Why 'Cougars' & Their Younger Guys Have Nothing to Be Ashamed Of

older woman with a younger manYou've heard the jokes about "cougars." In movies and on TV, they're portrayed as much older, VERY oversexed women who prey on younger men (see: Samantha Jones on Sex and the City). And famous women who date younger men (like JLo and Madonna) can't help but be labeled cougars. But a new study shows that relationships between older women and younger men are way more common and better than we realize.

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A new article out in the Journal of Marriage and Family -- what, did you think it was going to be called MILF Weekly? -- shows that older women hook up with younger men far more often than any of us thought.

Researchers from McGill University in Canada surveyed some 1,519 sexually active women between the ages of 35 and 44. A decade ago, hitting that age frame meant you were forced to wear mom jeans and white tennis shoes, but now it's just considered aged in a good way -- like fine wine.

Sure enough, 13 percent of the women surveyed had slept with a man at least 5 years younger. Another 4.4 percent hooked up with someone more than 10 years their junior.

More from The Stir: 7 Biggest Celeb Cougars in Hollywood

It's important to note that these women weren't all bored, wealthy widows who lured pool cleaners into their mansion. Many of the women had relatively low incomes.

And in an unexpectedly sweet twist, these weren't all one-night stands. The majority of relationships lasted two YEARS. And 43 percent of the women moved in with their lovers. (And maybe, um, their lovers' college roommates?)

Interestingly, women who had been previously married were more than THREE times more likely to sleep with men ten years their junior. Maybe because they're all, "Eh. I'm done washing dishes and doing laundry. I just want to have fun."

Which brings us to OUR theory as to why cougars are actually a real thing, and men apparently love them. As you get older, you don't just get wiser but more comfortable in your own skin -- albeit with a few wrinkles and stretchmarks.

When you're in your 20s, you're still trying to figure out who you are and what you want people to think of you. By the time you hit mid-30s, you have a much better sense. And more importantly, you slowly stop giving a s*** as to what other people think.

To some younger men, that might be a refreshing change from dating a woman their age who carries a selfie stick everywhere and can't eat a meal without Instagraming it.

So kudos to all you cougars. You prove what all those teen magazines and Judy Blume books told us way back when. All you have to do to get a guy like you is: Be yourself.

 

Image via KathyDewar/iStock

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