OK, I haven't done a quantitative analysis of anything in awhile, and all this bickering in previous posts / comment sections about when girls are at their physically hottest requires some hard data to settle the matter. I'm going to look at pornstars since they are chosen only on the basis of raw physical and sexual appeal, unlike celebrities who need to act, sing, dance, etc., and unlike role models who exemplify motherly qualities.
The dataset consists of 120 pornstars from LA Direct Models, which manages the most high-profile stars. They must appeal to a very broad audience in order to make the most money, so they are representative of what the male sex finds attractive.
I simply took the age listed on their profile at face value -- it could be lower than the real value if they think guys like much younger girls, but I keep hearing from readers how it’s really women in their mid-late 20s or older who are more physically attractive, more comfortable with their sexuality, and so on, so they might lie upwards too. There is therefore no a priori reason to assume that they are consistently lying in one direction or the other. Data is there for almost all of the girls, but is missing for about six of them, most of whom do look older and work in the fringe MILF market.
That said, here are the frequencies of different ages in this representative sample of popular pornstars:
Not to brag, but I can’t help it if I'm more perceptive than the most bloggers or commenters. I've been saying all along that female physical attractiveness peaks at 22 - 24, and bam: the average age is 22.8 years, with 63.3% of all girls falling between 20 and 24.
You'll notice that the graph is very skewed (or not symmetric), so that there are many more below-23 stars than above-23 stars. Concretely, the skewness is 0.55, while the standard error of skewness is 0.22. Since the skewness is greater than 2 standard errors of skewness, it is no fluke that the graph is weighted more heavily toward below-23 than above-23 girls.
And obviously the graph is truncated on the left since it's illegal for companies to hire under-18 girls. But just finish drawing the curve on the left side, and you can see that if it were legal, there would be a small number of 17 year-olds, even fewer 16 year-olds, and maybe a lone 15 year-old.
The fact that the average guy would prefer watching sex with a 16 y.o. than sex with a 40 y.o. may be disconcerting, but that is the truth. Thankfully, laws prevent this. It is not a question of whether some 40 y.o. might be found who is attractive enough to qualify -- this is obvious. The question is how rare would she be among her age-mates, vs. how rare would the 16 y.o. be among her peers? Surround yourself with a random sample of females of these ages, and you will see that it is easier among the younger ones. This doesn’t mean that the typical 16 y.o. is this attractive, only that a 16 y.o. this attractive might be 1 out of 1 hundred vs. 1 out of 1 hundred-thousand in the 40 y.o. case.
At any rate, the take-home message is clear enough: it is females in their early-mid 20s who are most physically attractive, notwithstanding the wishful thinking of older females or the "sour grapes" self-deception of older males.