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Naughty & Nurturing: Playing the Role of “Cougar Mom”

I never had children.

It’s not a decision I regret, as I'd never intended to become a mom. However, I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t a mom-shaped hole in my chest that I’ve had to find other ways to fill.

Some “old maids” like me end up treating a cat or dog like their child. It’s a phenomenon that I always found laughable…until I bonded with my friend’s very cute, affectionate cat. I understand now why single women fill their phones with photos of their pets and put them in little outfits on Halloween.

As opposed to a feline child stand-in, I’ve come to realize that part of the reason I date younger men is so I can pet, feed and comfort them, strange as that may sound.

I've felt compelled to invest my motherly love somewhere, and often the recipients of this love have been men in their twenties. I was tempted to put “love” in quotation marks there, but using “love” is fair game because the word can mean different things in different contexts to different people. Love is a spectrum: I can have a loving nature towards anyone.

I don’t think the young men I’ve dated have been looking for love from me, and I’m not sure I’ve been expecting love from them. Or am I just too ashamed to admit that I have been? After all, if love is what I’ve been looking for, I’ve certainly been settling for a lot less.

I’ll admit it: I'd love to have a boyfriend who was young enough to be my son (20 to 25, just to be clear!). It’s something that not everyone would understand.

The culture we’re living in would paint this exclusively in a sexual light. It isn’t just about the sex, but I’d be lying if I said sex wasn’t a big part of it. It is.

I can’t help the fact that I have a visceral sexual attraction to men in their twenties. It’s not to say I’m never attracted to men my age, but it’s rare. And I’ve noticed it’s becoming rarer the older I get.

So you could say there are two sides of me that desire younger men: my naughty side and my nurturing side. Or, to put it another way, I have two modes: “cougar mode” and “mom mode.”

Cougar Mode

I mean, yes—it’s titillating to have sex with a man who’s young enough to be my son. No matter how young I may look (hopefully pretty young, by the way), the fact is I’m turning 44 this year, and there are many women my age with 20-year-old sons.

But that’s fine. It’s not against the law to admit that I like the age gap for many reasons, and that sex is one of them.

And yes, young men are generally more virile with a higher sex drive and are more eager to please. It’s hard not to find that objectively attractive.

They have young male bodies and young male minds, and I like both.

So shoot me—if men my age are attracted to young women with hot bodies, it shouldn’t be shocking that I’m attracted to hot young bodies, too.

About their young male minds: yes, they are emotionally immature. As a rule, they’re more impulsive and restless, and less patient and sensitive. These are tendencies, though, not universals. There are many emotionally immature old men, I'll remind you. And I have been involved with young men who were quite patient and sensitive with me.

Were they as patient and sensitive as I wish they’d been? Mostly, no. However, I’m very impatient myself, and can be quite self-involved, so here we are.

The point is, I like having sex with young men. But it’s not just about the sex itself: nurturing them before and after sex is just as important to me. You could call this “mom mode.”

Mom Mode

It’s nothing major, and it’s not rocket science: I’m happy feeding, cuddling and comforting the young men I have sex with. For me, it’s a very important part of the dynamic between a young man and an older woman. There’s a sense of give and take: they have the sex drive and prowess that outpaces me, and I have the emotional maturity and nurturing nature that they may want without even being aware of it.

I can’t put words in their mouths: maybe only some of them are looking to be nurtured by the person they’re having sex with, and maybe the age difference is irrelevant in this regard.

That’s not my experience, though. The young men I’ve had sex with liked the nurturing aspect of it, even if they didn’t express it explicitly. I actually believe it’s a key part of the reason they want to have sex with an older woman.

Whenever I've been on a date with a man close to my age, the vibe is just different. Yes, I can make them a sandwich or play with their hair, but it will never feel the way it does when the man is a couple of decades younger than me.

Three specific memories come to mind that illustrate this sentiment perfectly:

1. Crunch, crunch, crunch. It’s not just giving the young man something to eat; it’s watching and hearing him eat it. There’s something inherently nurturing about feeding someone. More than just sex, an equally pleasurable part of the experience is cuddling next to them while they eat. One night, the young man I was sleeping with at the time was eating a particularly crunchy snack. The joy I felt hearing him crunching away was not unlike the feeling I have watching a cute animal eating a snack. The “cute” factor is a huge part of the reason I find young men attractive.

2. The long caress. After I’d had sex one night with the same “crunch, crunch, crunch” guy, I was lying in his embrace. He let me caress him from his collarbone, across his (pretty buff) shoulder and down his arm and then back up again for a few moments. I wasn’t sure how he’d react to this extended affectionate gesture. In a quiet voice, he murmured, “That feels nice.” He was allowing himself to surrender to my affection and express to me that he liked it. It’s a moment I think of often because it captures in a nutshell the affectionate aspect of my sexual relationships with younger men.

3. Under the hair, on the back of the neck. It was the early morning hours after a very sexually active night with another young man. I was lying on my side, facing him as he dozed. I felt compelled to lovingly stroke the back of his neck, under his tangle of dark curly hair. I heard something between a mumble and a whimper that was extremely satisfying to have elicited from him. He was vulnerable because he was half asleep, and the soft sound of pleasure was so pure. I don’t want to say it was like petting a cat and hearing it purr…but it was exactly that.

At its essence, playing "cougar mom" involves playing out aspects of my life that might have been filled had I actually had children (or a cat, arguably). The desire to nurture another being doesn’t die when you don’t become a parent. At least, it hasn’t in me.

I’ll never know if I would have been a good mom. What I do know is I strive to be a good cougar mom to the young men I get romantically and sexually involved with. So take that as you will.

Cougar Mom and Girlfriend…?

Although sex with young men is a lot of fun, it’s been difficult for me to accept how fleeting and casual these dalliances tend to be. I do want a partner, and I want more than sex. I’ve been painting a picture here of motherly affection and minimizing the sexual component, when in fact, it’s mostly about sex. I’m starved for affection.

I have the emotional needs of a mature woman, and the fact is it takes years for male emotional maturity to catch up.

It does suck having to fill the lonely nights between sexual meet-ups. I want someone to share my life with on a deeper level.

At the same time, it might surprise people how shallow that “deeper level” is for me. I never have any desire to meet the young man’s friends or have him meet mine. I have even less of a desire to meet his parents or siblings. I never wish I could bring the young man to a social function, or honestly (as bad as it sounds) even go out in public that often.

Returning to the pet analogy, I like taking them for walks, but that’s about it. It sounds weird to say it…but it’s not untrue.

What I do want more of, though, is emotional support and emotional availability. And if I’m being honest, commitment.

It doesn’t actually bother me if the guy is sleeping with other women. (But it also kind of does.) What’s more troubling is the idea of being the one and only woman he's sleeping with. It's too much pressure. There’s security in knowing that whatever he’s not getting from me, he can get from someone else. Probably someone younger.

I've often thought that the best way to get my emotional and physical needs met would be to date two or three young men at once. The idea is that if one guy is on a date with someone else, another guy might be available to spend time with me.

I'm not sure I'll ever achieve that scenario. At this point, two years into the pandemic, I don’t even have one young man in my life. Hopefully I experience playing cougar mom again in the near future. It’s something I look forward to in my mind, body and soul.

Nothing could ever replace the feeling of a young man’s hands on my body, or the feeling of eliciting a quiet contented sigh from him.

Sometimes love is very simple.

- M.B.

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