When I first started hearing about "cougars" in the context of older women dating younger men (as with Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher, pictured), I wondered how this could be okay when I had understood that older men dating younger women was not. Was there a double standard being applied here?

Well, based on some really unscientific research reported in today's Boston Globe, it looks like it may all be a moot point:

"If I do the age-appropriate [events,] I get tons of women," Trickett said. "When I do younger men and older women, I get tons of women. When I do younger women older men, I get tons of older men and I struggle to get the women."

"Sure, Demi Moore broke a mold, and I know a few couples - family members and friends of friends - who represent the highly publicized demographic of older women and younger men, but the dating industry will tell you that for the most part that demographic is a myth. Men still seek younger women, especially as those men get older themselves.

"It's the general rules, what happens when people hook up and go into a relationship," said Mark Brooks, an online dating industry consultant who runs Online Personals Watch. "With men dating women, it tends to be up to six years younger but it will only be up to two years older."