Q: Dear Dr. Skye: What’s with this term “cougar” — for older women who date younger men?  Why is it okay for men to date younger women, but when women date younger men, everyone’s like “Ewwwwww”? — Brenda H., Austin TX

A: There has always been a double standard when it comes to women dating younger men, but many think men dating younger women is pretty “Ewwww”, too.  😉  Such men have been called everything from lechs to Sugar Daddies to old fools.  Many believe that such situations are based more on economics — e.g., she’s a gold-digger and he’s in a mid-life crisis — than on love.  But there are people who are soulmates no matter the differences in their ages.

And the same pertains to older women and younger men. Sure, older women might be in the financial position to offer young men an extravagant life, but some of the pairings are love matches.  Why would a woman want a younger man?  Some say their attraction is based on such things as a “lack of baggage” and an enthusiastic vitality. Young men, some who call themselves “cougar hunters”, say they appreciate an older woman’s sexual confidence.

Where did the term “cougar” come from?  I’m not sure, but it appears it sprang from the idea that older women stalk and prey on younger men, which is why most women dislike the term.  But “cougar” has been used in so many TV shows and movies now, that it’s entered popular slang.  So women who enjoy dating younger men are starting to warm the term, embracing their inner cougar with pride.  😉

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