Women's and men's sexual preferences and activities with respect to the partner's age: evidence for female choice

Jan Antfolk, Benny Salo, Katarina Alanko, Emilia Bergen, Jukka Corander, Kenneth Sandnabba, Pekka Santtila

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30 Citations (Scopus)


Sex differences in parental investment and in age-related fertility variations are expected to have shaped the sexual strategies for both sexes. To investigate sex differences in sexual interest and sexual activity as a function of both the respondents' and the objects' age, we gathered observations from a population-based sample of 12,656 Finns. 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-twenties. This tendency was also notable when the men themselves were younger or older than this age. Moreover, 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. (C) 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)73–79
Number of pages7
JournalEvolution and Human Behavior
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Age preferences
  • Female choice
  • Mate choice
  • Reproductive strategies

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