We’ve written about “cougars” a lot here at The Frisky, but have we actually met many in real life? Have we met any in real life? No and no. Older women who date younger men exist, of course: Demi Moore, Madonna and Susan Sarandon, as well as all the women who make their living selling cougar-themed dating books. But according to one sociologist, the widespread existence of cougars is a “media construct” that has been blown out of proportion to become a “myth.”Michael Dunn, a psychology researcher at the University of Wales Institute in Cardiff, England, analyzed the age preferences stated by over 22,000 singles on dating websites in the United States, Europe, Australia and Japan. According to Dunn’s data, women were looking for men their own age or older, while men were mostly looking for younger women.
Time magazine doubts Dunn’s professionalism, as he was quoted saying “there’s evidence to support” women’s shallowness in a different study he released last year. People who profit off “cougars,” like authors of “cougar” books and producers of “cougar” events, also disagree with the study. But Dunn sniped back, telling Australia’s Associated Press that the cougar myth could be promoted by “the ‘cougar’ or ‘toy boy’ dating agencies themselves.’
So, are “cougars” a myth? If you see any “cougars” out in the wild, let us know.