Dating & Relationships, Gender, LGBTQIA+

Infographic: Gender and Sexual Orientation Differences in Preferred Romantic Partner Age

November 24, 2016 by Justin Lehmiller

Several studies have found that men and women have different age preferences when it comes to selecting romantic and sexual partners, with men preferring partners who are somewhat younger and women preferring partners who are somewhat older. Much of this research has been interpreted through the lens of evolutionary theory, which argues that it’s adaptive for men to have evolved a preference for younger women because they’re likely to be most fertile, whereas it’s adaptive for women to have evolved a preference for older men, who presumably have more status and resources. But if that’s the case, then what happens when reproductive concerns aren’t part of the equation, such as in the case of same-sex relationships?

A new study published in the journal Personal Relationships offers a revealing look at how romantic partner age preferences differ based on both gender and sexual orientation. The results largely replicated previous studies with respect to the age differences preferred by heterosexual men and women–however, the data for gay men and lesbians didn’t follow this same pattern. Check out the infographic below for a look at some of the main findings.

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Image Source: iStockphoto/stanciuc

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Written by
Dr. Justin Lehmiller
Founder & Owner of Sex and Psychology

Dr. Justin Lehmiller is a social psychologist and Research Fellow at The Kinsey Institute. He runs the Sex and Psychology blog and podcast and is author of the popular book Tell Me What You Want. Dr. Lehmiller is an award-winning educator, and a prolific researcher who has published more than 50 academic works.

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