You can see that men are basically operating by the rule for minimum age preferences for marital relationships (blue bars) and serious dating relationships (yellow bars).Those age preferences consistently hover around the values denoted by the rule (the black line).
When this question comes up in conversation, someone inevitably cites the “half your age plus seven” rule.
This rules states that by dividing your own age by two and then adding seven you can find the age boundary: Take your age, subtract 7, and double it.
The utility of this equation is that it lets you chart acceptable age discrepancies that adjust over the years. Let's examine it: How well does the rule reflect scientific evidence for age preferences?
According to the rule, for example, a 30-year-old should be with a partner who is at least 22, while a 50-year-old’s dating partner must be at least 32 to not attract (presumed) social sanction. Does it match our scientific understanding of age-related preferences for dating? Researchers Buunk and colleagues (2000) asked men and women to identify the ages they would consider when evaluating someone for relationships of different levels of involvement.
Men’s preferred minimum partner age: Let’s start with minimum age preferences reported by heterosexual men.