Men become ‘more picky’ than women as they get older

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A study of the online dating behaviour of more than 41,000 Australians aged 18–80 has revealed some surprising relationship traits as people get older.

In what is being called the largest behavioural economic analysis of Australian online dating behaviour, researchers analysed 219,013 interactions by 41,936 members of online dating website RSVP over four months in 2016.

The Do men and women know what they want? Sex differences in educational preference study by Queensland University of Technology (QUT) behavioural economists Dr Stephen Whyte, Dr Ho Fai Chan and Professor Benno Torgler found that, as men get older, they become ‘more picky’ about the women they want to date.

“It’s an amazing way to look at human mating behaviour because it gives us a really vivid snapshot of such a large and diverse age group of people in a pretty uniform mate choice setting,” said Dr Whyte.

“Our study highlights some really interesting findings in regard to both the similarities and differences between men and women’s preferences when they are searching for a potential mate.

“We found that women are more specific than men in their preference up until the age of 40, then males become pickier than females from 40 years old onwards.”

It also revealed that women in peak fertility (18–30) are more particular than men in relation to their partner’s education level, and that men over 40 are more fastidious than women about education levels.

“However, for all age groups in our sample, women had a clearly higher minimum standard for the education level they wanted in their mate,” said Dr Whyte.

“Evolution favours women who are highly selective about their mates and in many cultures, women have been shown to use education as an indicator of quality because it is often associated with social status and intelligence – both attributes that are highly sought after.”

Do you agree with these findings? Have you become more or less ‘picky’ as you’ve aged?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca is a voracious reader who loves words. You'll often find him spending time in galleries, writing, designing, painting, drawing, or photographing and documenting street art. He has a publishing and graphic design background and loves movies and music, but then, who doesn’t?



Total Comments: 17
  1. 0

    Really?? surely not……..any woman over the age of 40 knows this to be true

  2. 0

    Well – let’s be honest -when we’re young and raging, women pick us to death one way or another, knowing full well that they hold power, and when young, most men are easy to manipulate and are willing to please and create a dynasty etc for two…. whereas women, being hard-wired differently – tend more to seek their concept of ‘security’ in the pursuit of fat cats and well-connected men who often are the worst kind at the end of the day.

    So it’s only justice that when men get older and are in the mating market, they will want what they want first and foremost, and well – to be frank – many women have gone to seed by then.

    I, like many men, have been booted around by women a lot in this lifetime, and one of the precursors to that has always been my willingness to ‘commit’ – so now it’s a different ball game, and unwillingness to commit is par for the course. Why tie yourself down to more of the same old, when the world is your oyster?

    If women want to ‘level the playing field’ as they get older and more collapsed towards the centre – they need to lift their game and play by fair rules for a change, and not just the rules of “I suddenly feel” or not and being capricious and ‘moody’ as it suits them.

    • 0

      Bravo TREBOR! Well said.

    • 0

      Just an aside – I’m the kind of man who takes a while to make up his mind – after which I’m a sticker. My ex can testify to that (if she’s in the mood **raises eyes to heaven**), since I’ve now been her carer for some six years – leaving many interesting ladies by the roadside and allowing myself little to no time for my own needs and wants.

      Many men are like that – and are often so under-rated in life while women pursue their Jayne Austen dreams or their desire to marry a prince. My brother’s wife didn’t want to work either outside the home or inside it – she felt she was better and would be a great writer….. oh, well……. kinda didn’t work….

      Now is the time to pay the piper…. enjoy life while you can and just forget all that rubbish that went before – nobody is going to care in a hundred years, are they?

      On the other hand, last night the ex was calling out in her sleep and I went in etc … she had a dream .. a nasty one … and when she was awake fully, I said – “I often wonder what it’s like for those old ladies stuck on their own. Who is there to respond when they are in need etc? Can’t rely on family these days – too selfish. You’re lucky!”

      Old Faithful… have no concerns, m’lady … Ol’ Scrotum, wrinkled and hairy old family retainer, can still ‘andle ‘is job for ye! Still carry me weight, ah does… and two penneth a year in retirement’s plenty for the likes o’ me, m’lady! Jus’ cause me back’s stiff an’ me one ey’s fadin’ away… at’s nuffin’!

      I’m a great character actor, some say…..I do that one when carrying her art stuff into class for her, all bent over and squinty eyed and limping…. ‘ave no concerns, me lady!

    • 0

      “…to be frank – many women have gone to seed by then…”

      Wow! You need to get out more and see how far gone the men are!

      As for the ‘great character actor’ well, no! Old ham maybe! And then only two ‘characters’ and neither of them very flattering.

    • 0

      Aw, c’mon – give me some real hate.. you can do better than that….

    • 0

      I agree with you, KSS. Reminds of the joke that women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head, beer belly hanging over their belt, scratching their crotch and still think they’re sexy.

    • 0

      I’m afraid, duckies – I don’t go out to check over the men…… but you stick to your float in the Mardi Gras and I’ll stick to mine….


  3. 0

    What goes around comes around, ladies.

    • 0

      I went to a meeting recently with mostly retirees. The women all nicely dressed, hair and makeup. The men! Well lucky if they didn’t look like they’d just come in from gardening. They might be more picky, but is it working for them?

    • 0

      Must’ve been preparing for the cruise ships……. (snuckles)….

  4. 0

    Oh…seriously??? Well……I’m an “older woman”….and I find that all the men I’ve met since been single again only seem to want a cook, house keeper and nursemaid. I’m really happy being single, going out and having fun with my girlfriends…coming home when I want, sleeping in when I want, eating and drinking if and when I want…..agree with you Trebor….why would I want to commit to a grumpy, old, set in his ways man?

    • 0

      I agree, Poppysmum – best relationships are with different homes.. visit when you like.

      Nobody could really put up with my sleeping habits and such, let alone discussing great world and political events… nor do many women like discussions of geo-political reservations about security deriving from Chinese attempts at hegemony in the Asian-Pacific Basin, and the real meaning of the sudden and severely controlled rise of the CHIMP (Chinese Industrial Manufacturing Person) under the tutelage of the central party members, who are all multi-billionaires in true people’s socialist style, while rural suicide from lack of competitive incomes and opportunity are on the rise …. (just like out lot want to be in Cambra – Fart of the Nation)….

      And discuss the endless government created wars between men and women – definitely not…

    • 0

      TREBOR – the wars between men and women came about because of feminism, the sole goal of which is to oppress men and privilege women. Any same male will have nothing to do with feminists.

  5. 0

    Oh dear what a load of someones imagination …as l get old l relax a lot more and am happy to cruise thro life….cant be bothered being picky….its the females that are picky….

  6. 0

    Be as picky as you like it is your choice.

  7. 0

    Maybe this goes some way toward explaining why so many folk, both M&F, have a dirty little dawg (or two) giving them the run around or leading them on ? At least the DLD’s are generally compliant and can’t back-chat, (although to listen to some of the silly old sausages you’d think otherwise).
    Ultimately somebody has to scoop the poop in any relationship and where most won’t mind doing it for their DLD, they’ll resent doing it for ‘that other stinker’.



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