The Misconceptions Surrounding Cougar Relationships

One of the most epic cougar relationship we ever encountered in Kenya definitely has to be that of Wambui Otieno and Peter Mbugua. At the time of their civil wedding, Wambui was 67 years old while Mbugua was only 25 and boy, did tongues wag! The Redykyulass trio (a quite popular comedy group in Kenya at the time) re-enacted the whole wedding thing and it was simply hilarious.

A few years later, there happened to be yet another wedding between a much younger Kenyan man and an obviously older Kenyan woman. It equally made it to prime time news just like the Wambui-Mbugua one did.

The reason for this furore; we haven’t quite embraced this whole cougar relationship thing in Africa. Not that there’s anything wrong with us frowning upon an older woman and a much younger man getting into a relationship. It’s simply how our cultural make up has been for years. It has always been the other way round. Older guy, younger woman. Much younger woman or girl even, in some communities.

Wambui Otieno and her much younger hubby,Peter Mbugua. Photo courtesy of

My most favorite couple in a cougar kind of relationship happened to obviously be Mariah Carey and heartthrob, Nick Cannon. I have been a fan of Mariah’s voice from the time I could make out the difference between good music and bad music. Thanks to having a much older sibling, I know most of her early 90s hits by heart. Nick Cannon of course is such a good looking guy. Plus they take lovely photos together. So when I got to hear that they split, I was quite disappointed.


Anyways, there are a lot of misconceptions surrounding cougar relationships and especially in our continent. There are those interracial types, where it’s quite obvious that the younger African guy is after the older White woman’s money which further contributes to it all.

Then there’s this notion that an older woman should be done with sex and therefore seeking a younger man to date only reeks of her immorality. Yet another notion points a finger at the woman for supposedly corrupting this young man’s morals, when she should have left him to date women in his age bracket. To top it all of, in many quarters, cougar relationships are considered unAfrican.

I have never quite paid attention in the past to this particular kind of relationship. However, I have always been curious as to why a woman rumored to be married to a much younger man, elicited whispers of prejudice from society. Almost like she had committed the biggest crime and therefore deserved to be punished for it with rumors and nasty gossip.

Then being a phenomenon synonymous with the West, it has always been made to seem unnatural, yet older men in some societies in Africa, were still keen on marrying girls barely in their teens. It has actually taken the intervention of feminists to imprint early marriages as unsavory in the minds of societies, keen on marrying off young girls to old, greying men.

Being a feminist, I firmly believe that no woman should be put at fault for having sexual desires no matter her age. If at all a woman at a certain age should be done with having sex, then the same should be applied to the male gender.

The idea that men can be excused for having sexual desires way past their 60s and 70s and women should be frowned upon for having the same at that age, should totally be done away with. It is this belief that actually contributes to society pointing fingers at a woman married to a younger man as only being after sex at her age! A further misconception that marriage is only about sex and nothing else.

Marriage according to my understanding, is about much more than sex alone. It is understanding, support, companionship, care, friendship, sacrifice, building a family…with sex being part of the equation and not the overall ingredient. Wow, preached that like someone who’s been married for years already!

So if this woman is getting all that from a younger man and feels ready to spend the rest of her life with him, I think it would be unfair for the rest of us to go all judgmental on her. Plus as per my Christian understanding, no definite age bracket between couples is given in the Bible. I guess being very spiritual as a continent, many of us are tempted to find something wrong with an older woman getting into a relationship with a much younger man, that may lead to marriage.

We tend to assume that it’s against Biblical teachings because we are more familiar, with the other way round and saw examples of the man being older than the woman in the Bible and not vice versa. But hey, I’m no teacher of scripture so it would be rather unwise for me to give my opinion on this in spiritual terms. These are basically my views.

Whether to get into a cougar kind of relationship or not is only a matter of choice between the persons involved. It is quite unreasonable trying to impose our own beliefs on others of a different belief. I believe that there are societies that see nothing wrong with this phenomenon. If we are not into it, then we have no business whatsoever paying attention to it. If we are comfortable with it and are in it for the right reasons and not our own secret, sly motivations then, why not?

I would love to hear your views too 🙂



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