Typically, cougars prey upon men almost young enough to be their sons. Thus fortysomething cougars would be attracted to men in their 20s, and fiftysomething cougars would pursue men in their 30s and so on. Some cougars are less interested in a relationship than a sexual conquest, perhaps enjoying the fact that they are physically appealing to men who are considered to be in the prime of their virility.
A cougar may be married or unmarried, and some even go after their daughters' boyfriends.
Although the term 'cougar' comes from the big-game predatory cat of the same name, the cougar connection also may allude to the wearing of animal print clothing by older and more sexually aggressive women.
An early example of the cougar phenomenon was seen in the groundbreaking film The Graduate, in which middle-aged Mrs. Robinson (Ann Bancroft) seduces fresh-out-of-college Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman).
Real-life cougar relationships include Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher (15 years), Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins (12 years), and Barbara Hershey and Naveen Andrews (21 years).