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Not only did they discover that middle-aged women who’d been previously married were more likely to seek a younger mate, they also showed that older woman/younger man relationships are rarely brief flings (on average they last for 2 years).

Crucially, the Quebecois researchers disproved the ‘rich white’ cougar stereotype by demonstrating that many of these older women come from diverse ethnic backgrounds and also fall within lower income brackets.

“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.

Whilst still packed with hidden meaning, ‘sugar daddy’ isn’t nearly as derogatory as its big-cat counterpart.

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.

In search of clarity, we set out on a mission to look beyond the loaded monikers and dubious hype surrounding older woman/younger man relationships.

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

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

Also, women expressed concern over the prospect of aging and whether it would affect their partner’s attraction to them.

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