I discovered some new and interesting data the other day relating to what RP calls “the wall”. The changes in the SMP that happen for women in their 30’s and 40s.
The first thing that caught my eye was this graph from a study on relative mate value
It did so because RP frequently draws such graphs based on lived experience, only to have that challenged by people saying “give me a scientific graph, not your made up with crayons version”. Well, there it is. The scientific data matching RPs roughly drawn with crayons version
When science measures changes in relative power in the dating market it finds what RP has always said they’d find “Women start out way ahead, it evens out late 20s/early 30s and then men go ahead by mid 30s and stay way ahead forever”.
The other thing I tripped across appears to be something RP talks about regarding the wall, but had never properly understood. It turns out that science has discovered another mechanism that explains the features of the wall RP has understood through lived experience.
The study is a meta analysis of the effects of age on human mate choice. It’s a great summary of how we know these things, and just how solid the science on gender/age differences in attraction is.
The new insight can be summarised as
Male instinctive preferences for short term mate age align with average female female fecundity. Whilst long term preferences for mate age relate to total female reproductive potential.
Basically the point at which a woman is the highest value as a long term mate is around age 21-22 and declines rapidly to almost 0 around 42. The point at which she is highest value for a ONS or similar thing is 27-28 and declines to almost 0 only around 48. The study also shows males actual behaviour conforms closely to this preference.
At the same time men’s long term mate value is rising rapidly to a peak in the 40s and 50s as he gains income and status.
Here is the above description in graph form
The basic rationale is that men’s instincts are primed to seek the women “who can have the most babies before becoming infertile” for long term mates, but the women “most likely to have a baby after a single sexual encounter” for ST mates and these aren’t the same thing.
Think of a female that’s quite old, say 28. As a long term mate she has already lost all the kids she could have had aged 21-27, this lowers her LT mate value as far as his genetic instincts are concerned. By this age she’s already lost 1/3rd of that LT value.
However she’s at her most fecund. Perhaps a 5% chance per sexual act of having a baby. That makes her twice as valuable as a ONS than a 18 or 36 yo who only has a 2.5% chance per ONS. Men would have to achieve only “half as many” ONS to impregnate her, and so his instincts are keyed to that in the ST sense.
This explains one of the features of the wall that RP noticed as a reality but had no real explanation for (Chad is happy to shag the 35 yo girls, but doesn’t want to marry one).
Basically a 33 yo woman has 90% of her short term mate value intact, at the same point she has already lost 75% of her long term mate value. I’m not surprised almost all the guys will still sleep with her, but only the lowest value of those males want to “put a ring on it”. The same woman aged 24 would have had many more guys trying to put that ring on.
This should help reconcile the differences of opinion we have here between the BP girls and the RP guys.
When the BP girls say “I’m 33 and plenty of guys are still interested” she’s right, that’s her lived experience, they are interested. She just hasn’t figured out yet that while they used to be interested for sex+relationships, it’s now increasingly sex focussed and not relationship focussed attention. They’re happy to sleep with her, but will ghost at much higher numbers when the commitment question starts to come up.
When the RP guys say “33 is past it. High value males are not going to marry you at that age.” They’re right too! The high value males are going to start marrying down past you (hence “where have all the good men gone”) even if they’ll happily still sleep with women who’s ST mate value is as high as yours.
And when the RP girls say “Don’t waste your pretty. Snag a high value male while you’re young” they’re also right. 21-24 is where your value is highest and so women can get the best males for marriage, the fact that their “for sex, not marriage” peak is in the future disguises this from most women causing them to think “Oh, I’ve got years yet before I have to settle down” [Narrator: they haven’t].
The last thing I’d like to add is that male instincts don’t work on numbers. In the evolutionary environment there were no birth certificates. Males instincts are working from “perceived age” here.
So. What would you like to discuss ?
I would really recommend giving the meta analysis a scan first.
It’ll deal with almost all your scientific objections all by itself and really would be a good way for both men and women to get their head around gender differences in age preferences.
TL;DR .... Science has confirmed the wall exists for women the way RP has always described it