Male vs. Female Sexual Market Value

136 Shares

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.

Join our conversation (314 Comments).
Click Here To Leave Your Comment Below.

Comments:

  1. 101
    A Dude

    This whole discussion has one very large fault. Women are the pretty ones, men are other things, such as protectors or providers etc. No one really cares all that much about mens’ looks to begin with. Ugly men attract beautiful women all the time with their personality. So, basically, men aging is irrelevant.

    1. 101.1
      Aussie

      So funny.   Only young women would even consider most ugly, rich, sexist men to have the ‘personality’ that is able to attract them. There is NO WAY they would get a Dr, a Professor, A researcher etc with their money. Most men don’t have much of a personality. They think having a car or money makes up for them being able to read a book or have any kind of values.   That turns most women who support themselves with brains OFF.   Men ageing matters.   It matters a LOT. If he hasn’t developed himself than he’s just a skin suit of nothing.   Word.

      1. 101.1.1
        Kiwi

        A dude… thats hilarious. Women do care about mens sexual attractiveness!!!

        In the data shared, it seemed that women will consider an ugly guy if there are compensating factors such as wealth and status. If he doesn’t have those compensating factors its not likely she will be with him.  As   Aussie says, a woman who  is attractive, secure  and who has her own economic power in the world, doesn’t need the ugly guys  resources.

      2. 101.1.2
        A Dude

        No, this is all wrong. Attractive women date unattractive men all the time. Men think mostly about the woman’s looks, women have very different brains and set of priorities. Women can be attracted to men for many different reasons (humor, charisma, etc). Saying it’s all height, or it’s all money, or etc … just shows one doesn’t know what they’re talking about. There is a small portion of women that focus exclusively on looks. Women have to find someone that will stick around for a very long-term relationship. Usually the most handsome man is not going to stay for long. Men’s aging doesn’t matter very much, that is why women date/marry men that are a lot older all the time.

      3. 101.1.3
        Buck25

        Aussie,

        What you mean is ” Most older men that I’ve met, don’t have a personality”.  Trust me, there are plenty of older men (yes, even guys in my sixties like me) who have more interests, are more cultured and well-read, better conversationalists, and overall more intellectual than many female doctors, lawyers, researchers CEO’s, etc. Some are even considered quite charming, even somewhat charismatic. Of course, you haven’t met them because you reject them out-of-hand for age, looks, etc.. (and that’s your prerogative to do, on those factors alone, if that’s your personal choice) What’s not right is to assume that someone of whatever age is basically worthless and useless, and has no positive qualities whatever, simply because their age/appearance is not what you personally want.   That IS pretty much what your post said.  Why do you need to disparage  those you don’t want anyway? Just to make yourself feel better?   Just need to make someone else be less, so you can feel like more?   Don’t want to date an older guy? Fine, then just don’t. You don’t have to justify it; but trashing every guy older than you by essentially calling them worthless?That part is just plain mean-spirited!

    2. 101.2
      Aurora

      A Dude  – it’s 2016. Women are fully sexual functional beings now. So yes, we care about men’s looks.

      1. 101.2.1
        Jus' Me

        And that’s why so many women are winding up spinsters.   At one time looks came after ability to provide and character.

        A woman I was madly in love with in the mid-1990’s has never been married, despite being a real catch by any standard.   We are still in contact, and two years ago she told me that she has a list of six non-negotiables when it comes to finding a man.   Six!   And she’s never been married; I don’t think even engaged.

        1. Cathalei

          I don’t know her, so how she ended up that way is anyone’s guess. But I don’t begrudge her or anybody else for wanting physical attraction. Not talking about an appearance checklist, which is unrealistic and defeats the very purpose of dating, but denying the importance of physical attraction won’t make it any less relevant. Besides, would you really want to be with someone who views you as a walking wallet which would put out cash on demand?
          I still would like to know what those six non-negotiables are though. If that includes being on the same page about children, for example, there is no way that it’s unreasonable. As for functionality, it’s not a matter of 2016, 2017, 2018 or even 3000 but nature. Men and women have always been sexually functional beings. That’s why there have been thousands of literary pieces delving into it.

  2. 102
    Notmel

    The age differences between men and women increases dramatically with second and subsequent marriages . That is a factual statistic. Men are hard wired to place a higher value on youth , beauty and fertility every bit of evidence points in that direction. Women on the other hand   tend to place a higher value on material wealth, alpha status and virility. It is useless to lament about the unfairness of this state of affairs, it is not unlike complaining about gravity . Get used to it,it’s   a result of a million years of evolution and few thousand years of culture. Predisposition is not destiny how ever. There are millions of happy relationships with couples at every point on the age scale and every other factor we care to

  3. 103
    Kat

    This data is very interesting.

    When I was in my late teens and early twenties I was totally embarrassed and repulsed by all the older men, double my age,who hit on me. I didn’t feel too sexy and didn’t want to draw more unwanted attention . For a few months when I was 23 I dated a guy who was 34, but I became increasingly uncomfortable with how old he seemed, so I broke up with him.

    Now Im in my 50s.   At this point of my life I feel really sexy and secure. Im just astounded though on Match .com, how many men over 50 say they will only date younger women and some of the ranges are so absurd . There just cannot possibly be enough young women to go around when men of every decade are competing for them.   So this new OK Cupid data makes sense to me. I actually get hit on more by younger men on Match  than men my own age, and Match is the most ageist site for women. I think these older men over 50 came from an era where they had a financial advantage over women. Luckily times are changing . I have found that the few guys my age who are willing to date women their own age do seem better quality guys in that they present themselves more effectively and write with a more educated style.

    Im working the hell out of my remaining market value and having a blast in the process ! A few men here commented that women aren’t so focused on mens appearance. Thats not the case with any women I know!! We don’t need a guys money because we make a good living on our own.

     

     

     

     

     

  4. 104
    Macsuile

    We all know that a woman’s market value is primarily based on her looks (physical asset) while a man’s is based on looks & earning power (physical + financial assets). This goes back to the beginning of time.

    Look at biology. 90% of a woman’s eggs are gone by the time she reaches 30 years of age. Down’s Syndrome doubles for a pregnant woman at age 33. Not sure how these women are getting pregnant at 40 but I read somewhere that it is less than 100,000 per year. Madonna does a big disservice to women letting them think they can wait until 40 to get pregnant. Madonna probably used a surrogate.

    Yeah, some women look good after 40 but most have highly reduced collagen levels and collapsing bone structure. Not sure what Evan Marc Katz is selling here but he isn’t doing older women any favors. Yes, women in their 20s and 30s have the highest market value but that flips after 40. The feminist media keeps telling us that more women earn college degrees now than men but men are paying 80% of the income taxes so diplomas are kinda meaningless.

     

    1. 104.1
      Aurora

      Male chauvinist propaganda.

      1. 104.1.1
        Sum Guy

        In a way, probably accurate to an extent, just spun to make a point.   Or better yet, how to mislead wit statistics, and then for just one population (Americans).   Men don’t age gracefully either, and he leaves out how men’s sexual performance degrades with age even if their facial features are still considered attractive.

        The whole ability to reproduce thing is a red hearing when it comes to dating in your 30s, 40s or even older.   Unless you want to have kids it is a negative.   It’s true biologically though, women should look to biologically have kids  by their late 20’s or early 30s to avoid difficulties.

        The whole men care just about looks, and women just about looks and money, or money; is just shallow bullshit.   Sure history is full of fools (men and women) who are just interested in shallow bullshit and easy answers.   And I say fools because they think this is what will make them happy, and it rarely does.   It also gives peoples as easy out from being bitches and douche bags, when  he whines I can’t get a girlfriend because I’m not rich, or not hot, or she whines that all men want are pretty little bimbos.

        I agree there are a lot of people who operate with this mentality, and the internet caters to them, after all they are fools and fools and their money are soon parted.

        This site is not one of them, in my humble opinion.   It does focus on realistic advice for getting a man of value, and yes looks are important to men and women, as is financially stability, but it’s not everything, just baselines, and a decent man is going to realize if he doesn’t look like Adonis he’s not going expect her deserves a Venus.

        I do love the delusional world-view of the PUA community who post here and who seem to think all women are just like the self-selecting group that go to clubs and would even consider sleeping with a guy they just met there, or all men are like those who do the same.     Nothing wrong with the men and women where that is their primary source of partners, they are after all consenting adults, but don’t tell me the “wisdom” you gained from this “meat-market”  sub-culture (or its internet counterparts) somehow applies to us all.

  5. 105
    Bradley

    Do you know why a mans Sexual Market value increases with age? It is because most older guys are more successful after the age of 30 than at the age of 20 or 22. Sure, looks may fade as you get older, but you become more mature, more confident and more successful. I thought women cared more about personality than looks?

    1. 105.1
      Aurora

      No. it’s 2016 and women actually enjoy sex now. We are having too much fun these days knowing that we are visually turned on by hot looking men. So yes, looks matter too.

  6. 106
    The truth

    Wow I love this subject! Me and my friends talk about this topic often. I think there are other   factors that play into this such as kids. If a woman has young kids that still live at home that brings there value down for all sorts of reasons. I live in the SF BayArea and it’s very expensive here. Dating a woman with 2+ kids costs and the free time that the woman has is shorter. Another is money! I hate to say this but if you’re a decent looking guy and you have your shit together house,car and good job

    Your options are plenty!! Again only   6% of men make over 100k. Don’t be a fool money matters. If mister 40 something can take you to see Hamilton and on vacation to Cancun for free that’s a big deal!! Hard to compete with that.

    Older woman often turn bitter because they missed there chance waiting for Brad Pitt and when they hit there 30 and 40 and (after a kid or 2) they no longer look like that cute 20 something. The only guys hitting on them are Paul Giamatti. Why do you think “Mommy Makeover surgeries” are booming!! And if a woman makes over 6 figures now she has to weed out the guy’s just trying to get a free ride. It’s a big game of musical chairs and you don’t wanna be the one standing when the music stops! I keep it 100%

     

  7. 107
    Anonymous

    SMV is real, & The Wall is no joke.

    Women are at their prime when they are 18-25. They start to age, & start to lose their beauty by 26.   They starting hitting The Wall by 26.   When a woman reaches 30-35, she hits a “danger zone” because soon her eggs start going bad & starting to lose them fast.   30-35 is also when a woman’s biological clock starts ticking & she experiences the “baby rabbies”.   Which is why women at that age as so quick to rush into marriage.   After 35, a woman is done!   Good luck trying to procreate with those ‘left-overs’,gentlemen.

    Men are at their prime when they are 30-50.   If a man focuses on his success & keeps himself in shape & doesn’t screw up, by 30 he will attain all the resources he needs to sustain a family, & he has 20+ more years to make his success even bigger.   If a man keeps himself in shape during those 20+ years, he could potential attract many young women.   Once a man hits 50, he is done in terms of looks.   However, his wealth could increase even at that age.   Why do you think the Top 1% or any rich man can get any woman he wants?   Because by that time, he all the power, money, & resources at his disposal! Men can procreate till the age of 70 because men don’t have biological clocks.   However, The Wall hits us after 70, when we start going through andropause, where our bodies can’t produce anymore sperm.

    If you want to less the impact of The Wall, you would choose your partners WISELY!

     

    1. 107.1
      Emily, the original

      Men are at their prime when they are 30-50.

      No they keep getting better and aren’t completely ripened until 85.

      1. 107.1.1
        GoWiththeFlow

        Emily,

        Since I know you follow the blog Hooking Up Smart, whenever I see one of these red pill freaks expound on women being dried up prunes by 29, I always think back to a comment Susan Walsh had about when she was inundated with RP guys and many sent her their CVs including photos:   Almost all had faces made for radio.

        1. Emily, the original

          GoWiththeFlow,

          Almost all had faces made for radio.

          LOL   I shouldn’t respond to the Red Pill comments. I just get fed up with the idea that men are the only gender that gets better with age and that 20- 30-year-old-women will be interested in 50-year-old men. You know who’s interested in 50-year-old men? Women who are somewhere between 45 and 55. I don’t have a problem finding men my own age attractive. I don’t know why it’s so difficult for some men.

        2. Tron Swanson

          Thank god my self-worth isn’t tied up in my looks.

          And thank god I only value women for their looks, which means that their opinions aren’t relevant to my life.

        3. GoWiththeFlow

          Au contraire Tron!

          Women’s opinions of you are very relevant to your life.   If every now and then one doesn’t have an at least somewhat positive opinion of you, you would never get laid.

           

        4. Tron Swanson

          GWTF,

          I can survive without getting laid. It’s an enjoyable part of life, but if you were to ask me to make a list of my top five most important things, it wouldn’t be there. The stereotype is that men who only want sex are obsessed with sex…but in my case, that simply isn’t true. Yes, I’m only interested in women because of sex; no, it isn’t something that I really care about or put a lot of effort into.

          I personally suspect that women want men who can be controlled by sex, but who also think that sex is a side-benefit, as opposed to the main point of a relationship. That way, they can control them without having to give them a ton of sex. Well, I’m the opposite: my only interest in women is sexual, but I won’t let myself be controlled by that.

          Women often complain about men being hypnotized by porn and video games…while forgetting that we primarily turned to those things because women were ignoring or rejecting us. In my own case, women pretty much ignored me until it was time for them to settle down–i.e., until they started losing their looks and needing someone to help pay for another guy’s kids. Well, thanks to your gender’s insanely high standards, I was ignored for so long that I learned to find meaning and fulfillment in other areas of life. As such, I’m prepared and equipped to live a less sex-focused life, and I have you to thank for it.

        5. Tron Swanson

          Though I don’t place a high priority on sex, I still try to get it, and I’m looking for all the information and opinions that I can find. I think that you have some very good insights, even if I don’t agree with all of them.

          Also, someone needs to balance out Stacy2, right?

        6. Sum Guy

          So true!   I wouldn’t call them “red pill” that’s a nice name they use for just being bitter whiners.   Instead of focusing on improving themselves and finding good women, they can conveniently give up because all women are “x.”   to be faire women do the same thing) It’s a cop out and as far from the definitions of “manly” I see them bandy about as far you can get from being a “man” as they define it  in my opinion.

          What they fail to realize is that both sexes  are full of shallow people who instead of acknowledging that maybe they are grossly overestimating their attractiveness (on all levels) decide to blame others.   That’s just never attractive.

          Although I do agree with what  I think are red pill attitudes, such as: don’t kow tow for sex, and shit tests are bullshit, as are all the “rules” both sexes are given (which really are just feel good advice to make you feel less nervous when your primary source of partners is from “meat markets”).   The solutions some self proclaimed red pill warriors propose though are often, in my mind, just worthless childish tit for tat.

  8. 108
    Stacy

    I am wayyyyyyyyyyy hotter being in my late 30s now than I was at 22…just fyi…

    1. 108.1
      Sum Guy

      In general I have to agree with Stacy, all other things being equal women are way hotter in their 30’s than 20’s.   And that’s in looks alone, add in experience (physical, emotional and in life) leads to a confidence that hits the mental aspect of sex and sexual attraction for me.

      “All things being equal” is key.   Age is really just a numerical proxy for what shape you are in.   As most Americans seem to just get flabbier, fatter and more and more consumed by conforming to the norm (more of a personality blandness)  as they get older they become less attractive.   A few extra pounds (like 5% or your “ideal” weight) or wrinkles ain’t no thing.

      Leaving out those where it is all about the physical, as I don’t think that is what this site is about, sharing cultural references and being able to discuss life, from having experienced it (but not in a whining baggage kind   of way) , is very,  very  sexy.     I can’t say it enough, good conversation is a turn on (especially with some flirting in their).

      My personal experience as a guy that women seem to think is “high value” and what I (I’m 50)  and my friends (40-5os) like me (in great shape, do very well financially, have a stable life, content in what we have  but still like adventure) look for, is connection, mental and physical.   We have sown our oats, we don’t need a young thing half our age on our arm to feel like a man or prove our status, we got both and  we are  secure in that.     Women in their 30’s may be in slightly better shape than the women in their 40s and 50s we date, but not enough to make up for the lack of mental connection.   (Not meaning to shift things here, women in their 30s are hot, but many in their 40s and 50s are as well.   For me dating women in their low 30s makes me feel creepy.)

      So you have a few lines on your face (so do we),  you have a few extra pounds but you are toned and have stamina (same with us), but none of that “less than perfection” matters in bed (especially with soft light) or out and about as you still look amazing.     What is really amazing is you have all that and can carry on an intelligent, intriguing, insightful   conversation.   You can make  me laugh.

      We, me and my friends, are not looking for some f***buddy but in the end someone to share the best things in life with, and a confidant in the tough times.   We, me and my friends like me, are looking for that someone for the rest of our days, and you have a whole other perspective on that when older.

       

       

  9. 109
    Casey

    Evan,   33/m here.   What i have been looking into and finding limited to no information on is why dating sites in this day and age don’t allow or emphasize sexual market value of singles.

    This seems like a no brainer, takes away very little from the discovery elements of dating…… yet i constantly see male or females with average or worse appearances that have exceedingly high market values overlooked on dating sites (obviously comes down to appearance).

    Yes we live in a vain society but how does this issue persist even for those whom know better? I would love to hear your thoughts on this

  10. 110
    Jus' Me

    What horse pucky. “Scoring” SMV? And the FEMALE author (not) surprisingly finds out that we are more alike than different?

    Sex is biological. Reproduction, ya know? Women peak almost immediately after menarche. That is when they are the healthiest, most likely to carry a child and then nurse and care for the next dozen or more years. And without the ease of modern life (all invented and maintained by men,) women have historically been used up by their thirties. Look at photos of primitive or peasant cultures.

    And who do they want to be the father of their children? Men who will provide, whether mammoths or mammon. Men hit one peak around 20, it’s all physical. The mammoth hunter. Then that slowly segues into providing money, by success and/or power. This can continue to improve for the rest of his life, while his physical power declines – which can be easily slowed. In the meantime, our female has increasingly shown the signs of inability to breed and nurture. We call this aging. It’s intuitive how we select mates, no scoring needed.

    I am 72 and have, um, let’s call it “dated,” well over a hundred women. Almost all of them were 8-10 years younger than me, one long term relationship, she was three years older. And she was VERY insecure about her looks and me being younger. Last year at age 71 I was engaged to a beautiful woman of 52. It didn’t work out, but age wasn’t the factor.

    A lot of a man’s SMV is other than looks. A sense of humor, high self-confidence, being creative, marching to a different drummer, things like that. I cannot afford anything like traditional dating, but I still have attractive women, some in that same 8-10 year young range, some even younger, some married (!!), wanting to get to know me.

    Someone here mentioned beta males. If you aren’t familiar with “r selected” and “K selected” concepts, do yourself a favor and research the idea. “K selected” manliness is probably a better concept than Alpha male. Over my many years and without even knowing it, I was an r selected male a long time ago, a beta, but became a K selected. Sexual success with women certainly helps. Staying in shape at my age helps. Projecting self-confidence helps.

    Once one understands evolution and reproduction, everything falls neatly into place. No politics of the sexes need apply. Or scoring. Jeeesh.

  11. 111
    Anne E.

    I am a 53 year old woman and I actually did one of those sexual market value calculators and the results exactly fit my somewhat atypical life pattern. When I was in my teens/20s I lived in poverty, looked like a stick, and had major health problems (am a cancer survivor among other things) – so I was a 5/10 and the 5 was only for youth LOL. After surviving all that, I graduated with a doctorate as a mature student, had a plastic surgeon help with my scars, and had money, friends, looks, great job, great education and became an 8/10 through my 30s/40s; even married and had a child late, lots of men 20-70 asking me out (in spite of the husband). Then at around 49/early 50s, it all tanked, lost my job, my home, my marriage, my boss died and some good friends died, the grief showed on my face, health issues recurred, and to top it all off -menopause leading me to be something like a 0-2/10. So after lots of celibacy time; I’ve just got a new job, kid grown and leaving home, more time for myself, used fillers, hair dye, lost 30 lbs, worked out, found a good place to live, took care of my health and according to the calculator I’m back to being a 6 on 10, plus a few nice guys in their 50s/60s are asking me out which is great. So maybe – its good to be a gamma- and a C is still a passing grade!

Leave a Reply

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