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Rachel Responds

Older women don't appreciate 'cougar' title

November 29, 2012

This week’s column is dedicated to a particular type of feline: cougars.

Any close friend of mine knows I’ve been 13-going-on-30 since my preteen years. This desire to be my idealized version of the perfect woman – awesome, career-minded, future cool mom, with moves like Jagger – has followed me since my youth.

So it’s no surprise that I date men older than myself. And for most women this is the case, according to the MSN article, “The allure of older women – why men love a cougar.”

Of course at only 24-years-old, dating anyone younger than myself is grounds for imprisonment, at least for the 10-year age gap that many cougars have with their significant others.

But the age-attraction still rings true. Historically women have sought older men - not younger men  - even at 30, 40, 50 years of age.

So what draws older women to younger men? Why are cougars, cougars?

Within this MSN article, psychologist Fay Barkley explained, “These women are alive, vibrant, want to dance, love current music, technology, exercise and eat healthier. They want a younger man who can keep up with them.”

Today’s women wait until their later years to have children, and women with children now have more active lives.

This has older women acting younger, wanting friends and companions that are as active as they are.

Sometimes this means younger friends and companions.

Aside from active lifestyles, today’s women are more financially secure as well.
In a CNN article “Older women and younger men: Can it work?” Susan Winter, 52, an author about older romance said, “When women as a group are able to have their own economic and social standing and have a power base, they are now able to pick the man that they want rather than having to choose the man to support them and give them social status,” said Winter. “Now we have choices.”

So if an older woman is active with a vibrant personality and with financial stability, she may just want a younger man.

According to the MSN article, the BBC reported that 30 percent of older women date men younger than themselves.

Now with celebrity couples like Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher the taboo of an older-woman-younger-man couple has begun to fade.

It takes two to tango, however.
Just because a woman wants to date a younger man doesn’t mean he’s going to want to date her. But increasingly men have been interested in older women themselves. So why this change?

Traditionally men want to date women younger than themselves because younger women tend to have less dating experience. This means less baggage and less time to create a “laundry list” of qualities a man has to have, according to real interviews of men on the dating website

Biologically, men want to date younger women because it’s the best choice for procreation.
But men are increasingly attracted to older women just the same as older women are attracted to younger men. So, why?

Articles on revealed some interesting answers in its section, “Why some men like to date older women.”

The largest reason was the maturity level. Younger women tend to be less emotionally mature. Emotional acts, lying, cheating and disrespectful attitudes tie into emotional immaturity, something some guys try to avoid all together by dating older women.
Another reason, which is a myth, is that an older woman has more experience in the bedroom.

If you’ve seen “American Pie,” you know that Steve Stifler’s mom was seen as the ultimate experience.

Some men view older women as a more pleasing partner and may even consider younger women incapable of being good lovers because they must be inexperienced.

Some men just want a woman who’s more financially stable then they are.
Actually, of couples with kids under the age of five, 20 percent reported that the father was the primary caretaker according to the 2010 Census Bureau.

Although the term cougar is being more frequently used in the media, many women who date younger men don’t like the term at all. In an About article, “Don’t Call Me a Cougar – Rejecting the Cougar Stereotype,” writer Linda Lowen explained that the term “cougar” makes women sound like predators. That they seek out younger men purposefully, not that their relationships tend to be with younger men due to shared interests.

As times change, so do dating habits. Women are now in the work force, having children later – or not at all, some men are being stay-at-home dads, and more couples are meeting online.

With changes such as these it’s no surprise that the traditional younger-woman-older-man couple isn’t today’s norm.

Send your questions, concerns, or quandaries to Rachel on her Facebook page “Rachel Responds” and follow her on Twitter.

Rachel Woodman is a senior majoring in marketing communications and minoring in journalism. She loves to work hard, play hard, and use clichés! Look for her Facebook page “Rachel Responds” and email her your questions or topic ideas to