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Women’s preferred minimum partner age: Below are the data from Buunk et al.’s (2000) study on women’s minimum age preferences; the rule’s age calculations are represented by the solid line.
In general, the figure shows that women are reporting minimum age preferences that the rule’s predictions.
Now we can see how well the rule corresponds with people’s reported acceptable ages.
Men’s preferred minimum partner age: Let’s start with minimum age preferences reported by heterosexual men.
The rule’s calculated minimum acceptable partner ages seem to fit men better than women.
For example, this sample of 60-year-old men report that it is acceptable to fantasize about women in their 20s, which the rule would say is unacceptable.
But fantasies, of course, are not generally subject to public scrutiny and the rule is only designed to calculate what is socially acceptable —so this discrepancy is not necessarily a failure of the rule.
Men do not show a linear increase in maximum age preference that matches the rule’s predictions.
Instead, men report maximum acceptable partner ages that hover around their own age through their 40s.
What is the acceptable minimum age for your own (and others’) dating partners?