August 20, 2010

Do Cougars Exist?

cheerleader.jpg
she appears to be whatever age that puts her out of reach



Does modern society really want hot older women with shirtless, hairless college boys?  Time Magazine, always on the cutting edge, says no:

Michael Dunn isn't buying it. The noted psychology researcher at the University of Wales Institute in Cardiff has just released a study that he insists renders the cougar craze a "myth." After examining the age preferences expressed in 22,400 singles ads on popular dating websites in North America, Europe, Australia and Japan, he found no sizable cohort of women seeking younger men.

If that were the simple finding I could shake my head at the ignorance, but that wasn't exactly the conclusion that Dr. Dunn wanted to reach, the one which Time Magazine was fortunately too bored to discuss.

First, his results: when he looked at online dating profiles of 22k people, he found that men of all ages preferred women their age or younger; and women of all ages preferred men their age or older.   Oh.  So why is the Discussion section 5 pages long?

It's five pages long because he writes like this:

It would appear that the sex-role reversal lifestyles of the rich and famous as exemplified in the popular press, more specifically pertaining to the tendency for older females to form relationships with younger men, is in no way reflective of the desires evident in the general population. Indeed the toy boy phenomenon may be illusory, being restricted universally to an insignificant elite, as cross-culturally men and women appear to conform to strategies consistent with evolutionary hypotheses.
That's just the first sentence.  No one could read that; Time certainly didn't.  And so they missed his real "conclusions" and why they're wrong.

II.

The study appears in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior.  The whole point of this study is to show that mating is "consistent with evolutionary hypotheses. "


Contrary to the evolutionary perspective on sex differences in age preferences are theorists who posit that any sex differences that do exist do so primarily due to both sexes conforming to sociocultural expectations, economic predicaments or "arbitrary norms." By opposing or at least de-emphasising an adaptive strategies interpretation for these differences such theorists by default if not by direct advocacy subscribe to the view that age cues as attractiveness indices may indeed be more flexible cross-culturally and historically with the capacity to change periodically due to for example changing sociopolitical and/or economic conditions.
If you are reading a story in which the words "adaptive strategies interpretation" are used as a noun, then you are experiencing the linguistic equivalent of The Human Centipede:


human centipede.jpg 


One does the talking, everyone else has to eat it.

What he means to say is that there are certain people in this world (e.g. me) who thinks our "mating strategies" aren't guided by evolution but by "sociocultural expectations."  I may be all in on evolutionary theory, but not when it comes to human beings mating, not in 2010, not when the media has already decided how I'm going to talk, think, and feel.   If evolution isn't driving your decision to drink 10 cans of Diet Coke a day, how could it possibly be driving my choice of sex partner, let alone wife?  Birthing hips?  Really?



kim kardashian.jpgI'll pass




III.

Here's where he study goes wrong.


An opportunistic sample of 22,400 participants' age preferences were collected between November 2008 and January 2010... taken from each of the 14 countries and two religious groupings

That's supposed to make you feel like this is a study about human beings, i.e. evolution.  It isn't: guess what isn't one of the 14 countries?  The U.S.  Huh? 

This isn't my nationalism, it's important to the methodology. You can't attack a "social constructivist" hypothesis and leave out the very nation that is doing the constructing.  Yes, I realize that they included Canada which is technically part of Buffalo, but you can't rely on Canadians' stated dating preferences if "Take Any Offer" isn't available as one of the choices.  Damn Canucks coming down here to steal our women.  Strengthen the borders is all I'm saying.



pamela anderson.jpgyou only wish Canadian women looked like this



The use of dating website profiles is also flawed because it does not represent ordinary mating.  It's probably an oversimplification to say "they can't get laid on their own", but it is impossible to take explicitly stated-- i.e. cognitive-- preferences as reflective of instinctual preferences.  If you want to measure innate preferences maybe you can show some pictures but for God's sake, you can't ask them.  "I like a guy with a sense of humor..."  I'll self-servingly assume that's code for "heavy penis."



a-rod.jpgCameron told me he's hilarious

IV.

But the biggest problem with the study is its misunderstanding of the significance of the cougar phenomenon.

Men don't want older women; and women don't want younger men, in reality.  They do, or do not, based on the usual things men and women look for in mates.  But middle aged men fantasize that middle aged women are with young men.  The point of it isn't the age difference but the fantasy of wanton sexuality that they (the men) can't participate in.

Evolutionary theory can't explain this.  You have to turn to those media driven "sociocultural expectations" for the insights.   Quoting Marshall McLuhan: "it's way easier to masturbate to horny bitches your age, then it is to penetrate horny bitches your age."

----


http://twitter.com/thelastpsych













Comments

I thought I was safe readin... (Below threshold)

August 20, 2010 11:42 AM | Posted by Jennifer: | Reply

I thought I was safe reading the last psych without a Human Centipede reference. My breakfast doesn't look so appetizing now. Thank you, sir.

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I think for the most part, ... (Below threshold)

August 20, 2010 12:33 PM | Posted by wisegirl: | Reply

I think for the most part, people of equal attractiveness end up together regardless of age. Look around. Beautiful people mate with beautiful people. The reason male cougars don't exsist is because they wouldn't be succsessful at it. When an older woman gets together with a younger man the attraction is mutual, but when an older man lands a much younger woman I would think that the sexual attraction would be one-sided.
I once read about a study of speed daters. Women desired second dates with men of their same atrractiveness level, age etc. but the men overwhelmingly went for the women who were way out of their league in terms of looks. Perhaps women are just a little more realistic about thier own appeal.

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Dude, saying that evolution... (Below threshold)

August 20, 2010 1:03 PM | Posted by John: | Reply

Dude, saying that evolution doesn't drive mating preferences is just goofy. And I for one have been subjected to the same USA media you have, and yet somehow I have a thing for thick booty.

" If evolution isn't driving your decision to drink 10 cans of Diet Coke a day, how could it possibly be driving my choice of sex partner, let alone wife?"

This is extremely silly and you know it. You should stay in your area of expertise.

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It is simple to explain the... (Below threshold)

August 20, 2010 1:11 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

It is simple to explain the cougar phenomenon, I think.

Cougars are older women.

Cougars are looking for a lay.

Younger women are looking for a lay.

Younger women are more choosy.

My reality is that women reject me all the time.

My fantasy is about a woman who will not reject me, but whom I can reject.

Hence, I fantasize about cougars.

Hence, I only look for cougars.

Cougars don't exist as much as I want them to exist. Older hotties who just want a lay from a nerd are quite rare, but in my imagination, I think /if/ they were there, it would be a blessed release from acceptance-anxiety for me.

Young women are also very emotionally demanding. You don't do this for me, you don't do that for me, look I'm crying, where were you yesterday? Cougars, I think, will be grateful to just have me in bed.

Hence, the phenomenon of milf porn, and cougar hunting, and so on.

See any milf porn, it is all about being mothered by a woman. Much more pussylicking, for example than regular porn. A woman who, like a mom, will not reject me but will let me have sex with her, my warts and all (because she has warts (old age) too).

Cougar is a wish, not as much a reality. But becoming so. It is the same thing as men frequently approaching ugly, made-up women but not a hottie, because the hottie seems too good to let them fuck her.

The epidemic is about /me/ not being challenged in a sexual encounter. Cougars are ideal for that. Young women these days, god forbid! They are drama queens, demanding, constantly hounded by much more good looking men than me, make me spend on them, etc. etc.

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Re: Quoting Marshall McL... (Below threshold)

August 20, 2010 1:15 PM | Posted by hermitian operator: | Reply

Re: Quoting Marshall McLuhan: "it's way easier to masturbate to horny bitches your age, then it is to penetrate horny bitches your age."

McLuhan never would have said "it's way easier". See this listing of his quotes:

http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/m/marshall_mcluhan.html

You won't find the above. And it does not match his style.

P.S. Since it's crass and stupid, maybe TLP meant it's actually a TLP quote.

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I'm pretty sure you're miss... (Below threshold)

August 20, 2010 3:07 PM | Posted, in reply to hermitian operator's comment, by EH: | Reply

I'm pretty sure you're missing the forest for the trees.

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Re: "I'm pretty sure you... (Below threshold)

August 20, 2010 3:21 PM | Posted, in reply to EH's comment, by hermitian operator: | Reply

Re: "I'm pretty sure you're missing the forest for the trees.

Well no. Because the forest is so banal.

The "Cougar" phenomenon is just another sub-genre of pornography. And pornography is banal.

The fact that the phenomenon is not real is not news. TLP could have substituted Midgets for Cougars and noted the same illusions.

He should have a drink and think of something interesting to say. Let's see... Well psychiatry has morphed into a psychotropic dystopia. How about that topic?

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Wisegirl - According to a s... (Below threshold)

August 20, 2010 3:49 PM | Posted, in reply to wisegirl's comment, by brainchild: | Reply

Wisegirl - According to a study I read somewhere men are prone to seeing themselves as more attractive than they are (or at least as slimmer than they really are). Women tend to see themselves as fatter than they really are. It really does explain quite a lot about some aspects of some males behavior. Advertising is busy changing all that, the rise in male anorexia is a good indicator that it is more about being bombarded with unrealistic images than anything inherently male or female regarding body image.

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Maybe TLP meant that the me... (Below threshold)

August 20, 2010 3:55 PM | Posted, in reply to hermitian operator's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Maybe TLP meant that the medium is the massage...

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I think I date older men be... (Below threshold)

August 20, 2010 4:32 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I think I date older men because they have more realistic expectations of me than guys my own age, so I feel more able to be myself. I feel far more pressure to be _________ whatever role with guys in their early to mid 20s.

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I prefer men the same age o... (Below threshold)

August 20, 2010 5:06 PM | Posted by Iris: | Reply

I prefer men the same age or a couple of years younger than me, because men generally don't age very gracefully. I would never go for anyone 5+ years older than me.

But I'm still attracted to Terry O'Quinn.

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Obviously mating behavior i... (Below threshold)

August 20, 2010 5:08 PM | Posted by someone: | Reply

Obviously mating behavior is guided by biology. The reason why men go for young, beautiful women is because youth signifies fertility and beauty signifies health.

wisegirl: "When an older man lands a much younger woman I would think that the sexual attraction would be one-sided."

And you would think wrong.

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Do Cougars Exist?I... (Below threshold)

August 20, 2010 5:44 PM | Posted by Butterfly McDoom: | Reply

Do Cougars Exist?

I don't see why not.

Cougars are not by definition attractive. They just have to be older women out on the prowl for a younger date/lay. They've been around forever. But now they're in vogue. They just aren't the lonely old broad hitting on the hot piece of ass who comes in the door anymore. Thank you, Sex and the City; your legacy shall live on in the wrinkled bosoms of bar-hopping 40-year-olds.

Incidentally, there are plenty of aging queens sitting in gay bars hitting up the younger guys with drinks, flattery and flat-out come-ons. They've never been in vogue, but they've always had the benefit of numbers, if nothing else.

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You like Diet Coke for the ... (Below threshold)

August 20, 2010 7:51 PM | Posted by AnonyMouse: | Reply

You like Diet Coke for the same reasons a lot of men like fake boobs: because evolution can be tricked. It's called "faking fitness".

In fact Geoffrey Miller has a forthcoming book called "Faking fitness: The evolutionary origins of consumer narcissism".

Evolutionary psychology + narcissism = two great tastes that go great together.

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Not in vogue? What does tha... (Below threshold)

August 20, 2010 8:59 PM | Posted, in reply to Butterfly McDoom's comment, by David: | Reply

Not in vogue? What does that even mean? I don't know what world you live in, but "older man, young house boy" is a cliché in my part of the world due to frequency. And they're certainly not all queens, honey.

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I think it is because men a... (Below threshold)

August 20, 2010 10:23 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I think it is because men are all slightly autistic and slightly narcissistic so they don't bother to consider other's feelings/desires when interacting... or at least, it isn't as instinctual and chronic as it is for women. This results in men trying to score the best women, totally oblivious to the fact she doesn't want him at all because he is a dumpy chubby nerd who is balding with a crappy passive personality, doing boring work for a boring company with no hopes of anything better and no motivation to do better. Women don't do that as much because they are more aware of the world outside of themselves and seek an actual relationship within it.

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aug 20 1:11 - clearl... (Below threshold)

August 20, 2010 10:23 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply


aug 20 1:11 - clearly a virgin and potential rapist.

hermitian operator - won this thread. Kudos sir.


brainchild - you are describing a very small aspect of what is an overall tendency of men to have narcissistic and autistic thinking styles/traits. Not the full on pathological disorders but traits are much more common in men in general and represent a masculine brain - self centered, oblivious to the needs of others outside of himself, focused on gratifying the self / sensation and concerned with others only as objects to be used for that gratification (or obstacles in the way of gratification). Women don't think like this as often, as extremely as men do. Thus a fat dumpy nerd trying to get with a tall slim model who is waaay out of his league, not even giving a second glance to the girls more his equal. End result? Virginal and frustrated and aggressive / dangerous ala anon 20 1:11.

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"Older man, young house boy... (Below threshold)

August 21, 2010 12:51 AM | Posted, in reply to David's comment, by Butterfly McDoom: | Reply

"Older man, young house boy" is a cliché, yes. It's just not media fodder (in the US, at any rate). Yet. I don't think.

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I think you missed 20 1:11'... (Below threshold)

August 21, 2010 2:55 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Iris: | Reply

I think you missed 20 1:11's point. He/she was saying that young men are attracted to older women because they can't handle the (perceived) pressure of peer relationships. And that is probably true, at least in most cases.

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Iris, in regard to your 20 ... (Below threshold)

August 21, 2010 11:02 AM | Posted by Jack Coupal: | Reply

Iris, in regard to your 20 1:11 point,

Young men can't handle the (perceived) pressure, followed by "..that's probably true, at least in most cases."

So, you're actually claiming that perception is reality in that situation?

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If I am wrong, why are May ... (Below threshold)

August 21, 2010 11:58 AM | Posted, in reply to someone's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

If I am wrong, why are May December romances so rare outside of Hollywood. I'm not saying young women can't be attracted to much older men because Women are attracted to men they love, but it has to cultivated. It's not instantaneous like when she is walking down the street and makes eye contact with the young stud who flashes her a beautiful grin and she has to avert her gaze because the heat is too intense.

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No, I meant that it's proba... (Below threshold)

August 21, 2010 1:55 PM | Posted, in reply to Jack Coupal's comment, by Iris: | Reply

No, I meant that it's probably true in most cases that the young men that find older women a more viable option do so because these young men are insecure. They feel women of their own age have unrealistic expectations of them.

By perceived I meant that there is no real pressure, only attempts at building normal romantic relationships. Some people just can't handle that so they prefer nurture over reciprocity, availability over attainment.

This applies to some young women too of course, but since we're talking about cougars and not sugar daddies...

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Thank you for understanding... (Below threshold)

August 21, 2010 3:00 PM | Posted by Betty Fokker: | Reply

Thank you for understanding the difference between biological reductionism, evolution, and culture. Thank you. The biology/evolution-makes-us-do-whatever argument is wretchedly prevalent in the media and so little understood that most people assume it is a fact rather than a subject of scientific debate with shaky evidence in it's favor.

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Because you said that porn ... (Below threshold)

August 21, 2010 6:19 PM | Posted, in reply to hermitian operator's comment, by Goofy: | Reply

Because you said that porn is 'banal', I'm not going to believe anything you say.

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Re: "Because you said th... (Below threshold)

August 21, 2010 9:11 PM | Posted, in reply to Goofy's comment, by hermitian operator: | Reply

Re: "Because you said that porn is 'banal', I'm not going to believe anything you say."

Of course. Because your nom de plume compels you not to...

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I very much agree with wise... (Below threshold)

August 22, 2010 12:40 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

I very much agree with wisegirl in her belief that young women are not nearly as attracted to older men as older men are attracted to younger women. Duh. Younger guys are much more attractive, 20s-30s, ideal age range, after that you start to go down hill... whether male or female no one is physically their ideal after 40. A 25 year old woman is at her beauty peak, a 55 year old man has one foot in the grave.

However I disagree with her statement that a younger man with an older woman share a mutual attraction. This is ridiculous. Seeing as men retain fertility to an older age, and seeing as women are biologically driven to pair up with men for reasons other than obtaining sex for reproduction (like, for example, protection/shelter for children which may or may NOT be the biological relation to the man she is with)... considering these things it only makes sense for women to have a larger "age window" where in which men are still considered attractive. For men, the age window of female attractiveness is generally 16-35ish which mirrors reproductive capacity... for women it's a bit older 20s-50s usually, depending on her age (a woman in her mid 30s is not going to be much attracted to a baby who is 21... a woman who is 21 is usually not attracted to a 55 year old man ...)

So the idea that a young man and a old woman have a reciprocal attraction is just stupid. I am certain the young man would way rather be with a hot bodied 22 year old than some old bag who is 39 or 43 or something. Men are less choosy when it comes to sex so any heterosexual man is going to be open minded to the idea of casual sex with any reasonably attractive woman, as men are driven to reproduce with as many partners as possible, but in so far as hi PREFERENCES, who he would like to be with again, it's not going to be some old bag. If anything I would think it's more likely for a 25 year old woman to have a genuine attraction to a 50 year old man, than it is a 25 year old man to have a genuine attraction to a 45 year old woman, unless it is someone freakishly aged well like Demi Moore or something.

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i like how the women (and s... (Below threshold)

August 22, 2010 2:04 AM | Posted by randy: | Reply

i like how the women (and some of the men) come in here and tell us what kind of partners they prefer. i think y'all missed the part where he said we cannot trust what people SAY they prefer.

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Alone - the human centipede... (Below threshold)

August 22, 2010 6:52 AM | Posted by ATraveller: | Reply

Alone - the human centipede?!

You taste in films scares the crap out of me sometimes ...

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"A 25 year old woman is at ... (Below threshold)

August 22, 2010 9:09 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by someone: | Reply

"A 25 year old woman is at her beauty peak, a 55 year old man has one foot in the grave."

Most women peak much sooner than that, and I don't see any shortage of women pining after George Clooney (49).

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I also vote no on the human... (Below threshold)

August 22, 2010 12:41 PM | Posted by :[: | Reply

I also vote no on the human centipede reference. Some of us sensitive types cried for three days after merely hearing someone talk about the preview, reconsidered our views on censorship, and despite our best efforts to un-see what has been seen in our own heads it seems everyone on the internet is as stuck on the concept as you are. Your metaphor is too perfect.

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Clooney was famous like 5 y... (Below threshold)

August 22, 2010 1:20 PM | Posted, in reply to someone's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Clooney was famous like 5 years ago, just an FYI. I haven't seen him in a movie in ages. He's went downhill quite recently.

There are a few men who are "distinguished" in their 50s but that's rare, and it usually goes along with prerequisite fame and wealth. Your average mechanic doesn't qualify.

Like I said I agree men retain attractiveness to older ages, but it's simply a myth that men are hot in their 50s, most of the time that's simply not true at all (and I would point out there are also occasional women who are attractive in their 40s... heather graham is 40 and she looks 33, demi moore is another example, etc).

For every george clooney there's like 30 examples of being radically not attractive as a 49 year old man.

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I think female youth is fet... (Below threshold)

August 22, 2010 1:24 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I think female youth is fetishized by men only partially because of biological imperative. The main reason men fetishize youth is because it represents control and such, older men can control younger people (be them male or female) which the man then further associates with easy, casual sex with no strings that he is in mostly total control over... whereas sex with older partners has baggage and expectations and less capacity to manipulate.

If it were about reproduction only, explain why:
1) male porn fetishizes teenagers, when it is scientifically proven teenagers are not as fertile and often have complicated pregnancies when compared to women in their early 20s... yet men still fetishize the idea of a teenager...
2) homosexual males are also obsessed with youth/teenagers.

I'd say the "younger partner" thing correlates only partly with fertility (in both young males and young females, both are "more fertile" or "more reproductive" whatever)... the primary motivation is the concept of sex without attachment which is symbolized by the partner's youth.

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Four observations: 1. it's ... (Below threshold)

August 22, 2010 1:50 PM | Posted by David: | Reply

Four observations: 1. it's an opportunistic sampling, not a representative sampling. 2. Maybe the focus should be on women, since we're theoretically discussing "cougars." 3. If #2 is the case, then evolutionary biology and acculturation would work together. It's a male dominated science, but why wouldn't a woman seek a man with a greater ability to procreate, if survival of the genes is the driving force? And why wouldn't a woman want a man who is better able to perform sexually if she's not interested in birthing or marrying? 4. Significant age differences between partners usually involves control issues.

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I think it's quite amusing ... (Below threshold)

August 22, 2010 4:24 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

I think it's quite amusing that you think Demi Moore "aged freakishly well" rather than "had a lot of work done and did a lot of work in the gym."
I mean, really....

Maybe you believe physical attraction between a much-younger woman and older man is soooo much more likely because you aren't a woman, and are basing your opinion on something other than your own first-hand experiences and feelings of attraction.

I am not nearly as initially, physically attracted to older men as I am to younger men, but I am patient. So I wait until I have an idea who someone is before deciding if I would sleep with them. I mean, if you select your sexual partners based solely on looks, you end up with a grab-bag of everything else, including sexual prowess, which in my mind really sucks, so I wait, and then often find men in their mid to late 30s more viable as sexual partners than 23 year olds.

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I am an "older" married wom... (Below threshold)

August 22, 2010 8:13 PM | Posted by wifeandmom: | Reply

I am an "older" married woman who is not in the market. But tho I find younger men attractive to look at, I enjoy men my own age far more. Although I appreciate the bravery and energy of, say, a neighbor's kid who has enlisted in the military, I like the intelligence and having gotten-over-himself of most of the men my age.

If my spouse were to run off with a younger blonde, my pride would be hurt, but I would remind myself that a young hottie IS more physically exciting than somebody's mother. It doesn't bother me. I will always love my children and my husband for being their father. Whereas lovers? Why would you pick fast food, when you could have a gourmet meal at home, seasoned with love?

I do wonder at older men who think that the young hottie is equally excited by them. Unless she wants to sleep with a father figure (rare), chances are she's after his wallet, not his body...Young women lust after young men. They're cuter. They want healthy babies as much as men do (stats on older men and autism?)

We older women aren't the dried up old prunes our children and callow youths consider us. Companionship, shared interests, genuine affection, having weathered terrible crises and difficulties together, helping each other in work and raising kids together bind people together in good ways. Not all sex depends on danger and uncertainty.

Tame as it may sound, I make an effort to look pretty for my husband, and will probably try to til I am an old crone...He makes an equal effort. Small things like not letting oneself get fat. Staying in shape.

More germane to this discussion, I know many women who might fall into the cougar category (friends who have divorced their husbands in middle age, once the kids were launched and would not be as traumatized). In most cases because of the man's alcoholism, or abuse (physical or emotional), adultery or shady financial dealings. Of course, my sample may be skewed as most of my friends are religious, and struggled for years NOT to get divorced, believing it wrong.

The women are what would have been called trophy brides in youth, and stayed attractive. But now they are quite happy to be poor, single, and not being treated badly any more. They are not looking for a toy boy.

If my spouse died or left me, I would probably join their solitary ranks. We are not toads, and we do love men, but better to be alone than to be with the wrong person. Also, I have so many male friends at church and at work, will (hopefully) have grandchildren, and all kinds of people I love, so I doubt I would be lonely.

I see handsome men my age and older all the time, and I think what attracts us middle aged women is this: kindness, chivalry, someone who treats children and animals well, someone who cares more about his relatives than about making big bucks, someone who reads and is interested in the world, someone who is religious and who puts a lot of effort into helping others.

I know, sounds a bit like those kids' job description that Mary Poppins answered "If you want this choice position...have a cheery disposition..."

I used to work with abused kids when I was single. I fell in love with my spouse after I saw how courteously he opened the door for, and interestedly he talked to one of my pregnant teens (from the unit I was the chaplain to) when we took her out to dinner.

Of course, I'm a hopeless church mouse...Hence not signing my blog name, as I dare say my views will sound simpleminded to people who prefer bars and porn as ways to find excitement.

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It seems kind of silly to a... (Below threshold)

August 23, 2010 12:22 AM | Posted by talis umbras: | Reply

It seems kind of silly to argue which is more likely, cougar-boy toy or sugar daddy-ingenue. Both are probably the exception, though common enough so that one can readily bring an example to mind. What is going on? Well, TLP already nailed how people select mates, "They do, or do not, based on the usual things men and women look for in mates."

The thing that interests me about "cougars" is the media-created fantasy. In some ways, I imagine life imitates art. That is, the presence of the cougar idea in our cultural milieu will create cougars and men who want them. Just like Diet Coke ads sell Diet Coke, cougar media "sells" the idea of cougars.

As a younger heterosexual male, I find some older women attractive, and sometimes the cougar myth is enticing. Partly that's because I like being in relationships with strong, intelligent women. But mostly it's because you can dress a beautiful woman up in most any cultural myth and she's still attractive. Beautiful people can transcend the cultural lenses we view them through, or even shine brighter under them.

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I am 1:11.I am not... (Below threshold)

August 23, 2010 1:37 AM | Posted, in reply to Jack Coupal's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

I am 1:11.

I am not a virgin. I abhor rape.

But you are silly to disregard the high pressure of peer relationships (similar age, attractiveness) these days. They are full of expensive seduction games, constant need of affirmation and security, commitment pressure, staving off others, performance anxiety (on both sides), possessiveness (have dinner with me or you don't love me), tantrums, dramas, etc.

In short, the story of relationships with equals these days is one of high stress and stakes. If someone nerd just wants a release, he fantasizes about (or pursues) an older/uglier woman.

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This is 1:11 again. The fi... (Below threshold)

August 23, 2010 1:43 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

This is 1:11 again. The first person "I" in my first post is an imaginary youngster's I, and not me. I should have put it all in quotes.

Just saying.

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"Not all sex depends on dan... (Below threshold)

August 23, 2010 2:16 AM | Posted, in reply to wifeandmom's comment, by Zo: | Reply

"Not all sex depends on danger and uncertainty."

Okay, maybe just good sex.

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FYI, I wasn't stating prefe... (Below threshold)

August 23, 2010 2:22 AM | Posted, in reply to randy's comment, by Iris: | Reply

FYI, I wasn't stating preference in my first comment. It was just a quick note on the complexity of human interactions, and a nod to the article.

Terry O'Quinn was a nod to the caption. I consider him to be out of reach for the same reason a 50-year-old man would consider the cheerleader to be out of reach. "Yeah, I'd hit that." Right then it doesn't matter that society thinks nailing someone half your age is an epic win while nailing someone twice your age means you have mental problems.

If you conduct a test that measures innate preferences by showing pictures, how do you interpret the results? If you show me a picture of a 29-year-old man with dirty hair and a bad posture, next to a Lost screencap, guess which I'm going to pick? But for what purpose? Flirting, casual sex or life-long partnership? If I was specifically instructed to pick a husband, I should be able to opt out both.

OkCupid recently did something like that. The result? If you want to score, buy an iPhone and turn off the camera flash.

On a final note, I initially set my profile's height preference to 5'2-5'9. Once I had processed the notion that taller men are generally well-hung, I changed the upper limit.

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I agree.Real life ... (Below threshold)

August 23, 2010 3:56 AM | Posted, in reply to wifeandmom's comment, by Riseabove: | Reply

I agree.

Real life is so much more than the simplicity of porn, cougars and the shallowness of appearances. There so many bitter and unnecessarily cynical comments on here.

I may not be an older woman, but my husband was still just as attracted to me while I was 9 months pregnant and even now that I still have a pretty soft body. One might say it's possible he is faking his enthusiasm a bit but that's not the point. He loves me enough to fake it (if he is). You need to put forth some effort to stay enthusiastic about each other and as mentioned try to stay fit etc...

Women are so quick to hate on men for being "shallow bastards" but the fact is there are plenty of good men out there who don't view women as just pieces of meat. As well as plenty of idiotic older women who fantasize about "Edwards and Jacobs... ZOMG!" as if it isn't just as questionable as older men lusting on girls their teen daughter's age.

I'm sure there are moments that perhaps older couples look at each other and reminisce about their lost youth. But what is that compared to a lifetime of love, commitment and sacrifice for each other? When you truly respect your partner and believe in the sanctity of your marriage, growing old together seems like a privilege. I think to myself that: I hope we are lucky enough to reach old age and experience as much as we can. Some people aren't that lucky! Your husband is in the military, he gets sent to Afghanistan and gets killed and you are left to face everyday thereafter without him.

Satisfaction needs to be attained from real and deep relationships. Unrealistic, hedonistic fantasies and expectations about the people around you are not only going to keep you miserable but seriously hinder your quality of life in all respects.

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I agree that young men pref... (Below threshold)

August 23, 2010 8:33 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by wisegirl: | Reply

I agree that young men prefer young women but sometimes they persue older women for sex as well. They must be turned on by her or they wouldn't go for it and that is what I meant by a mutual attraction.

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"Clooney was famous like 5 ... (Below threshold)

August 23, 2010 11:23 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by someone: | Reply

"Clooney was famous like 5 years ago, just an FYI. I haven't seen him in a movie in ages. He's went downhill quite recently."

Haha. Nice try.

"There are a few men who are "distinguished" in their 50s but that's rare, and it usually goes along with prerequisite fame and wealth. Your average mechanic doesn't qualify."

The reason why they've got women chasing after them is precisely because of their fame, wealth and status. That's what women care about. Just because men care deeply about appearance doesn't mean that women do too. Women != men.

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Someone, are you a woman, b... (Below threshold)

August 23, 2010 2:14 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Someone, are you a woman, because you sure are certain of what "women" think and care about.

You seem to be suggesting that men only care about appearance and women only care about wealth fame and status. Which is incredibly irrational.

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Because it ain't good sex i... (Below threshold)

August 23, 2010 7:06 PM | Posted, in reply to Zo's comment, by Z. Constantine: | Reply

Because it ain't good sex if you know it's not AIDS sex!

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I am a cougar, I guess, my ... (Below threshold)

August 23, 2010 9:40 PM | Posted by Paula: | Reply

I am a cougar, I guess, my husband is 13 yrs younger than I am. I do look 10 yrs younger-genetics-but we had mad chemistry and I was thinking he would just be fun.
I have had a few younger men for a couple yrs at a time.
I dated older guys when I was in my 20’s as guys my age were RETARDED.
We have the same humor-he saw the human centipede. He said it was horrible, but his work mates had to see it-it’s their business. So, there’s that.
Anyway- turned out he was raised spectacularly-with a loving father and strong-feminist mother. We do not want children-so, that was not an issue. I think children drive most age preferences-dating wise. Older guys have a career; younger women can get knocked up. Simple.
I feel incredibly lucky to have found love with the right man for me. Niether of us do not care about what others think-in the healthy way-not the narsistic way.

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Reading this one made my mo... (Below threshold)

August 24, 2010 10:29 AM | Posted by David Buchner: | Reply

Reading this one made my morning — thanks. Hilarious, and sneakily insightful. Also, making fun of Canada is always a plus.

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Am I the only one that thin... (Below threshold)

August 24, 2010 12:51 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Am I the only one that thinks this post dovetails nicely with your previous one? I agree with your take on Researcher Dunn and wonder that a journal of Evolution and Human Behavior should even exist. He's missing the forest for missing the trees. But where I disagree with you and (maybe?) with him is that I think much of what is sociocultural is probably ultimately biological, at the level of the population, not the individual, and thus plays its role in evolution. And in the case of cougars/cubs my theory is that you would find them whenever a population is dealing with a huge population problem, along with reproductive "choice" & economic opportunity for women (i.e. socially accepted mechanisms to not to have as many babies as you can pop out), perpetual youth in men, financial disasters & lots of war-making, depression & narcissism, etc. And we're in about the best time we could possibly be for testing my theory - coping with a huge aging baby boom that has a stranglehold on everything from our economy to our porn, as it has since it began.

So what effect do cougar/cub pairings have? They act to delay the age of reproduction making wider spacing between generations, and fewer offspring in total. To what end? I don't know. Notable that we saw them as a sociocultural phenomenon when the boomers were coming of age (Mrs. Robinson & Maggie May) & when the women at the tail-end became "overripe" (me, lots of my friends). The difference in the attitudes in the womens' & mens' diagrams in the wineglass-stem post would have the effect of spacing generations & taking people - willingly - out of the gene pool, too. And that's what is equally interesting to me, as a layperson, how sociocultural attitudes cause/permit folks to opt out of reproduction all together. What evolutionary benefit is there to that?

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I've always thought that a ... (Below threshold)

August 24, 2010 1:30 PM | Posted by Jake: | Reply

I've always thought that a large part of the cougar/milf appeal was that the fantasy is they're simply out for lustful sex. With the fantasy of a younger girl, they may want sex for all different kinds of reasons: money, status, to get what they want, etc. But the fantasy of the cougar/milf, is that they want a youthful, virile sex object and nothing more. So the man indulging in this fantasy gets to see himself as a purely sexual, virile being instead of maybe just some guy holding a wallet.

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"Someone, are you a woman, ... (Below threshold)

August 25, 2010 4:14 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by someone: | Reply

"Someone, are you a woman, because you sure are certain of what "women" think and care about.

You seem to be suggesting that men only care about appearance and women only care about wealth fame and status. Which is incredibly irrational."

The joke is that you're the one who comes across as a woman (not sure what relevance that's supposed to have), since you can't figure out generalizations... which is more common in women than men.

Men care a lot about appearance, and women care far less, often almost not at all. That's how it is, so deal with it.

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Dude, fix your typos :)... (Below threshold)

August 25, 2010 10:27 AM | Posted by Themis: | Reply

Dude, fix your typos :)

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Women care about and choose... (Below threshold)

August 25, 2010 10:45 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Women care about and choose according to appearance too. On the biological level we care, we just have different preferences during different parts of our hormonal cycle. On a social level women care too, particularly women brought up with TV/commercial ideals. And not all men care about appearances in a narcissistic way. Plenty of guys seem happy just to hook up and actually have a girlfriend (and regular sex). Really, it's less about men vs women and more about narcissism - as Alone seems to be pointing out repeatedly. He doesn't seem any more sympathetic to men than women from my perspective, or to indulge one more than the other.

Clearly there are men who fantasize about older women, it's not just a marketing campaign and has been going on for quite a long time. What's attractive about older women? Sexual and life experience that makes them comfortable in their own skin, the potential for sex without emotional games, etc. It's not a bad thing really, particularly if the older woman is actually teaching sexual skills (and doing a favour for other women or girls the guy sleeps with). Humans have sex for many reasons outside of procreation, people hung up on simplistic ideas about evolutionary biology (often based on lingering faux Darwinian biases that have more to do with religion than what is actually proposed in evolutionary theory...for instance, "survival of the fittest" doesn't actually mean the biggest asshole or most muscular/violent is actually the most "fit"...many bogus economic "theories", the realm of much magical thinking and pseudoscience, are based on these bastardized faux Darwinian, but quite popular, ideas.)

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"Really, it's less about me... (Below threshold)

August 25, 2010 1:15 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by someon: | Reply

"Really, it's less about men vs women and more about narcissism."

TLP's narcissism meme has got nothing to do with it. It's this simple: in general, women don't care that much about appearance whereas men do. That's how things are, whether you like it or not.

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"the primary motivation is ... (Below threshold)

August 25, 2010 4:17 PM | Posted by rox: | Reply

"the primary motivation is the concept of sex without attachment which is symbolized by the partner's youth."

It's not just sex without attachment, it's sex in whatever way the older partner wants. Meaning, that might mean a casual encounter, or it might mean a long term relationship where the older is in charge of the power dynamic. Of course, it's not only age that determines who is in charge of the power dynamic. I imagine there are some hot young women who know how to make an old cook do whatever they want.

But on average, most females I know that hook up with older guys are in for trouble. (Read stats- high pregnancy rate, high abuse rate, high failure to use birth control rate associated with teen females dating men two years or more older)

I think it has to do with wanting to posses and control another human when you're looking at older guys that lust for the sweet young things, someone they can do dirty things to and will feel powerless to stop them...

Whereas with men looking at an older woman it seems like a totally different dynamic.

I don't get the cougar thing, but to each his/her own. I like older men. I like the protective nature, and yeah even the possesive nature... I will say no more or you will deduce of my many many issues...

Wifeandmom, everything you said was awesome and you sound like a truly wonderful human being. What's your blog? I'll forgive your religiousness if you forgive my agnosticism. : )

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PS--- wifeandmom-- don't re... (Below threshold)

August 25, 2010 4:20 PM | Posted by rox: | Reply

PS--- wifeandmom-- don't really share your blog here... these folks'll chew you up and eat you for breakfast!

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How can you say that if you... (Below threshold)

August 25, 2010 10:54 PM | Posted, in reply to someon's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

How can you say that if you are not even a woman and clearly do not know any women?

Do you realize how fucking stupid it is to believe women are not sexually - physically - attracted to men? Really , do you think that? Stop watching television, in real life, men and women both care about appearance. Men may put more weight on appearance than women do, but this is proportional to the fact that men are more interested in casual sex. Women interested in casual sex (it does happen, omgz) are taking appearance into account just as much as men.

You are SO sounding like an isolated fat virginal loser right now who's world view comes from porn and sitcoms where it is frequently found that very attractive women are paired with fat old men, which by the way doesn't happen IRL.

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Your whole life experience ... (Below threshold)

August 25, 2010 10:59 PM | Posted, in reply to someone's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Your whole life experience is so clearly from porn and sitcoms, it's beyond obvious. If you really believe women don't care about apperance at all, and men only care about apperance, I would encourage you to go back to your pornography where this is apparently true and to give up even attempting to understand the real world. If you talked to any number of real life men who were not isolated pimple faced basement dwelling WoW playing porn addict losers, and any number of real life women, you would clearly and rapidly find these extremes to not be so extreme (that women DO care about apperance, and men DO care about other stuff besides apperance when considering a partner other than casual sex).

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same anon as above.I... (Below threshold)

August 25, 2010 11:16 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

same anon as above.
I would add that women care less about physical appearance in terms of youth the way men do, and personality can do much more to improve (or ruin) a man's attractiveness whereas women are less limited (or benefitted) by personality since their youth is more important. In a way, someone is correct. But, personality very much alters a person's appearance particularly a man's appearance, in the way he carries himself and speaks... it can mean the difference between him being unattractive or attractive, assuming his physical appearance is average/sufficient enough. A physically attractive man is always so regardless of his personality, and an ugly man is still going to be ugly, but an average looking man can very much alter his appearance through his personality.

Women have this ability too (megan fox, average/plain looking in every way, has turned herself into a monroe-esque vamp by manipulating her personality to be mysterious, sexual, with a little help of plastic surgery as well)... but it's a rare occasion that a woman can greatly transform her appearance through behavior. Men aren't as interested in her personality from a purely sexual / casual sex perspective, and the main thing considered is youth and beauty.

I suspect the reason women are so easily manipulated by personality (and often fall for narcissists) is because women are not biologically designed to seek fertility and are driven to seek genetic fitness instead, a big indication of which is personality, which suggests social rank and overall social success. This is also why women are manipulated by money and power. A young woman has her pick of partners, but she unfortunately has limited reproductive potential (i.e. only a few children in her entire lifetime, not all of which will survive to reproductive competency). She chooses the males who have traits that are conducive to fitness, so personality (a sign of social status, and potential for success) is rather important to her, in addition to physical apperance (which is also very important, as it suggests health).

The idea women don't care about appearance at all MAKES NO FUCKING SENSE from an evolutionary perspective. Appearance is one of the most important signs of fitness and capacity to adapt to your environment.

Women readily exploit men which is very adaptive of them (i.e. women will often shack up with powerful/rich men who they are not attracted to)... but this isn't a female specific thing, it is a HUMAN spectific thing. If women were as interested in casual sex as men are, you would see more rich women with boy toys (instead of the smattering of madonnas and demi moores out there)... but men as a rule are interested in casual sex even as they age, so there is a lot of opportunity for young women to exploit these men and be their mistresses for hire.

It is a far fucking stretch to observe this and conclude women don't take appearance into account hardly at all, which I repeat is so stupid and so very much defies common sense...

... and it begs to explain robert pattison, and brad pitt, and the hundreds of male actors who have made a name for themselves purely because they are physically attractive and female audiences pay money to see their movies over and over again.

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Men are biologically driven... (Below threshold)

August 25, 2010 11:26 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Men are biologically driven to be attracted to youth... 16-35 is pretty much the spot... but men who specifically seek out young partners and are preoccupied with young partners are clearly doing so for control reasons and the suggested implications of manipulation (ability to manipulate the young partner, naivete and lack of resources on her behalf).

If the issue were purely about reproductive fitness, teen porn as a genre wouldn't exist as teenagers are less reproductively fit than are women in their early 20s. But teen porn is a very popular genre for men, because of the implications of being able to control a very young teenage partner. Which in turn is closely related to the male drive for casual sex with as many partners as possible. Older partners are less interested/capable of casual sex, because older partners often have their own children and have different priorities in mind (i.e. their children, and a stable partner). The teenager/very young woman fantasy men have is purely a function of the male fantasy of a purely sexual relationship. It has nothing, or very little to do with biological fitness for reproduction, as previously stated women in their early 20s have the healthiest children. Teenagers are not fit for reproduction at all and often have medical complications with their pregnancies due to not being fully developed.

If you bothered to educate yourself you would see there is sorta a bell curve for perinatal complications, with teenagers and old women being at the extreme ends with women in their early/mid 20s being in the healthy middle.


And again, if this were purely about female attractiveness (the youngest women are the most attractive being the idea), why then do gay men also have this obsession with teenagers? It's well popular in the gay community for teenage "twinks" to be obsessed over, and if this were purely a function of heterosexual male desire why is it also found in gay men?

What gay men and heterosexual men have in common is the obsession with casual sex - the insatiable drive to think about and fantasize over casual sex - and this is probably behind both groups preoccupation with teenagers. Teenagers equal casual sex. Older partners equal expectations and much more difficult to manipulate.

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Regarding the concept of th... (Below threshold)

August 25, 2010 11:34 PM | Posted, in reply to Jake's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Regarding the concept of the MILF in porn, I would argue it's probably somewhat related to sexual submissiveness and BDSM on the behalf of the man fantasizing about it. I would suspect strongly that men who are attracted to older or "MILF" in pornography probably have sadomasochistic sexual urges and are sexually submissive, where the older woman represents power and control and sexual competency/experience.

I really doubt it's related to young women having too many expectations and being too manipulative, if anything at all the opposite is true (young women are extremely easy to manipulate, if you are an older man anyway, all you have to do is promise them a few things and show them some attention, over and over I observe young girls being manipulated by older men this way).

Jake I suspect you are a young man who is just as naive as the young girls you are talking about, so you probably view young women this way (demanding and confusing and never satisfied etc) but it's different when it is an older man/younger woman dynamic... the older man has all the power, he is established in his life with money and a house and a nice car and a profession and a wife on the side (probably/most likely) so it is beyond easy for him to manipulate some dumb girl who is like 19.


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"young women are extremely ... (Below threshold)

August 26, 2010 12:34 AM | Posted by AnonyMouse: | Reply

"young women are extremely easy to manipulate, if you are an older man anyway, all you have to do is promise them a few things and show them some attention, over and over I observe young girls being manipulated by older men this way"

This is absolutely ridiculous. If young women were this easy to manipulate every red-blooded older man would be sleeping with teenagers. Obviously that's not happening.

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Oooh did i pique your inter... (Below threshold)

August 26, 2010 1:15 AM | Posted, in reply to AnonyMouse's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Oooh did i pique your interest, AnonyMouse? Red blooded men with teenagers, is that a new porn flick on the shelves (or, internet as the case may be now).

The reason older men are generally not sleeping with teeangers is because most men, most humans, have this thing called "morals". Morals are these weird things that make people feel like certain behaviors are either right or wrong. Most 40 year old men know it is wrong to sleep with people other than their wives, and they know it is especially wrong to sleep with a naive 16 year old girl who is still a baby and doesn't know shit. So most 40 year old men do not go out and find some naive young girl to shower with attention and make her feel special in an attempt to hit it.

Morals are not the only thing impeding these men. Effort and fear are also big players. It takes a lot of effort to gain a girls trust. It also takes a lack of fear of consequences - you have to be a certain type of narcissistic sociopath to wantonly disregard social boundaries like that. Fear of being found out by your wife, fear of being foudn out by your community, family, etc, this generally prohibits most men from attempting to manipulate young women into a sexual relationship.

The men who ARE manipulating young girls this way generally have these fearless, sociopathic, amoral qualities. Most men do not have these qualities, although I do think all men secretly wish they did if only to indulge in their handicap sexual drive to fuck anything that looks fertile enough.

I am glad I am not a man, if only because it seems like such a burden to be so preoccupied with sex and having sex with as many women as they can. I look at my male cat, male dogs, and how they hump stuffed animals and human legs and dead animals and anything remotely looking like a female, and I realize they are not unlike human males. That seems like such a terrible burden to have, and it seems to augment the already existent male tendency toward irrational anger and violence and competition (add sex into the picture, denied sex, inability to obtain sex, and it seems like men get so much angrier).
And the compulsive porn viewing, porn obsession, the fetishism that afflicts unfortunate males...

Seriously that must suck. The only time I can even remotely understand what it must be like to be preoccupied with sex and to have a real drive to have sex, a need for sex, something you have to have, is a few days before ovulation, which does make sense from an evolutionary perspective as this is the only time of the month where it is possible to reproduce... the rest of the month, eh, take it or leave it could care less. I enjoy it but it isn't a compulsion, need, something I am preoccupied with. But I suspect being a man feels like that all the time, which also makes sense evolutionarily speaking.

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Adult guys are skrewing tee... (Below threshold)

August 26, 2010 9:43 AM | Posted by rox: | Reply

Adult guys are skrewing teens.

"A review of California's 1990 vital statistics found that men older than high school age fathered 77 percent of all births to high school-aged girls (ages 16–18), and 51 percent of births to junior high school-aged girls (15 and younger). Men over age 25 fathered twice as many children of teenage mothers than boys under age 18, and men over age 20 fathered five times as many children of junior high school-aged girls as did junior high school-aged boys. A 1992 Washington state study of 535 adolescent mothers found that 62 percent of the mothers had a history of being raped or sexual molested by men whose ages averaged 27 years."

The guys who aren't actually skrewing teens are watching teen porn where some other adult is.

And by the way, "if teenage girls were so easy to manipulate...." --- clearly you haven't hung out with teenage girls recently.

You're remembering them as they were in highschool... they probably ignored you, didn't like you, wouldn't talk to you, were too good for you, never let you hit it. that sort of thing? If you're a goofy male teen with no sexual experience are knowledge of how to interact with women... yeah teens are not easy to manipulate. If you're a 20 something guy with a car and apartment (does not matter how cheap they are)--- you can EASILY manipulate a teen girl.

First there's the fact that the perception that older people should be obeyed is still going on in teens. Yes they rebell but they wouldn't fight so hard if it weren't against some strong urges to continue to obey. They doth protest too much.

The teen is still filled with wonder and awe. You show them a music collection with all the indie rock/punk rock/some counter culture music (subsitute their favorite genre) from all of time and they will think you're god. You know about things they don't know about. You show them new music they've never heard of, maybe give them some drugs they've never tried. They trust you. You're older. You must know more about the safety of this stuff than they do.

Trust me, I don't know what planet you're on, but teen females are easy for an adult male. The only reason all women aren't completely ruined by the time they're 17 is because some guys, like you, don't have access to teens. I hope that it's the larger portion of adult men that consciously choose not to manipulate a teenager. Might I add that large part going into small part equals pain? Might I add that teenage females are most often unable to achieve orgasm from sex, and the ability isn't something they develop often until early twenties? Meaning for most female teens, you just talking about confusion and pain.

Much to the delight of the adult male.

Thankfully I like to hope that not all males like hurting people, but it's kind of hard to believe that. Especially when it seems likely that the rest of the men who don't have access to teen females to over power and hurt and impregnate... they can turn on their TV and watch another adult male get away with it. It would seem, the guys who are doing it, are thinking about it at the very least.

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"the guys who AREN'T doing,... (Below threshold)

August 26, 2010 9:45 AM | Posted by rox: | Reply

"the guys who AREN'T doing, thinking about it."

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"How can you say that if yo... (Below threshold)

August 26, 2010 9:58 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by someone: | Reply

"How can you say that if you are not even a woman and clearly do not know any women?"

Hur hur hur.

"Do you realize how fucking stupid it is to believe women are not sexually - physically - attracted to men?"

Sexual attraction does not have to be based on physical appearance.

"Men may put more weight on appearance than women do, but this is proportional to the fact that men are more interested in casual sex."

It's not proportional to anything, it's just biology.

"You are SO sounding like an isolated fat virginal loser right now who's world view comes from porn and sitcoms where it is frequently found that very attractive women are paired with fat old men, which by the way doesn't happen IRL."

And you're clearly desperate and running out of valid arguments. And also an imbecile.

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"Your whole life experience... (Below threshold)

August 26, 2010 10:01 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by someone: | Reply

"Your whole life experience is so clearly from porn and sitcoms, it's beyond obvious."

You are fat and stupid and you smell and you're dumb and nobody likes you and you're probably a convicted felon too ITS BEYOND OBVIOUS OLOL

Yes, I can play this game too.

"If you really believe women don't care about apperance at all, and men only care about apperance..."

Where did I express this belief?

"If you talked to any number of real life men who were not isolated pimple faced basement dwelling WoW playing porn addict losers..."

Blah blah blah blah blah blah.

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Anonymous @ 01:15,... (Below threshold)

August 26, 2010 10:37 AM | Posted by Jack Coupal: | Reply

Anonymous @ 01:15,

It appears you're saying that adult females feel sexual 10% of the time, and relatively uninterested in it 90% of the time.

Anyone (male or female) standing at the corner of Broadway and 42nd for about 15 minutes would tell you that you're making that up.

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I didn't say women were uni... (Below threshold)

August 26, 2010 6:17 PM | Posted, in reply to Jack Coupal's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

I didn't say women were uninterested in sex, I said they didn't have that "NEED" for sex that seems to drive men to look at porn all the time and think about porn and to harass women on the street and to develop sexual fetishes. When I come home from work I don't turn on my computer and look at my porn. When I have free time I don't spend it thinking about getting laid. But you know who does? Men, and like constantly.

There is a difference between enjoying something and needing something. Men seem to need and crave sex, as if it were breathing or eating. It is a big part of their lifestyle to think about sex, obtaining sex, or vicariously watching sex if they are too lazy to actually get it. Women enjoy sex but it's not a compulsion and a need like it is for men. I repeat, women generally do not sit at home turn on the computer and troll the internet for porn. They don't go on myspace and try to find a hookup, or a club to find someone. But almost all men do this fairly regularly, especially young men with the highest sex drives.

And there are exceptions, some women are oversexed and some men aren't, but I would suspect these individual have hormonal or mental alterations setting them apart from average men and women. It is actually a scientific fact that testosterone drives sexual craving and desire, and women's sex drive are highest at ovulation specifically because of the slight increase in testosterone at that time. Men have like, multiple times the testosterone a female does. Furthermore, female hormones actually dampen down sexual drive (progesterone does suppress sexual drive, and it is in measurable quantity in the blood at least 50% of the time for a healthy female who is regularly ovulating).

It is a nice feministic social science-y idea to think men and women need and crave sex equally but it is totally incompatible with observation, evolution and common sense. Why would an organism who is capable of sexual reproduction only 3-4 days of an entire month *at best*, who has a very limited number of offspring she can have in her entire life, why would she crave sex just as much as an organism who can sexually reproduce at any given time of the day, who is unlimited in the amount of offspring he can produce? It only stands to reason, common sense, that the organism who can spread seeds would want to do so way more than the organism who can't, who is very limited in how many children she can have, who has to opt for quality over quantity for this reason.


And I would argue there is a difference between "feeling sexual" and "having sex for reproductive purposes". Women dress sexually and want the attraction of men for reasons other than having sex for reproduction. Women enjoy being wanted, feeling desirable, having more options for partners. A mistake men seem to make is to assume if a woman is dressing attractively or sexually it means she wants sex. Wrong, it means she wants to be attractive, because she wants power and options. If the guy at a car dealership calls you his friend and invites you inside for coffee, it doesn't mean he likes you and wants to establish a friendship with you, it means he wants to manipulate you into trusting him, he wants you to want to choose his dealership for your car purchase.

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Sweet jesus I wish I didn't... (Below threshold)

August 27, 2010 12:29 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Sweet jesus I wish I didn't google "human centipede".
I will never be the same. I can't believe someone made that movie. I will not recover from this.

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So what the anonymous lesbi... (Below threshold)

August 27, 2010 8:10 AM | Posted by someone: | Reply

So what the anonymous lesbian feminist is basically saying is that men are depraved and disgusting pigs who spend half their time looking at porn and half their time sitting in a bush waiting to rape someone. Women, on the other hand, are paragons of virtue, morality and ethics , and all but asexual virgins.

Just shut the fuck up already.

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U mad.I think you ... (Below threshold)

August 27, 2010 2:24 PM | Posted, in reply to someone's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

U mad.

I think you are confusing rox with myself, I don't agree with rox's statements that all men would hurt children, take advantage of teenagers, if given the opportunity. Actually I specifically said it takes a certain type of narcissistic sociopath to do it, and your average moral man would find the idea to be conflicting and ultimately uncomfortable.

I do stand by my statements that men are obsessed with porn. I used to not think this way until observation of men/testimonials from men convinced me that men really do spend a lot of time watching porn or thinking about it. Perhaps not as much older men but younger men in their 20s and teens? Absolutely. It's not really women fueling hte online porn business, and if only a handful of men were doing it, it wouldn't be as massive as it is.

I don't know why I am still talking to you as you are clearly very young and/or very fucked up either way you are irrelevant.

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anon- glad you're experienc... (Below threshold)

August 27, 2010 2:33 PM | Posted by rox: | Reply

anon- glad you're experience tells you most men wouldn't act on those feelings/don't necessarily have those feelings. It's been my experience that whether or not a man will act on them, most men do have those feelings... and if they can buy a porn, even knowing that a woman was psychological injured by participating (or in some cases BECAUSE a woman was psychologically injured by participating)... it seems irrelevant, or even ideal.

I don't hate men for being this way, if it's instincts that all men have, how can they be hated for it? But how you act on your instincts does matter. A maybe just a small portion of men have these instincts, that would be great!

I don't know if I see only narcissistic men as acting this way. In my experience I have seen some men who felt deeply upset by their actions do some really bad things. How is narcissism defined in such circumstances? Isn't narcissism having no remorse?

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No one has weighed in with ... (Below threshold)

August 29, 2010 1:54 AM | Posted by edwinx2: | Reply

No one has weighed in with an opinion on how the noble mountain lion feels about being equated with old sluts?

Seriously, though, I think the whole thing is a media-created construct engineered to, among other things, extend the shelf life of the MILF phenom. If the meme was empowering to the women it describes, it would be fantastic; as it stands, it's just another in a series of degrading ways to package the almighty punani while shielding the delicate flower of the phallus from shame and embarrassment.

Sure, there are older women who like the taste of baby beef, but there aren't droves of them out prowling the night. I think that any suggestion to the contrary is a male-centered power fantasy. The myth is probably more popular as a way for the cougar's male peer to justify why she isn't riding his hog; making her into both the powerful sexual initiator as well as an inviting whore (just not initiating with/inviting him). He is free to envy and despise her for being exactly like he wants to be-- sexually aggressive, unattached and desirable to a willing stable of transient partners.

I'm not sure if we can lump gay/lesbian relations into the whole of evolutionary psych and learn anything relevant from the "Sugar Daddy/House Boy" scenario. It seems like we should be able to distill the things that define general masculine selection of partners from the arrangement, but I think that might be wrongheaded. The "Daddy" is probably filling a role that a heterosexual male (but not a typical heterosexual female) might like to have with a younger girl, but the "Boy" has very different motives than a heterosexual male (or female) of the same age and means. Even as a reasonably well-adjusted gay man about to turn 40 and in a stable, loving relationship with a man my own age, I am realistic enough to doubt that the infinitely varied and often ridiculous types of relationships in the GLBTQ "community" are germane to anything other than themselves-- they are often intentional parodies of hetero relationships and therefore speak more to the psychology of the individual, daresay the "abnormal" (which I must count myself among), than to any norm.

Final thought: Curious how the term "cougar" exists to marginalize a older sexually adventurous women (as in the likely etymology of "Damn, man, that wasn't pussy you took home from the bar last night-- that was straight up cougar.") but there are no genital-specific terms for the same type of older man, even in the gay community (no "Damn, man, that wasn't cock you took home from the bar last night-- that was straight up ostrich.")

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Well, McLuhan would never h... (Below threshold)

September 19, 2010 3:01 PM | Posted, in reply to hermitian operator's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Well, McLuhan would never have mistook "then" for "than."

Really, I can't get through a post with errors like that. May seem superficial to you but actually blocks the information... plus I experience a rare "disrespect spike" that blocks it for purely psychological reasons, so that s/b your wheelhouse as well.

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"That's just the first sent... (Below threshold)

December 14, 2010 9:51 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

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That's the second time today I've read that from you

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"That's just the first sent... (Below threshold)

December 14, 2010 9:51 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

"That's just the first sentence. No one could read that..."

That's the second time today I've read that from you

1) That was the first two sentences; and
2) Both times the passage in question was pretty clear and straightforward!

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I'm so sick of seeing the "... (Below threshold)

August 9, 2011 4:13 PM | Posted by nf4ever: | Reply

I'm so sick of seeing the "beauty signifies health" bullshit touted. This evolutionary psychology stuff is really getting trite and losing all contact with reality.

No one person, in isolation, is genetically perfect or even "sounder" than another person. The "fitness" of a person's genes is entirely determined by the "fitness landscape" in which they live. It is also subject to the ways in which the person's genes interact with the genes of a mating partner. For example, a woman could be absolutely drop dead gorgeous Victoria's Secret runway model, but have the gene for Huntington's. For all we know, her mother was also drop dead gorgeous, but alas, passed on an allele that basically sentenced her to die a horrible death. Of course, based on the genes of her father, her chances could've been high or low that she'd get Huntington's. Looks have fucking fuck all to do with genetic "fitness", unless you construe that in a very general sense to mean "better looking people will tend to get more ass" (which STILL begs the question, will they have more offspring, and will their offspring necessarily survive and reproduce more readily than others?) That is, unfortunately, not the scientific notion of "fitness", and has little to do with it. Plus, you'd think if this were how the world worked, it'd be the hotties and "alphas" with huge families and not the poor, busted fugly poor ones.

And this doesn't even address the possibility that someone could be incredibly good looking and have simply average or below average-looking offspring. If you don't believe this is possible, check out some of the children of movie stars. Or the entirely plausible scenario where a really good looking woman, say in Africa, is missing the sickle cell mutation, and thus dies of malaria at age 8 having had no children.

I swear to God, one of the most disappointing things in life is watching grown men dress up their shoddy justifications for their selfish, juvenile behaviors, prejudices, and fantasies of what life should be like as "Science". It's just getting really obnoxious.

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And the Chinese liked foot-... (Below threshold)

October 1, 2013 11:12 PM | Posted, in reply to someone's comment, by Atarii: | Reply

And the Chinese liked foot-binding because a broken, helpless girl is. . . likely to die soon without constant assistance?
Lemme try again.

Because long necks are-- a sign that if she removed her neck rings her neck would snap under its own weight and atrophied muscles?

There are LOOOTS of fetishes.

Why is MY favorite thing about a girl hair? Or a foreign accent?


It doesn't matter WHAT I say, you can always bring it back to a hypothetical ancestor.
"Well, uh-- pretty hair means she has vitamins and is healthy!"

And guys who like tall girls? What about guys who like short girls? What about guys who prefer black or Caucasian?
What about preferences for older women in some guys? (I fancy me some thirty-to-forty year olds, myself) Surely a man should not have a predisposition to mate with someone who is not as young and fertile.
"Yeah, but age means wisdom and can raise your kids better!"
So you're saying that wisdom is more important than vigor and the ability to pump out more babies?

What about women who have different body shapes? Birthing hips? Whatever. Fat goes to different places on different women.
Some women SEEM thin because ALL of their weight goes into their hips. Some women are unfortunate enough to have all of their fat go right to their faces.

That's not a true indicator of anything, except that you are at more of a risk for a heart attack if your weight is higher, rather than lower. (But I doubt hunter-gatherers would be all that fat, anyway, so it is irrelevant.)

There are tons of variables, and you can always pretend that something, somehow, in the past, caused it.
That's speculation, not fact.

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