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dating coach for smart, strong, successful women Evan Marc Katz
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.