In other words, men gave higher ratings to dates where the man was older than the women; women also endorsed a higher rating when the man was older.
But overall in this study, there was no support for the age differential effect — age did not influence the ratings of the dates at a statistically significant level. The authors offer an interpretation worth pondering: It may that while age seems paramount in the abstract (all things being equal, men desire younger women, and women desire older men), in practice, when two people actually go on a date, the age difference might not have as much importance as other considerations, such as physical attraction and a compatible personality.
And in a 1993 study that analyzed over 1,000 personal ads, researchers found that women typically sought older men, and men typically sought younger women.
Similarly, in a 1994 study using a nationally representative sample of single Americans younger than 35, the results revealed that women were significantly more willing than men to marry someone older by five years; conversely, men were significantly more willing than women to marry someone who was younger by five years.
According to the investigators, this study has similar ecological validity to speed-dating studies that also involve face-to-face interaction.The thing is for me and a good number of my male friends, many older women were those who we would look to in terms of our dream dates and fantasies.We probably didn't think that we could take those feeling anywhere though for fear of being out of step with societal norms and the prospect of having any chance of hooking up dashed because we were considered too junior and "not cool".(Couples who were the same age were not included in this analysis). For sample, there were significantly more couples in which the man was older as opposed to the woman being older, 133 and 56 pairs, respectively.And although this finding was not statistically significant, the ratings of the dates were opposite to the predicted direction.
Further supporting this interpretation, the authors argue that their study had good “ecological validity.” This means that the experimental conditions of this study were a strong approximation of those in real-life.