The Psychology of being a Female Cougar over 50

I had a female client say she was in her mid-fifties and now wanted to be a cougar because her son is finally in college. So, I wanted to do some research on this and this is what I found.

Great article in WSJ –

Younger men can worship the ground on which you walk so that helps your insecurity issues.


A woman beyond a certain age cannot have children so when such a woman goes on the prowl for some young meat <- this is exactly what she’s after. Her interest is carnal.

She’s an insecure animal who needs physical proof that she’s still got it, that she can attract a stud, sometimes with money but she earned it so it’s all her.

Yes, I’m 100% correct here. If she was looking for companionship – plenty of men her age (and older) who might provide that, and they provide a more sophisticated form of companionship, they are not sex-minded boys.

What does it mean when a woman is called a cougar?

Put simply, a cougar is an older woman who seeks a relationship or sex with men who are significantly younger than them.

Traditionally this meant women in their 40s dating men 10 to 20 years their junior.

However, over time it has come to mean a woman of any age being in a relationship with a 10-year plus age gap.

Some consider the term derogatory, sexist or insulting.

But, the more it has been used in mainstream entertainment and everyday life, its bad reputation has lessened and many now claim it can be empowering.

This has stirred a fierce debate over whether the term is a triumph for women, or whether it remains a disastrous setback.

The origin of the phrase is unclear, but it is thought to have started in Canada.

It later became an established term by the dating website – a site dedicated to “casual dating for cougars and toyboys”.


“Cougars” are popularly defined as women in their 40s (or older) who date significantly younger men, generally at a 10-year age gap or more.
In factcalling a woman a cougar is unfair and derogatory. It implies a predatory relationship in which the woman stalks her prey while the young man she sets her sights on is the hapless victim, powerless once trapped. I never once pounced first in the dating jungle.
A COUGAR (woman in her 40s who dates younger men) JAGUAR (woman (50+) who likes younger men) KITTEN (woman with an older man) PANTHER (woman who likes older men)















‘Puma’ and ‘cougar’ are names attributed to women who are in their 30s, 40s, and 50s. Let us look at some of the differences between puma and cougar women. A puma, in general, is a woman in her late 20s or 30s who dates younger men who are in their 20s.
What attracts a younger man to an older woman? Why younger men are attracted to older women includes their experience, confidence, assertiveness, and maturity. A few years younger than a woman will likely find her life experience intriguing; he wants to learn about her and her life experience.
A person with such a sexual preference is a gerontophile or gerontosexual. The word gerontophilia was coined in 1901 by psychiatrist Richard von Krafft-Ebing. It derives from Greek: geron, meaning “old person” and philia, meaning “friendship”.


A new study published in the Journal of Sex Research challenges what we might think we know about “cougars” by asking women who date younger men about their experiences and motivations.

The research suggests that not only does dating younger men allow women to break down some social norms and barriers that might otherwise be present during heterosexual sexual interactions, but women reported high levels of sexual pleasure and satisfaction within these intimate partnerships.

Women and men are considered to be at their most attractive in their thirties, a US survey of 2,000 people has found. The study, carried out by Allure magazine, found women are considered most beautiful at 30, show signs of aging at 41, stop looking ‘sexy’ at 53, and are thought of as ‘old’ at 55.
For Caucasian women, it’s typically around the late 30s. “This is when fine lines on the forehead and around the eyes, less-elastic skin, and brown spots and broken capillaries from accumulated sun damage crop up,” says Yagoda.
Cougars are good mothers and represent power, the feminine, intuition, and strength (that of a female in defense of her young). Cougar represents leadership and taking charge of one’s life and circumstances in the most effective way.
What is manther?
A manther is the male version of a cougar or a middle-aged woman who has the hots for younger men. Manthers are older men who pursue partners significantly younger than them. A male cougar is also called a rhino.

A Study

Dr. Milaine Alarie at the Institut National de la Research Scientifique, in Montreal, interviewed 55 women aged 30 to 60 who reported having relationships with younger men (termed “age-hypogamous intimate relationships”). In order to be eligible for this study, women had to be in a relationship with a man at least five years younger than themselves. There was no criterion related to the length of the relationship. In that sense, women reported on their experience of dating as well as casually sleeping with partners.

The Findings

1. Women were attracted to younger men’s sexual stamina.

Over the course of the interviews, women in the study reported that they were more sexually drawn to younger men because they believed younger partners had more to offer sexually. Specifically, women indicated that compared to men their own age, they felt younger men tended to have higher sex drives, could last longer during sex (or be physically ready to have sex again sooner), and had more reliable erections. Given that many women in this study described having a fairly high level of sexual desire, they saw this as a very positive aspect of dating younger men. As one woman said: “I have a big sexual appetite, very big. I might want to do it, like eight times a day, you know. So with a man in his 40s, he will find that fun the first week. But I can tell you after the second week he doesn’t find it funny anymore.”

2. Women felt more comfortable embracing their sexual assertiveness.

Women in the study also described how dating someone younger than them allowed for the disruption of certain restrictive gender roles. That is, in traditional heterosexual partnerships, the man is expected to be more sexually experienced, while the woman is typically more passive and receptive to his advances. Women in this study, however, felt that being older than their male partners allowed them to embrace their sexual assertiveness. Many women felt that younger men fantasized about older, sexually assertive, and experienced women and said their younger male partners were often appreciative of them taking a more active role.

Women also described feeling less preoccupied with rigid beauty standards that may have been restrictive earlier on in their lives. Some women described feeling more comfortable with their bodies now than they might have been when they were younger, which they described as translating into more sexual confidence. As one participant said: “Older women, we’re more, you know, confident about ourselves. And we are going to walk into the room in our lingerie, if we have cellulite or not, you know? And a younger woman would be like, ‘Oh my god! I can’t wear this in front of him!'”

3. Women felt able to place greater importance on their own sexual pleasure.

Women in this study often described the importance of prioritizing their own pleasure during sex. Women said they liked dating younger men, because, from their experience, younger partners were more motivated to provide pleasure and satisfy them before they satisfied themselves.

As outlined previously, women described how they believed younger men had a higher level of sexual stamina, sexual openness, and perceived ability to have and maintain erections for longer and more enjoyable sexual encounters. Because of this, women felt they could ask for more of their sexual needs to be met. Some women also indicated (again, from their personal experience) that men their own age could be more preoccupied with their own erections and sexual pleasure than providing it. In that sense, women in this study indicated that they believed younger men were more motivated to please. As one participant shared: “Younger men try a bit harder — they want to impress you with their skills and their prowess, what they are able to do and to what extent they can pleasure you. I have the feeling that they try harder than older men.”


Women who date younger men go against traditional sexual scripts. The findings from this study suggest that women who participate in age-discordant relationships may be more comfortable asserting their sexual needs, and they may experience heightened levels of sexual pleasure. Notably, the sample was largely Caucasian and highly educated, so it would be important to study a more diverse sample to better understand the full range of women’s experiences.

2nd Study

The scientific data are scant, but anecdotally at least, it appears that the “cougar” phenomenon—relatively older women choosing sexual relationships with younger men—is experiencing a flowering of sorts.

There are a number of plausible reasons for the uptick in older woman-younger man couplings. Some sociologists speak of the “marriage squeeze”—the fact that single, middle-aged women have a shrinking pool of potential conventional partners (i.e. older, educated men with high incomes) and are thus compelled to seek alternative arrangements. Others point to increased, rather than decreased, opportunities. After all, women are more financially independent today than ever before. In the U.S., for the first time in history, the number of women in the labor market exceeds the number of men. In addition, the wage gap between the sexes has narrowed and even reversed in certain sectors. Young women (ages 20 to 30) now earn, on average, more than young men, mainly because they are more educated. Women now constitute a majority in universities, medical and law schools, and doctoral programs. In roughly a fifth of American families, women are the main breadwinners.

When women are more independent financially, they have more power, more choices, and more influence. Social change invariably begets a change in consciousness. The classic wife narrative (find a husband, have children, raise them, then go knit in the rocking chair) is all but extinct. Those with money, knowledge, social freedom, and confidence can realize broader aspirations, and shape their own paths regardless of their gender.

“In the past, women had to partner up with a man who could support her,” said Susan Sarandon, currently in a relationship with a man 30 years her junior. “Now women are quite financially independent, so we partner up with someone because—radical thought—we like him.”

In this new arena of increased gender equality, it seems that many women—like many men—find the company of a young and beautiful partner appealing and rewarding. Attractive young men can play the same role long assigned to young women, entering into the unspoken agreement: “Be sexy, beautiful, and obedient and I’ll teach you a little bit about how the world works, show you off to my friends, buy you nice clothes, and have sex with you.” An eye-pleasing younger partner may eventually become a status symbol for the hard-working and powerful older woman.

In this context, it appears there are many young men who could learn a thing or two from mature and experienced women. The New York Times recently published an interesting article about an advertising executive named Cindy Gallop, a successful businesswoman in her fifties, with the means and the appetite for action, who has turned her sexual experiences with young men into a protest of sorts—along with, of course, a TED conference talk and the obligatory web site. Her chief insight—and complaint—is that young men nowadays tend to learn about sex from pornography on the Internet. Consequently, their understanding of what real sex looks like in the real world aspires to zero. A whole generation is coming of age knowing how to mimic porn, but not how to make love.

Gallop’s qualms are not directed against pornography—she watches porn herself and appears to regard it as legitimate auxiliary entertainment. Her criticism is directed instead mainly at the puritanical American society, which refuses to educate and teach young people about real sex.

Due to the sexual education vacuum, pornography has de facto turned from entertainment to education. In the lives of many young men, porn has taken over the role that parents, schools, and the innocent, halting experience of young romance were supposed to fill: real-life sex prep. Pornography’s vision of sex has usurped real-world sex in young people’s consciousness and imagination.

This has some dire—or comical, depending on your temperament—consequences for women. For example: in porn, all women love, desire, and cannot wait for the man to come on their faces. In the real world, not everyone does. According to pornography, no women have pubic hair. In the real world, it’s not quite so. In the world of porn, women have orgasms all the time, every time, at a moment’s notice, in all positions. In the real world, most women need proper clitoral stimulation to achieve orgasm. In porn, everyone is begging for anal sex. In the real world, some are and some are not.

The main—and often only—contact in porn is between the participants’ genitals. In real sex, however, partners often enjoy touching each other all over their bodies, before, during, and after genital contact. In porn, all women crave deep, choking, and gagging oral sex, and can’t wait to swallow the male’s ejaculate. In real life, not necessarily so. In porn, all the women scream and squeal with delight constantly. In real life sex, you sometimes need to go quietly, so as not to wake up the children.

The problem with using porn as sex education is that not everything that’s fun to watch is also fun or sensible to do. Even those who love to watch car chases in the movies may not want to advocate that young people learn how to drive from the movies or engage in wild car chases around town. Porn is sexual entertainment, titillation, distraction, or self-medication, but it’s not supposed to be taken literally as an account of how people generally have sex. Those who follow the teachings of porn are more likely to get a concussion than have an orgasm.

Cougars, says Gallop only half in jest, can teach some sexual sense, manners, and real-world skills to today’s clueless youth—and thus, serve a useful social function, all while having a rollicking good time.

Still, many see the cougar phenomenon as unnatural, in part because it appears to violate the basic tenets of evolution, by which men are supposed to like younger women because of their fertility while women are expected to prefer older, high-status men, better equipped to provide for the offspring.

But biological logic is notoriously ill-equipped to explain social behavior. Alice Eagly, a renowned psychology researcher, has long argued that patterned differences in behavior between the sexes are not shaped by evolution, but by the differences in social roles. Social roles over time produce differences in abilities, expectations, and opportunities, which are then mistakenly perceived as innate and natural.

According to this argument, innate biological differences between the sexes do exist, but they are more responsible for the launching of certain gendered patterns than for maintaining them in the present. After all, what initiates a process is not always what maintains it. The reason you started smoking is not the reason you’re still smoking.

Moreover, social structures can shape how biology plays in the social world. Society can choose to enhance or suppress genetically-based gender differences. For example, the average man is more muscular than the average woman, but the culture may still decide to forbid him from using his biological advantage to inflict his desires violently on a woman. (Society, in fact, may undermine evolutionary mechanisms altogether. Evolution works by killing the weak young before they reproduce. Our society is dedicated to saving the lives of even the weakest infants and seeing them through to and beyond reproductive age).

Thus, gender stereotypes—which we attribute frequently to evolution—are actually shaped and maintained by the social order. We think of wealth as a masculine quality not because most men are naturally rich but because most of the rich in our society are men. Division of labor establishes the stereotype and reinforces it.

When social roles change, so do stereotypes, and with the social opportunities, expectations, and norms; social consciousness then follows suit. If women achieve the social status that was previously reserved for men, many of them will behave as men have been behaving. In this situation, the definition of femininity itself will change, without any genetic change. Evolution provides the hardware. But the culture produces and updates the software.

The “cougar phenomenon” may support this notion. The development of the known historical pattern by which women prefer older, high-status men may have been informed by evolutionary pressures, but the attendant stereotype evolved and crystallized in a society where men were rich and powerful and women poor and dependent.

Now we see that as the social roles change, and women assume the positions of empowerment and freedom once reserved for men, some of them are easily drawn to pretty young things and find them of interest. The attraction is not evolutionary but social. These women do not turn to young men for their protective or reproductive promise, but because it’s gratifying to win a younger man’s attention and admiration, flaunt him, exercise power over him, and sleep with him—at least after he’s adequately instructed how to make love, not porn.


Images of women’s sexuality beyond the age of forty are lacking in popular culture. Recently, however, the term cougar has been embraced by American media as a label describing “older” women who assertively pursue younger sexual partners. This term and women’s opinions of it can be viewed as exemplary of two competing ideologies about aging and sexuality. These are 1) recognition of older women’s sexual desire, consistent with new trends that promote lifelong sexual health and sexual activity; or, 2) linking aging and asexuality when the term cougar is used as a pejorative that reinforces age and gender stereotypes. Based on in-depth interviews with a diverse sample of 84 women in their 20s-60s, we explore reactions to this term and its implications for women’s aging and sexuality. We find that the majority of women viewed the label cougar negatively, or had mixed feelings about what it suggests regarding older women’s sexuality, particularly as it marked women as predators or aggressors. Some women, however, embraced the term or its meaning, as indicative of the reality of older women’s sexuality and continued sexual desire.

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Cougar love: 16 reasons young men are attracted to older women