Age is just a number, after all.
I once worked for an older woman who exclusively dated (and married) older men. Why? Because she knew that being with an older man would make her eternally youthful — she'd always look young compared to the old guy on her arm.
Juney Smith from St Albans, England has a completely different view on dating. She believes dating much younger men is what keeps her looking and staying young.
"I have always dated younger but really focused on it from the age of 30," she said in an interview with The Mirror. "Among the guys I've gone out with were teens, lads aged 18 to 20. I haven't looked back since. I tried dating men my own age but they are boring, bad in bed, and frankly not eager to please."
Juney Smith is the UK's Cougar Queen. Smith enjoys sex but isn't interested in hookups; she wants to date first.
Smith is quick to point out that she's dated 250 boy toys, not slept with them.
"To be clear, dating 250 plus men doesn't mean I've slept with them all. Some I've had coffee with, some just drinks, others we've gone to a party. I have slept with some, and some I have had a longer relationship with. I enjoy dating in all its forms and I am definitely not a slut, which is what people automatically assume comes with the word cougar."
If the right guy came along she might consider marriage, but it's the fact that she didn't want to have kids and wasn't desperate to get married that makes her so appealing to many men. "Most of the men I date admire my sense of fun, style, and the fact that I am not after marriage and kids."
Smith meets her dates at clubs, grocery stores, art openings, gas stations and even when she goes out with friends.
Smith has learned so much about the ins and outs of older women/younger men dating that she could write a book; in fact, she's considering writing a how-to manual of cougar dating for those who want to date cougars and for those women who want to become a cougar.
"I am a fun loving woman, and if that means I am the Cougar Queen then it makes me proud, because I can hopefully share my expertise with men and women." And she has plenty of advice to give. "For older women who want to date younger guys, I say beware the lads who want someone to practice their love skills on, ones who are after a sugar mummy, or guys who want a 'quick leg over.'"
Smith is also thinking of teaching some seminars.
"When you're a cougar, you need to date younger guys who know the rules from the start," she said in a Daily Mail article. "The main one [rule] is the relationship won't be long-term, but we will enjoy each other's company and a lot of the time doesn't involve sex."
Smith believes in eating healthily, working out 3 to 4 times a week, and considers herself sex positive. "I am sex positive. That means I feel sexy, like to look good, and enjoy sex with the right man and am not afraid to talk about it."
One of the benefits of dating younger men for Smith is that they keep her feeling vibrant and youthful. "They make me feel young, I have fun with them, and they keep me on my toes. They know how to enjoy life, and what many women might find surprising is that young men are extremely adept and, if not, they're eager to take direction," Smith explained.
To successfully be a cougar, you can't get caught up in how old people are or the expected behavior of certain age groups.
"For me, age is just a number. I would be bored senseless with a man my age," Smith said. "I haven't ruled out dating men my age or older, but the problem is they don't know how to party, to date, and often come with so much baggage it means their moves in and outside the bedroom are way behind the times." It's true that older people can be stuck in the time when they were young.
All photos: reallifestoryagency.co.uk
Smith wonders why society still views women who date younger men as cradle-robbers but men who date younger women are heroes.
"So many women who find themselves divorced in their 40s and 50s have to sit back and watch while their ex-husbands marry a new younger wife, and they are left desperately bumbling around trying to date an older man," Smith says. "It's a shame so many women in their 40s and 50s are too scared to date younger men."
Smith suggests to older women that they date outside their comfort zone and see what happens.
"I tell these women, 'Don't look for a long-term relationship — have a giggle and some fun, and surprise yourself and date a younger man. You don't have to sleep with them or even kiss them, but have some fun and you'll realize you are good looking and shouldn't be dismissed.'"
In the end, the advice to go out and have fun is good for everybody. Don't worry about what other people say; if you enjoy something and it makes you feel good, do it. Age is just a number, not a warning bell letting you know the good times are over.