April 27, 2010 -- Cougars, pumas, cradle robbers.
Whatever you want to call them, older women are dating younger men – and the theme seems to be getting a higher profile on television and in gossip magazines.
The newest example of a younger man dating a much older woman is Aaron Johnson, 19, a Hollywood newcomer and star of the current box office hit "Kick-Ass," who is engaged to British director and artist Sam Taylor-Wood, 43.
According to People magazine, Taylor-Wood, who is 24 years older than her future husband, already has two children from a previous marriage and is seven months pregnant with Johnson's child. The two lovers met on the set of Taylor-Wood's 2009 directorial debut "Nowhere Boy" and got engaged just months after meeting. An interesting piece of trivia: Johnson is closer to age of both of his step children, Angelica, 13, and Jessie, 3, than his future wife.
Despite what critics may think, Johnson told People that he has found a "wonderful woman."
"She's lovely and she's a fantastic mother," he said. "I am an old soul and she's a young soul."
Meanwhile, Demi Moore, the original cougar, is starring in a new movie "The Joneses," which is now open in limited release. Moore was one of the first women to be widely publicized and praised for dating the much younger Ashton Kutcher.
From all the press about her May-December relationship and other couples like Johnson and Taylor-Woods the amount of cougars on the prowl today has reached a fever pitch.
Even though the answer to why these older women and dating younger men seems fairly obvious, Rachel Sussman, a New York City based relationship expert, said that our culture's obsession to youth is to blame.
"Everyone in our society prizes youth because we believe there is a beauty in youth," Sussman told ABCNews.com. "While there is no saying what attracts whom to what, women today have never looked better. Today everybody works out and women spend time keeping up their appearances."
"I think that there is a lot to be said about being with a seasoned woman who is older than you," Sussman added. "That person has a lot more life experience and can be more interesting than someone who is your own age."
Amelia Parry, the editor in chief of TheFrisky.com, a Web site dedicated to celebrities, gossip, fashion and relationship advice, said that while there is no problem with older women being seen as sexual in nature, they tend to be over sexualized.
"Samantha Jones [of "Sex and The City"] is very much what society thinks of as a sexy older woman and that is gross," Parry told ABCNews.com. "There is a cap that the general society puts on a woman as far as up to what age she can be seen as a sex symbol. The attractiveness and sexuality of older women always seems to surprise and fascinate people.
"It seems that people think when women turn 40 they suddenly aren't interested in having fun, but just because you're 40 and you're a women, you don't have to stop living. Older women today want to be single and having fun and going out and partying."
More Cougar and Cub Couples in Real Life, Thanks to Hollywood?
Now the Hollywood cougar trend may be taking a greater hold on "regular" people.
"When us mortals see Hollywood couples doing it [older women dating younger men], we say, 'If they can do it, why can't I?'" Sussman said. "It's almost like Hollywood gives us permission to date in this manner."
Parry agreed that in some cases it may be because of all the media attention that the cougar lifestyle is getting that older women choose to date younger men and vice-versa.
"To a certain extent younger men and older women have been given a thumbs-up to date each other," Parry said.
"But the guys I know that have dated older women have done it for other reasons than it's hot to date a cougar. In the end, both people have to be in it for the right reasons and it has to be genuine."
Here are five of ABCNews.com's favorite cougar and cub, a slang term for the younger male, couples.
Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher
The couple that started it all is still together and by Moore's own account in April's "Harper's Bazaar" very happy. In the magazine, Moore said the couple met at a New York party in 2003 after they were introduced by a friend, not Sean "P. Diddy" Combs as had been previously and widely reported.
"I knew it had the potential to be something special right away," she told the magazine. "It was so disproportionate, the level of emotion we were experiencing to the time we had spent together. But when you don't know someone, you can't just jump and say 'I love you.' Yeah, no. We used to end our calls or e-mails with 'And everything we don't say.'"
Moore also said that the couple spends most of their time away from the cameras watching television and enjoying each other's company.
Moore, 47, and Kutcher, 32, have been together for seven years and married for five. And, it seems, despite the 15 year age difference, that the couple is still going strong.
Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon
After only six weeks of dating, these two celebs, Carey, 40, and Cannon, 29, tied the knot in a surprise wedding on Carey's Bahamian estate.
People magazine was on the ground of the 2008 wedding ceremony and spoke with Carey who said the sunset affair was, "really beautiful and sweet and very understated."
After the wedding, Carey said that the quick courtship was because they "really do feel like soulmates." "I never felt a love like this was in the cards for me," Carey said.
Her husband, Cannon, added that Carey is "beautiful on the outside and 10 times as beautiful on the inside." The couple also has a tradition of celebrating every anniversary with a small ceremony or party -- they've got their third anniversary coming up April 30. The best part: every year Cannon buys Carey a brand new diamond ring. Eventually, she might run out of fingers to hold them all.
Madonna and Jesus Luz
The material girl, 51, and her boy-toy, 23, have by far the greatest spread between them - a difference of 28 years. Despite recent break-up rumors, the pair that defines cougar and cub were spotted kissing in a Rio de Janeiro night club just last month, as first reported by TMZ.com.
According to the "New York Times," the pair met in late 2008 when Jesus was to be the male model for a W photo shoot on Madonna. The pair played lovers meeting in a Rio hotel.
After the shoot, Luz has become Mr. Madonna escorting her to the Metropolitan Institute Costume Ball and appearing in high fashion runway shows all over the world including Dolce and Gabbana in Milan.
Hitching his wagon to Madonna's star certainly has helped the former Brazilian surf shop salesman boost his career, but, hey, it hasn't hurt Madonna at all and we're sure there are a ton of other women out there who would do anything for those abs!
Barbara Hershey and Naveen Andrews
Hershey, 62, is an actress who at one time dated "Kung Fu" television star David Carradine. Since that break-up she has set her sights on the much younger Naveen Andrews, 41, a star in the ABC series "Lost."
The two met in 1998 on the set of an indie flick called "Drowning on Dry Land." In a People magazine interview Andrews said that he has "always liked women who are older."
"They seem to know who they are," he told People magazine, "And they've lived. They've got soul, and that's very attractive."
In the same interview Hershey didn't really seem to mind the age difference either.
"Naveen loves women," Hershey told People. "He doesn't exclude older women."
Despite the happy People magazine interview, the relationship has had a couple of bumps including the fact that, according to the AP, Andrews fathered a child with another woman during a brief period of separation from Hershey. In a statement issued to the press right after the announcement of his child was made Andrews said that he is "assuming appropriate responsibility for the child." The couple has since reconciled and seems to be happy.
Halle Berry and Gabriel Aubry
The Oscar winner, 43, told rollingout.com that as far as her relationship with Gabriel Aubry, 34, she is, "Really happy in [her] personal life."
"Which is a novelty for me," she continued. "You know, I'm not the girl that has the best relationships." Berry was referencing her past two marriages, one to basketball player David Justice and the other to singer Eric Benet, that have both ended in divorce within five years.
Aubry and Berry met in late 2005 on a Versace photo shoot and had a child together in 2008 named Nahla. Probably because of Berry's past she has publically said that she doesn't want to marry again, but is interested in having another child. Her husband agrees, he told "In Touch" magazine that he would like Nahla to have a sibling in 2009. Obviously that deadline has come and gone, but we still hold out hope for another beautiful baby from two of the world's most beautiful people.