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These two theories explain why natural and sexual selection acts slightly differently on the two sexes so that they display different preferences.
For example, different age preferences may be a result of sex differences in mate values assigned to the opposite sex at those ages.
Females demonstrate a complementary pattern, being willing to accept considerably older males (on average 8 years older) and were also willing to accept males slightly younger than themselves (on average 5 years younger).
This is somewhat different to our close evolutionary relatives: chimpanzees.
A 2003 AARP study reported that 34% of women over 39 years old were dating younger men.Age-disparity relationships have been documented for most of recorded history and have been regarded with a wide range of attitudes dependant on sociocultural norms and legal systems. Relationships with age disparity of all kinds have been observed with both men and women as the older or younger partner.In various cultures, older men and younger women often seek one another for sexual or marital relationships.Differences in age preferences for mates can stem from evolutionary mating strategies and age preferences in sexual partners may vary cross culturally.
There are also social theories for age differences in relationships as well as suggested reasons for 'alternative' age-hypogamous relationships.In females, relative youth and physical attractiveness (which males valued more compared to females) demonstrated cues for fertility and high reproductive capacity.Buss stated the specific age preference of around 25 years implied that fertility was a stronger ultimate cause of mate preference than reproductive value as data suggested that fertility peaks in females around mid-twenties.A study released in 2003 by the United Kingdom's Office for National Statistics concluded that the proportion of women in England and Wales marrying younger men rose from 15% to 26% between 19.