Whirling around our collective imaginations is the idea that men reach their sexual peak around 18 and women around 35. The man on the brink of adolescence and adulthood, we’re told, will have sex with anything that moves. Meanwhile, the woman on the brink of losing her looks, so it goes, is prone to buying skin-tight jeans and prowling bars filled with much younger men.
Nature, it is often argued, is the driving force behind these sexual peaks (though their very existence is debatable). Here I’d like to offer five alternative cultural reasons why we might think that men are at the top of their game at 18 and women at 35.