Why do older women flirt with younger men? The simple answer is that they are "hot" but there are a lot of other factors that play into this phenomenon.
The Rise of the Cougar
Older women and younger men have always been around, whether it was native tribeswomen introducing younger men to the pleasures of adulthood or simply the dramatic angst of The Graduate. However, in recent decades the roles of women have changed in Western culture, and older women flirt with younger men so much that they have acquired their own nickname: the cougars.
Inspired by the idea of a carnivore hunting down prey, part of the increase in "cougars" has been due to the success of the women's equality movement. Women are making more money, finding themselves in leadership positions, and retiring wealthy at a younger age. Even those who take the traditional route of marriage and kids often find themselves divorced (for another cultural phenomenon, the "trophy wife") and still independent.
In past centuries, these women would usually be expected by society to age gracefully and alone. However, more and more women are exploring their power and freedom by going back out into the dating scene and finding attractive young men. They enjoy having the financial and emotional power that might have been absent in prior relationships. Most of these kinds of relationships are not designed to be long-term or start a family; they are simply for the enjoyment of companionship.
The Generation Gap
While cosmetics (whether applied or surgical) have kept women looking quite young, the maturity difference between a young man and an older woman can sometimes spell the end of even the most passionate relationship. Aside from different cultural tastes in music, movies, and other social pastimes, there is also often a disconnect in terms of life goals. Young men often are driven by the ambition of a career or starting a family, while older women have often already explored those options and are looking for something different. This is why many "May-December" romances between cougars and their prey often burn out fairly quickly.At the same time, there are some relationships that seem to just work. Demi Moore and Aston Kutchner were predicted to be a short-lived relationship, but have been in love for years. Ashton even made it public via Twitter, completely unself-conscious about his relationship with the much older woman.
Where Do Older Women Flirt with Younger Men?
While the number of cougars may be changing, the places where they hunt have not. Nightclubs, dance clubs and bars provide a natural habitat where eager hunter and willing prey can hang out together and socialize. These are the places that the flirtations start, whether it's a simple gaze across a crowded dance floor or a hot and sweaty salsa dance. Words aren't always necessary, and in fact they sometimes get in the way. The common joke is that "he was pretty, until he opened his mouth." These places are much more about body language, chemistry and both the woman and man being in the right mood at the right time.
Finding the best club used to rely on word of mouth, but the Information Age has made it easier. Websites such as Cougar Bars have listings by state of the bars where people seeking this kind of relationship hang out.
However, people don't even have to go out to enjoy the flirting between these older women and their younger male suitors. CougarLife is a dating website with a very social atmosphere, enabling people to browse each other's profiles, send messages, and flirt outrageously--long before they ever meet in person. Older women flirting with younger men is becoming more and more a common part of the American romantic spectrum.