Finding your Soulmate: Homosexual and heterosexual age preferences in online dating

Jane Conway, Nyala Noe, Gert Stulp, Thomas Pollet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Heterosexual age preferences have been extensively studied by evolutionary psychologists, social psychologists, and demographers. Much less is known about such preferences in homosexual men and women. Around two decades ago, D. T. Kenrick, R. C. Keefe, A. Bryan, A. Barr, and S. Brown (1995) examined heterosexual and homosexual mating preferences for age in men and women. Our study aimed to replicate these findings by examining age preferences in a larger UK online dating sample. Dating advertisements of 996 male and female heterosexuals and homosexuals were coded. Age preferences were assessed via generalized linear models with robust standard errors and bootstrapping. Results showed that the relation between own age and preferred age differed substantially between the groups. With increasing age, heterosexual men preferred younger partners. Older heterosexual men (> 50 years) exclusively sought (much) younger women than themselves, whereas younger heterosexual men sought both older and younger women. Male and female homosexuals followed this general trend of preferring increasingly younger mates with increasing age. However, they displayed a higher upper age tolerance and greater range of acceptable ages than both heterosexual men and women. Female heterosexuals' age preferences were distinct from the other groups, in that they displayed a male older norm with no substantial interest expressed in males younger than themselves. Our findings thus largely corroborate those of Kenrick et al. with some exceptions, such as a larger tolerance of age ranges in homosexual men and women compared to heterosexual men and women. Results are discussed with reference to the current literature on similarities and differences in heterosexual and homosexual mate preferences.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)666-678
JournalPersonal Relationships
Issue number4
Early online date29 Oct 2015
Publication statusPublished - 8 Dec 2015


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