An ancient Russian joke:
Patient: Doctor, is there a medicine I can use to prevent my girlfriends from become pregnant?
Patient: Should I drink it before or after sex?
Doctor: Instead of.
I have a more pleasurable suggestion than drinking kefir: date postmenopausal women. There are many other reasons why men enjoy dating older women, but since my blog is about mathematics, I would like to dig into some relevant numbers.
We know that boys are born more often than girls, and men die earlier than women. Somewhere around age 30 the proportion in population switches from more boys to more girls. And it gets more skewed with age. So there’s a deficit of older men. In addition, a big part of the population is married, making the disproportions in singles group more pronounced. So I decided to look at the numbers to see how misshaped the dating scene is.
This 2008 data comes from the U.S. government census website’s table “Marital Status of the Population by Sex and Age: 2008. (Numbers in thousands. Civilian non-institutionalized population.)” To calculate the number of singles, I summed up the widowed, divorced and never married columns.
|Age Group||Single Male||Single Female||Ratio M/F|
|15 to 17 years||6,729||6,513||1.03|
|18 to 24 years||13,074||11,848||1.10|
|25 to 29 years||6,639||5,224||1.27|
|30 to 34 years||3,901||3,343||1.17|
|35 to 39 years||3,354||2,965||1.13|
|40 to 44 years||3,410||3,270||1.04|
|45 to 49 years||3,476||3,591||0.97|
|50 to 54 years||2,979||3,385||0.88|
|55 to 59 years||2,309||3,123||0.74|
|60 to 64 years||1,552||2,746||0.57|
|65 to 69 years||1,082||2,423||0.47|
|70 to 74 years||787||2,162||0.36|
|75 to 79 years||790||2,391||0.33|
|80 to 84 years||685||2,430||0.28|
|85 years and over||669||2,391||0.28|
These data alone cannot explain the dating situation. For example, I have no way of knowing what proportion of each gender isn’t interested in dating the opposite sex, or even in dating altogether. But the trend is quite clear: the proportion of men in younger categories is much higher. That implies that there is less competition for older women. So those young men who are open to dating much older women might have more options and those options might be more interesting.
I just turned 50 and plan to return to dating again. Looking at the data I see that there are 11 million single men older than me and 34 million who are younger than me. If I were to pick a single man randomly, I am three times more likely to end up with a younger man.
Supposedly we live in a free society, where people can do what they want as long as they do not harm anyone else. Still our society often disapproves of women dating much younger men. Consider this definition from Wikipedia:
“Cougar — a woman over 40 who sexually pursues a much younger men.”
This derogatory term portrays such women as predatory. Not only is there nothing wrong with women dating younger men, but it makes no sense for older women to ignore the imbalance of the dating scene and be closed to relationships with much younger men. After all, the demographics are also affected by the fact that women live longer, probably because of their healthy life style, non-risky behavior and positive attitude to life.
Can someone explain to me again why sane, healthy, non-risky women with positive attitudes to life are called “cougars”?Share: