Q: Inquiring female minds want to know what ages define cougar activity.

-- Probably Guilty As Charged

A: Aw, don't feel guilty! The May-December romance is a thing of beauty, especially when that beauty not only comes from a sexy elegance of a mature woman, but also from the hot body of a nubile young man.

I don't see nothin' wrong with a little bump and grind between two consenting adults, even if the age spread turns a few heads. According to sites like Cougared.com, GoCougar.com and -- ahem -- AARP.org, the lure of the younger man is about more than just sex.

Lots of full-grown femmes are seeking out boyfriends under 30 because their older counterparts just aren't physically fit enough. Activities like yoga, pilates and ballroom dancing are all the rage with the Nice N' Easy set, yet many of the Just for Men gents aren't interested in keeping up on their fitness after 40.

Many cougars say that men their age bring too much baggage to the relationship. Bitter divorces often leave lingering hurt emotions in men. Plenty of cougars have left bad marriages of their own and are looking for a sense of self again; a woman finally untethered and independent isn't interested in a man grasping for someone, anyone, to pull his life back together.

And of course there's the sex. Hallelujah for Viagra, sure, but a stiff chubby doesn't block the view of a beach-ball belly and flabby bingo wings. If it's been a decade or two since you've seen the 25-year-old male physique in all its naked glory, then start preening your fur and stalking your prey. His muscles are hard in all the right places and no prescription is required to activate his sex drive.

To answer your question, I'd say that if you're 40 but scouting the 25-30 group, then you're a cougar. If you're over 40 and your man was born more than a decade later, then you're definitely a cougar. Any woman under 40 who exclusively dates men 5 or more years younger is what's referred to as a cougar in training.

Q: I'm looking for venues in which to find cougars. I'm a cub (?) I guess, looking for the doting attention of an older female. Are there any cougar hot spots in Minneapolis I should know about?

A: According to CougarPlanet.com, you can call yourself a "zebra." Regardless of what type of zebra you are -- the website shows cougars how to identify Trust Fund Zebras from Guido Zebras, for example -- you are automatically a cougar's favorite prey because you're a younger man into older women.

Before I give you a starter list of the best Menopause Manors in town, just be aware of one thing: Cougars are people, too. Sure, some are ravenous beasts who salivate at the sight of a quivering calf muscle, but most still want you to treat them like a lady. Pay compliments, ask permission and remember your manners, please.

As for cougar dens, your best bets seem to be the bars of Italian restaurants. Vita.mn users have tagged downtown's glammed-up supper club Bellanotte with "cougar," and they think Palomino on Hennepin Avenue is a good place for "cougar hunting." UrbanCougar.com points the zebras of Minneapolis to Zelo on Nicollet Mall for its high cougar concentrations during the dinner hour, Thursday through Saturday. Uptown hunters can find what they're looking for at Figlio, where cougars have been showing up for happy hour since 1984 (I think I just spawned Figlio's next billboard campaign).

If you're out on the lakes this summer, be sure to explore Lord Fletcher's and Maynard's on Minnetonka. Young, toned and tan describes the male clientele at these lakeside establishments, drawing cougars in like a fresh kill. Don't worry, there's plenty of tail to go around.

  • Alexis McKinnis needs your question about sex, dating or relationships. Send it to advice@vita.mn or post it discreetly via her blog at www.vita.mn/alexis. Don't leave out the juicy details!