We're not huge fans of the word cougar — used, for the most part, to try to humiliate women who date younger men (their "prey," known as cubs). But for better or worse, it's in the lexicon, which means that the idea that older women can still be sexy — and sexual — is out there, too. The following group of films shows that the cougar's been around in popular culture for a while, that cougar/cub desire is a two-way street, and that these couplings can be good, bad, or downright scary.
I'm no scientist, but with a 60-year age difference, it's possible Hugh Hefner's fiancée, Crystal Harris, has a serious case of gerontophilia — a sexual attraction to someone much older than you. It's been in the spotlight lately with the Night Stalker case, since he sexually assaulted elderly women and has been labeled with the paraphilia. A Slate article today examines this atypical attraction, so if you're curious about this granny- and pa-loving condition, here are seven things you may not know about gerontophilia:
- The origin of the attraction could have less to do with an Oedipal complex and more to do with an early sexual experience that created an "erotic fixation."
- Not to be confused with "cougars," the sexual "target" should be 60 and older.
- Without scientific proof to back it (and questionably motivated examples like Anna Nicole Smith), it's possible female gerontophiles don't actually exist.
- Because there aren't criminal repercussions for being involved with an elderly person (unlike with children), it flies under the radar. So it hasn't been as scientifically explored as other sexual age orientations.
- Even gerontophilia has niche dating sites, such as nannydate.co.uk and silverdaddies.com (NSFW).
- In the UK, approximately two to seven percent of all rape victims are over 60 years old.
- Some believe there's a connection between pedophilia and gerontophilia: a phobia of pubic hair.
"I certainly love the idea of being in love, and I love the idea of companionship. Whatever happens next in terms of romance and partners, I don’t know. But it’s exhilarating and terrifying. I think the point is just keep moving, and to just say yes to life."
— Susan Sarandon, 63, tells Entertainment Weekly she's making the most of her newly single status following a breakup with longtime partner, Tim Robbins. Another insight? Susan, who is currently linked to her 31-year-old business partner, loves being called a cougar.
Just last week, we here at TrèsSugar said there should be a word for the male equivalent of cougar. Ask and you shall receive! Amy Poehler and Rachel Dratch coined a phrase in the December/January issue of Bust, and that phrase is "gray balls."
It's pretty much self-explanatory, but let's define it as men of certain age who prefer women who are nowhere near their age. Now, dear readers, examples?!
Should Max Shuman of Virginia Beach, VA, want to file a sexual harassment charge against Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? guest host Meredith Vieira, he will have no trouble providing documentation to the authorities.
Unbeknownst to him, the young (and yes, incredibly hot) Navy pilot walked into a cougar's den of lust and inappropriate comments. You can actually watch the poor guy's face change from amused to slightly afraid as it becomes clear that Meredith is not going to stop ribbing him or making horrible double entendres. Sample dialogue: when the clearly rigged question "The childhood prank known as a wet willie involves putting a wet finger in someone's what?" comes up, Meredith says, "Anywhere you want to put it, Max." And that is but one example!
Down, Meredith, down!
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Author Candace Bushnell might be married to a man 10 years her junior, but don't call her a cougar. In an op-ed out tomorrow in More Magazine, the Sex and the City writer laments the fact that women who break out of traditional roles are then labeled with a derogatory term. We have "ballbuster" female CEOs, "bitchy" politicians, and alas, "cougars."
Candace believes that people who use the term cougar are simply ignorant of the real appeal of dating younger men. Or maybe they're just jealous. Candace writes:
What I have yet to see is a real woman choose a younger man because he spent six hours a day at the gym trying to sculpt his abs. The fact that a man is open to being with an older woman suggests that he doesn't give a hang what other people think of him. More likely, he's confident, open-minded and willing to make his own rules. All of which just happen to be qualities that, much more than a great six-pack, make for a great relationship.
Do you agree that dating younger makes for a good relationship?
Unless you live under a rock, you know that "cougar" is a term for an older woman who likes to "prey" on younger men. While it can be used in a derogatory way, some older women are reclaiming the term as a way to express their virility.
On the show The Cougar, a seemingly empowered 40-year-old Stacy has her pick of the litter of men half her age, who are all competing for her attention. And on Newsweek's online magazine this week, one writer also embraces her cougar status when explaining why cougars love American Idol runner-up Adam Lambert. She writes:
I can't stop thinking about him. And neither can any of my cougar-aged friends. We love Adam, truly, madly, deeply, in a kind of weirdly Mrs. Robinson sexual way.
Since the article is about older women's lust for a younger man, I'm not that surprised the writer uses the term cougar. But I've definitely heard the word used to label older women expressing sexuality as aggressive, desperate, predators of men. And of course, I can't think of a term to describe older men who go after younger women — I believe we just call them. . . men.
Do you find the term cougar empowering, offensive, or just plain descriptive?
In Paris this week, John Galliano showed his Fall 2008 collection for Christian Dior. The inspiration, as reported by WWD, is a mix of Baby Jane Holzer (Warhol's first Superstar), Raquel Welch, and Anne Bancroft (as Mrs. Robinson). The three, indeed, have a similar aesthetic which include that 1960's brand of svelte cougar that lends itself nicely to a modern Dior. The Fall 08 show revealed demure retro shapes which were enlivened by bold color, exaggerated details (a ten gallon hat with prim bow at the front), and 60's era styling (which means a liberal application of hairspray and mascara). The Dior collection, shown in Paris, also referenced New York's Fall 08 trends with its short gloves and jeweled embellishments.
Photo courtesy of Bryanboy.com
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