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You might also take care to refer to the maximum age judiciously—the minimum age guideline seems to be more on target (and more so for men than women).

Graph of the Half-age-plus-seven rule ("never date anyone under half your age plus 7"), which claims to dictate what age disparity between two people is acceptable in dating/romantic/intimate relationships during the late 20th century / early 21st century (called the "Standard creepiness rule" in the xkcd webcomic).

By the time of their separation in 2011, however, Kutcher, then 33 had crossed the minimum threshold (31.5) defined by the rule. Curious outsiders are quick to judge when they can see a wide age gap between two romantic partners. In a world in which many social norms are often unspoken, the half-your-age-plus-7 rule concretely defines a boundary.

But the rule does map perfectly onto actual reports of what is socially acceptable.

At times it is too stringent, but most often it appears too lenient, condoning age pairings with which most people are not comfortable.

So for a 24-year-old, the upper age limit would be 34 (17 * 2). How well does the rule reflect scientific evidence for age preferences?

Men do not show a linear increase in maximum age preference that matches the rule’s predictions.

Instead, men report maximum acceptable partner ages that hover around their own age through their 40s.

Figure 2 clearly shows that the rule’s max-age guidelines for men do reflect real-world preferences.

The rule overestimates the perceived acceptability of men becoming involved with older women.

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After 40, maximum age preferences for most categories remain lower than their own age.

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