In recent years, media has done some great job to sensationalize the celebrity trend of female-older relationships, or labeled as “cougar-tomboy” romance, where females in their 40s or above date younger men. In the media settings the cougars are often portrayed as aggressive and promiscuous in manipulating less sophisticated men. Anthropologists have looked into the cougar phenomenon to uncover the cultural meaning behind this form of unconventional partnering. Mid-aged women, for reasons varying from divorce or infertility, who crave for love from men in their vibrant age, want to find dependence on a male partner while restoring the sensitivity of love and passion, though inevitably criticized as being dominant challenging the male-dominant conjugal arrangements.

With the trend of liberalized sexuality and feminism culture, along with sexual health services and technology, marriage based on romantic relationships despite age barriers has contributed to the free rights of older women to choose partners. Greater balance in heterosexual marriage has been proved by the age gap mitigating male power. Overall, expanding income sources and societal acceptance of recreational sex, along with interactive mechanisms for dating, have enabled cougar women to access younger men in the unconventional pattern of dating.

Lawton, Z., & Callister, P. (2010). Older Women-Younger Men Relationships: the Social Phenomenon of “Cougars”. A Research Note. INSTITUTE OF POLICY STUDIES, 1-24.

Three assumptions about cougars and toyboys by Lara McKenzie on February 20, 2014 in Contemporary Culture