A few weeks ago, we published a study on the cost of dating younger women. This week, our study addresses the question of Cougar and Cub couplings. A “Cougar” is generally defined as an attractive woman over 30 years old, who is dating or likes to date younger men (affectionately referred to as “Cubs”).
In recently years, TV shows such as Cougar Town and reality series “The Cougar” have led to the Cougar-boom of the past few years. For me, the realization that Cougars is a younger man’s fantasy started when Finch ended up on top of Stifler’s mother, Jeanine, on the pool table in the American Pie movie. Cougars have been rocking hot since then. Hundreds of “cougar dating” websites have surfaced all over the place to cater to this dating niche made even more popular by the likes of Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher. So is “Cougar dating” a real trend, a viable relationship configuration, or is it just a myth fueled by teenage boys who lusted over their high school teachers only to eventually grow up?
To begin understanding the Cougar Phenomenon, we start by conducting a survey which was sent out to younger male members of our websites (WhatsYourPrice.com, SeekingArrangement.com and SeekingMillionaire.com) who have shown an affinity to or preference for dating older women. The results may or may not surprise you:
Over 89% of the younger men surveyed said they like Cougars because Cougars are more sexually experienced. 72% like dating Cougars because they probably don’t have to pay for the date. 58% said they prefer Cougars because Cougars don’t come with the same commitment expectations that younger women have. 38% said they love older women because Cougars know what they want. But the most revealing answer of whether Cougar-Cub relationships are headed for trouble may be in the final question: Do you prefer to date Cougars because you do not find younger women attractive? Only 9% answered yes to this question.
To further understand why older women and younger men get together, and whether their relationships will last, we turn to the numbers on WhatsYourPrice.com. (Note: While some of you may find this study to be offensive, please understand that it is not our intention to offend. The price value of an attractive male or female in this study is calculated from over 180,000 first date offers traded between members of our website. Our study is meant only to let us understand how humans, from a sociological and quantifiable point of view, evaluate each other.)
The following is the Cougar value graph and the Cub value graph, which represents the average price of first date offers received by attractive women and attractive men based on their age:
From the chart above, we see that the perceived value of an attractive woman peaks when she reaches 25 years old, and gradually diminishes as she ages. The perceived value of an attractive man however, starts at a much lower price when he is young, peaking only when he reaches the age of 34. It appears from the value curve above that at least some stereotypes we often hear do hold some truth. For example, that female models earn the most before they turn 30. Or that men become more attractive as they age.
But no matter what some of you may read from the value curves above, it has proved a useful tool for predicting when Cougar-Cub couples get together, and when they are likely to break up. The value curves also provide clues of what types of Cougar-Cub relationships stand the best chance of surviving in the long run.
Let us take the Demi Moore – Ashton Kutcher union as an example. Demi and Ashton started dating back in 2003 when she was 40 and he was 25. The green circle on the value graphs show the value at their respective age back then. Both were valued at approximately $70. This likely means both valued each other equally, which may provide a simplistic (but scientific) explanation for why the two started dating back then. Over time, as both age, Ashton’s value has been on the rise while Demi’s have declined. Fast forward to 2011, the orange circles on the curves show Ashton’s value at approximately $158, and Demi’s value at $56, a $101 difference in Ashton’s favor. This may explain the recent rumors we read about Ashton cheating on Demi, and that their relationship may soon be over. It is also probably a coincidence that Ashton’s new mistress, Sara Leal, who is 23 years old has a value that is more closely aligned to his.
A Complex Story
The value gap between a Cougar and a Cub only explains one part of a complex story. There are of course many other reasons why Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore are headed for a breakup today. First, Ashton’s net worth has grown much more than Demi’s over the past eight years. Second, Ashton’s testosterone production is nearing its biological peak according to his age, while their relationship is nearing the seven year itch point. Finally, Ashton is near the biological clock ticking age where he is ready to start a family of his own, and unfortunately Demi is way past her baby producing phase of her life.
So, is there hope for the Cougar – Cub relationship? Of course there’s hope! In fact, there have been examples of many successful Cougar – Cub unions that have passed the test of time.
The value curves above do provide some important clues and guidance. Cougar – Cub relationships that stand the best chance of survival are those that form between an older woman and a younger man who is over the age of 35 — i.e., when the value of both are in the decline and the value gap remains a constant over time.
The fact remains that the value curves only measure the superficial methods by which us humans evaluate each other. Once two people get to know each other at a deeper level, other more influential factors come to play: true love, genuine care, real understanding, conscious commitment, and of course rational choice.
What do you think of this study?
If you are a man, what are some of the reasons you like to date Cougars?
If you are a woman, what are some of the reasons you like to date Cubs?