Without getting too entangled in semantics, Elite Singles resident psychologist, Salama Marine, is quick to discuss this point.“Prejudices have a tendency to stick, even if society is changing,” she says, “calling an older woman a cougar isn’t meaningless, it’s a way of defining her as a predator who’s only interested in hunting down younger prey.” For an enlightening comparison it’s worth looking at an equivalent expression for older men who hook up with younger women.What’s more, the way in which news outlets around the world, included, represented the issue is perhaps more telling of the way older women are perceived by society.
In their 2006 study, Sandra Caron, Mary Logue and Nichole Proulx interviewed eight married couples where the wife was between 10 to 17 years older than the husband.
Their findings revealed that whilst both partners were content with their relationship, they still worried about how others judged them.
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The chances are that a younger man hasn’t had the time to accumulate the emotional baggage that comes with growing old either.
In conversation, Ganahl, who’s written extensively on older woman/younger man relationships, proposes an astute plus-side: “Younger men were raised by mothers during or after the women’s movement,” she says, “therefore, many tend to be far less sexist than their fathers, and not as preoccupied with money and status.” A word of warning though: watch out for boastful boys who’re just out to get bragging rights over their mates.In the native New Yorker’s opinion, older women are routinely subject to much stricter norms when it comes to picking sexual partners. Yet it’s not all cradle snatching and oedipal gloom for older women dating younger men.“For most women, aging means a humiliating process of gradual sexual disqualification,” she scathingly wrote, “society is much more permissive about aging men.” Marine builds on Sontag’s earlier woes: “Many people are still shocked to see an older woman with a younger man,” she says, “they might think ‘what if that was my mother, or my son! In fact, research carried out last summer by Mc Gill University’s Milaine Alarie and Jason Carmichael concludes otherwise.For Marine, one of the biggest draws has a lot to do with compatibility.“When an older woman looks for a younger partner, she’s probably quite comfortable with her sexuality,” she explains, “it’s likely that she’s already been married or had children.Around about the same time cougardom exploded into the mainstream, social scientists became increasingly immersed in researching age-dissimilar couples where the woman is the older party.