Is there an early-30s peak in female sexual desire? Cross-sectional evidence from the United States and Canada
David P Schmitt et al.; 2002
This research explored whether women experience a "sexual peak" during their early 30s and, if so, whether such a peak might have an evolved function. In Study 1, results from a cross-sectional sample of US college students (N=803 women, 415 men) revealed that women between 30 and 34, relative to older and younger women, described themselves as more lustful, seductive, and sexually active. In contrast, men did not experience a sexual peak between 30 and 34. In a 2nd study (N=611 women, 329 men), findings of an early-30s peak in women were replicated among married and single individuals from Canada. Using new measures of human sexual strategies, the authors were able to test 2 hypotheses about the possible functions of an early-30s peak in female sexual desire. One hypothesis is that an early-30s peak increases reproduction in monogamous, long-term relationships. A 2nd hypothesis is that women's early-30s peak in sexual desire increases reproduction through promiscuous or extra-pair copulations. Overall, the hypothesis that the peak is designed to increase women's reproduction in monogamous, long-term relationships received the most support. Discussion focuses on limitations and alternative explanations of the current findings and on areas for future investigation.