47 year old Elle MacPherson launched her own lingerie line. Courtesy Photo

Middle-aged women are getting hotter, but it has nothing to do with menopause. In fact, its just the opposite.

U.K. retailers including Debenhams and Marks & Spencer say that sales of racy lingerie are on the rise among women in their 40s and 50s, thanks to boy-crazy characters like "Cougar Town's" Jules Cobb (Courteney Cox) and "Sex and the City's" Samantha Jones (Kim Cattrall), reports the Daily Mail.

Annette Warburton, head lingerie buyer for Debenhams, tells the newspaper, "Positive female role models in this age group, such as the women in 'Sex and the City,' are giving the women confidence to splash out on themselves."

Indeed, thanks to the Cougar Effect, these women of a certain age who have more money to burn than their twentysomething counterparts have gotten up to plenty of risqué business, purchasing bustiers, thongs, stockings, suspenders, and other unmentionables.

Frances Russell, trading director of lingerie at M&S, says the more spicy styles in the chain's Portfolio line, aimed at the 45-plus market, have proven to be a big hit. We have recently introduced sexier shapes such as the cheeky Brazilian knicker, and that is selling particularly well, Russell tells the Daily Mail. A bright red lacy lingerie set has also been hugely popular.

Also flying off the, er, racks: luxury lingerie designed by celebrity cougars, including Elle Macpherson (47) and Liz Hurley (44).

Recent surveys confirm that the cougar crowd is getting plenty of action and that today's 40-year-old women are having more sex -- not to mention more orgasms -- than those of previous generations, reports the Daily Mail.

For her part, 53-year-old Cattrall can completely relate to the Cougar Effect. Shes confessed that playing sultry Samantha has helped her experience the best sex of her life -- off camera, of course.

"Samantha was so free and open and powerful," Cattrall said. Embodying the character helped to give me courage and confidence.

Speaking of looking good in your skivvies, learn how not to look fat in a bathing suit!