Difference between dating and exclusive
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.
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.
In August 2010, Michael Dunn of the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff completed and released the results of a study on age disparity in dating.
Dunn concluded that "Not once across all ages and countries ...
These age preferences were confirmed in marriage records with males marrying females younger than them and vice versa.
The study found that, as supported by other academic studies, most men preferred younger, physically attractive women, while most women, of any age, preferred successful, established men their age or older.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.These differences may be sexual, financial or social in nature. Socially, a society with a difference in wealth distribution between older and younger people may affect the dynamics of the relationship.Although the "cougar" theme, in which older women date much younger men, is often portrayed in the media as a widespread and established facet of modern Western culture, at least one academic study has found the concept to be a "myth".
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.