The world is seeing a startling trend in men as young as seventeen, all the way to men in their mid-forties.  It's a condition that is often only discussed in hushed tones for fear of the social stigma involved.  But if Mrs. Robinson taught us anything about older women in the classic American movie The Graduate, it’s that older women can be painstakingly attractive, and young men all across the country don’t have to feel ashamed for thinking it.

Goodness, if I were Ben Braddock and my parents were heckling me about going to graduate school?  I would enroll in an online master degree program and take care of two birds with one stone: get some higher education and have the freedom to see sweet Mrs. R whenever my little heart felt the need.  (I probably wouldn’t have to pay rent living in my parent’s basement either, so I guess that’s technically three birds).  While the world's top medical experts cannot come up with a consensus as to why it strikes, one fact is clear: Our society has been struck by an epidemic of Cougar-Lovers.

Despite the dramatic growth of the condition, there is still some debate as to how a Cougar is actually defined. A recent symposium of top medical minds agreed that if you find yourself attracted to Katie Couric, Susan Sarandon, or of course, Courtney Cox, you very well may be a third-degree Cougar-Lover.

If you're one of the many who have been bitten by the Cougar bug, breathe easy! Cougar-love is completely normal. In fact, those effected by the condition get to enjoy the many advantages of a Cougar-based relationship, some of which are listed below:

-      Todays Cougars are Gorgeous! Modern Cougar-Lovers live in a golden-era, an age where even Cougars in their early fifties are looking better than ever. Advancements in nutrition, diet and a heightened awareness of fashion among modern cougars has kept them fresh-faced and trendy at unprecedented levels.

-      Cougars Won't Take You to Dance-Clubs! Nobody likes Dance clubs. They're noisy, smelly, expensive and filled with  the dumbest people this side of the Jersey Shore. Yet we go to them because girls do. You know which girls are far less likely to get roped into the con of trendy dance-clubs though? Cougars! Cougars have been there, done that, and they're usually much more interested in a quiet night with a pizza and a blu-ray disc. Another point for the Cougar!

-      Cougars Don't Play Games! For Cougars, time is precious. They're not going to waste time by not answering texts or playing hard-to-get. If a Cougar is interested, they'll let you know, and you're Cougar/Cub relationship will be all the sweeter for it.

-      Cougars Can Navigate Through 'Bed, Bath and Beyond' AND 'Linens 'N Things' Like You Wouldn't Believe! Seriously, it's mind-blowing.

-      Cougars Will Help You Get Your Life Together! Growing up is hard, you'll make  dumb mistakes like putting pizza rolls in the microwave after wrapping them in aluminum foil. Two young people means twice the stupidity, but a Cougar has the wisdom of the ages, and will use it to save you from your immature goof-ups.

So if you've recently been diagnosed or self-diagnosed as a Cougar-Lover,  know a life as a Cougar-Lover is not an end, but a  bright new beginning. Buy some boxed red wine, fire up a copy of any Diane Lane or Diane Keaton movie, call up your favorite Cougar and call it a date night!