David Buss, the author of The Evolution of Desire, a mainstay of my "Family Life" class, gave a lecture at Centre College tonight on "Human Mating Strategies."
He reported the familiar data that women seek men who are a little older than they are, whereas men prefer women who are a little younger. He showed that there is more variation in how much younger the men want to go, depending on the culture. The women do not vary as much.
I had a thought as I was listening to him. It is a hunch, but is worth testing.
Women prefer to marry men who are a little older than they are.
Men prefer to marry women who are in their early twenties.
A way to test this would be to ask the absolute age of a preferred mate, not the age relative to the person being asked.
Another way would be to ask teenage boys, to see if they, uniquely, are more attracted to women older than themselves.