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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.

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In the native New Yorker’s opinion, older women are routinely subject to much stricter norms when it comes to picking sexual partners.“For most women, aging means a humiliating process of gradual sexual disqualification,” she scathingly wrote, “society is much more permissive about aging men.” Marine builds on Sontag’s earlier woes: “Many people are still shocked to see an older woman with a younger man,” she says, “they might think ‘what if that was my mother, or my son!’.” Yet it’s not all cradle snatching and oedipal gloom for older women dating younger men.In fact, research carried out last summer by Mc Gill University’s Milaine Alarie and Jason Carmichael concludes otherwise.As one of the leading dating sites for mature singles in Canada, there's no shortage of older women dating younger men on Elite Singles.

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

Also, women expressed concern over the prospect of ageing and whether it would affect their partner’s attraction to them.

The trio behind the project were sure to report that “vast age differences, especially in woman-older relationships, clearly violate the norms of this society”. 40 years ago, writer and activist Susan Sontag penned ‘The Double Standard of Ageing’ for the now defunct .

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.