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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 dependent 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.

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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.

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.

An overarching evolutionary theory which can provide an explanation for the above mechanisms and strategies adopted by individuals which leads to age disparity in relationships is called Life History theory, Life History theory posits that individuals have to divide energy and resources between activities (as energy and resources devoted to one task cannot be used for another task) and this is shaped by natural selection.

Parental Investment Theory refers to the value that is placed on a potential mate based on reproductive potential and reproductive investment.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 ...A British psychological study published in Evolution and Human Behavior in 2010 concluded that men and women, in general, continued to follow traditional gender roles when searching for mates.The study found that, as supported by other academic studies, most men preferred younger, physically attractive women, while most women, of any age, preferred successful, established men their age or older.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".

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