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Xkcd creepiness dating age

Graph of the Half-age-plus-seven rule ("never date anyone under half your age plus 7"), which claims to dictate what age disparity between two people is acceptable in dating/romantic/intimate relationships during the late 20th century / early 21st century (called the "Standard creepiness rule" in the xkcd webcomic).

According to this rule, the age of the younger person should not be less than half the age of the older person plus seven years, so that (for example) no one older than 65 should be in a relationship with anyone younger than 39 and a half, no one older than 22 should be in a relationship with anyone younger than 18, and no one under 14 years of age should be in a relationship at all...

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).

For example, by their 50’s the average male has a wife who is 10 years younger than him.

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.

The “half your age plus seven” rule of thumb probably helps you avoid being a creep, but is it accurate?

Much to my surprise, when overlaying a line representing the rule of thumb on Kenrick and Keefe’s results (see red line in the figure below), you can see it closely matches the low end of the range (i.e., youngest preferred) for all but the oldest men.

It seems that there’s an XKCD comic for every life situation that we run in to.

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Xkcd creepiness dating age introduction

Xkcd creepiness dating age

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