It seems that there’s an XKCD comic for every life situation that we run in to. One of my favorites, by far, is the comic titled “Dating pools.” This comic highlighted the Standard Creepiness Rule, a.k.a.
A common rule of thumb, at least on the internet, is that it’s okay to be interested in someone “half your age plus seven” years.
According to this rule, it would not be creepy for a 30 year old to date a 22 year-old, but an 18 year-old would be off-limits.
Although this is a fun rule of thumb, what does research say about age preferences for potential mates?
There are two things that predict a preferred partner’s age: (a) your age and (b) your biological sex (male vs. From an evolutionary perspective, it makes sense for women to prefer mates with resources and to like partners who are more established, both of which are more likely in older partners. It turns out that, on average, women tend to be married to men a few years older than themselves (2-5 years).
This seems arbitrary, but if you crunch your age into that equation, I’m willing to bet that you wouldn’t even consider dating someone under that age. ) If we plot the Standard Creepiness Rule out for men: (Note that you can easily just change the axis labels in the above chart and it works just as well for women.) It just so happens that Christian Rudder released his book Dataclysm last week, which features a chart showing us the age range that men search on Ok Cupid for when looking for women to date.
One of my first thoughts when I saw this chart was: Do men on Ok Cupid follow the Standard Creepiness Rule?
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Generally, I write about data visualization and machine learning, and sometimes explore out-of-the-box projects at the intersection of the two. If you would like to use one of my graphs on your website or in a publication, please feel free to do so with appropriate attribution, but I would appreciate it if you email me first to let me know.
Another interesting trend is how men aren’t even close to reaching the upper bound of the zone of non-creepiness.