Cougar Characteristics

The popular label of the cougar is just a heterosexual black or white unmarried girl between the many years of 35 and 55. She keeps a youthful appearance that is physical either by workout, cosmetic makeup products, plastic surgery, or a mixture of these. She actually is comparatively wealthy, or at the very least economically separate, and she expresses her sex by publicly pursuing more youthful males for casual relationships or encounters that are sexual. She does therefore, she states, because she wants somebody whom both appreciates and will satisfy an intimately assertive and economically independent girl.

That label additionally implies that cougars can be interested in enjoyable, short-term intimate liaisons. In the time that is same these are typically regarded as ladies who make an effort to match strict, ageist conceptions of feminine beauty, in other words. Maintaining a youthful appearance and slimness well into center age.


Sociologist Milaine Alarie compiled data on her behalf 2018 doctorate thesis in the topic of relationships defined by older females and more youthful males. She unearthed that general, and merely such as days gone by, females typically marry guys that are somewhat over the age of they have been. In 2016, the U.S. Census stated that females had been more than their husbands by four years or higher in mere 7.9% of marriages, and also by a decade in just 1.7% of marriages. By comparison, guys are avove the age of their spouses by four years or even more in 31.8% of marriages, and also by ten years in 7.4per cent of marriages. Canadian data are similar.

With regards to nonpermanent relationships, nevertheless, Alarie cites a nationwide Survey of Family Growth that found that in 2002, at the least 13percent of females when you look at the U.S. Many years 35 to 44 had had intercourse at least one time with a person who had been at the least 5 years more youthful, and 5% with a person who was significantly more than ten years more youthful. A 3rd associated with the ladies stated they had had intercourse with a guy who had been more than these were by five years, and 14% at the least ten years older.

Therefore, both in marriages and relationships that are nonpermanent the trend is the fact that guys are generally avove the age of their feminine counterparts. Though ladies are often more youthful than their partners—entering “cougar” territory—, it really is much more likely that they’ll be engaged having a more youthful guy in a relationship that is nonpermanent in place of a wedding.

Social Norms plus the Cougar

Alarie proposes that negative reactions to cougar relationships are incredibly strong since they violate long-standing norms that are social. As an example, there was an assumption in Western tradition that men value youth and beauty in someone, while women value financial security. Guys are also understood to possess more powerful intercourse drives than ladies as they are likely to result in the very first contact, while women can be motivated to attend passively for males to select them. Finally, there is the basic indisputable fact that older women can be anticipated to be asexual. Cougar behavior turns most of these norms on the minds.

In Alarie’s qualitative research of 59 ladies who had took part in cougar relationships, outcomes indicated that ladies had different experiences of social norms dependent on how old they are. For instance, older females had been less inclined to be suffering from the social discourse about cougar relationships, had been less preoccupied than more youthful females had been how long the relationship would endure, and were less focused on whether or not they would lose out on having young ones or losing their lovers while they proceeded to age.

Is ‘Cougar’ a Derogatory Term?

This is for the term “cougar” seems to alter because of the presenter. Regarding the good side, cougars are connected with gender equality, an outgrowth associated with the sexual revolution, as well as the option of dependable contraceptives, which may have offered ladies more freedom when choosing somebody. They’re also an explicit representation that sex is certainly not fundamentally associated with childbearing. More over, a rise in status, training, and income ensures that a lady can establish by by herself while the more effective celebration in a relationship (should an unequal power dynamic chat ave be desired by both lovers).

Nevertheless, there is certainly a considerable undertone that is negative within the news, specially on web sites such as for instance and Urban Dictionary, where cougars tend to be referred to as “desperately aggressive” or “desperately clinging to youth. ” Studies reveal that ladies generally believe such behavior is eventually dangerous for the males, by themselves, or both. Cougars are seen as predators of unwary males or victims for the imperative that is cultural find value within their appearance.

Benefits and Drawbacks

There are many and varied reasons why females might elect to come into relationships giving them the “cougar” label. She may be less inclined to need certainly to fundamentally support her partner (physically or emotionally) within their years that are final their wellness decreases, but would prefer to be taken care of herself. Ladies nevertheless do real time longer than males, therefore it might be a logical option to pick a more youthful partner. Females additionally say that more youthful males appreciate their independence that is financial need for sex, and their freedom from stereotypes.

However the disadvantages are severe: there is certainly a stigma that is social and males are usually pressured by people they know and family members to get somebody more youthful. Some research shows that can also lead to conflict in a cougar relationship, women are not likely to want (more) children when their partner does, and while many men say that their partner’s higher income is a benefit.