What’s It Like Dating a Cougar?

“Cougar” is a term that is often tossed around as a compliment (or sometimes insult) to any older, attractive woman. Like MILF, DILF, Silver Fox, and Sugar Daddy, we know that sometimes these words don’t really mean anything more than “that person is older than me and sexually attractive.” 

However, we decided to do a little more research on the topic and have realized that the world of Cougars is real, full of unspoken rules, and incredibly interesting. If you are curious about what it is like to date a Cougar, just read on! 

Attractive cougar woman sitting by a dock in a swimsuit

First Off, What is a Cougar?

Cougars are older women who implement a specific dating tactic to attract younger men into being their partners. This is a style of dating that is often used by men in the archetypal Sugar Daddy/Sugar Baby relationship. 

These women will shower younger men with gifts, outings, and the prospect of living a high-end lifestyle and in exchange they get to date a youthful and attractive man. 

What Do Cougars Look For in a Partner?

Cougars are usually supremely confident women who know they have a lot to offer in a relationship, which is why they feel comfortable seeking a younger partner who has all the physical qualities they desire. 

We looked through cougar dating apps and blogs to gather up the most popular things cougars look for from their cubs. Here is what we learned:

  • Cougars prefer young men who are physically fit. You don’t necessarily need to be swimming in muscles, but the more fit you are the better chances you have of landing a Cougar. 
  • Cougars tend to target young men that come from less wealthy environments. This is because their money and way of life will seem more appealing than it would to someone whose same-aged dating pool is also wealthy. 
  • Cougars like younger men who don’t try to dominate the relationship. There is a power factor in the Cougar/Cub relationship, and if a Cub is too dominating they will likely be tossed to the curb. 
  • Cougars prefer their partners to be sexually adventurous. While there is a large number of Sugar Daddies that aren’t necessarily looking for a sexual partner, we have found that the vast majority of Cougars do want a sexual relationship with their Cub. 

Are There Rules for Dating a Cougar?

Cougars are all unique and may prefer different things in their Cub, but there are a few unspoken rules of dating a Cougar that we have seen repeated among many of them:

  1. Never disparage your Cougar for her age. 
  2. Don’t try to act older or more mature unless specifically requested to by your Cougar.
  3. Don’t openly discuss with the Cougar’s friends the things she gives you for your companionship. 
  4. Act gracious for the gifts your Cougar gives you, even if it isn’t your taste. 
  5. Be open to the outing preferences and date night ideas of your Cougar. 
  6. Don’t try to play hard-to-get or other emotional games. Your Cougar has been around the block and doesn’t like to waste her time. 

Where Should I Take a Cougar on a First Date?

Often, your Cougar will want to do a lot of the outing planning. She knows what she likes and where she wants to show you off. However, some Cougars do want to be shown a good time without having to plan anything. 

If you are tasked with planning a date for you and your Cougar, try out these tips:

  • Pick a Fancy Restaurant and Study the Menu Beforehand – Show her that you know about high society and can fit in on your own. 
  • Take Her Dancing – Show your Cougar that you are as proud to show her off as she is to show you off. 
  • Check Out a Learn-Along Event – Cougars are often experts in their hobbies and careers. If you take her to a wine painting event, cooking lesson, or even a pottery course, she will be invigorated by the prospect of getting to learn something new for the first time in a long time. 
  • Consider her Personality – Does she love to garden? Is she super into Astrology? Focus on the things you’ve learned about her and frame your date around that knowledge. Showing her that she means more to you than the money she spends will go a long way!

Cougar Dating FAQs

Is Cougar/Cub Dating Inappropriate?

Cougar/Cub relationships are built on trust and mutual gain between two consenting adults. In that way, the relationships are entirely appropriate. However, if you feel that you are being manipulated or you are only interested in the relationship for the money involved, the line of propriety begins to blur. 

Is it Difficult to Find a Cougar?

Nope! Thanks to modern dating and the plethora of apps and websites available to you, the only thing standing between you and finding a Cougar is how willing you are to put yourself out there. 

How do I Tell My Family About My Relationship?

You can’t force your family to accept your relationship. So, it is important to prepare yourself for the possibility that they will show displeasure or disapproval. Still, it is important to remind your family that you are an adult and capable of making your own choices when it comes to relationships. 

I am Not Attracted to Older Women, but I am Struggling Financially. Should I Date a Cougar?

Dating a Cougar only to receive money blurs the line between a relationship and being an escort. If your Cougar is okay with being with a Cub who isn’t interested in them physically or emotionally, then the decision is yours to make. However, it can be incredibly emotionally burdensome to stay in a relationship where you don’t feel any form of attraction or connection.

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Author: Matt Seymour, MSF

Matthew J. Seymour is a dating industry expert with over a decade of experience coaching singles, reviewing dating apps, and analyzing trends within the industry. Matt is a published author with his most recent work “Get More Dates: How to Master Online Dating Apps” that hit shelves in 2023. With a Masters of Science in Finance (MSF) degree from the University of Florida and extensive knowledge of the innerworkings of the online dating industry, Matt frequently serves in an advisory role to some of the largest dating apps on the market. In Matt’s current role with Healthy Framework, he leads the interview team that regularly interviews key dating industry leaders, and leverages his financial knowledge and dating app experience to review and share what singles need to know to get the most out of dating online.