The Cougar Craze


For the record, I am not a fan of the “cougar” phenomenon.

I know, older women dating younger men is all the rage. I don’t know how often it actually happens, but I do know that ever since Demi and Ashton tied the knot, we’ve been seeing more and more attention paid to these December/May relationships. And, from what I’ve seen, most of them have tended to go the way of Ashton and Demi in the end. They crash and burn.

My problem is not that I think it would be impossible for an older woman to fall in love with a younger man, or vice versa. It happens. I’ve seen it happen. And when it’s a real relationship, centered in God and based in mutual self-donation, it can of course be a beautiful thing. My problem is that the attitude I see surrounding the “cougar” phenomenon has nothing to do with real love or self donation. It has to do with what “I” want, making “me” feel a certain way. “Getting an older woman makes a younger man feel . . .” Or “Older women like younger men because . . .”  Even the name denotes a predatory view of relationships.

So when I saw an article by a self-proclaimed “cougar” claiming to debunk the myths surrounding these types of relationships, I thought I should read it and keep an open mind. Maybe I’ve had it all wrong. After all, if she actually has the nerve to announce to the world that she considers herself a cougar, she must see something redeeming in it.

So here are some of the myths, and her responses:

Myth: “A cougar is the hunter who preys on innocent young men.”

Cougar’s response: It’s not always this way. In fact, “[o]ften it’s the younger man who approaches the older woman in hopes of a purely sexual no-strings-attached relationship.”

My response: This phenomenon, and all of the attention being paid to it, is not primarily fueled by loving self-donation between two individuals of vastly different ages. It’s about deliberately seeking out  a demographic—not an individual—because of what they can do for me.

Myth: It won’t work because eventually “he’ll cheat on her with someone his own age.”

Cougar’s response: Apparently this isn’t necessarily the case. Well, not exactly. Older women like their freedom, and younger men like that because they’re comfortable in “less traditional” relationships.

My response: Which, if I’m reading her right, means that they might cheat, but the cougar doesn’t care.

Myth: “A younger man finds women his age to be sexier. They have less wrinkles and weight from pregnancies.”

Cougar’s response: Nope—not for these guys. They’re trading all of that in for the sexual experience and adventurousness of the older woman. “Sex is usually an area where this couple excels.”

My response: It’s about using, not loving.

Myth: “The younger man will ultimately want children, and will dump the older woman who already has a brood.” 

Cougar’s response: Not at all. Rather “many younger men gravitate to older women who won’t pressure them to get married and have children.”

My response: This is a complete failure to make any real commitment or accept the responsibilities that come with marriage.

Needless to say, this article didn’t change my mind.

Once again, I have to say that of course it’s possible for two people of different ages to fall in love. I believe it’s the exception more than the rule—and that, in general, we tend to find ourselves most compatible with people who are relative to our own age. I know I am. 

Sure, some individuals may be more or less mature than others, or God may have his own reasons for calling together a man and a woman of different ages. But when someone tells me that, as a rule, they prefer to date people either vastly older or vastly younger than they are, alarms start going off for me.

And when they announce to the world that they’re “cougars,” and that they have no interest in men their own age, but instead choose exclusively to pursue (or, apparently, be pursued by) men young enough to be their sons—well, frankly that just creeps me out.



  1. Steven-1330740 July 8, 2016 Reply

    This speaks truth. A young man seeking a “cougar” will most likely be driven from lust and nothing more.

  2. Terri-1150256 March 28, 2015 Reply

    I think age should not be a factor if it is a God-Center relationship.
    Some people are very youthful both appearance and in their attitude and outlook on life and they may attract someone younger because their outlooks and interests mesh.
    There have been times I have met couples in a loving relationship where the woman is considerable older than the man, but looks a whole lot younger in appearance than the man. ( not by any cosmetic surgery but just that God made her youthful)

  3. Erlin-960021 October 14, 2014 Reply

    Although I am 7 years older with my ex I was not defined as a cougar . Our relationship lasted for almost 30 yrs, it was good but not perfect like every married couples I think he was, living 30+ younger even younger to our oldest child and kept changing to younger kids. He does not see this all he knew and believed he is in “midlife crisis” I think it is still less percentage that this “cougar thing” happening here . It is very common for the older folks here marrying 40+ younger from the other country. They don’t need a wives they need a care giver.

  4. Monica-906320 August 24, 2014 Reply

    From my perspective difference in age is what I grew up with. My dad was 18 years older than my mom and they were definitely in love. I’ve never seen a marriage work and have such devotion as their’s. Kind of annoying in some ways. Because they did it all right!. And when others in our family tried to do it the traditional way, it doesn’t look or work the same.
    Does it make a difference in our society, as to which one is older, the man or the woman? Unfortunately, I think (not sure) it may. But not in all cases. Some men do like the mother image or more secure female, financially established, older woman. Which many find attractive. Also, many women work out daily, which sometimes gives them a most attractive younger, in shape figure, such as Demi, etc. Who would turn that away?
    Did my dad creep some people out? Maybe, or I think some men were jealous.
    I can only comment on what I lived, my parents were crazy in love!

  5. Joan-461057 March 24, 2013 Reply

    I think the author focused on the dysfunctional sexual aspects of either sex choosing people outside their age range rather than on the emotional. I have been approached too often by men more than 10 years younger and each of their particular issues was only too obvious; the ones who thinkg older women will easy marks financially and those who think older women will be easy marks sexually are easy to spot. Those less easy are nice guys, who are looking for a Mama to baby and care for them. They want someone to tell them where to go, what to do and how to act. Mostly they are insecure and emotionally lazy and want to be parented along with their sex. If there are older women who enjoy this kind of control, they can often team up and have a great relationship. Of course the reverse is also true and has been true through the ages, but we all accept it as normal! More, perhaps most, May/December with the man older is also based on a mutual dependant/control emotional basis, and most of us see this as perfectly natural. Only when its reversed do we question. In truth we all fill out our profiles with our preferences. We dont question wanting a woman who cooks, or a man who can fix things. Why should we question why a particular person wants a particular age in a partner? We should if it is a clue to predatory behavior. Otherwise, its just a preference. Although in my particular case it creeps me out, only because a. it makes me suspicious of motives and b. I raised many children and dont want to raise anymore.

  6. Delane-935580 March 21, 2013 Reply

    I was married to a woman ,11 yrs older than me,for 10 yrs. My drinking ruined my marriage,happy to say I’ve been sober for 16 yrs. Now!!!! I lost the love of my life.

  7. Dave-146273 January 29, 2013 Reply

    Great article, funny and true! It’s an appeal to the Secular lifestyle and one that we must be wary of.
    I agree with Justins comments!

  8. Jaime-556629 January 29, 2013 Reply

    I am attracted to older women but Mary has a point espically in the kid part and many dont and probaly dont want anymore kids but she is right on a lot things but man I like younger women too I try to keep it in a 5 or 7 year difference

  9. Joe-520090 January 29, 2013 Reply

    Being the youngest in my immediate family, I could not date a woman older than me. Just one time in my life, I would like to have a family and I would like to be the oldest one. The song “Older Women Make Good Lovers”, not true to everyone.

  10. Patrick-341178 January 28, 2013 Reply

    It is interesting that this author felt the need to post such an article on catholic match, but since she did, I will respond. For starters, I don’t think the term “cougar” is as offensive as some women make it out to be. I am sorry if Melissa finds it so, but I think it is more of lighthearted term to describe an older woman dating a much younger man. The term, milf, yes, I agree that is offensive but that is neither here nor there.

    I tend to agree more or less with what David said. When there is an age difference, even if it is the more traditional older man and younger woman, there are going to be some people who take offense. Unless these are friends or family, who really cares? We are on this site to find someone who makes us happy. If a 40 something were to meet a 20 something and they had found happiness, good for them. If people don’t like it or find it “creepy”, so be it.

    I think a more appropriate discussion on the age issue is regarding fertility. Some men 35+ date younger women mainly due to this reason. Now, I don’t think a man should date a younger woman simply because of the biological clock issue, but I can understand it.

    I know some women get really angry about this so I am always curious to read people’s thoughts – both men and women. I used to be a member of ave maria singles and the male owner of the site would admonish men who dared to date younger women.

    My feeling is mostly to each their own…..

  11. Laura-56149 January 28, 2013 Reply

    The only thing that matters is being perfectly yoked in the eyes of God. If ANY relationship is based on self pleasure and sexual gratification then it has nothing to do with God and eventually will fail.

  12. Espe-410886 January 28, 2013 Reply

    I too have the blessing or curse, of looking younger for my age and either it’s the guy twenty or twenty-five yrs. my junior asking me out or, the very aged male of which I’m neither attracted to. On the other hand, the guys my age are looking for the younger females twenty to thirty yrs. younger!

    • Terri-1150256 March 28, 2015 Reply

      Espe it is a Blessing from God to look younger and healthy for you age…
      You should thank God everyday for that Blessing.

  13. Justin-599504 January 27, 2013 Reply

    Ha! I loved it, great article… Witty and precise, a little cynical, but incredibly accurate and realistic. Cougar – hmmmfff. Another mainstream phenomenon, to distract our attention and stoke our sexual ambitions. Errrr, not really what we need afterall (: I really like the author here on this one, she’s pretty good. It’s a hilarious term though, when viewed in a humorous light, and sure, I could fall in love with a slightly/reasonable older woman if it was the real deal. (I personally think 10 years on either side is the cut off.) I agree however in regards to entertaining or dating cougars, it is not the norm and leads to trouble more often than not. It can be spiritually degrading as well, and this is not what men and woman should use their bodies for. The negative emotional results can be pretty significant. It’s a risk, lets face it, and usually not a God centered one. Best to guard against cougars, just like the ones in the real wild – with extreme caution. They have fangs, and teeth, and they have no problem making a good person into mincemeat. To them, sex and emotions are an easy game, because they have learned how to heavily seperate and divide both aspects of life. Let us also remember, there are probably many Cougar men out there. Now what would we call them? I’m thinking Coyotes. Ha, ha ~ Or better yet, who cares, in reality? It’s genuinely their own karma. Let us each worry about our own, especially if we are not involved.Then perhaps the world will elevate and change one day to more divine planes and levels. Leave the Coyotes and Cougars to their meanderings ~ Amen.

  14. Cyril-851279 January 27, 2013 Reply

    Melissa, will you raise me up please? 🙂

  15. Melissa-938097 January 27, 2013 Reply

    Thanks Jason 🙂

  16. Melissa-938097 January 27, 2013 Reply

    p.s. if I am contacted by someone that is young enough to be my son it is creepy for me. I am not interested in raising him or being his mentor. lol

  17. Melissa-938097 January 27, 2013 Reply

    While I know that you did not come up with the term, referring to any woman an animal is offensive. Because I look younger than I am, as I have gotten older the men who pursue me continue to get younger. As a 44 year old woman who has never been married and has no children should I have to settle for men my age who have been divorced twice and have children with multiple women? Sadly, this is often the case. Even on Catholic Match, many men can’t even marry in the Catholic church. Again, should I have to settle when I have waited so long for the right man? Unfortunately, I have also found that men my age or even older does not mean that they are more respectful or mature. So should I limit my options based on age (within reason) when the dating pool is already so limited? Please note that I have never preyed on anyone. If a man of any age is interested, he will pursue me not the reverse.

    • Jason-245192 January 27, 2013 Reply

      I am 40 and I don’t think any Catholic should feel the need to settle for someone who you can’t marry inside a Catholic Church. Some people may accuse you of being too picky, but I think it is better to be single than marry the wrong person.

    • David-864214 January 27, 2013 Reply

      Why would you care what others think? Why let their thoughts decide who you should date and/or marry? At the end of the conversation it is your life. Live life fully without regret. If you are comfortable with a man 10 to 15 years younger or 10 to 15+, and you have the mutual respect and love necessary for the relationship to flourish, why not?

      A very dear friend of mine is about two years older than her husband. He look older than her due to his premature gray hair. Nearly everyone that voices their opinion asks if he’s her father. On the other hand she has a very youthful appearance. She looks like she’s in her late 20s. Women that are bold enough to comment ask her if she’s his daughter. People are going to judge.

      In this society we cannot allow ourselves to be thin skinned, if we do, every comment inappropriate will annoy us until we allow society to make our decisions for us.

      I have dated women up to 20 years younger and 15 years older. Each woman brings a certain perspective of life to the table, each has an opinion that I understand and can respect. The generational differences are not that different when we live the way God desires us to live and love.

      The heart wants what it wants…don’t deny yourself for long because loneliness is everything its meant to be.

      My issue isn’t with dating older or younger women. I prefer a woman who is has a college education and is free to remarry in the Church. Of the women in my peer group, nearly all of them do not have an education nor can they marry/remarry in the Church.

      If you find a man who meets the requirements you’ve set, get to know the person first before you disregard him due to his age. Remember, age is mind over matter. If you don’t mind why should it matter.

      • Melissa-938097 January 27, 2013 Reply

        I’m not going to apologize for my skin not being thick enough. I have to have a thick skin at work, not in my personal life. I think what this author has completely missed is that many women, like myself are immediately referred to as a cougar by younger men. Not because of actions on my part but simply because they say I am older and hot. Being called a cougar is as insulting as being called a MILF. Both objectify me and other women. Both are insulting.

    • Cyril-851279 January 28, 2013 Reply

      Playing hard to get huh 😉

      • Miles-903850 January 30, 2013 Reply

        Well, when you completely delete your profile, I’d say that’s playing hard to get.

  18. JamesLucas-930749 January 27, 2013 Reply

    I’ve wondered how much older must the lady be to be classified”cougar” ? I’m thirty seven, is a woman ten years older than me a “cougar”. I find this a little insulting, for i’m no prey. I have always been attracted to older woman, but I don’t recall ever dating an older woman by this I mean signifcantly older. I won’t go out of my way to date a older woman but I wouldn’t care her age if I was attracted to her and it was mutual. Woman are beautiful in all seasons of age and love can be anywhere thank the Lord!

    • Kwaku-654846 January 27, 2013 Reply

      James, the general rule of thumb is that the woman has to be at least 8 years older, LOL.
      And it also depends on age. A 50 yo man and a 60 yo woman? Not really a cougar, in my opinion. They’re close enough in age. A 20 yo man and a 30 yo woman? Very much a cougar, maybe even creepily so.

    • Jeanne-936685 February 28, 2013 Reply

      Thank you JamesLucas. I’m 66 and it seems like all of the older gentlemen I meet act way to old for me. What am I supposed to do, dial my energy back a notch just to be considered my age?

  19. Con-888377 January 27, 2013 Reply

    Hey Cyril,
    what do you mean by, ‘Except for the “creeps me out part” part’. this “Cougar” thing in reverse the men are looked on as predatory dirty old men and not some racy Wild cat species. Many a father has both chambers of the shot gun at the ready in case ‘the sleaze alarm’ goes off in regard to his daughter. In some cases the man is charged with pedophilia when the age difference crosses the criminal line. Because the sexes are reversed it’s seen as a bit of a giggle. Unfortunately it looks like the morals of global society are shot to bits and we have the Clintons fanning the flames whilst aimlessly grinning and ramping up the sinning.

  20. Cyril-851279 January 27, 2013 Reply

    Excellent article! (except for the “creeps me out” part) 😉

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