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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.

Prompted by this shift in the demographics of modern relationships, a team of sociologists at the University of Maine set about investigating the reality of older women wedded to younger men.

After pulling data from the National Survey of Family Growth, the Canadian initiative found that approximately 13 percent of sexually active women between 35 and 44 have slept with a man at least 5 years their junior.

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.

First off, the very word ‘cougar’ is most certainly moot.

The now well-known term wasn’t a reference to the Chinese calendar; rather, it was a bordering-on-crass idiom coined to define 40-plus women with a predilection for younger gentlemen.

Although the US-based magazine reasoned that the cougar-craze was a fad destined for cultural oblivion, the article offered up an intriguing explanation for the newfound popularity of older woman/younger man relationships.

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.

You don’t need to be too imaginative to picture what the benefits of an older woman/younger man relationship might be.

If you’re struggling for ideas, there’s a slew of blogs and websites that testify to the plus sides for both women and men.

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.

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