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In the native New Yorker’s opinion, older women are routinely subject to much stricter norms when it comes to picking sexual partners. Yet it’s not all cradle snatching and oedipal gloom for older women dating younger men.“For most women, aging means a humiliating process of gradual sexual disqualification,” she scathingly wrote, “society is much more permissive about aging men.” Marine builds on Sontag’s earlier woes: “Many people are still shocked to see an older woman with a younger man,” she says, “they might think ‘what if that was my mother, or my son! In fact, research carried out last summer by Mc Gill University’s Milaine Alarie and Jason Carmichael concludes otherwise.For our in-depth analysis of the cougar phenomenon, read on...

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You don’t need to be too imaginative to picture what the benefits of an older woman/younger man relationship might be.

If you’re struggling for ideas, there’s a slew of blogs and websites that testify to the plus sides for both women and men.

Without getting too entangled in semantics, Elite Singles resident psychologist, Salama Marine, is quick to discuss this point.

“Prejudices have a tendency to stick, even if society is changing,” she says, “calling an older woman a cougar isn’t meaningless, it’s a way of defining her as a predator who’s only interested in hunting down younger prey.” For an enlightening comparison it’s worth looking at an equivalent expression for older men who hook up with younger women.

Why is it still such a sensational topic and what are the perks (and pitfalls) of entering into partnership where age knows no bounds?

famously proclaimed 2009 as the year of the cougar.

According to the piece, the main driving force that brought cougars in from the wilderness was Hollywood. READ MORE: The Ultimate Guide to Dating a Single Parent Off screen, the frenzy that surrounded Demi Moore’s marriage to Ashton Kutcher, not forgetting the widely reported liaisons of stars such as Madonna, Mariah Carey and Sandra Bullock, allegedly serve as further evidence.

Nevertheless, it somehow seems precarious to start explaining away the genuine rise in older women dating younger men by skimming off examples from LA’s amorous glitterati.

In their 2006 study, Sandra Caron, Mary Logue and Nichole Proulx interviewed eight married couples where the wife was between 10 to 17 years older than the husband.

Their findings revealed that whilst both partners were content with their relationship, they still worried about how others judged them.

The chances are that a younger man hasn’t had the time to accumulate the emotional baggage that comes with growing old either.

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