“They’re looking for companionship, sexual contact, and someone good to talk to and spend time with.So be it if the relationship goes further.” 'A Badge of Honor' While women aren’t exactly shouting their cougar status from the rooftops (“Women never want to be called a “cougar,” because it implies they’re older,” Mercer explained nonchalantly), men aren’t shy about their relationships with older women.
“The mentality of having a youthful person on your arm who makes you feel good, who makes you feel ageless, makes you feel desired and desirable,” Gibson said.
Statistics compiled by AARP The Magazine back up the trend.
Men, of course, have their reasons for dating older women, too.
In the fast-paced world of Los Angeles, “dating” may mean going out a few times or spending just one night together.
And since men have been dating younger women for ages, why are so many of us surprised — shocked, even — that women would follow suit?
Valerie Gibson, author of Cougar: A Guide for Older Women Dating Younger Men, is all too familiar with this double standard. They were absolutely horrified that older women should be having sex with younger men.”When many of us think “cougar,” we picture the ultimate cougar of the big screen: The Graduate’s legendary, martini-sipping Mrs. These days, real-life cougars are stars like Demi Moore (who, in her 40s, married then-twenty-something heartthrob Ashton Kutcher), the coiffed reality-show cast of The Real Housewives of Orange County, and, yes, everyday women — suburbanites and city-slickers alike.
“This isn’t about dating,” said Kevin Mercer* candidly. A.’s entertainment industry and isn’t shy discussing his city’s cougar phenomenon.
“It’s a total transactional situation.” And that works out just fine for these young men, who often prefer relationships—whether fleeting or long-term—with cougars.
Smith figured it comes down to science: “It probably has something to do with the concentration of the species on procreation,” she quipped.
All scientific notions aside, older women opt for younger men for the same reasons that older men select younger women.
*Editor’s note: Names of some of the interviewees have been changed for privacy.