'Cougar' trend of women chasing younger men a myth

'Cougar' trend of women chasing younger men a myth

The study of online dating, by the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff (UWIC), found men and women are still rather traditional when it comes to searching for their ideal partner.

Women generally seek an older and, therefore hopefully, wealthier men, according to the UWIC study.
Men, on the other hand, desire young and attractive females, and often prefer much younger partner as they themselves age. The findings, published in the journal “Evolution and Human Behavior”, disputes the “cougar” phenomenon popularised in TV shows and movies like “Cougar Town” starring Courtney Cox and “Sex and the City” of women aged over 40 seeking “cubs”.

Psychologist Dr Michael Dunn of UWIC’s Cardiff School of Health Sciences led the study which involved analysing the age preferences of 22,000 men and women using online dating sites across 14 countries and two religious groups.
He said it was a commonly held assumption that with the advent of female financial independence, women were now free to target men of any age group, as securing financial security from older, wealthier males was no longer a priority.
“The transference of female desire from relatively older men to relatively younger men, it has been argued, is reflected by the growth of the toy boy phenomenon,” he said.

Challenge assumptions
“The results of our research challenges these assumptions. Although there was some cultural variation in extremes, the results showed clearly that women across all age groups and cultures, targeted males either their own age or older.”
Dunn said a strikingly different pattern of age preferences was evident in men.
Younger men, aged 20 to 25, either targeted females their own age or marginally younger. But as males aged, they clearly expressed a preference for women increasingly younger than themselves, with this pattern also being cross-culturally consistent. Dunn added. “A wide variety of evidence has shown that women, when considering a potential long-term partner, focus more than males on cues indicative of wealth and status and these logically accumulate with age. Males conversely focus more intently on physical attractiveness cues and these are clearly correlated with the years of maximum fertility.”
A UWIC release added: “Madonna and Demi Moore are said to be influencing a whole new generation of ‘cougar’ women. “But this notion of the ‘toy-boy’ phenomenon is dispelled as a myth which only exists in the world of celebrity.”

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