Cougars: What's age got to do with it? - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Cougars: What's age got to do with it?

By Juan Carlos Fanjul email
Posted by Rachel Leigh email

Demi Moore, 42. Ashton Kutcher, 27.

Cameron Diaz, 34. Justin Timberlake, 25

Madonna, 50. Guy Ritchie, 40.

What do these couples - past and present - have in common? They're all women who like younger men.

They are called 'cougars' - not the animal.

"A woman who dates a man who is 8 or more years younger than she is," defined Rachel Needle, sex therapist.

Count 44-year-old Sandy Oman of West Palm Beach as one of those. She likes to date them young; some guys are almost 20 years her junior.

Her roomate is 27; even though, she swears it's platonic. Sandy Oman, explained, "They're fun. They have a lot of energy; they don't have a lot of baggage."

She says it's the older guys that have the baggage. "They've had marriages and divorces, child support, and they got kind of soured."

Oman is twice divorced herself. Experts say exactly the type of woman who decides to become a cougar on the prowl.

Sex therapist and couples councilor Dr. Rachel Needle says one key factor why older women gravitate to younger men is sex. "The perception that a younger man can perform better than an older man - sometimes the case. They think the younger man can go all night."

As for the guys: "An older woman gives off the impression of having more experience."

But, Needle says, it goes further than sex. Many women just like the company without the commitment, and the younger men know what they are getting themselves into. "If a woman has family - not looking or can't have one anymore - that might be attractive, as well."

Experts say the relationship between a younger man and an older woman can be rewarding and long-lasting, so long the age divide isn't too great.

It's a societal double standard: An older man with younger woman is acceptable, yet an older women dating a younger man still can be taboo.

But, Sandy says, she doesn't care as long as you don't call her a cougar. "You are the one who has to live your life. So, if you are going to have fun, have fun. Doesn't matter how old they are, as long as there is respect on both parts, whatever."

She doesn't date younger men exclusively. In fact, she's dated plenty of men her age since her second divorce.

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