Cougars and Their Cubs: Older Women Dating Dramatically Young Guys

14 November 2020
Cougars and Their Cubs: Older Women Dating Dramatically Young Guys

*Editor’s note: Names of some of the interviewees have already been changed for privacy.

Annette Wheeler* didn’t remember the precise minute she first heard the definition of “cougar, ” but she did keep in mind dashing to her computer to appear it. To her surprise and bemusement, there was clearly a brand new term to explain exactly what she was indeed doing nearly all of her life — dating younger guys.

For all females, more youthful men — lots of them 15 years or higher their juniors — really are a natural fit.

Wheeler, a redhead that is fiery lives outside Baltimore, leaned back inside her seat and sighed. “i enjoy younger men, ” the 60-year-old purred. “I liked more youthful dudes even though I happened to be in senior school — like an or two younger year. I became a cougar before there have been cougars. ”

Certainly, Wheeler’s pre-marriage and post-divorce dating history reads such as a steamy screenplay. She listed a sequence of teenage boys with who she had different relationships, periodically punching numbers as a calculator to ascertain age distinctions she had never ever considered when you look at the place that is first. She never ever analyzed her attraction to more youthful guys (or their attraction to her), however with “cougar” a increasingly popular term utilized to explain older women dating much younger men, her longtime preference is abruptly when you look at the limelight.

For Wheeler as well as other females like her, more youthful men — lots of them 15 years or maybe more their juniors — are an all-natural fit. Boomer women can be searching more youthful and feeling much better than ever. Widowed, separated, or divorced, a number that is growing teenagers for dating and companionship. And since guys have now been dating more youthful ladies for ages, exactly why are many of us surprised — shocked, even — that females would follow suit?

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Confessions of the Cougar

Valerie Gibson, composer of Cougar: A Guide for Older Women Dating young guys, is all too knowledgeable about this standard that is double. The self-proclaimed cougar had written her first guide regarding the topic — Younger guys: how to locate Them, Date Them, Mate Them, and Marry Them — 14 years back, “and let me make it clear something, ” she said in a whisper. “It caused a stir that is awful rather than a beneficial one. Individuals were horrified. These were positively horrified that older females should really be sex that is having more youthful males. ”

Whenever a lot of us think “cougar, ” we visualize the greatest cougar regarding the screen that is big The Graduate’s renowned, martini-sipping Mrs. Robinson. These times, real-life cougars are stars like Demi Moore (whom, in her own 40s, hitched then-twenty-something heartthrob Ashton Kutcher), the coiffed reality-show cast associated with genuine Housewives of Orange County, and, yes, everyday women — suburbanites and city-slickers alike.

While there’s no denying that cougars are slinking in to the main-stream, there’s still a component of taboo surrounding these relationships that are age-spanning.

“It’s definitely considered creepier for females to head out with more youthful men, ” admitted Junie Smith*, a 52-year-old cougar whom lives on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. “For a 70-year-old man to head out by having a 40-year-old woman, in place of a 70-year-old woman heading out by having a guy that is 40-year-old? A woman that is 70-year-old away having a 40-year-old man is recognized as creepy ”

Why the dual standard? Smith figured it comes down down to science: “It most likely has one thing related to the concentration for the types on procreation, ” she quipped.

All notions that are scientific, older ladies go for more youthful guys for similar reasons that older men pick younger women.

“The mindset of experiencing a youthful individual on your arm whom allows you to feel great, whom enables you to feel ageless, enables you to feel desired and desirable, ” Gibson said.

An astonishing 34 per cent of females over 40 are dating more youthful guys, based on a 2003 study. The exact same poll, which surveyed 3,500 solitary individuals (men and women) aged 40 to 69 yrs. Old, unearthed that 56 per cent are currently divided or divorced from a partner, 31 per cent have not been hitched, and seven in 10 (74 per cent) of previously hitched singles within their 50s have already been solitary for 5 years or maybe more.

The research stated that the divorce or separation price now, when weighed against when cougars had been hitched some 25 years back, has contributed towards the level of solitary, 50+ ladies, reported to be “on the prowl” in today’s dating pool.

More Pleasurable, Less 'Baggage'

For Wheeler, younger males have now been a fit that is natural a lively lifestyle that her male peers have never ever quite matched.

“I can’t explain why, but I’ve always been, ” she stated, pausing. “Without even knowing someone’s age, you may be yes I’m likely to gravitate toward younger man. And I also don’t understand if it is a function of I’m drawn to more youthful dudes or younger dudes are drawn to me personally. It is simply their power, their enthusiasm” and—the biggie—“less luggage. ”

In reality, the material regarding the past might be just exactly what keeps her from dating guys closer to her age completely. That and music, needless to say.

“They’re constantly taking place and on about their exes as well as the kids, ” she said of her peers that are male. “The baggage, the luggage, may be the primary thing. Being stuck into the music they paid attention to in university. I would like to understand what’s new. I wish to hear what’s new. Young dudes appear to have more to play a role in my entire life, and they’re simply adorable. ”

The AARP research concludes that the No. 1 issue from both solitary males and single women—42 % and 35 per cent, respectively—dating within their 50s ended up being the history a partner associated with the exact same age carried into a relationship.

Guys, needless to say, have actually their good reasons for dating older ladies, too. Within the fast-paced realm of Los Angeles, “dating” may suggest venturing out a couple of times or investing just one single evening together. “This is not about dating, ” stated Kevin Mercer* candidly. The 27-year-old works in L.A. ’s activity industry and it isn’t bashful speaking about their city’s cougar occurrence. “It’s an overall total transactional situation. ”

And that computes just fine of these teenage boys, whom frequently prefer relationships—whether fleeting or cougars that are long-term—with.

“These older women can be confident, intimately mature, they don’t have inhibitions, they know very well what they like, plus they understand what they desire, ” said Nancy D. O’Reilly, clinical psychologist, researcher, writer and host of Voice America’s radio system “Timeless WomenSpeak. ” Cougars are separate, career-oriented ladies who have actually an attitude that is been-there-done-that wedding and “don’t need one to look after them, ” she stated. “They’re in search of companionship, intimate contact, and someone good to speak with and spending some time with. Therefore be it in the event that relationship goes further. ”

'A Badge of Honor'

While ladies aren’t precisely yelling their cougar status through the rooftops (“Women never wish to be called a “cougar, ” because it suggests they’re older, ” Mercer explained nonchalantly), males aren’t bashful about older women to their relationships. On the other hand, they’ll even boast in the text of Mercer, “as a badge of honor. About them, using them”

In accordance with Gibson, teenagers are driving the trend, often also calling on their own “cougar hunters” when they’re out on the town searching for sexy older females. “Younger guys don't have any issue whatsoever in approaching an adult girl who’s solitary or obviously perhaps perhaps maybe not using a marriage band anyhow, ” she stated. “They don’t head at all just just just what age she actually is provided that she’s vital and gorgeous or something like that attracts them. Teenagers don't have any fear now to be placed straight straight straight down by their peers whenever there’s cougars like Demi Moore and all sorts of these women that are beautiful, plus they state, ‘My gosh, i might like to sleep her! ”

Smith has discovered teenage boys to be quite excited about hanging out she definitely enjoys the attention with her, and. All things considered, she's got worked difficult for this, with sufficient sessions of yoga, calculated supplement concoctions, an excellent diet, as well as a small Botox in some places.

Even though she’s maybe maybe not delighted using the term “cougar” (“slightly dangerous and susceptible to putting on animal-print clothing, ” had been her initial cougar artistic), she’s most certainly not changing her relationship practices anytime quickly. Wheeler is not either, but she’s starting to warm up to your term—slowly.

“It’s silly, ” she said laughing. “But I prefer it. I personally use it now. ”