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Age-disparity relationships have been documented for most of recorded history and have been regarded with a wide range of attitudes dependant on sociocultural norms and legal systems. Relationships with age disparity of all kinds have been observed with both men and women as the older or younger partner.In various cultures, older men and younger women often seek one another for sexual or marital relationships.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.These age preferences were confirmed in marriage records with males marrying females younger than them and vice versa.

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Dunn concluded that "Not once across all ages and countries ...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).Females demonstrate a complementary pattern, being willing to accept considerably older males (on average 8 years older) and were also willing to accept males slightly younger than themselves (on average 5 years younger).This is somewhat different to our close evolutionary relatives: chimpanzees.Differences in age preferences for mates can stem from evolutionary mating strategies and age preferences in sexual partners may vary cross culturally.

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