Older Men, Younger Women

Glenn Reynolds: “MEN MARRIED TO MUCH YOUNGER WOMEN LIVE LONGER. But it’s likely that older men who still look good enough to attract younger women are just aging better all along . . . .”

I’d add:  Or rich enough.

(I’ve followed the links to their dead end and can’t find the study in question. A quick Google search revealed older studies on the subject but nothing brand new.)

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. markm says:

    I’d add: Or rich enough.

    Yes, the wallet sniffer theory is a strong one.

  2. Wayne says:

    “Yes, the wallet sniffer theory is a strong one.”

    I would say so. How many Anna Nicole or Playboy bunnies type do you see hooking up with poor old guys?

  3. Trumwill says:

    Not sure the wallet-sniffer theory is correct. Marrying across large age differences is something I more commonly see in proles despite the stereotypes. It takes men longer to earn the kind of income to be marriably attractive and young women with few ambitions are more likely to be attracted to even somewhat modest wage-earners who offer them independence from their parents.

    The statistics on this must exist somewhere.

  4. And how many of you will bring this up over dinner tonight?

  5. markm says:

    I will…only after my wallet sniffer finishes cooking my dinner 🙂

  6. I’m married to a woman 9 years my junior and definitely not in the “rich” category – although since she did actually marry me, I suppose you could say I’m definitionally “rich enough.”

    For what it’s worth, both my wife and I like the implication these stats have for us… but also take them with a gigantic grain of salt.

  7. Wayne says:

    “Not sure the wallet-sniffer theory is correct.”
    “It takes men longer to earn the kind of income to be marriably attractive”

    It strikes me as if you doubt the theory then state evidence that supports it. First off wealth, fame and power are relative. Also only so many females can hook up with Hugh Hefner. So the fact that some individual is not hookup with him doesn’t mean they wouldn’t be attracted to his wealth and power or is attracted to a far lesser amount.

    To establish the base of discussion, yes I think there is a naturally tendency for the man to be older than the woman in a relationship. The age variant grows with age. 5 to 10 year difference at age 8 is unusual while at age 70 it is not. The the article is much older male than females.

    How often does a 22 year old attractive female marry a poorer 55 year old male? Once in a while but most often the male is wealthier and the wealthier he is the more attractive the female seems to be.

    Even in the layman community one will see attractive woman hook up with wealthier although not always rich man and this includes even the dirt bags of the bunch. Does this mean all of them do? No but in my personal data collection, many of the women who claim otherwise are attracted to the wealth\power or fame.

  8. Trumwill says:


    You’re right that it is relative. That’s important. I would suspect that a 22 year old woman from the lower classes (the daughter of a mechanic, say) who sees a cop that’s 35 years old and drawing a steady paycheck more attractively than the daughter of an engineer is likely to see an MD in the same light. The extra income has lower marginal utility for the engineer’s daughter. She is more likely to prefer a 25 year old systems analyst (over a 35 year old doctor) than a lower-class woman is to prefer a 25 year old convenience store clerk (over a 35 year old cop). Meanwhile, while a 35 year old doctor who might be happy to marry the 22 year old engineer’s daughter, wouldn’t marry the 22 year old who is a mechanic’s daughter.

    Like I said, it’s generally my experience that larger age differences are more likely to occur in the lower classes than the upper. If anyone has any data to suggest otherwise, though, I would really be interested in hearing it. It’s an interesting question and one in which my answer may well be wrong.

  9. markm says: