In the world of online dating, women ‘peak at 18 while men peak at 50’

 The miserable cross-section of ageism and sexism strikes again  You know, the general consensus that while men get better with age, women are pointless after the age of 30  A big part of this comes from our evolved drive to reproduce

A woman’s fertility is at its peak in her 20s, so that’s the best age for her to get pregnant and spawn some kids Men’s fertility declines with age too, but this doesn’t have as strong an impact on reproduction  And so men can still be attractive for reproductive purposes in later age, while women are biologically less attractive once they’re out of their fertile prime  There’s also the super fun cultural reasoning behind straight men fancying young women – the way we prize youthful bodies and demonise signs of ageing, the infantalising of women so men can feel more powerful, and so on  In the world of online dating, both those factors come to the fore, creating an environment where older men are flooded with matches while an older women’s prospects feel barren  To put it in blunt, haunting terms: Women on dating apps are most desired at 18, while men hit their peak at 50  That’s according to a new study published in the journal of Science Advances, which looked at data from heterosexual online daters living in Boston, New York, Seattle, and Chicago  The researchers found that a woman’s desirability on dating sites and apps declines with age, dropping from the time she’s 18 until she’s 60 That means that when online dating, women are at their peak desirability when they’re still teenagers  For men, however, desirability peaks at 50, then declines with age  ‘The age gradient for women definitely surprised us,’ Elizabeth Bruch, the author of the study, told the New York Times, ‘both in terms of the fact that it steadily declined from the time women were 18 to the time they were 65, and also how steep it was ’  Other than youth, factors that affected desirability were physical attractiveness and education – although the impact of education was stronger for men  While men’s desirability increased with the level of education they’d received, women were considered most desirable when they had an undergraduate degree When women had a postgraduate degree, they became less attractive  Before you get too miserable about the state of dating (30-year-olds with multiple degrees, you’re clearly doomed), it’s worth noting that these are the traits that people found attractive – it doesn’t mean they’d turn down anyone who doesn’t fit those rigid standards  People don’t tend to only go for people who meet their dream requirements, although the research did find that daters typically message potential partners around 25% more desirable than themselves

Here’s scientific proof that online dating sucks for women

 These are research findings to swipe left on  The “desirability” of women online daters peaks at age 18, according to a study recently published in the journal Science Advances Men, meanwhile, only hit peak desirability at age 50

“Older women are less desirable, while older men are more so For women, this pattern holds over the full range of ages on the site: The average woman’s desirability drops from the time she is 18 until she is 60,” wrote co-authors Elizabeth Bruch and M EJ Newman “For men, desirability peaks around 50 and then declines”  The study, which examined nearly 200,000 users on a “popular, free online-dating service” from heterosexual dating markets in New York, Chicago, Boston and Seattle, determined desirability by the number of messages a user received over a month, as well as the desirability of the users sending those messages  Previous dating-site research seems to mirror this age disparity: An OKCupid analysis of messages between straight daters from 2013 to 2017, for example, found that 61 percent of “successful” conversations (“at least at four messages back and forth with contact exchange”) occurred between an older man and younger woman, with an age gap of at least five years in nearly half of them And 2018 data from the dating site Zoosk showed that 60 percent of men were attracted to younger women, while 56 percent of younger women opted to date older men  While licensed psychotherapist Stacy Kaiser says she wasn’t taken aback by the age of men’s peak desirability (“Women have a tendency to look for stability, the job, the education — and those things do come with age,” she told Moneyish), she was surprised by the peak age for women “Eighteen-year-olds are fresh out of high school — they haven’t emotionally (or) intellectually developed; they’re still trying to figure themselves out,” she said “So they are a risk for dating, in that a lot of people change as they enter their 20s ”  But in a more general sense, Kaiser noted, “we’ve always known that men have wanted younger women ” “They think that they are more easy to impress; they are more (moldable) in terms of everything from emotional behavior to what type of restaurant to eat at,” she said, adding they tend to be “more fit, have less expectations and less baggage ”  “This is why it’s so hard to meet people,” Kaiser added

“More men want an 18-year-old, and more women want a (50)-year-old ”  The present study also found that while more education was desirable in men, women’s desirability declined with greater educational bonafides: An undergrad degree was considered most desirable for women, while postgraduate education was linked to decreased desirability White men and Asian women were regarded as most desirable across all four cities (OKCupid data has shown that black people and Asian men receive lower ratings) Meanwhile, men in all four cities saw slightly lower response rates after sending more “positively worded” messages (based on the text-analysis program Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count [LIWC])  And “the vast majority” of both men and women tend to aim out of their league, according to the paper In fact, the authors found that people went for partners who were about 25 percent more desirable than they were  “Our results on aspirational mate pursuit are consistent with the popular concept of dating ‘leagues,’ as reflected in the idea that someone can be ‘out of your league,’ meaning that attractive matches are desirable for but unavailable to less attractive others,” they wrote “The chances of receiving a reply from a highly desirable partner may be low, but they remain well above zero, although one will have to work harder, and perhaps also wait longer, to make progress ”  Kaiser suggested singles may over-reach because “it builds their self-esteem if they get that person ” “It’s a confidence and self-esteem booster: ‘If I can get that person that I think is better than me, then maybe I am not as bad as I thought,’” she said