Cougar is a slang term that refers to a woman who seeks sexual relations with considerably younger men. ABC News states that these women pursue sexual relations with people more than eight years younger than they are, while The New York Times states that the women are over the age of 40 and aggressively pursue sexual relations with men in their 20s or 30s. However, the term can also refer to any female who has a male partner much younger than herself, regardless of age or age difference.
The origin of the word cougar as a slang term is debated, but it is thought to have originated in Western Canada and first appeared in print on the Canadian dating website Cougardate.com. It has also been stated to have "originated in Vancouver, British Columbia, as a put-down for older women who would go to bars and go home with whoever was left at the end of the night."
The cougar concept has been used in television shows, advertising and film. The 2007 film Cougar Club was dedicated to the subject, and in spring 2009 TV Land aired a reality show called The Cougar. The 2009 sitcom Cougar Town originally explored the difficulty and stigma of many so-called "cougars". The Graduate (1967) demonstrates that the concept is older than the term; a middle-aged married mother pursues a much younger man (21 in the film). On the soap opera Days of Our Lives, character Eve Donovan is a cougar, repeatedly sleeping with the much younger JJ Deveraux.
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- "Are More Older Women With Younger Men?". ABC News. 5 May 2005. Retrieved 24 February 2008.
- Kershaw, Sarah (14 October 2009). "Rethinking the Older Woman-Younger Man Relationship". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 September 2013.
- Conlin, Jennifer (25 May 2012). "Younger Boys More Respectful, High School Girls Say". The New York Times.
- Jen Doll. "Can a 16-Year-Old Girl Be a Cougar? Asks the New York Times". The Wire. Retrieved 14 November 2014.
- Barrett, Grant (17 October 2007). "Time for a cougar?". The Star Online. Retrieved 26 August 2009.