"Cougar" trend of women chasing younger men a myth: study

Wed Aug 18, 2010 7:52pm EDT
 
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By Stephen Addison

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Madonna and Demi Moore may be fuelling talk of a growing trend for older women on the prowl for younger men but a study on Wednesday said the phenomenon of the "cougar" is a myth, confined to the world of celebrities.

The study of online dating, by the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff (UWIC), found men and women are still rather traditional when it comes to searching for their ideal partner.

Women generally seek an older and, therefore hopefully, wealthier man, according to the UWIC study.

Men, on the other hand, desire a young and attractive female, and often prefer a much younger partner as they themselves age.

The findings, published in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior, disputes the "cougar" phenomenon popularized in TV shows and movies like "Cougar Town" starring Courteney Cox and "Sex and the City" of women aged over 40 seeking "cubs."

Psychologist Dr Michael Dunn of UWIC's Cardiff School of Health Sciences led the study which involved analysing the age preferences of 22,000 men and women using online dating sites across 14 countries and two religious groups.

"A critically important consideration for advertisers on online dating sites appears to be the age of a potential partner," Dunn said in a statement.

He said it was a commonly held assumption that with the advent of female financial independence, women were now free to target men of any age group, as securing financial security from older, wealthier males was no longer a priority.   Continued...

 
<p>Actors Ashton Kutcher (L) and Demi Moore arrive for the "Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the World" gala in New York May 4, 2010. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson</p>