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Women's Partner Preference Determines Sexual Pairing

Update Date: Sep 25, 2014 08:34 PM EDT

Young men romantically pursuing older women has odds stacked against him, thanks to women's partner preferences, a new study revealed.

According to  findings of an evolutionary psychology study published online, sexual partner preferences for men and women vary, with women's preferences conclusively less flexible. The study involved 12,656 people in Finland. Attesting to convention of heterosexual relationships where a man is usually older than a woman, the study established that women are more likely to choose men of the same age or slightly older men.

On the other hand, researchers found that men under 20 and above 30 preferred women in mid-20s.

"We found that women are interested in same-aged to somewhat older men and that this pattern displays itself across the measured life-span and that men show a tendency to be sexually interested in women in their mid-20s. This tendency was also notable when the men themselves were younger or older than this age," researchers wrote.

Owing to women's rather inflexible preferences, sexual activity caters more to women's interests than that of men, the authors noted.

"We found that sexual activity more closely mimics women's than men's sexual interest. We conclude that women show larger developmental plasticity than men with regard to the desired object's age and that men's heterosexual activity likely is constrained by female choice," indicating that men are unlikely to have sex with their ideal partners.

 Explaining these observations in a press release, researchers said a woman's fertility is deciding factor for men as fertility in women is known to peak in mid-20s. Men in mankind's evolutionary past who partnered with women in this age bracket may have had more children than other men, explaining predisposition to women in mid-20s.  

The study titled "Women's and Men's Sexual Preferences and Activities with Respect to the Partner's Age: Evidence of Female Choice" was published on Science Direct.

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