Question of the Day: Are a Woman’s 30s Really Her Prime?

13 going on 30 movie poster
Question of the Day: Are a Woman’s 30s Really Her Prime?

Remember one of the first scenes in 13 Going on 30, where a 13-year-old Jenna Rink locked herself inside a closet and wished to be 30 and successful and flirty? Do you also remember her favorite fictional magazine, Poise? Neither of those things is coincidental. Women’s pop culture and media are major contributors to the popular narrative that ages 30 to 39 are supposed to be every woman’s prime — professionally, emotionally, socially, physically, and romantically.

Celebrities’ Answer Is Yes

Beyonce at Her Prime in 30
Question of the Day: Are a Woman’s 30s Really Her Prime?

The likes of Shakira, Rihanna, Beyonce, and Reese Witherspoon have all spoken about how turning 30 has been a real gamechanger for them. “I don’t think I realized it in my 20s that no one else makes you whole. Your happiness is your own responsibility,” says Reese while Shakira adds, “All through my 20s, I spent more time worrying about the things I didn’t have rather than what I did.” Celebrities aren’t the only women who say they reach a level of clarity after turning 30.

Science Backs Up the Stereotype

Reaching an emotional, physical, psychological, and carnal prime in a woman’s 30s has long been a cultural stereotype. And there might be some science to back it all up. A recent study found that, on average, women’s’ salaries reach their peak at age 39. Another study showed that women experience more orgasms in their 30s than in their teens. Lastly, a 2014 study concluded that 31 is the age at which women feel most comfortable in their bodies and sensuality.

Jennifer Garner in 13 going on 30, looking at a pair of panties
Question of the Day: Are a Woman’s 30s Really Her Prime?

There Isn’t Just One Prime to Have

When asked, older women in their 50s give a different answer about a woman’s prime. To them, there isn’t such a thing as the ultimate best age. In your 30s, you reach your physical prime, but there are new primes with each passing phase of your life, both before and after that age. Each life phase has its joys and gifts that are worth cherishing and experiencing.