But because the building of resources takes time, we tend to acquire resources later in life and so are older by the time we have acquired enough wealth and resources to comfortably provide for others.So, women’s attunement to status and resources might explain why some women may be attracted to older men.That is, the extent to which someone has “good genes” – indicated by their attractiveness and sense of energy (also known as vitality) – and the extent to which they are a “good investment” – indicated by their status and resources as well as their warmth and sense of trust.
The rule is widely cited, but its origins are hard to pin down.
In its earlier incarnations, it seemed to be a prescription for an ideal age difference rather than the limit of what’s okay.
About 25% of male-male unions and 15% of female-female unions demonstrate a large age gap.
But what these trends tell us is that the majority of the population is likely to partner with someone of similar age.
Muhammad might not have been the most reliable relationship counselor, though; he was also concerned about height disparity: “a tall man married to a too short woman, or vice versa … Now, the half-your-age plus seven rule has entered the cultural lexicon.
It’s defined ten times on Urban Dictionary, gets its own section in Wikipedia’s page on age disparity in sexual relationships, is espoused by Barney Stinson on “How I Met Your Mother” and is referenced by and The Awl.But when it comes to our own relationships, both men and women prefer someone their own age, but are open to someone 10-15 years their junior or senior.While there is variation across cultures in the size of the difference in age-gap couples, all cultures demonstrate the age-gap couple phenomenon.They found that women’s preferences were fairly consistent over time: Throughout their lives, women tended to prefer men who were around their own age, with a range from a few years younger to a few years older—even in fantasy-land.For men, though, the difference between their own age and what they considered an acceptable minimum increased as they got older, with the most dramatic drop around age 40: “Men of 40, 50, 60 all seemed to show an interest in partners for sexual fantasies and casual affairs that extended down into the mid to late 20s.” The lower the level of involvement, the lower the minimum age.Buunk of the University of Groningen, examined desired minimum and maximum ranges across different ages by approaching people in public spaces—railway stations, libraries, malls—and asking them (anonymously) what ages they would consider appropriate for five different levels of relationship: marriage, serious relationship, falling in love, casual sex, and sexual fantasies.