Back in June (God, weren’t we young then?), we wrote of a study in Psychology Today that said, basically cougars — i.e., “older” women, older being 27 through 45, broadly — are totally about getting it on because of their “diminishing fertility.” At the end of their ropes, so to speak, they would say and do anything — sex on the first date, even! — in the alleged hopes that they would not die childless and alone. Scientists agreed, Oh, yes, this is real. Biologically true! And in that vein, maybe younger men should go for older women, what with better sexual compatibility and all. Why the heck not?
But now, some killjoy “psychology researcher” at the University of Wales Institute in Cardiff, Michael Dunn, is saying that the cougar craze is all just a fanciful myth. Apparently, Dunn analyzed 22,400 singles ads for age preferences (this is a guy with dedication) and found that most women expressed a desire for men their own age or older, not cubs, and most men, as expected, wanted younger ladies, not cougars.
One problem with that, which anyone who’s ever attempted to online date knows: Everybody lies. About something. And if you’re bullet-pointing your ideal mate, maybe you do request that he be three years older, and a lawyer, and a foot masseuse/concert pianist/chef/fluent in French and Chinese, or whatever you dreamed about when you were 16 — but that doesn’t mean a) that that’s actually what you want in real, unvirtual life, or b) that those qualities would even make that person a good match for you. Being able to stand someone in person is more than half the battle, as many of us know.
Anyway, cougars and cougar-defenders got up in arms about Dunn’s report, and started screaming about an anti-cougar bias. Because America cannot handle a sexy-time-having older lady! Plus, there’s that whole lying-on-the-Internet thing. According to a 2003 study by the AARP (gulp, are we really there yet?), 34 percent of women over 40 were actually dating younger men and liked it. (Benefits: They’re alive! So, yeah, better for women who are interested in sex on the grounds of physiology alone.)
Do cougars exist? Maybe. Should older women date younger men? Hell, yeah. Just stop calling them cougars, please. We prefer “people.”