Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Todd K. Shackelford, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford

Female Age as a Predictor of Men’s Aggression Against Women

  • Rachel M. James
  • Todd K. Shackelford
  • Viviana Weekes-Shackelford
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_1433-1



Men use various forms of physical (homicide and intimate partner abuse) and sexual (rape and sexual coercion) aggression against women to control female sexuality and circumvent female sexual choice. Female age predicts physical and sexual forms of men’s violence. Young, fertile women, as compared to older women, are reproductive commodities and, thus, are the primary targets of men’s aggression.


Men have evolved a sexual preference for youthful, reproductive-age women. Men’s sexual preference for younger women is one feature of human male sexual strategy (Kenrick and Keefe 1992; Thornhill and Palmer 2000). Youthfulness is a reliable indicator of fertility. Ancestral men who were primarily attracted to fertile women thereby increased their reproductive success. Additionally, young women are more valuable to men as mates. Men report that...

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rachel M. James
    • 1
  • Todd K. Shackelford
    • 1
  • Viviana Weekes-Shackelford
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyOakland UniversityRochesterUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Melissa M. McDonald
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyOakland UniversityRochesterUSA