This preference exists cross-culturally which suggests that it is nearly universal’.
Professor Fugere points out that this phenomenon persists throughout our lives, as men age they prefer even younger partners while as women age they continue to prefer older partners until around the age of 70.
In evolutionary terms, Professor Fugere says that for men it is, simply, about ‘ensuring that a prospective partner is fertile’ while women consider the resources an older man might have ‘such as income’.
‘It is funny that you contacted me about this when you did’ she says, ‘last weekend I met some friends from college and I realised that we were all married to older men.Over the course of your twenties, you’ll almost definitely have been told ‘you need an older man’ at some point by a well-meaning friend or relative unless, of course, you’re already dating one.The mythologising of older men is at once frustrating and intriguing in equal measure: they’re often referred to as ‘silver foxes’ and ‘dad or shags’.At the slightly smuttier end of the spectrum during the research process of this article, I uncovered an entire subsection of erotic fiction on Amazon devoted to the ‘Daddy Complex’ with titles such as ‘Her Mother’s Boss’ and ‘Her Guardian Neighbour’. But assuming that both parties are consenting adults, there’s no doubt that there is just something about an older man.As one self-described ‘grandad botherer’ aged 30, (let’s call her Daisy) told The Debrief ‘during my twenties I just realised that older guys were classier and cooler about most stuff than men by own age’.Psychologically speaking, however, she says ‘the majority of researchers do believe that the preference for older man can be linked to our fathers.Women are statistically more likely to marry men who resemble their fathers in hair colour and eye colour, and women with older parents may be more likely to marry older men.’ There it is, all roads lead to dad. ‘This is definitely an unconscious preference’ says Professor Fugere, ‘if women consciously realise that men resemble their fathers, they are less likely to find them attractive.Similarly, Susan (not her real name) is 27 and currently about to move in with her 44-year-old boyfriend Shaun (yep, not his name either).She was, in part, drawn to him because, unlike men her own age, he ‘didn’t behave as though he had endless options on Tinder and [she] was just another drop in the ocean.Daisy is now married; her husband is 17 years older than her.We tend to portray older men as more romantic, wiser and kinder.