Success Stories > Chasing cougars
By Shona Riddell
Cougar: A woman, 35 years of age or older, who pursues younger men who are typically more than eight years her junior. (Source: Wikipedia.org)
The term 'cougar' is becoming increasingly commonplace; there's a hit US series called Cougar Town on our TV screens, and even a "Music for Cougars" compilation available for a girls' night out.
But is 'cougar' an insulting term, or an empowering one? Is the modern Mrs. Robinson strong and confident, or cunning and needy?
Sex and the City's Kim Cattrall refuses to be associated with the term, despite her character Samantha's predilection for younger men, saying it has negative connotations of an aggressive older woman on the prowl. Recently, Google banned the use of 'cougar' in online advertising, deeming it "unsafe for family audiences".
Innocence vs. experience
There's no doubt that it has become more socially acceptable for women to date younger men. The trouble is, men generally look for younger women.
A recent blog post from dating site OkCupid analysed their messaging figures, revealing that as men age, they send messages to increasingly younger women (often younger than their stated minimum age preference), while women tend to have fewer options and stick closer to their own age, or older.
"The male fixation on youth distorts the dating pool!" laments OkCupid.
But is this always the case? A local FindSomeone member, a male in his late 20s, admits that he tends to attract - and prefer - women a good 6-7 years older than he is.
"Younger girls can be quite annoying," he declares. "Older women have overcome their baggage, often live by themselves, and are just more independent."
Older women are becoming more appealing, as reflected by the growing number of cougar-related dating sites in the US, such as gocougar.com and dateacougar.com, which urges visitors to "explore the hidden pleasures of an age-gap relationship".
How to set your age preferences
If you're an older women looking for a younger man, or vice-versa, you can enter your preferred age range in your match criteria and we'll email you the latest singles in your area.
You can also edit your profile and tell members who you're looking for.
Her husband, Ashton Kutcher, is 16 years her junior.
Currently dating 23-year-old Jesus Luz (Madonna's 51).
Eleven years older than her husband, Nick Cannon.