London, United Kingdom (PressExposure) January 15, 2010 -- As Northern Irish politician Iris Robinson hits the headlines following her affair with 21-year old business man Kirk McCambley (he was 19 at the time of the affair), figures released today show it's not just famous females who are chasing toy-boys.
IllicitEncounters.com, the UK's largest married dating site, has discovered that a large chunk of its female membership are explicitly seeking out younger men. Over 7% of ladies on the site request that their lover be at least 10 years younger than them.
Since January 2008, this percentage has risen from 2% - a trend that the site attributes to the recent slew of celebrity 'cougars', openly on the prowl for young bucks.
But this is no one-sided affair. Coincidentally, over 3,300 men under 30 are seeking out their own Mrs Robinson.
Sara Hartley, spokesperson for IllicitEncounters.com, comments, "Gossip and celebrity news has a huge effect on the public consciousness. Madonna, Demi Moore, Kim Catrall acquire youthful lovers - and suddenly, business women and housewives all over the country want one too."
"'Cougarism' makes particular sense in context of the married woman. Many ladies embark on an affair because they have been made to feel under-appreciated, unsexy. They long to be longed for. It is of course a huge ego boost to receive attention from males your own age, but the impact is greatly increased when the guy giving the compliment is much younger."
Janet, 45, username 'Cougar777', and has been a member of the site for 2 years. "I have always liked younger men. Many guys my age can't keep up with me - not least my husband. I also think I need to convince myself that I've "still got it". A guy 10 years my junior is way more of a trophy than someone middle-aged."
IllicitEncounters.com has over 410,000 members in the UK.