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Age disparity in same-sex male relationships was even more historically common than age similarity in such relationships.(Such relationships were practised in Ancient Greece, pre-Modern Japan, Melanesia, Islamic lands and Renaissance Italy.) Monarchs have traditionally exercised the freedom to choose younger spouses; Henry VIII, for instance, chose women far younger than himself as some of his wives, and a number of female monarchs have chosen younger consorts.They may seek the sexual vigor of the young, which partners of their own age group may no longer possess.Younger partners, on the other hand, may be seeking a parent figure, or just somebody to provide life guidance.Certainly, anyone deliberately looking for a mate to breed with must pick someone of an age of likely fertility.
In Classical Greece, men would typically marry around the age of thirty, and would take wives in their mid-teens, around half their age.
Some older partners may seek the connection with the culture of youth, maintaining a connection with the fashion, the music, the media which their age group has ostensibly outgrown.
They view the generation gap as an obstacle to overcome, especially if they feel they have "missed out".
This may be brought about as an arranged marriage, or either member may pursue and initiate the relationship in those societies that favor freer association.
Situations involving a younger male with an older female also exist, but are not as common.
In keeping with modern American mores, a folk formula (sometimes referred to as the Trophy Rule) seems to have evolved so as to compute correct disparities of age between older and younger partners, this being "divide by two and add seven", that is, the younger partner in a relationship should be at least seven years older than half the older partner's age, else the relationship is liable to be subject to moral disapprobation.