Gloucester is the "cougar capital" of Britain as survey shows more than half of UK women want a toyboy

Gloucester is the “cougar capital” of Britain as survey shows more than half of UK women want a toyboy

Gloucester is the ‘cougar capital’ of the UK, with more women there dating younger men than anywhere else in the country, research has shown.

More than two thirds of women in the city admitted to being ‘cougars’ – older women who date toyboys.

This compares with a national average of 52 per cent, though 70 per cent admitted they had thought about having a relationship with a man who was their junior, according to a survey by social networking site Badoo.

And in true cougar style, 12 per cent of women say they actively ‘hunt’ out younger men for a fling.

Cougar: Caroline Flack (left), 32, is dating 17-year-old Harry Styles

Cougar: Caroline Flack (left), 32, is dating 17-year-old Harry Styles

The poll of 2,000 women found Aberdeen and Glasgow had the second and third largest cougar populations, with 62 per cent and 61 per cent of women saying they had dated younger men.

They were followed by: Southampton; Birmingham; Manchester; Leeds; Oxford; Swansea and Leicester.

The toyboy trend has grown in recent years and there have been some notable celebrity examples.

Gloucester: The Cotswold city is Britain

Gloucester: The Cotswold city is Britain”s cougar capital

This includes the recent and much-publicised romance between TV presenter Caroline Flack, 32 and pop poppet Harry Styles, 17, of X Factor group One Direction.

And the age gap was even larger between actors Demi Moore, 49 and Ashton Kutcher, 33, whose six-year marriage ended last month.

Jennifer Lopez and Madonna have also proved recently that age does not have to be a barrier to a younger man.

Age gap: Not all cougar couplings end well, as Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore showed earlier this year

Age gap: Not all cougar couplings end well, as Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore showed earlier this year

But it’s not just the obvious physical side of the relationship that is attractive to older women, said Badoo.

Friendship, fun and the boost to self-confidence in being seen with a younger man were all named by women as reasons why it is such an appealing option.

Social networks have also helped this trend, with women feeling more confident to make the first move online.

Over a third of women said they felt more self-assured when approaching a man online rather than face to face.