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My girlfriends and I had this discussion while sitting on the beach during 4th of July. What really is a cougar? They were not quite sure, so I thought it’s time to clear it up for everyone:

Cougar – A cougar in the dating world is a woman who is in her 40’s, meaning 40-49, who is dating a man younger than herself. Usually she is dating a man in their 30’s or 20’s. If the man was only a few years younger, say she was 47 and he was 45, I don’t really think the “cougar” term applies. It’s more like an older, more experienced woman going after her prey, a younger more physically fit man.

Puma – This is a new term being thrown out there in today’s society. A Puma is a woman in her 30’s, meaning 30-39, who is dating a man in their 20’s. She is still preying after younger men, yet she has not hit her 40’s. She does not have the experience or wisdom as the Cougar, quit yet. She still has some more years of learning to do.

Lioness – I think it’s appropriate since we have Cougars and Puma’s roaming around in the jungle that we define a new category. Obviously these terms have become prevalent because of the large quantity of older women dating and marrying younger men. Times have definitely changed. I developed a new category of women who I believe are Lionesses. These are the most advanced in the animal kingdom as their wisdom; strength and beauty give them the highest ranking. These women who are in their 50’s are dating men any age younger than themselves.  Lionesses rule the dating jungle and Cougars and Pumas have much to learn from them.  


Tara Richter

Tara Richter is an Internet Dating Coach in Tampa Bay. She is the author of “The Dating Jungle Series” and an Internet TV Show Host.