After pulling data from the National Survey of Family Growth, the Canadian initiative found that approximately 13 percent of sexually active women between 35 and 44 have slept with a man at least 5 years their junior.

Not only did they discover that middle aged women who’d been previously married were more likely to seek a younger mate, they also showed that older woman/younger man relationships are rarely brief flings (on average they last for 2 years).

The now well-known term wasn’t a reference to the Chinese calendar; rather, it was a bordering-on-crass idiom coined to define 40-plus women with a predilection for younger gentlemen.

Although the US-based magazine reasoned that the cougar-craze was a fad destined for cultural oblivion, the article offered up an intriguing explanation for the newfound popularity of older woman/younger man relationships.

In their 2006 study, Sandra Caron, Mary Logue and Nichole Proulx interviewed eight married couples where the wife was between 10 to 17 years older than the husband.

Their findings revealed that whilst both partners were content with their relationship, they still worried about how others judged them.

Crucially, the Quebecois researchers disproved the ‘rich white’ cougar stereotype by demonstrating that many of these older women come from diverse ethnic backgrounds and also fall within lower income brackets.

So, if women from all walks of life are ignoring the stigma and romancing with the more youthful cohort of the male population, it begs the question; what’s the appeal?

You don’t need to be too imaginative to picture what the benefits of an older woman/younger man relationship might be.

If you’re struggling for ideas, there’s a slew of blogs and websites that testify to the plus sides for both women and men.

She knows what she likes, how she likes it done and where, and instructs her cub on how best to give it.

A night with her and he will uncover the secrets of making a woman beg for more.

However, what’s actually going on underneath the pop-style commentary and tabloid tales of ‘cougars’ and their ‘cubs’?