compared to the younger girls. They also know that your beauty has an expiration date.

        So what the future holds for most of my sisters who choose to be Cougars is a life of loneliness once you can no longer hold off father time. When your beauty fades, so too will any interest by the younger guys. They know this so they have little desire to marry you. Those that will marry you aren’t upper crust in their age brackets. They are desperate because girls their own age are going after the upper crust guys, or older guys.

        so what is going to happen is you will get to a point where guys younger than you won’t be interested at all, and the better guys in your peer group will be taken. Then you will be one of those invisible 50s women. That’s not far off.

        So to the Cougars, I say Haenguneul bileoyo!

        I prefer guys I know genuinely look at me and love what they see. I love to be around guys who truly want to be around me, and don’t just see me as an easy lay, or less work than a girl their own age. I don’t want the rejects from an age bracket, I want the upper crust, and like it or not, when you go younger, you are getting the guys who struck out with women their age, or are too lazy to put in the work to win the girls their age, or lack the confidence to get girls their age. You can deny it all you want but it is true.

        1. kathleen dennis

          So it sounds like you have no experience at all dating younger. Im curious how old you are . How did you arrive at such opinionated broad generalizations of doom?
          I treat anyone I date whether younger or the same age as me as an individual.  Individuals have different motivators and different reason to be attracted to another.
          Ive heard many men say its so easy to get laid by women these day. To make the claim that a guy is only with an older woman to get an easier lay is absurd, and insulting to women .

    4. 212.4
      kathleen dennis

      Nick Im curious what website you are talking about.
      I noticed that on Match my age peers of women in LA CA are in fact looking for their own age and younger more so now than before

      I think whats behind it is the rise in womens economic power. Women dont have to be with a rich older dude as they may have had to in past decades. Also as a woman of 55 I attract younger men who are definitive they dont want children and dont want a woman with children . Women who are strong successful and attractive can choose a younger guy  just like guys used to. As I mentioned previously Helen Fisher PHD Anthropologist and Author expects this pairing of younger men older women to increase.  
      Some women may be looking just for sex but I think thats probably the minority. 

  3. 213
    Miriam Tier

    I am a 63 year old widow, in Australia.  I am currently (for the past 5months) dating a man 14 years younger.  This was a surprise to me, but it is wonderful….I am not afraid that he will die suddenly, and sexually things could not be better.  

    The he only downside is wondering what the future holds….. 

    1. 213.1
      Karmic Equation

      Enjoy the present, Miriam. Don’t ruin it worry of the future. The future will take care of itself :)

    2. 213.2

      Enjoy Miriam !!! Im happy for you!  Enjoy the present because none of us know what the future may hold. There are no guarantees.  


  4. 214
    Karmic Equation

    @JennLee #212.3.1
    “I don’t want the rejects from an age bracket, …”

    Perhaps for some women that is the case, but it’s not so with me. My bf who was 13 years younger? He has women handing him their number unsolicited (He told me about this after the fact–I even knew one of the women!) In his 20’s he kept soft harems. Before we became an item, on a Friday I saw him easily pick up a woman (and presumably went back to her place on a first date as I saw them leave together) and knowing him, I sincerely doubt they were having tea in her kitchen. Two nights later, I saw another girl come in, they chatted, an hour or so later they both disappeared. The guy who’s 17 years my junior owns his own business, extraordinarily handsome and gregarious. He’s way above his peers in success, ambition, and looks. He’s obnoxiously intelligent to boot. Both far from the rejects/dregs/castoffs from their age peers whom you think hit on older women. 
    You are correct in that many young men who hit on older women ARE the castoffs. I get plenty of messages from those in my inbox. Delete.

    “…I want the upper crust, and like it or not, when you go younger, you are getting the guys who struck out with women their age, or are too lazy to put in the work to win the girls their age, or lack the confidence to get girls their age.”

    And here is where we disagree. You believe because you want your peer or older that you’re getting the “upper crust”. I say that when I date someone my age or older, that’s shooting fish in a barrel for an attractive woman. If I wanted a bf tomorrow, all I have to do is find a 55 yo whose looks I can tolerate, who will treat me well. And most WILL treat me well because I’m the prize for THEM. They’re lucky that someone as young as I am (compared to them) and as attractive, secure, and drama-free as myself is interested in them.
    “They [young men] are desperate because girls their own age are going after the upper crust guys, or older guys.” 
    Change the gender in the sentence and you’ll understand better what I believe is happening when women date older, if they’re truly not “attracted” to older.
    “[Older women] are desperate because [men] their own age are going after upper crust [women] or [younger women]“… and that’s why older women will date much older men…imho, of course.
    “I have news for you, men are no different. If you think younger guys don’t prefer beautiful women their own age or younger, you are nuts.”
    I’m not nuts. I go into these relationships with eyes wide open. I’ve already put an expiration date on them before I start. That is the ONLY way to have any kind of relationship when the woman is older than the guy. I’ve seen some blogs from Evan about older women having children with younger men (38yo with a 23yo); older women dating younger men (35yo and 20-something) wanted exclusivity. Those women are nuts. When she’s hitting her geriatric years, he’s coming on middle-age. When we might need a man the most, he’s off having his own mid-life crisis. Can we say horror-show?
    That said, short-term, fun relationships with younger men, are just what they are…FUN. Yes, feelings grow, but if a woman is smart, she’ll love but not fall in-love with the guy. That’s when tragedy strikes. And knock on wood, while breaking up was hard to do, the end of my last three relationships did not cause any undue devastation. Pain yes. Devastation no. The fun was worth it.
    As a smart, strong, successful woman, there is very little ANY man can provide to me that I cannot provide myself. I own my own home. I have a great 6-figure career. I enjoy going stag to parties, dinner out, to the movies, company events, etc. I live a contented life where I want for nothing. 
    There are two things which I cannot provide myself: sex and relationships. I do need men for those :)
    Most women compromise on looks to get the committed relationship she wants, and she “grants” sex to the lucky guy.
    I compromise on “committed” relationships to get looks so that sex is not something I “grant”, but something I enjoy (and look forward to) doing. When the sex life is satisfying, a lot of relationship issues seem easier to work out. And when you don’t want to work out the issues, ending a relationship with a younger guy makes sense. Very convenient, I must say.
    I don’t feel that “being in a relationship” defines me as a woman. Having already been married, I don’t feel any pressure to marry. A man has no “relationship-power” over you if you don’t need a relationship with him. Therefore, a man who’s looking for a relationship does not automatically make him “upper crust” or morally superior than a man who isn’t. 
    If you look at those “older” men the way I do, it’s not very flattering, I must admit. Some men MUST offer relationships to get any sex. Because if they didn’t get relationship sex, they wouldn’t be getting any sex at all. Unfortunately for the “average” looking guy who is “older” than I am, that’s how I perceive his need for relationship. It’s his one and only way to get regular sex from a quality woman. And since men can’t impress/buy me with his “money”, “status”, or “success” the only things that attract me to men are good looks and confidence. And unfortunately, the men my age or older I’ve been dating are either not as good looking as their pix or not as confident as I need them to be to jump start my attraction.


  5. 215

    In that book the case for settling for mr. Good enough,the author set about explaining why when men and women too like dating younger. She explained it as in when a long time married couple is together they still sorta see eachother as when they were younger and got together. When people are single and 40 plus they are wanting to feel the rush of attraction like when they were younger so they tend to gravitate twords younger people who do that for them. Also I think long time bachelors are notoriously picky and are allways sabotaging themselves. Like if they lucked out and found a 25 year old who would have them theyd say it didnt work becauss she was too immature and partied too much. Well duh. Also an issue when guys get a certain age and want kids it kinda perverts the whole process of finding someone. Instead of naturally falling in love with someone and it leading to a family it starts with a man looking at a woman’s age and fertility and then trying to force himself to love her while mainly focusing on hee breeding abilities instead of whats in the heart. While it works out for some others cant pull it off because its a backwards process.

  6. 216

    I think the thing with the long time older bachelor suddenly deciding he wants a family is instead of falling in love with someoneand it leading to family they have to find a woman of an age to easily give them a child and who wants them too and then he has to force himself into loving her. In oot herwards the main thing is to find a good breeder first and foremost. While this falls into place for some for others it doesn’t because it kinda perverts the whole process and its so much easier when people are younger and your peers are pretty much all fertile. As for preferences in people men and women liking younger I think that tends to happen because when people are single they haven’t known that persen when they were younger and they’re having to face their own age. If they had been married many years and known the person younger they might not notice the changes. When I was 20 though I was never attracted to middleaged men but I guess some are. I dont care what people do and it is what it is. 

  7. 217

    So true! When someone is 40 they just came out of their thirties and often still look like a thirtysomething. But when people get in later forties they look more mature and closing in on fifty . And even though some people age well and dont look their age the actual number I think starts to creep the younger people out.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>