The rise of the cougar: Third of British women over 40 admit they want to date a toy boy
Cougars have moved from 'marginal from mainstream' study reveals
14:10 GMT, 3 May 2012
With celebrities like Madonna, Demi Moore and Joan Collins spearheading the trend for relationships with younger men (with varying degrees of success), there has never been a better time to be a cougar.
And just like their A-list icons, a third of British women have confessed that they too would love to date a younger man.
It's not just a passion-fuelled fling they are after either. Four out of 10 of the British women surveyed confessed they are after romance, lasting love and even marriage with their toy boys.
Cougar Queen: Madonna, 53, met her 24-year old backing dancer boyfriend Brahim Zaibat at the launch party of her clothing line Material Girl
Almost half – 44 per cent – want something steady, safe and secure while 13 per cent are after a new start following a break-up.
The poll of 4,500 singles by matchmaking site PARSHIP shows women in their 40s and 50s are keen to date a man who is five years or more younger.
In 2005, similar research revealed just eight per cent considered dating a younger man.
A PARSHIP spokesperson said: 'The so-called “urban cougar” has moved from marginal to mainstream.'
Toyboy lovers: Joan Collins' husband is 32 years her junior while Demi Moore, 49 was married to Ashton Kutcher, 34 until late last year
And 40-plus women, around 20 per cent of
six million single Brits visiting dating sites each month, are
apparently proving irresistible to younger men.
A poll has discovered that women in their 40s and 50s prefer to date men five years or more younger than them
Eighteen per cent of guys under 40 said they were actively looking to meet an attractive, older woman, compared to just five per cent five years ago.
Psychiatrist and dating expert Dr Victoria Lukats said: 'Dating a much younger man has now become mainstream and acceptable.
'Perhaps this is down to the media reporting of celebrity age gap relationships, or more likely it’s due to the growth of internet dating where people realise that if they are more flexible in their search criteria, including age, they will have more potential matches.
'Internet dating also encourages people to focus on what’s really important in a relationship and for many women, their priority becomes finding a partner with whom they are compatible, irrespective of age.'
The allure of dating a younger man is not confined to the over 40s.
The thirty-somethings who stereotypically looked to an older man for a marriage proposal are now embracing this new trend.
Like actress Martine McCutcheon, 35, who is marrying musician Jack McManus, 28, in the summer, 17 per cent are looking for commitment from a younger love.
FULL SURVEY FIGURES
Age Women who would date a younger man
Age Men who would date an older woman