We all have certain tick boxes in our heads when it comes to accessing the desirability quotient. Some like tall people, some judge desirability on the basis of eye colour, hair texture and some feel drawn by a perfect smile. There are many general parameters which men and women have in mind, and one such parameter seems to be age.
According to a study quoted by Huffington Post men’s sexual desirability peaks at age 50, women’s at 18 and drops from there. This 'Science Advances' study, which was conducted on 200,000 men and women using a popular online dating app, says that men seek younger women and women find older men more desirable.
This age-old stereotype still holds its grounds in times of digital dating. Which tells us that while we may have changed our dating techniques, the desirability quotient still remains the same.
Why do we still adhere to these preferences?
This is quite a curious study and has generated a lot of conversation on the social media platforms. Many people are not happy with it. Many women have countered this article by saying that 30s and 40s have been the decade of their becoming. Of how confident and self-assured they feel later in life, than they did when they were in their 20s. Then how is it possible that they become less desirable in the most awesome decades of their lives?
- According to the study, men’s sexual desirability peaks at age 50, while women’s starts high at 18 and drops from there.
- Despite all the evolution is the dating mechanism in our brain still stuck in the stone age?
- It is not a fault one can attribute to a specific gender, but to our evolution and conditioning through the centuries.
But this isn’t about how we feel about ourselves sadly. This is about how men see us and likewise. Perhaps this brain wiring is a result of instincts of mating, which is rooted in patriarchal notions. For thousands of years, the prime job for women was touted to be to produce children, while men went out to gather food.
We have been guiding our love lives by these basic job descriptions ever since they were etched in our minds in the stone age.
So men still seek fertility in their partner and women seek a provider even if subconsciously. It is sad that fertility is still associated with youth in women, while stability and maturity are associated with age in men. We are all a little wiser from world history and personal and shared experiences, on later part of this prophecy. As for fertility, scientific advancements and studies have armed us with numerous viable options. Besides, men too have evolved are are empathetic when it comes to issues with fertility.
A woman’s child-bearing capacities don’t bother men who are compassionate and understanding. Similarly, financial independence and liberation has ensured that women are no longer dependent on the opposite sex for bread and butter. Yet, the age-old beliefs fail to leave our brain’s depths. It is not a fault one can attribute to a specific gender, but to our evolution and conditioning through centuries.
So, instead of criticising this study we must take it as a reality check. Despite all our liberation and evolution, some parts of our conscience still adhere to these old beliefs. It is time to break free from them. And that is only possible when we make a conscious effort to do so. We need to commit to change our approach to dating. We need to reassess our standards of desirability of the opposite gender collectively. That is the only way we can put an end to this two-way stereotyping once and for all.
Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are author’s own.