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Cougars and sugar-daddies pave the yellow brick road to Sexual Stereotypesville. While people can “understand” why an older woman might want the confidence-boost and sexual stamina that comes with the attention of a much younger man or how a rich dude having a mid-life crisis and a young, broke Fendi-addicted thang may go together like peanut-butter and crusty, old jelly, not a whole lot of thought is put into the realities of a relationship with a significant age gap. Do you have to be an aggressive jungle cat, a sweet caramel candy lollypop, or a money-hungry trollop to enjoy dating inter-generationally?
The term “cougar” feels offensive but not for a clear reason I can pinpoint. As defined on the TLC network’s episode of Strange Sex that I embarrassingly watched and surprisingly enjoyed recently, cougars are, officially, women who are at least 40 years old and date men at least eight years their junior (only eight?!). Apparently, the term also references their cougar-esque ability to hunt-and-destroy their innocent, younger prey. This is undoubtedly a perk because a straightforward come-on with no guess-work is always better than those pesky little head games us youngins are always playing.
Though not characteristically defined by their filthy richness like their sugar-daddy counterparts, cougars may be more financially stable and relaxed than greener ladies. They don’t come with the added pressure of that ol’ biological clock (though they may have already fulfilled that Darwinian mission and could have offspring that, hey, might be your age!). Taming a cougar is purrfect for those non-monogamous, commitment-phobic types as those wedding bells have probably already been rung. On the flip-side, if you do want a long-term relationship with your princess of prowess, she may no longer be into the idea of walking down the aisle, be scarred from her first attempt(s) or, if you do make it to the altar, your age difference could become more and more difficult as time goes on.
And what happens between those Pottery Barn sheets? When it comes to knocking the Urban Outfitters boots with the low-heeled, sensible office Mary Janes? Well, many tout “sexual experience” as a major perk to cougar-dating. I say it’s a strange assumption that more time on this planet directly corresponds with your number of sexual conquests or partners — I’m sure I trump many a cougar during my brief time on Earth. However, if cougars really are daring huntresses of young hunks of man-meat, then the self-confidence alone could be a major game-changer as learning to be comfortable in your sexual skin is half the course-load to becoming a sexpert.
Women tend to reach their sexual energy peak after 30 while men hit it as soon as they’re able to vote, making a cougar and her cub (the technical term, people!) a mathematical match made in some dive-bar somewhere. Your risk of an oopsie-baby is much lower but hey, you’re never too old to get herpes! Menopause could be a stumbling block but not if you communicate about pace and positioning and use Yes organic lubes which come in both oil and water formulas for extra-hydrating lubrication.
And the sugar-daddies? Perk: they’re loaded. Drawback: their penises might just not work like they used to.
Joking aside, dating/sleeping with someone of a significant age difference can be extra-rewarding because of its unique challenges. Cougars and sugar-daddies are never taken seriously while we all know that you can be in a real-deal relationship someone much younger/older than yourself. When in doubt, do a motivation check: is he dating a much younger girl to make sure he’s “still got it”? Is he dating an older woman because he’s desperately seeking stability? Wait! Are all cougars and sugar-daddies straight?!
If you are serious about this relationship, mind the age-gap but don’t let it rule your entire relationship. In the end, this isn’t a numbers game, but a compatibility game. Sure, it can be easier to find common ground when you’re both 20-something and can come together over the trials and tribulations of trying to take off another person’s skinny jeans before getting freaky (“No – pull from the ankle!”), but isn’t it a more interesting and rewarding dynamic to alternate your sex playlists between Nicki Minaj and The Beatles?
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Yana Tallon-Hicks is Unicorn Booty’s sex and relationship advice columnist. Yana currently studies Marriage & Family Therapy in the hopes of becoming the best damn queer sex therapist in the land. She received her undergrad in sexuality studies & sex education, worked as a sex educator/sales associate at sex toy shops Good Vibrations and She Bop and has had sex on the brain ever since. She geeks out about lube, practices often to achieve perfection and just wants you to have an orgasm. Yana’s sexpertise has appeared many times in the pages of the Valley Advocate and can also be found in Curve, Bitch, Autostraddle.com, and The Toast. Find her at Facebook and on Instagram @the_vspot.