puma, dating, relationship, younger man

The term ‘puma’ is tossed around a bit nowadays, and it’s not just a brand of shoe.

In 2015, the push for female autonomy is stronger than ever. Women are moving up the ranks in the workforce, fighting for a larger voice in politics, and #freethenipple has become a global phenomenon. Female fortitude seems to be at the forefront of everybody’s minds and news feeds. So why, in a society where women are clamouring loud and proud for equality, are we still uncomfortable with women dating or sleeping with younger men?

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Uncomfortable is actually the wrong word. ‘Disgusted’ is more accurate. Or ‘repulsed’. Or ‘grossed out’. All of these and more have been thrown my way when I reveal my ‘sexual preference’. Yep, I am a self-confessed puma. Not familiar with the term? According to Urban Dictionary (don’t knock it; they know their stuff), a puma is defined as: “A woman who is not quite old enough to be a cougar, but still likes to date/mate with younger men.” Pumas are aged about 26 to 34, and have a thing for guys aged 19 to 25. I know what some of you are thinking: that’s cradle snatching, weird, freaky, blah blah blah. But I’m here to ask one question – why?

Picture this. You run into this guy at a café. He’s sweet, funny, super-hot, and pays for your double shot skinny latte before he knows your name. Soon enough he asks you out. You go for a drink, things are going great, and you feel the two of you might have a real connection. BUT, he lets slip that he’s in his last year of a Bachelor of Commerce.


You do the maths… That would make him approximately – wait for it – 21. The alarm bells start to ring. You panic, and think back to every staggeringly stupid reason why this is a SERIOUSLY BAD IDEA. Men mature later, he’s not after anything serious, he’ll be inexperienced in bed, all of which tie into the patriarchal notion that men must be the dominant force in a liaison. They are the grown-up, the protector, and most importantly, the elder. And before you know it, you’ve grabbed your purse, made up some excuse about missing your friend’s 30th, and bolted out of the joint, having passed up the relationship opportunity of a lifetime.

Why are we clinging to this pre-1950’s notion? And why do we have so little faith in the competence, intelligence, and sexual prowess of men? A guy friend of mine, who is five years my junior, once told me over pad Thai that any member of the male species would give up his Xbox to be with an older woman. Even (and especially) if only for a night.

Up until then, I had been somewhat embarrassed by my penchant for a younger crowd, but that conversation (and eventual hook up) got me thinking. Why should I conform to this outdated social norm of lusting after older men, when I had a mostly untapped (no pun intended) market at my fingertips? From that day on, I ignored the shocked looks and furtive pearl-clutching. I embraced my puma-dom, and it’s fabulous.

I’m not saying that a woman should never seek a man her own age or older. If you are a lady who likes to be with an established, slightly older gentleman… Congratulations. But if you’ve finished your Masters and are still sleeping with guys in the first year of an Undergrad… well, that ain’t such a bad thing either. Give younger men a chance. But don’t expect them to pay for more than coffee. Youth Allowance can only stretch so far.

Image via Madamenoire.com