The self-proclaimed cougar wrote her first book on the topic — Younger Men: How to Find Them, Date Them, Mate Them, and Marry Them — 14 years ago, “and let me tell you something,” she said in a whisper. While there’s no denying that cougars are slinking into the mainstream, there’s still an element of taboo surrounding these age-spanning relationships.“It’s definitely considered creepier for women to go out with younger men,” admitted Junie Smith*, a 52-year-old cougar who lives on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.
“Younger men have no problem whatsoever in approaching an older woman who’s single or obviously not wearing a wedding ring anyway,” she said.
“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.
A whopping 34 percent of women over 40 are dating younger men, according to a 2003 survey.
The same poll, which surveyed 3,500 single people (both women and men) aged 40 to 69 years old, found that 56 percent are currently separated or divorced from a spouse, 31 percent have never been married, and seven in 10 (74 percent) of formerly married singles in their 50s have been single for five years or more.
I was a cougar before there were cougars.” Indeed, Wheeler’s pre-marriage and post-divorce dating history reads like a steamy screenplay.
She listed a string of young men with whom she had various relationships, occasionally punching numbers into a calculator to determine age differences she had never considered in the first place.
And I don’t know if it’s a function of I’m attracted to younger guys or younger guys are attracted to me. Younger guys seem to have more to contribute to my life, and they’re just adorable.” The AARP study concludes that the No.
It’s just their energy, their enthusiasm” and—the biggie—“less baggage.” In fact, the stuff of the past may be what keeps her from dating men closer to her age altogether. “They’re always going on and on about their exes and the kids,” she said of her male peers. And being stuck in the music they listened to in college. 1 complaint from both single men and single women—42 percent and 35 percent, respectively—dating in their 50s was the history a partner of the same age carried into a relationship.
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.
“They don’t mind at all what age she is as long as she’s vital and gorgeous or something attracts them.