Cougar 101: A Typical ConversationEver since we started urbancougar.com in 2004, we’ve found ourselves in a perpetual conversation loop with people intrigued by the cougar lifestyle. We’re always happy to engage inquiring minds, but for the benefit of all, we thought we’d recount a typical conversation. So here goes…
Why would anyone want to be a cougar?
Because cougars are awesome.
But I thought cougars were sorta skeezy?
Yes, well, there’s this common misconception that cougars are grizzled old hags who sit at the far end of bars, drinking too much scotch, smoking too many cigarettes, just leering at any young thing that happens to walk in. Certainly there are women – and men! – who fit this description, and we like to refer to them as “grizzled old hags who sit at the end of bars, drinking too much scotch, smoking too many cigarettes, just leering at any young thing that happens to walk in.” Or, if you’re into the whole brevity thing*, simply hags. If the term cougar was synonymous with hag, women would hardly wear the tag as proudly as they do today.
Interesting. But the term implies they’re predators, doesn’t it?
Yeah, it does a little bit, and that’s probably responsible for some women taking offense to the term, when it’s really meant to be a compliment. Sure, we have some fun with this notion here on urbancougar.com, but it’s categorically false that all cougars prey on younger men. Cougars are like all women – diverse and unknowable. They come in myriad forms and have wildly varying personalities (which can, of course, change from one minute to the next). A cougar is just as likely to sit back and wait to be seduced by a young man as she is to approach him in stealth, unexpectedly pounce, and claw him into submission. Like many women, even the most aggressive of cougars enjoy being pursued, so to think of them as lonely predators fails to account for their complex humanity.
Okay, so what exactly is a cougar then?
Glad you asked. There’s a lot of confusion out there. The Urban Dictionary offers more than 50 definitions alone, a fair number of which were presumably submitted in the wee hours of the morning by some lonely drunk douchebag with mommy issues who probably hasn’t been laid in years, and certainly not by a proper cougar. We’re not sure why more people don’t ask us considering we’ve been the authority on the subject since 2004, long before this whole “cougar phenomenon” went mainstream.
It’s pretty simple: a cougar is a sophisticated, sexy older woman who generally prefers the company of a younger man. She’s a confident woman who has challenged society’s sexual double-standard, knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to get it.
That’s interesting. I always thought the term was pejorative.
Did you now? Well, it’s certainly been misconstrued as such in the past, but the term is not intended to be derogatory. It’s more a term of endearment. Now, more and more women are embracing the term cougar themselves, making it effectively synonymous with “sexy older woman.” Its connotations of sexiness, confidence, empowerment and maturity have transformed cougar from college slang into a kind of post-feminist label of girl power.
Wait. Don’t you have to date younger men to be a cougar?
Well, generally cougars do seek the pleasure of a younger man. We assume it’s because those are the only guys who can keep up with them. But, to answer your question, no, a cougar does not necessarily have to date younger men. She just has to be confident in her sexuality. Oh, and really hot. Have you seen Halle Berry?
Sounds great. How old do you have to be to be a cougar?
Was waiting for this question. It gets asked of us all the time. People commonly think a woman must meet some minimum age requirement to be called a cougar, like she must be over 35 or must be in a certain age range. It’s absurd and we want to know who started this rumor. The reality is that being a cougar is mostly about attitude. We've met plenty of cougars in our day - from sexy, vigorous 60 year olds to confident twentysomethings just coming into their own. Cougars all share this in common: they carry themselves with grace and exude sexual power. Young men are drawn to them because they wear their experience with pride and embody a sophisticated sexuality impossible to resist.
So it’s the sex. That’s why younger men like cougars?
Well, that’s a major part of it certainly. But it’s not the only attraction. It's easy to understand the appeal of a cougar to a young cub really. When most of the women young men come in contact with today aspire to be Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Heidi Montag, or some other vacuous young starlet, why would men not be drawn to a sophisticated older woman? Cougars are experienced both in life and sex, and are eager to teach. They’re uninterested in silly high-school drama. They’re worldly and self-sufficient. A strong independent woman like that is extremely sexy to anyone, but especially to a younger man.
Hold on. Cub? What’s a cub?
Well, that’s not the term we originally used. In our minds a guy’s either another of the defenseless prey or an expert cougar hunter. But cougars seem to have embraced the term “cub,” and we’re cool with it.
Yeah, we’re accommodating like that.
So what does the cougar get out of being with a younger man?
Cougars like the sex, too, obviously. You must remember that many cougars are in the prime of their sexual life. Young men are also at their sexual peak, have unusual endurance, are typically in good shape, and willing to be adventurous between the sheets. Cougars find that the about the only animal as horny as they is the young man. So often the union of cougar and cub climaxes in an explosion of fireworks and fluids.
But there is far more to the attraction than powerful sexual convergence. Women find that unlike their ex-husband or other men their age, young cubs are agreeable, open to new things and eager to please. They simply adore their cougar! And the relationships, at least initially, don’t come with any pressure or expectation. It’s just fun and refreshes their spirit. Plus, getting a little validation that their still hot never hurt. It proves they’ve still got it.
This all sounds great.
So is there some necessary age disparity in these cougar-cub relationships?
Great question. In a word, no. That isn’t to say that a meaningful difference in age is not a primary ingredient in determining what constitutes a cougar-cub relationship. It is, however, not as simple as saying the woman must be a minimum of ten or 15 years older. In truth, cougar relationships are relative. A fourteen year-old boy perceives the 18 year-old high school senior in much the same fashion as the 28 year-old cub does the 43 year-old cougar. It’s what we call the Theory of Cougartivity.
What you’re saying is that it’s a matter of perspective?
Exactly. When boys are freshman in high school, college students and even high school seniors seem old and wise, when, in fact, they are young, irresponsible, and just as prone to drinking too much Mad Dog and vomiting uncontrollably in public parks. When men reach their twenties, any older woman who has a decent job seems like some mysterious sage who has unlocked the secrets of life. And it holds for the women as well. A senior girl who takes a freshman in her embrace perceives him as a willing child she can teach and usher into a world of sex and intrigue. It doesn’t matter that she knows as much about the world and sex as a bathmat. As we get older the perceived differences in age changes with us. A few years doesn’t seem like much when we reach a certain age. But at 35, a man of 23 seems a mere boy, not unlike that 15 year-old freshman did when she was all of 18. So when we date across these imaginary boundaries of time and space in just such a fashion, we enter into the cougar contract.
Cougar contract? Sounds serious. Don’t cougars avoid relationships?
It is true that cougars approach relationships with men in a manner which challenges traditional expectations. But this is mostly an indictment of the absurdity of society’s standards of female sexuality. Cougars thankfully are not bound by the ridiculous notion that the sole purpose of engaging in a relationship is to find a man, marry him and bear his wee ones. They are instead sexually confident, in touch with their natural needs and desires, and empowered to satisfy them on their own terms. That doesn’t mean that cougars don’t often enter into long, lasting relationships with their young paramours. The recent marriages of Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher and Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon should provide proof of this enough. That said, relationships between a mature woman and younger man, as with any serious relationships, are complicated and fraught with danger. It’s important to know exactly what you’re getting into.
And what are you getting into?
Well, sometimes cubs can be clingy. They get themselves a little cougar love and it’s over. They’re smitten. But beyond that there’s the just the basic difference in their stages of life. Cougars are often divorced and have children – sometimes children that aren’t much younger than the cubs they’re dating. Those family issues are sometimes difficult for cubs to understand no matter how hard they try. And on the flip side, if things get serious, young men will want to take things forward. They’ll have the urge to get married, have children. It’s only natural. Some cougars aren’t down with that program. They’re past it. So it’s complicated. It’s like any relationship. They’re all tough no matter what the situation.
Okay, I’m down with the program. What do I do next?
Well all cougars and cubs need a little training. They need to find their style, figure out where to go and how best to mingle. Urbancougar.com gives you all the tools you’ll ever need.
Great! Would it help if I bought something from the Ubrancougar store?
It wouldn’t hurt.
* Gratuitous The Big Lebowski reference
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