Skip Nav
Wedding Decor
100 Ideas For a Summer Camp Wedding
55 Creative Tattoos You'll Want to Get With Your Best Friend
43 Bangin' (and Beautiful) Tattoos

Do You Find the Cougar Concept Offensive?

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?


Join The Conversation
spicyaroma spicyaroma 8 years
I don't think it's either of the above. I just find the word annoying.
SpilledCandy SpilledCandy 8 years
It is NOT a skill to look good at 40. It's called good health. Do not think that every forty-something that has a sexy look about her has made the trip to a local plastic surgeon for a lift here, a tuck there. That's just insulting. Personally, if I were not in a steady relationship, I'd be plundering every twentysomething man I could get my hot hands on. Does that make me a cougar? Who cares. Men will always have stupid, nasty names for women. I just ignore it.
le-romantique le-romantique 8 years
Oh, also, men are congratulated when theyre old and get young women... or when they have multiple sex partners... unlike women. So disgusting.
le-romantique le-romantique 8 years
Why are there SO MANY "descriptive" (or as I say, offensive) words to describe "types" of women? Maybe I'm really out of the loop, but I can't recall hearing words to describe: young guys that prey on older women? Old men that prey on younger women? "DILFs"? seriously... i hate society, it really makes me semi-sexist (especially after attending a college with a 5% female population.)
Triste3030 Triste3030 8 years
It's such an annoying word, alongside MILF!
jazzytummy jazzytummy 8 years
C'mon Chrstne.. "I just think someone who is older should look for someone who appreciates them. A 20 something will not...they want sex." Excuse me, but just because you hit 40, it doesn't mean you're ready for the rocking chair holding hands with grandpa while you knit. There are plenty of women in their 40's who are financially secure who are just looking for sex, just like you 20 year olds. Give me a break. Some of these women have had their kids, given their lives to them and their lame ex-husbands, and now are single and ready to just have fun. I can guarantee most women considered to be cougars are not dating younger men for their conversation. Not to say they can't fall in love, but a long term relationship is not the intent for most, believe me. They have already been there, and done that. And someone who is in their 20's shouldn't be looking for someone who appreciates them? Just looking for someone to f#ck? I heartily disagree, as most posts on this site are just about that...."Why won't he call after I f#cked him on the first date?" Blah, blah,blah. Also, there is nothing "insecure" or "desperate" about wanting to fulfill your sexual needs with a younger is just a preference. Please try to be less judgmental. You are obviously too young to know that you are being that way, but reread your post. Annoying as sh!t. Sorry, but your comments really rubbed me the wrong way.
sourcherry sourcherry 8 years
I think it's offensive because there's no equivalent word for men. Like Chouette4u said, men are only called something when they're muuch much older than the woman.
KateLynn2011 KateLynn2011 8 years
I agree with you Choulette4u. Men who date younger women aren't given any name that might be offensive. Although, I don't think cougar is offensive, why label it at all?
margokhal margokhal 8 years
Eh. Depending on context, "cougar" can be empowering, offensive, or descriptive. So I didn't answer the poll. Older men who prey on younger women...I'm sure they have names, like "predator", "cradle robber" [yes I know that term is *technically* for anyone who goes after younger people who are just BARELY legal, but I've heard it more with men simply because barely legal women are seen as more innocent and are more sought after than just barely legal men. Look at the age of the girls that Girls Gone Wild goes after], "dirty", "leery", "creepy"...
Chouette4u Chouette4u 8 years
If a 41-year-old woman dates a 29-year-old guy, she would be labeled a cougar. If the genders were reversed, it would just be normal, and the guy certainly wouldn't be called a "dirty old man". A dirty old man is more like a 50something guy lusting after an 18-year-old (or younger!).
Briandiesel Briandiesel 8 years
Guys get dirty old man, and women get cougars... don't think you got the bad nickname here ladies.
Chouette4u Chouette4u 8 years
I don't like it because I think it's sexist. Like Très pointed out, there is no special word for men who "prey" on younger women.
Kimpossible Kimpossible 8 years
I don't care for the term "cougar". But I love it when my husband calls me a "saucy minx" I don't mind "vixen" either.
bgorgeouss bgorgeouss 8 years
I don't see anything wrong with the term- it's not empowering, but not insulting either. I'm actually glad that the concept of older women dating younger men is out in the media through celebrity couples, TV shows, etc. Men date younger women all the time, so why is it so much worse for older women to date younger men? Agreed, older women shouldn't try acting younger than they are, or be desperate for the attention of a younger man, but if they meet a younger guy and the two fall in love, then whats the big deal?
Amanda-La Amanda-La 8 years
I think it's more empowering not that they have a name for it especially but because I guess it signifies that women over 40 are still sexually alive. It's always great for guys when they hit that mark to pick up younger women but looked down upon for women. They should have the same rights shouldn't they? If it must be called something, why not cougars? Cougars are sexy animals.
JCP0240 JCP0240 8 years
honestly i just think it is annoying.
Angela123 Angela123 8 years
I wouldnt consider 27 even close to a cougar either, and also, (I'm 24) I cannot imagine that there is much difference between the "hot bodies" of 22 year olds and 27 year olds.
Pistil Pistil 8 years
The only times I've heard it used has been in a derogatory way. When a couple of male friends had been talking about the 'cougar' trying to pick up the one friend at the bar, they made a big joke out of it. I would not consider 27 a 'cougar'.
weffie weffie 8 years
sorry i know i've blabbed on already, but i also think there's something to be said for the student-teacher aspect... when i was young, i learned most of my good bedroom tricks from the older guys i was with. now i'm training the next generation to be better lovers, and they in turn will grow up to train the next batch of girls. so before you trash them, remember that a cougar may have taught your husband that thing you like ;)
weffie weffie 8 years
meh, i don't think there's anything wrong with the word in itself. i think the image people get of the desperate, slutty mess is only being perpetuated by other women [see above] and isn't based in reality. i've been on both sides of the situ - when i was 19 or so i was into older (40ish) men, now i'm 27 and i feel like i missed out on the hot young guys back then so i'm making up for lost time with 22 year olds. my friends joke that i'm a cougar but it really doesn't offend me at all (maybe in another 15 years my opinion will change, maybe not). i know i can (and still do) pick up guys my own age too, so choosing guys with hotter, younger bodies isn't out of desperation. it wasn't a conscious transition, either. i think as i've grown up my opinions of what's sexy are ever-changing so my choice of guys reflects a moment in my life, not my lifestyle.
Smacks83 Smacks83 8 years
I called older guys who hit on younger women "wolfies" as in, the Wolf is always after Little Red (like the book...mostly,lol). I don't think there is anything wrong with a woman going after younger guys as long as its not a desperate "I swear I'm still young!!" kind of way. What would you call the young guys that go after older women? Or the young girls that go after older men (jail-bait doesn't really apply after a while)?
Spanish Words With No English Translation
English Words Commonly Used in Spanish
Romantic Words the English Language Is Missing
The Top 15 Movies With "Cougar" Characters
From Our Partners
Latest Love
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds