Men ‘more picky’ than women?

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 has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.
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