The cougar, sugar daddy, and their spouses, were targets of an alarming new study from the University of Colorado Denver last week.
According to the findings, a person entering marriage with an individual eight or more years older (or younger), is more likely to be dumb and unattractive.
Get ready, people. This is something to think about the next time you’re trolling the online dating sites or personals section of your newspaper.
(Please tell us you don’t still do that last one.)
“Hugh Hefner is an outlier,” said Hani Mansour, an assistant professor of economics at the university and one of the study’s authors. Along with fellow study author Terra McKinnish, an assistant professor of economics at the University of Colorado Boulder, the research team concluded that the bigger the age gap was between “differently-aged” spouses, the more pronounced the effects were.
To reach these conclusions, Mansour and McKinnish looked at US Census Bureau data from 1960 to 2000, focusing on age at first marriage, level of completed education, salary and wages, and overall earnings. This data was then matched with the 1979 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth to gauge cognitive skills and the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health to determine physical attractiveness.
According to the results, social networks of the higher or lower ability individuals was key.
Earning Potential of Sugar Daddy, Cougar, Spouse
Individuals who went to four-year colleges tended to group with people of a similar age (i.e. other four-year college students). After graduating, this group arrived at career and marriage decisions at the same time.
In contrast, lower-skilled community college students had a more age-diverse social network, thus increasing the chances of marrying older or younger.
Mansour added, “People with lower earning potential are in networks that are more age-diverse.”
Backing up this statement, Mansour pointed to findings from a 1980 Census report that showed men, who were married to women eight or more years younger or older earned around $3,495 less annually than men married to women with a maximum one-year age difference.
Cougar women consistently earned more than their spouses, but usually because they worked longer hours and not because of higher wages.
Touching on the National Longitudinal Studies that were conducted in high school as a means of determining arithmetic reasoning, math, and verbal skills, the study also revealed that “differently-aged” people scored much lower.
A sugar daddy, in particular, who was married to a woman eight or more years his junior, scored on average 8.4 less than his male competition.
Cougar, Sugar Daddy, Spouse Attractiveness Survey
Interviewers conducting the “attractiveness” survey rated subjects from one to five with one being “very unattractive” and five being “very attractive.”
“Overall, the estimates indicate that individuals married to differently-aged spouses are less attractive than those married to similarly-aged spouses, with the possible exception of men married to older women,” the study found.
(Score one for the cougar.)
Of course, intelligence, looks, and how much money you make doesn’t make you a good or bad person, and the study did not delve into marriage success rates for the cougar, sugar daddy, and their spouses.
Intelligent or not, we can’t help pulling for cases like this one, where a 106-year-old woman robbed the cradle with her 76-year-old stud. And we’re still reeling from the heartache of Demi and Ashton.
If you’re single again and interested in going down this path, though, we recommend you take some advice from a master (NSFW):
Do you think it’s right to be a cougar or sugar daddy, and what do you think of the study’s findings?