Aging and sex

I’m 45 and Sleep with Younger Men, but Please Don’t Call Me a Cougar

Published: SEPTEMBER 21, 2018 | Updated: AUGUST 29, 2021
Unapologetically enjoying the company of younger partners doesn't warrant criticism, controversy or labels.

I never understood the appeal of younger men. Sure, I had a "you go girl!" moment when Demi Moore began dating Ashton Kutcher back in the day. But an age gap never spoke to me ... until I waded into that dating pool.


It wasn't intentional. A few years ago, I was matched with a 32-year-old on Tinder. Then, a 29-year-old. I spiraled into a pattern of 30-somethings. The more of these men I saw, the more I realized I'd found my dating sweet spot. To quote Madonna from 2015, "It's just what happens. Most men my age are married with children. They're not dateable. I'm a very adventurous person and I also have a crazy life."

Preach, Madge. Same here.

I Never Purposefully Sought Out Younger Men

I never purposefully sought out younger men. We'd match on whatever dating app I used for that time, flirt a bit and then meet in real life. Sometimes, they were simply curious about my non-monogamous lifestyle. Fair enough.


I dated some of these marriage-and-baby-minded guys until they found their forever partner. I was happy to have them in my life for however long our stars aligned. Others were thrilled to meet a mid-40-something unmarried woman without children. They didn't care about the aforementioned milestones.

I get it. I'm a relationship outlier.

People Continue to Call Me a Cougar

Due to my dating habits, I've repeatedly been called a cougar. That's a term I find repulsive. Cougars are defined as older women who actively (and predatorily) chase after younger men.


In most situations, younger men actively sought me out. If anything, my being a more mature woman seems to be a big turn-on for them. That's fine. It works swimmingly in some super-hot age-gap role plays. I also look much younger than my actual age. Since I don't have children, I find MILF, an equally gross term mainstreamed by the 1999 film "American Pie," equally disgusting.

A less-offensive term recently surfaced: WHIPs: Women who are Hot, Intelligent, and in their Prime. It's a step in a better direction ... but I tend to reject labeling. Life is much more interesting when you allow yourself to color outside the lines.

Attraction Varies for Everyone

Like with any partner, the reasons for attraction vary from person to person. Age was never a driving force for me. I have a high sex drive which makes 30-somethings a much better match for me as far as stamina is concerned. Their refractory period is usually shorter. Seriously, few things are hotter than a guy who is ready to go another round.


Younger guys are active, open minded and appreciate my life and my sexual experience. They tend to be established in their careers - enough so that they aren't intimidated by my success. Ditto for ambition. I'm confident and focused. I know exactly what I want out of life.

I've met many men my age (and older) who feel freaked out by strong, fiercely independent women. I don't need a Prince Charming. I need someone who is kind, playful and who can fuck like a beast. In most cases, I forget about the age gap. It feels like we're true equals. I've found that younger men tend to have their lives in far better order than men who are older. Without fail, they also have far less baggage. Some of my most mature relationships took place with men younger than me.

It's Not About Validation

I don't need a younger man to validate me ... or any man for that matter. I'm more than comfortable in my own skin. The fact that I unapologetically enjoy the company of younger men doesn't warrant criticism or commentary. It's not all that scandalous. If the tables were turned, few people would give it a second thought.


French President Emmanuel Macron, whose wife, Brigitte, is 25 years his senior, pointed out: "If I had been 20 years older than my wife, nobody would have thought for a single second that [we] couldn't be legitimately together."

These scenarios may not fit into society's so-called perception of "normal." Screw that. As long as a relationship is consensual, legal and you're happy, who cares what people think? Just, please: don't call me a cougar.

Ryn Pfeuffer

Ryn Pfeuffer is a versatile print and digital writer specializing in sex, lifestyle, and relationship topics. She got her start in the mid-90s at the Philadelphia Weekly, managing a 10-page section of the newspaper and more than 500 lonely hearts.Her professional stock skyrocketed when she started writing a saucy (and pre-Carrie-Bradshaw-era) dating advice column called “Ask Me Anything.” She appeared regularly on local radio stations and late-night TV as an expert on everything from grooming...

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