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A study conducted by David Buss investigated sex differences in mate preferences in 37 cultures with 10,047 participants.In all 37 cultures it was found that males preferred females younger than themselves and females preferred males older than themselves.As well as asking participants a number of questions on mate selection criteria, they also had to provide the oldest and youngest partner they would accept.It was found that for all ages males were willing to accept females that are slightly older than they are (on average 4.5 years older), but they accept females considerably younger than their own age (on average 10 years younger).In August 2010, Michael Dunn of the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff completed and released the results of a study on age disparity in dating.Dunn concluded that "Not once across all ages and countries ...Male chimpanzees tend to prefer older females than younger and it is suggested that specific cues of female mate value are very different to humans.Buss attributed the young age preference for females to the cues that youth has.

In various cultures, older men and younger women often seek one another for sexual or marital relationships.did females show a preference for males significantly younger than male preferences for females" and that there was a "consistent cross-cultural preference by women for at least same-age or significantly older men".A 2003 AARP study reported that 34% of women over 39 years old were dating younger men.The study found very few instances of older women pursuing much younger men and vice versa.Within sexual selection Darwin identified a further two mechanisms which are important factors in the evolution of sex differences (sexual dimorphism): intrasexual selection (involve competition with those of the same sex over access to mates) and intersexual choice (discriminative choice of mating partners).

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