Your Cougar Dating Questions Answered
There is a lot of information out there on the internet about the world of adult dating with an age difference - but some of it can be misleading.
For example, if you look at whole Reddit threads and subreddit forums devoted to cougar dating, you might come away with the idea that there are thousands of cougars waiting around every corner to meet and date you.
And if you've been outside recently, you'll know that's not the case. Finding a mature woman to date takes persistence. It's likely you'll mess it up on the first go or two. However, we're here to share our wisdom and to help you, so that it doesn't take you quite so long to figure it all out.
We thought we'd start today by checking out what cougar search terms you've been Googling, and sharing our collective wisdom and years of experience on the topic. Let's go.
Where did the term ‘cougar’ come from?
The slang term 'cougar', meaning a (middle-aged) woman who actively seeks sexual activity and relationships out with younger men, doesn't have a clear origin.
This graph shows use of the word 'cougar' in books written in English over the 100 years preceding 2008 (the latest point Google's records have been updated to include). As you can see, there's exponential growth in the use of the word in print media, fiction and non-fiction. It's speculative but not out of the realm of possibility to say that this is contributed to by the shift of meaning in the word 'cougar' - as books moved away from being about the wilderness, such as Call of the Wild, and more about social reality, sex and relationships, such as in the work of Milan Kundera, Hanif Kureishi, John Updike and Philip Roth.
Wikipedia says that the slang originated in Canada in its usage as a casual word for a woman who dates exclusively younger men - and points to an instance in a Western Canadian newspaper as the first appearance in print media of the word in its new usage.
Since then, the term ‘cougar’ for a mature woman has enjoyed popularity, especially across the Northern Hemisphere - US and UK - but is also interchangeable with MILF and hotwife.
Where to find cougars?
The best place to find anything is online. That should be Google’s motto. Online, you can spend time considering how you want to come across; there’s less chance you’ll get flustered and say something you regret, and no chance you’ll have something in your teeth.
However, if you must go looking for cougars in real life, don’t look for them at that trendy bar you usually go to. Don’t even look for them at the not-so-trendy club, or the burger place, or anywhere that’s even slightly kind of dirty and hipsterish.
Cougars are classy. They want to feel nice. There’s a chance that, after you’re dating, a cougar will agree to come to one of your young people haunts with you, a warehouse party or a rave or something - ‘just to see what it’s like’ - but it will totally be tourism and it definitely won’t be where you’ll find her in the first place.
Cougars hang out with other cougars, at nice wine bars, if they’re going out drinking; and an even safer bet is finding them during the day, doing things that have nothing at all to do with drinking.
What is the cougar age difference
Some will tell you that a cougar has to be over 40 years old to count as a cougar. Others, that it’s anyone dating a man young enough - technically - to be her son. Some people have a more complicated mathematical formula for it - half your age, plus seven.
We say that there are no hard and fast rules about who can and can’t be a cougar, you can just tell.
You should remember that, for some women, the idea of identifying as a cougar is a real turn-off. She’d be shocked if you mentioned it to her, and it’s a good idea to proceed with caution. Sure, she’s 45, and she’s dating a 29-year-old, but if you say the world “cougar” she’ll be offended and probably won’t call again.
However, other women love the word, giggle to their friends about it, and refer to themselves playfully as ‘cougar moms’. Maybe they even get a funny mug that says it.
It’s really down to how secure the cougar lady is in her feelings and with what she wants.