'We have recently introduced sexier shapes such as the cheeky Brazilian knicker, and that is selling particularly well.
Frances Russell, trading director of lingerie at M&S, said: 'We launched the Portfolio lingerie brand this season because there was a clear demand for sexy, flattering underwear for the 45 plus market.
'The range has proved to be a clear favourite with this kind of customer.
Annette Warburton said: '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.' Marks & Spencer has also been keen to cash in on the 'cougar' trend.
It has launched a range of lingerie specifically aimed at the '45 plus market' - and says that the raciest styles are proving the most popular.
Women of a certain age might once have accepted a dwindling love life as part of getting older. Sales of risque lingerie among women in their 40s and 50s have soared in recent months, according to retailers.
No longer content with ‘mumsy’ bras and pants, these women are now thought to buy more stockings, suspenders, basques, thongs and cleavage-boosting bras than women in their 20s.
Debenhams said its highest lingerie sales among women in their 40s and 50s are in London.
Older women in Edinburgh, Brighton and Liverpool are also spending more on underwear.
Rediscovering youth: Empowered 40 plus women have given the more seductive side of the lingerie industry a big boost after watching shows like Cougar Town starring Courteney Cox They have become the fastest-growing market for sexy lingerie – inspired, retailers say, by racy on-screen role models such as Sex And The City’s Sam, played by Kim Cattrall, and Courteney Cox in the new TV show Cougar Town.And well-to-do women in their forties and older tend to have more spending power than those in their twenties - making them an attractive prospect for luxury underwear brands.