Male vs. Female Sexual Market Value

Male vs. Female Sexual Market Value

As you may know, I’m really big on statistics, metrics, heuristics, anything data-driven that is going to bring objectivity to something as subjective and emotional as dating.

I think it’s important that you know that 95% of people eventually get married.

Or that 95% of the country practices premarital sex.

Or that only 14% of men are over 6 feet tall.

And 5% makes over 100k.

Numbers put reality into perspective, and, from there, we can make healthy and informed decisions about love.

Nowhere do things get messier than when discussing the “sexual market value” of men and women.

But nowhere do things get messier than when discussing the “sexual market value” of men and women. We’ve touched on it in many forms before. Why older men want younger women. Why older women want younger men. How many emails men and women get on dating sites. The availability and merits of 7s vs. 10s. Lori Gottlieb’s seminal book, “Marry Him: The Case for Settling For Mr. Good Enough” is pretty much a meditation on this very subject. Gottlieb discovered that while she was in her early 30’s, passing up on the 7’s and holding out for a 10, by the time she reached her late 30’s, the 10’s were only interested in women in their early 30’s. Furthermore, the quality of the men available to her as a 39-year-old who wanted her own biological children was closer to a 5 (in her mind). Yes, I know these numbers are gauche, but we’re trying to establish a pattern. Not based on our feelings about how things should be or what would be right and just and fair. But simply by observing the behaviors and desires of men and women.

Enter Susan Walsh at Hooking Up Smart. I haven’t met Ms. Walsh, but I feel like we’re probably kindred spirits, because she decided to post this long, wonky post with a number of charts and graphs.

The premise of her post was to establish which gender, if any, had greater sexual market value – which is to say, more enduring appeal to the opposite sex over time. The term market value seems crude, but it’s the best possible term because, like economic market forces of supply and demand, these are completely self-regulating. If a man thinks he can date a 10, but no 10’s want him, then, evidently, he’s overestimated his sexual market value. If a woman dates online and thinks she can date a man 10 years younger because she “looks good for her age”, but no men 10 years younger give her the time of day (apart from requests for NSA sex), then, well, she, too, has overestimated her sexual market value. Essentially, whether you’re a 3 or a 10 is not really your decision. The market will tell you what you can command. Just as it does with your own salary. Anyone who holds out for a 500K salary but finds that no one is willing to pay it will remain unemployed for a really, really long time. Anyway, back to the original premise:

I think we can agree in general that young women remain particularly appealing to men, even when it gets a bit creepy.

I think we can also agree that, for whatever reason, older men seem have more dating options than older women. There are exceptions, of course, but there are more 50-60-year-old men dating 5-10 years younger than women dating men 5-10 years younger.

I think we can agree in general that young women remain particularly appealing to men, even when it gets a bit creepy.

Based on this, there is a perception that men have greater sexual market value than women. This opinion is particularly espoused by hardcore men’s groups, because it’s an appealing narrative. They say something to the effect of: “American women are way too picky, way too masculine, way too selfish. But due to biology, I can be that 45-year-old guy who is hooking up with 27-year-old women while 45-year-old women turn into angry spinsters.” These are not my sentiments, but we do see them occasionally expressed in the comments section below, usually by dorky guys without much game who play the “biology” card early and often. Enter Susan Walsh. Using data from 200,000 people on OkCupid, Walsh takes on these men who overestimate their appeal to younger women and gives them a good old-fashioned scientific smackdown, concluding:

Mean male sexual value over 30 year period: 40.0

Mean female sexual value over 30 year period: 39.9

By this unbiased calculation of actual data, the male and female of the species exhibit the same sexual market value.

The OKCupid chart has good, reliable information for both sexes. Women need to understand that the male curve lags the female curve by about five years, is flatter and a little wider. That means you’ll have more competition from younger women as you age. You will never be hotter than you are at 22, so plan accordingly.

It’s important to recognize that some men display a motive for artificially elevating the SMV of aging males, so ignore any wisdom characterized as “red pill.”

In my own coaching materials, I always suggested that a woman’s peak was 27-30 in terms of her desirability to the most men, and that a man’s peak was 35-39. I’m going to stick with that premise, since I think OkCupid’s data skews young. In other words, while a 22-year-old may be hot, most 41-year-old quality men would never actually date or marry one. So to all of the readers in my core demographic: 35-55, have no fear. As long as most 22-year-olds are creeped out by 40-year-old guys, there are no shortage of men out there for you.

Your thoughts, below, are greatly appreciated.

26
35

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 (186 Comments).
Click Here To Leave Your Comment Below.

Comments:

  1. 61
    j

    I think my major issue if I were single about trying to get together with an older man than myself would be awful to sat but the esmsexuak stamina issue. Im very passionate and enthusiastic sexually and I think somewhat much older (my husband d is same age as me ) would be the ability of him to keep up. I think that is an issue despite attraction is that alot of men lose the desire and ability to perform. I guess if a woman doesn’t like sex its not a problem but fir those who do its pretty huge. I believe that’s what drives some older women liking to date younger is so they can have an active sex life besides just attraction. Even though there are drugs for men I’ve heard from some women they dont work or health issues are present that destroy their sexual life. I know I could never have married a man 20 years older as long term he would nor be able to keep up. That much age difference is more like a child parent
     But hey if it works for some people thats great for them. 

  2. 62
    Taylor

    Interesting post.

    In my experience sexual market value works like this.

    There is no demographic that has more sexual market value than the 20-25 year old woman.  They are the hottest they will ever be, havent been on the market long enough to be jaded, they tend to just want to have fun and they have the pick of any guy from age 18-60.  Mind you a 20 year old and a 59 year old wouldnt make much of a match most of the time, but if a 20 year old tittilated even a happily married 59 year old into sex he’d take his chances and go for it.

    Likewise, there is no demographic who has a lower sexual market value than the 20-25 year old man.  Luckily, if he is in university he is surrounded by hot 20-25 year old women and the numbers game will at least fall in his favor some of the time.  These guys dont have the experience with women, the suave debonaire character, the money or financial resources.  Plus they are competing with men from age 20-50 for the women they desire.  For this reason a lot of men this age try to use their “young buck” age to land older women in the 30-35 range but this seldom works out, because women value experience and resources.

    The second highest sexual market value is the 35-45 man.  They have the resources, the experience, the job, and if they’ve taken care of themselves, they still have the looks.  Even a younger woman at 20 appreciates a bit of grey hair.  I’m in this age range right now.  I find it’s never been easier to get laid at any point in my life as it is now.  I’ve had sex with a 19 year old, a 25 year old, a bunch of 30 year olds, 35 year olds, a couple 37 year olds and a 42 year old.

    The second lowest sexual market value age range would be a woman from 31-40, especially if they are unmarried without kids or have never been in a serious realtionship.  They are looking usually for the man to get married and have kids with in short order, and men know this and are turned off by it unless they already have their own kids.  They are also jaded from failed past relationships, or, if they have just never had a serious relationship because they have been focusing on their career, they are bossy and want everything to go their own way and will treat their man like little more than accessory and a bank machine.  They tend to have exorbitantly high expectations.  Even worse, they may have children from a failed relationship which makes everything complicated.  I was with one of these women for nearly 4 years – I helped raise her daughter and taught the kid to read, but because the kid was not mine, when we broke up I will likely never see that little girl again despite that she called me dad for years.  I will never go back to that situation ever again because it was heartbreaking.

    My advice is as follows:

    Men: When you are 35-45 and single feel free to go for anything that moves even 19 year olds.  Live it up because once your 50 that number will scare any girl below 40 and right now is your chance to do it all.

    Women: Meet a good man and marry when your in your early 20s.  You can still have a career and a husband at the same time.  Shelve your romantic ideas about travelling  with a backpack and sleeping with random dudes in far away places.  During this time you can pick whoever you want because you are the most desireable thing on the planet.  Dont look for Mr. Perfect or Mr. Badass.  Look for a guy who treats you very well, who you find reasonably attractive, and who you have fun with.  And STICK WITH HIM FOR LIFE.  That last part is the most important part because around age 27-31 women often start thinking that the grass is going to be greener with a guy who makes more money, or who drinks less, or has a nicer house, or who wears fancier shirts… but by this point all the guys are going to be looking at you for is a lay.  When your 20-25 treat a man right and he will bedazzled with you for life.  When your 30-35 he will look at marriage as a business proposal where he is bound to lose and your going to have to make a pretty sweet offer to lock him down with today’s marriage and child custody environment.

    I give this advice from experience.  When I was 24 I met a 16 year old girl and stayed with her for nearly 10 years.  I forgave her for cheating on me and even got engaged to her.  Then I ended up single at 31.  Every successive girl after that wanted to get married, and I was skeptical as hell.  I was with a girl from age 33-37 who was desperate to get married and have kids, and I refused until she made me feel like I could be with her for life, which she never did (wont get into it).  She felt she was wasting her time and we broke up.  And I didnt mind – I have had sex with Koreans, Filipinos, white girls, Spanish girls I’m having the time of my life.  I only wish I broke up with her sooner because it was really me who was wasting my time. 

    1. 62.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      (rolls eyes)

      a) Your advice is so patronizing and one-sided. Women should live in fear of “expiring”. Men should live it up. Women should hold on for dear life because there is no Mr. Perfect out there. Men should hit it with 19 year olds until they’re 45.

      b) No woman is equipped to make decisions for the next 60 years at age 21. The divorce rate for under 25 is 75%. This is empirically bad advice.

      c) The BEST marriages are the ones that take place between two college educated adults over the age of 30. You suggest this is a “business arrangement”. You’re speaking for yourself. That’s why your girlfriend left you. She didn’t want to have to beg a guy to propose. She wanted a guy who WANTED to marry her. So have fun with your young ethnic girls while it lasts. No woman is really missing out on her husband with you on the market.

      1. 62.1.1
        Lau_ra

        Amen to that! Coulnd’t have said it better!

  3. 63
    ellen

    I got divorced at 42 and these numbers/comments aren’t representative of my life at all! I dated online and was chased by the younger ones. Assuming they wanted to check off their I did a cougar box, I ended up putting in my profile that no-one under 30 should contact me. Then I fell in love with someone 18 years younger. Bc he was 24 he wanted to marry. It was ridiculous bc he was not facing reality AT ALL. Later boyfriends were 7 years younger 9 years younger (another engagement), and then I decided to get serious. I had a fling with a 52 year old and he was the worst guy I have ever dated. Jerks just become older jerks. I’m now in love with a 46 year old (I’m now 45) and hope like hell it’s forever. He’s perfect! My point—> Ignore this crap and be optimistic and get out there! It’s a blast with younger, perfection with my near age. I’m not even that attractive imo. But I believe in myself, am smart, and fun. Men may go for the 10s at first, but I end up with them and everyone is baffled mwahahaha :-)
     

  4. 64
    Lynn

    Im 49 and my husband is 41.  He was 23 and I was 32 when we got married.  We both still get carded in clubs, me more than him.  I’m slim, have long light brown hair with blonde hilites, not a single wrinkle and large green cat eyes, no varicose veins or any other signs of age.  My husband looks a lot like Eddie Cibrian (in his late 40s I believe) Age is just a number.   It’s not about AGE, it’s about genes, attitude and how you take care of yourself.  Most of the older men obsessed with jail bait are immature and have an inability to converse and connect with someone closer to their age and the young ones are easier for them to manipulate.  So they just use the copout excuse that “older women are ugly” bla bla bla.  Some are, some ain’t.  We had a mutual male friend that I went to school with my age that was obsessed with girls in their late teens to early 20s.  For some reason he had the major hots for me, always flirting with me and staring at me (a 40+ year old HAG, oh my!!)  He died of a drug overdose in his mid 40s unfortunately.  Like I said, age is just a number.  Johnny Depp: 51 Carmen Electra 41. Can any youth obsessed person look at either of them and be “grossed out”?? Both hotter (and way more interesting) than anyone half their age.  Nuff said.

    1. 64.1
      InjunJoe

      I find it funny how you label men who pursue younger women as losers while you admittedly married a 23 year old at 32. How old was he when you met, 21?

  5. 65
    DaMan

    I totally agree most older guys got it all wrong and act really creepy toward hot young inexperienced girls. I’m a 39 year old successful bar manager. I don’t go to clubs where there is people 21-26 to pickup young girls. Brad Pit would be a creep there too. You must be very social with all age groups. You have a boat party or some other event where you invite people who are 22-39 mix up the ages a bit and then let them hit on you. You never have to be creepy just the leader and make sure everyone is having a good time. The young chicks will start hitting on you, providing you are still attractive and in good shape. The ones that think you’re a creep won’t so leave them to the younger wing guys at the party. I found that approximately 80% of them won’t mind hooking up with an older guy 60% will date you.  Only 30% will be date-able. I actual had a girl tell me “I thought it be a bit creepy for us to hookup” she was 22 and hot. She was right and wouldn’t leave me alone after. Showed up at my work drunk and high had to kick her out of the bar once what a creep. Number one rule is to let them initiate since they’re having a good time they should. Now they are the creep since they’re chasing you. There is lots of them out there most older men creep them out and can never get them. 

    For older women just replace the young girls with guys. I’m not sexist have fun.

    98% of men and 98% of women want to date people who are young and hot.

    Remember!!!! You are as old as the person you’re dating !!!!! :)

  6. 66
    J

    I think looks have alot to do with all of this too. Some young guys are totally adorable and are in great demand and if have education and back ground they are in hot demand. Also some mid forties guys have lost their looks and dont attract young good looking girls antmore. Im not saying all but some . Guys lose their looks ovee time also as they Start to resemble the girls they desire fathers. Attraction is a two way street. While I agree men have a wider age range as they get older it also depends on their looks and income.

  7. 67
    Lane

    As a man of 55 all this bickering back and forth about a man or a woman market sexual value is ridiculous.  All of you on this site, you are young now but your day is coming when you will have very little value in the sexual world whether your rich or even look young for your age.  For many of you, both women and men you’re just a few years away. There are very few men or women that reach their 40’s and 50’s that are treated respecfully by younger people.  So, your day is coming guys when you will be called “old man”, “creeper”, and a whole bunch of other derogatory statements regarding your age.  Age discrimination laws are set at 40 years old for a reason.  And it’s not because some man or woman looks 28 when their 40.  What you have to remember is that just because you look like a 40 year old woman at 53 or your a 48 year old man that can pass for 36, your still old in many people eyes which is why the laws for discrimination is set at someone 40 years old or older.  Your days are numbered as all of us.  To me, all this bickering back of forth reaks of younger people who may have some fears of getting older themselves.  The point is, every one of you are fighting a losing battle.  And unless you are blessed with some pretty good genes, most of us will look exactly like our fathers and mothers when we get old.  And you can’t honestly look at your parents at the ages they are and can accept that, your remaining years are gonna be very painful.  When you hit the other side of 50, the reality for the rest of you life is dealing with how you will handle getting closer to the age of 100.  The first 50 years of your life isn’t what you live with, it’s the last 50 years.  And most of us, if we’re lucky, may only have only 25 left.  So your days are numbered and it’s gonna be worse when you people are my age because when I was around your ages, getting older was an acceptable and respectable idea.  Not so anymore as it’s the age of youth.  And to honest I wouldn’t want to be in any of your shoes in 20 years.  I don’t think any of you are prepared to hear the comments that all of you will eventually hear when you get into your 50’s and beyond.  Time goes by quick, and every single person when I was younger that spoke of older people with this nonsense have eaten their words because they have turned into looking exactly like their old and wrinkly mom and dad.  So, like me, my brothers and other family members, eventually we all start to look like our old family members.  For many of you it will come early and for many of you it will come late, but your fate has already been planned out.  And you wanna know what, they isn’t a damn thing you can do about it so why argue and bicker about sexual market value.  Evenually, all of you won’t have any at all.  It’s just a fact of life, unless your that select few that have decent genes and can hold off for just a few more years.  Eventually, everyone of you will be like every other younger person that spoke of this type of thing when they were young, like me, that it doesn’t mean a damn thing in the end.

    1. 67.1
      Peter 51

      Lane,

      I’m 62 and over the last 8 years I have seen my apparent SMV (or perhaps RMV as one night stands are not me) rise and rise.  Certainly the women have become younger and prettier, even, perhaps especially, after I focused on one.  The impact of having a high value partner is itself a factor in attracting more attention from other attractive women.

      You are right.  There is no escape.  Nobody looks younger than their age, certainly not 10 years younger.  You look good for your age or you look like an overweight smoker who has spent too much time in the sun.

      You are right; Anglo-American culture shows no respect for age compared to places further East or South.  However, equally, you are not walled off into a ghetto where convention dictates your options.  Anyway, so far, I am not sure that ageing is a losing battle despite having two long term degenerative illnesses.  8 years ago, I wasn’t sure I ever wanted another marriage. Now I have a relationship that works. Professionally, I am still advancing.  I’ve switched from a lot of cardio to high intensity exercise and despite sprinting times that reflect my age, I have never felt more like “get up and go” since my mid 20’s.  I won’t be me at 30 but I was already pretty miserable then.

      Cheer up.  In the rich world we spend about three years before death with chronic health problems (18 months in poor countries – all those doctors get us 18 months more).  The rest of your time is your healthy life expectancy.  Set out to enjoy it.  Your SMV may be zero (no more One Night Stands) but your RMV doesn’t have to be (are ONS’s with the wrong person even worth the bother?).  Mind you, I was born middle aged.

  8. 68
    liana

    Thanks Evan, I now realise how shallow I have been. I have been married (twice) to men over 6′ tall who earn over 100k. and I have dated several guys since (over 6′ tall). Relationships formed purely on lust and never engaging my brain. I ignored all the warning signs and walked away when I should have. I am now 49 and wondered where I was going wrong until I found your site. Incidentally my ex (44) is now living with a 24 yr old , so some younger women do find older men attractive. I plan to date alot smarter from now on.
     

    1. 68.1
      Lau_ra

      liana,
      hey, don’t beat yourself up, woman, you at least got married (twice!):) Kidding.:)When saying that young women do find older men attractive you forgot to add “some”. Most young women don’t like men who are much older (and hell, 20y is a lot). I am 31 and still wouldn’t be amazed with the idea of dating 44yo.  More so when I was 24 – experiences and outlooks on life are just too different.  

  9. 69
    starthrower68

    Sometimes certain threads give me such a chuckle. SMV is definitely a first world problem. 😆

     

  10. 70
    David Sims

    Just because men and women have the same average market value over a thirty-year span (btw, which thirty-year span?), that isn’t the whole story. There’s the distribution of the value, versus age, to consider. Young women, ages 18-25, spike very high in sexual market value. They are the most sought-after human type, bar none. Young men lust for them. Old men lust for them. For a few years, young woman can exercise the prerogatives of queens in terms of sexual choosiness.
    But after that spike, women usually tumble fast toward the status of dumpster fodder. Her thighs get fat. Her belly gets flabby. Her arms get thick. Her jawline, once so finely defined, tends toward jowliness. To offset her physical deterioration, a woman would be well-advised to marry a man and bend over to please him in whichever direction he likes best. If she can hold him through HIS prime years, he probably won’t ever leave her, except by dying in his old age.

    1. 70.1
      starthrower68

      This is an example of why I am gravely concerned for America’s future.

  11. 71
    Jim

    I will just be very happy to find a good woman that can love me for myself since i just turned 60 years old, and was married once before with no children since she Cheated on me.

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>