What is a cougar?

A cougar is an older woman who is attracted to much younger men.  The term does not describe a woman of a certain age whom you find very attractive and alluring.

Therefore, in order for a woman to be a “cougar”, she must be the one making the romantic advances.

Cougar Dating - online dating; older women meet up with younger men

How old is a cougar?

The most recent studies show cougar dating is typically when a woman of 35 years or older date men that are more than eight years younger than she is.

These are the general guidelines. That being said, the specifics of when a relationship is considered cougar dating are a bit subjective.

Some cougar dating sites also have a defining age for the younger cougar. They suggest that the age a woman can ‘debut’ as a cougar, is when she reaches 30 – as long as the man she dates or the men she is attracted to, is at least seven years younger than she is.

Famous Cougar Couples

Today, a woman is a cougar if she dates or is married to a man much younger than herself.  Many famous couples are in fact cougar-couples:

  • Susan Sarandon was 42 when she dated Tim Robbins (30)
  • Demi Moore was 48 when she dated Ashton Kutcher (27)
  • Ivana Trump was 59 when she dated Rossano Rubicondi (36)
  • Rachel Hunter was 37 when she dated Jarret Stoll (24)
  • Sheryl Crowe was 41 when she dated Lance Armstrong (32)
Cougar Dating - online dating; older women meet up with younger men

Cougar Dating Sites

Age Match

Age Match was founded in 2001.  It was the first site that catered to age-related dating specializing in matching young men with older women.  Reportedly more than 4000 new members join this site every month. Age Match allows for fast registration, and incidentally also caters to older men who want to date younger women. 

Cougar Life

Cougar Life is an online dating site that sports more than half a million members.  You have to pay for a membership, but this site is renowned for how often you will actually connect and interact with women.

RELATED: Check out our full review of Cougar Life here.


The biggest plus at Cougared is speed. It will take you less than 30 seconds to register and join, and the second big plus, it is entirely free of charge.

Date A Cougar

Date A Cougar is reported to have more than 1,000,000 members and to have spectacular search functions.  Prices are upwards of  $30.00 per month, but in return, you get massive functionality and sophisticated features.

Cougar Dating - online dating; older women meet up with younger men

Date A Cougar has been around for almost ten years now.  The site is exclusively focused on cougar-dating and has a very highly rated system to filter members to ensure that all members conform and are who and what they claim to be.  You are shown when other members are online and there are excellent messaging options. 


At GoCougar you are allowed to register for free. You can go on and create your profile and start messaging with limited functionality.  The site is well-designed and visually pleasing, and you can buy a membership for less than $10.00 per month. 

Importantly, the site shares nothing. Your profile is never shared, and no traffic is forwarded from elsewhere, which ensures that the site is populated only by so-called cubs and cougars.


OlderWomenDating is a premium site where young men can look for that elusive cougar. The site is populated by young men and older women only.  The site even offers a so-called ‘Sugar Mommy’ option that introduces the cougar’s need to protect herself by providing financially for her date as a dating option.

  • The site does not provide live chat but all the profiles are reviewed manually before they are added online. 
  • The site was launched long before the advent of the cougar era, and is reputed to add more than 1000 new members every day.  Young men are referred to as cubs. 

This is nevertheless reputed as one of the best sites around. It is simple and has a great matching system

This site allows only older women and younger men and is populated with users from all over the globe.  Forums allow members to hold general conversations, allow advanced browsing, searching, and matchmaking services.  The site is reputed to have more than 800,000 members.

Cougar Dating - online dating; older women meet up with younger men

You have to buy extra credits over and above this membership fee if you want to utilize any of the features on the site. 

Some people warn against sites like these, and some suspicion has been cast on this system. Nothing prevents the website from using bots or fake responders to chase your credit purchasing power.

Famous Cougar Marriages

Though we have seen that cougar-couples are relatively rare, there are some famous people that fall into this category:

  • Hugh Jackman, famous actor is married to Deborra-Lee Jackman who is a full fifteen years older than Hugh.
  • French President Emmanuel Macron is married to Brigitte macron, who is 24 years his senior. He was 15 when she was his teacher, aged 39.

Dating a Cougar

1. Don’t stereotype her.

Clearly, not all cougars want one-night stands.  Many of these alluring older women are looking for relationships and long-term commitments with younger men. 

Many older women, just like their male counterparts, are simply attracted to younger men, and just like their male counterparts, sometimes try to compensate for the years of youth they lost during bad marriages and relationships.

Cougar Dating - online dating; older women meet up with younger men

As Freud said when he made the famous statement that “sometimes a cigar, is just a cigar,” some women are simply attracted to someone much younger, whom they can love, care and provide for, until ‘death do you apart.’

When you approach a cougar, do not stereotype her. Treat her exactly like you would treat any woman you are romantically attracted to.

2. Be your age.

A cougar is out there because she has a preference for young men.  It then follows that you have to be a young man. It would be a fatal error to try and impress the mature woman with your maturity. She is not interested in maturity, but in youthful exuberance.

Cougar Dating - online dating; older women meet up with younger men

Young men, to a cougar, are riding on the wings of high, wild wind. They are adventurous, romantic and they have less experience in flirting, dating, and relationships, while they are passionate and energetic lovers.

For all she knows, her young date is from another planet. The world she comes from has changed remarkably to the world the young man now inhabits, and she wants to go on a wild tour through your world at this point.

She is not ‘hanging-out’ at an old-age home, nor at a venue of her peers – she is where you are.

When you flirt with or date a cougar, be young!

3. Don’t play games.

These women do not play games any longer.  Cougars are experienced and have been around the block a few times, and did the roller-coaster more times than they care to remember.

The fact that she is there, displaying her cougar-soul, is a clear message that she knows exactly who she is, and what she wants. 

It is very possible that the cougar might even approach you in a social environment if you followed the steps we outlined in our previous article on how to flirt.  If this happens, you need to be clear: if you are not interested, let her know as soon as she speaks to you.

She will appreciate your candor and move on.  If you are interested, be open about your agenda. Do you want a fling, or are you looking for more? Be honest and don’t be shy.

Cougar Dating - online dating; older women meet up with younger men

Get to the point, and don’t play games. She will not stay to decipher mixed messages.

4. Be the man she wants to you to be.

This is not a mantra for superficiality. Apart from youth, here are some of the top things that a cougar may want in a young man:

  • ATTRACTIVENESS.  You have to look good when you approach a cougar. She is there because she is physically attracted to younger men, which means appearance and looks count. If you are well-dressed, and in good shape, she will be interested.
  • DRIVE. Again libido (Your life-force that includes your sex-drive) and ambition are closely related.  Ambitious and successful men normally display enormous appetites for all aspects of life. A cougar knows what became of the men of her age when they grew older. She will probably see some version of your future-self when you approach her. If you seem like a young man with a burning drive to achieve your goals, this will be attractive to her.
  • ATTENTION. Cougars crave the attention of younger men. You have to make her the center of your universe when you approach her, engage her or date her.  She needs your admiration, your desire, and your infatuation with her as an exotic, more mature woman.  The more attention you give, the more you will receive. Do not give your mobile phone and your Facebook friends any attention when you are with her.

Be the man you really aspire to be, and leave the struggling one you think you are, behind at home. Approach a cougar with dazzle and brilliance. If she rejects you, you smile and exit with youthful optimism, she will admire you for it.

5. Money Role-Reversal

She is a cougar, partly because she has achieved financial independence.  She is alone at the bar or club or met you on a cougar dating site because she is her own woman. She made it financially, and now she wants more. 

Cougar Dating - online dating; older women meet up with younger men

If you want to date a cougar, you must understand that cougars turn a young man’s world a bit upside-down and put him in the spot young women often land when dating older men.

A part of her offer to you, partly as compensation for her slight maturity, and partly to exercise her power over you, rather than the other way around, is to make her ability to provide for you in whatever manner is appropriate.

Older men dazzle young women with flashy cars and fancy meals. Prepare to be dazzled a bit by your cougar. She will often offer to pay for your meals or dates, and you have to understand that you have entered a new paradigm. 

She has the wallet now, and the designer shoes and the benefits will slowly flow towards you, rather than away from you.

Accept these gifts with great warmth, as this is part of her mating game and part of her attempt to ensnare you. The roles are now reversed.

If you are looking for a woman to impress with the size of your wallet, forget about dating a cougar. If you want a woman who enjoys providing for you and relishes the power and control that gives her over a relationship, a cougar might be a dream come true.

Cougar Dating - online dating; older women meet up with younger men

6. She knows that she’s aging.

She is much older than you are, and she knows it.  Women are not born cougars, they normally become cougars, and this takes a lot of work. They often re-emerge as cougars after failed marriages or wasted relationships.

Cougar Dating - online dating; older women meet up with younger men

These women take great care of their bodies, are in shape, and work constantly to remain in shape.  As a consequence, cougars are physically active and need to show their youthfulness in this way. 

If you ask a cougar for a dance, you are most likely to get an affirmative response, and she might dance the night away, even until you are fatigued.  Cougars will not have a place in their romantic framework for inactive or sloppy young men. She will abhor laziness and physical sloppiness.

This will be abundantly clear to you if you observe her physically. She will most likely wear tight-fitting and revealing clothes, and she will always try to be as trendy as possible.  Compliment her freely and often and flirt appreciatively when the opportunity arises. 

Cougar Dating - online dating; older women meet up with younger men

However, never ever look too closely or observe or mention the condition of her skin or the small wrinkles she is hiding behind a bit more make-up than your same-age crush uses. 

She is sensitive, and most likely considering some plastic surgery procedure, or she already had some work done on her face and skin.  Most women find that they lose the lush fullness of their lips, hence so many celebrities appear with distorted lips when they come back from surgery.   

A Word of Caution

Do not make the mistake to offer her age-centered and age-perceived compliments about her skin or body. Compliment her as a peer, never for having wonderful skin for her age or that she looks better than girls your age. This is an insult to the cougar who wants to compete with the women of your age.

Where do cougars come from?

The first time the word ‘cougar’ was used in this way was supposedly in 2005 when it appeared in printed media in Vancouver, British Columbia. 

The word was negatively loaded to refer to older women who went all out to flirt young ice hockey players into their beds and was extrapolated to describe the more modern phenomenon of older, self-sufficient single women who prowled bars and clubs looking for young men to engage with.

Cougar Dating - online dating; older women meet up with younger men

Don’t men prefer younger women?

There is a different standard for men and women when it comes to age-related dating. The most likely reason for this is found in evolutionary biology – men are more driven by looks, while women are more often attracted to men who are strong, settled, and successful.


Historically most cultures encourage older men to date younger women, but not vice versa.  As long ago as 1880,  society already grappled with finding some benchmark for age-related dating, and they ended up with the classic old rule of thumb called the seven-year rule.

According to this rule, a man should always try to find a wife whose age is half his own, plus seven years.

Cougar Dating - online dating; older women meet up with younger men


This disparity still holds. If you study the most recent age differences for married couples as disclosed by the US Current Population Survey, you will find the following results:

Age Difference (by the numbers)

  • Where there is an age difference of 10-14 years, 4.8% have older husbands, and only 1% have older wives.
  • Where there is an age difference of 6-9 years, 11.6% have older husbands and only 2.7% have older wives.
  • Where there is an age difference of 4-5 years, 13.3% have older husbands and only 3.3% have older wives.
  • Where there is an age difference of 2-3 years, 2.4% have older husbands and only 6.5% have older wives.
  • Where there is an age difference of 0-1 years, 33.2% have older husbands and 33.2% have older wives- an even match.

Men are five times more likely to marry women ten years younger than themselves, while women conversely are 80% less likely to marry a man when she is ten years older than he is.

Cougars are very, very rare and should be cherished.