Do Guys Really Mature More Slowly Than Women? Here’s What Science Says, Plus 5 Other Facts

Men and women are alike in many ways, but the differences between us are pretty major. It’s not just in our heads, either — science backs it up. Here’s why it sometimes feels like we women are on a totally different planet from the guys we know, date, and love:

  1. Yes, men do mature more slowly than we do. According to the results of a 2013 study published in Cerebral Cortex, men do take a little longer to reach their full maturity stage. The reason lies deep within our brains. The results of the study found that female brains are quicker to establish “prunes,” or connections, than male brains. While both men and women are born with the same number of brain fibers, women’s brains develop ways to make quicker connections than men’s do. These connections in our brains are what aid our understanding of the world and dealing with complex information. The fact that men develop them much later than we do means that they struggle with maturity since they find it hard to process things at the same level as we do.
  2. We’re better at decision-making than guys. If you think that guys make dumb decisions the majority of the time, you might just be onto something. In a survey of more than 600 board directors, the results found that women are more likely to take a “cooperative approach to decision-making” than their male counterparts. In short, we ladies listen to others opinions and take them into consideration when deciding things. The research even went as far as to suggest that many companies around the world would benefit from having women at the helm. Right on.
  3. Turns out, we actually prefer more immature guys. Turns out, there may be a benefit to men’s low maturity levels — it make us like them. While it may sound counterintuitive, a study published in the American Journal of Play found that ‘playfulness’ is an attractive trait in both men and women. Think about it, the old ‘GSOH’ trait is high on our list of expectations when looking for a guy — at least, that’s what all the lonely hearts ads seem to suggest. What we may sometimes view as immaturity can, through a different lens, also be seen as playfulness. And damn, a playful, fun guy is ridiculously hot.
  4. Guys overcompensate when they feel threatened. Well, duh! Another trait that we often think is immature in men is the undeniable urge some have to appear typically macho. When a guy is acting over-the-top and trying to be the strongest, toughest man in the room, it can be really annoying. Whether he does this through dumb sex jokes or trying to outdrink every other guy at the bar, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that it tends to make the guy look like a tool. What gives? A Cornell University study may explain this behavior. According to the research, men tend to overcompensate when they feel threatened or insecure, so what may look like the douchiest behavior on the planet may just be the guy feeling uncomfortable in his own skin.
  5. No, you’re not imagining it — our brains actually do work differently. You’ve likely joked about this one with your girlfriends before now, but there really is some truth to the idea that the male and female brain work differently. In fact, a 2005 University Of California study found that men’s and women’s brains are strikingly different genetically. Put simply, during evolution, the male and female brains developed in completely different directions. Neither one is technically ‘better’ and both have the capacity for intelligence, but it does help explain why we find each other so confusing at times.
  6. We don’t see eye-to-eye on cheating either. Finally, this one should come as no big surprise. The way that men and women view their partner’s cheating is actually very different— at least, that’s what a 2015 study by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology found. There are two major types of cheating; emotional and physical. The form of cheating that makes men’s blood boil is sexual infidelity — if you sleep with another guy, expect him to go haywire. They just can’t stand that thought! Conversely, we ladies find emotional infidelity to be the worst form of betrayal, so if our boyfriend starts an emotional flirtationship with a co-worker, we’re likely to flip TF out — maybe even more than we would if he slept with her. Interesting, no?
Charlotte is a freelance writer who's addicted to binge-watching TV, drinking far too much coffee, and writing articles.