Cougars: Fact of Fiction?

   By drodriguez  Aug 19, 2010

A new study being reported about reveals some shocking news about women.  Get ready for this; cougars, a word coined to describe an older woman who is on the hunt for younger men, don’t actually exist.  The study, being reported about everywhere from Time magazine to the New York Post, claims the cougar craze has become mythical in proportion to the actual number of women looking to date younger men.  

Psychology researcher, Michael Dunn, conducted the study by analyzing over 20,000 singles ads from a variety of popular dating sites around the world.  During all of his research, Dunn was unable to find a substantial number of middle-aged women looking for younger men.  Most women over the age of 40 were looking for men their own age.  Dunn was also unable to find a sizable number of “cubs”, younger men looking to date older women.  What he did find was the social norm we have grown used to, a lot of older men looking for younger women.

Dunn believes the cougar craze has become popular from all of the media attention shows like "Cougar Town" and celebrities like Madonna and Demi Moore have gotten in recent years for dating younger men.  But just because a handful of celebrities are doing it does not mean women are rushing out to find younger men.  Dunn says, “I do believe the cougar phenomenon is a myth and, yes, a media construct.”

Though Dunn’s research has proven convincing to some, a lot of women are not buying it.  A 2003 study from the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) found that 34 percent of women aged 40 plus were dating younger men.  Valerie Gibson, Toronto-based jounalist, thinks the AARP study is more accurate than Dunn’s because it shows the percentage of women that are currently involved with men “as opposed to what they’re socially conditioned to tell dating sites they’re interested in.”

What do you think of the latest study proving cougars don’t exist?

Do you think Dunn’s study is accurate?

Make a Comment

mommasuesue by mommasuesue | Cedar Rapids, IA
Nov 15, 2010

OK I am an older woman And I have been married 3 times to younger men at least 9 years younger than me ! Men come to us and its not fair that the media is focusing only on cougars !

justmauid by justmauid | Dexter, ME
Oct 31, 2010

If you love someone, age becomes irrelivant.

summerchaser by summerchaser | saddleriver, NJ
Sep 21, 2010

cougar is not a myth.......... and been around a long time........ just not as public............ my mother who was actually born in l914...... had papers to say she was born in l919..... divorced and father....... born l924..... and they loved each other till his death.... and she lived another 12 years and now is with him again...... no one ever knew my mother was older than my father...... it didnt matter....... and really shouldnt matter....... with that said............ i dont want to ever be next to someone who looks better than i..... but........ if it works like my parents...... go for it............go for love......... not age...... they met and married she 32....with two kids........ he 22..... no kids.......married 37 plus years..

redshoesnob42 by redshoesnob42 | Portland, OR
Aug 27, 2010

I think there may be some truth to the cougar. Women at 40 now, look 30. Combine that with the confidence you gain at 40 and the financial independece, it make sense. I don't think women are going out in droves to date younger men, but it happens more than we might think.

Supernovae by Supernovae | Berkeley, CA
Aug 27, 2010

I think Dun's methodology (using sketchy self-report data) is not very scientific. AARP did a similar study and had much different results. I just hate poorly-designed social science experiments.

konigin by konigin | atascadero, CA
Aug 25, 2010

If i was older I'd want a young man

hatoribabii by hatoribabii | Ossining, NY
Aug 24, 2010

Cougars definitely exist but i believe you began a relationship with someone who shares your interest and that you are attracted to. Age doesn't matter at all when you think about it. as long as you are attracted to and respected by your partner it doesn't matter. :)

MaggieParke by MaggieParke | Mechanicsburg, PA
Aug 23, 2010

I married 10 years older than myself and now date younger. I'll be 40 this year and my youngest was early 20s. It's not that I'm seeking out a "cub" perse, it seems the younger men are attracted to a more confident, self-aware woman. It is what it is. Cougar? I've never been one for labels.

pmoran by pmoran | Hanover , PA
Aug 22, 2010

Guess I was a cougar about 24 years ago before there was a name for dating and marrying someone younger then yourself. I find nothing wrong with the age difference; actually, I'm 6 years older then him but am much more active then he is. We get along great and I think that's all that really matters anyway!

Leisha by Leisha | ELLABELL, GA
Aug 22, 2010

There are more out there than you think. However, if both people are adults, who cares, its their business.

soccermama by soccermama | Coral Springs, FL
Aug 22, 2010

My sister is 40+ and never married. She dates men much younger than her because they are not married. I think that's great! You are only as "old" as you feel!! ; )

LaurenAF2010 by LaurenAF2010 | Athens, TX
Aug 20, 2010

"34 percent of women aged 40 plus were dating younger men." It doesn't say how much younger. My guess is that that a great majority of that 34 percent were only dating men 5 or less years younger than themselves; not exactly what I would consider a "cougar." We all know that cougars do exist, but it's not likely that they are numerous as the media would like us to think they are.

zitra1 by zitra1 | MOUNT PULASKI, IL
Aug 20, 2010

Lot of cougars where we live too. But I have foudn a lot of people's definition of cougar varies....I personally think cougars are women who go after younger men, and in hunt for them to the exclusion of men their own age. Most people who live near me seem to think even if they are not the pursuers that women who are older than someone they aredating (even if the guy pursues the woman) that the women are cougars. The name itself describes what it means....A woman who is on the prowl (for younger men/cubs)

Danie1214 by Danie1214 | Sarasota, FL
Aug 19, 2010

I really don't think scouring personal ads gives an accurate view on people. I guess it might just be where I live since we have a high retirement community we have a lot of "cougars" around town. It's not uncommon to go out to a nightclub and see older women looking for younger men.

sheryln by sheryln | CALVERT CITY, KY
Aug 19, 2010

Age is just a number. Attraction isn't linked to that number. Sometimes you need someone older or younger to fit where you are at that moment in your life. I have dated men who were a no more that 4 or 5 years younger or up to 10 years older. The success and extent of our relationship wasn't related to that age difference. I would have to agree that most people aren't willing to admit that they are looking for a twenty-something when they are 40-something.