Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 42, Issue 2, pp 203–211

Age Preferences in Dating Advertisements by Homosexuals and Heterosexuals: From Sociobiological to Sociological Explanations

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10508-012-0031-7

Cite this article as:
Burrows, K. Arch Sex Behav (2013) 42: 203. doi:10.1007/s10508-012-0031-7


Current sociobiological thought suggests that significant components of mate selection are based on indicators that correlate with the ability to produce and support offspring. Theorists have suggested that men tend to be attracted to and marry younger women, while women tend to be attracted to and marry older men. This behavior is referred to as age hypergamy. I complicate this picture by using gay men as a population in which to explore alternative components of mate selection as reflected in our behavior. Analyses of 120 dating advertisements from gay men and heterosexual men and women indicated that there exists a good measure of hypergamic age preference that is comparable to the heterosexual population and that relates to subjects’ gender presentation. Data suggest that the biological-reproductive theory of age hypergamy is incomplete and support a cultural reproduction model of gender role behavior and preference in both heterosexuals and homosexuals.


Mating preferences Homosexuals Meme theory Dating ads Hypergamy 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyRutgers UniversityNew BrunswickUSA

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