Myth Buster Monday: Are women just as in to “casual sex” as men?

Myth Buster Monday: Are women just as in to “casual sex” as men?

Ann Bailey

Feminists continue to insist that feminism and the sexual revolution have been a boon to women; freeing them to participate in sexual relations in a way that, only until the last few decades, was the domain of men.  So, does the modern woman share the propensity and desire of men to engage in casual sex?   A researcher out of the UK says “No.”

Professor Anne Campbell reports that the negatives feelings reported by women after one-night stands suggests that women are not well adapted to casual sexual encounters.  Campbell’s work, published last summer in the Springer’s Journal, Human Nature, explains:

“In evolutionary terms women bear the brunt of parental care and it has been generally thought that it was to their advantage to choose their mate carefully and remain faithful to make sure that their mate had no reason to believe he was raising another man’s child. But recently biologists have suggested that females could benefit from mating with many men—it would increase the genetic diversity of their children and, if a high quality man would not stay with them forever, they might at least get his excellent genes for their child.”

Prof. Campbell theorized that if women have adapted to this new norm of sexual behavior, then they should experience the same positive feelings and attitudes toward one -night stands that men do.   She surveyed 1743 men and women who had experienced at least one-night stand.

The Science Daily commented on the study’s results:

“Overall women’s feelings were more negative than men’s. Eighty per cent of men had overall positive feelings about the experience compared to 54 per cent of women. Men were more likely than women to secretly want their friends to hear about it and to feel successful because the partner was desirable to others. Men also reported greater sexual satisfaction and contentment following the event, as well as a greater sense of well-being and confidence about themselves.

The predominant negative feeling reported by women was regret at having been “used.” Women found the experience less sexually satisfying and, contrary to popular belief, they did not seem to view taking part in casual sex as a prelude to long-term relationships.”

What about anecdotal evidence?

Much has been said and written about the controversial Atlantic Magazine article “All the Single Ladies.” I found the article to be an articulate, but somehow desperate attempt of a never-married, almost middle aged-woman to convince herself that being single forever was really what she wanted after all.   But I was particularly struck by the part of the article where the author meets with a kind of focus group of college-age women who have had more than their share of one-night stands.  There was one line, however, that nearly jumped off the page.  Here’s the author’s description of the gathering:

As I’d expected, these denizens of hookup culture were far more sexually experienced than I’d been at their age. Some had had many partners, and they all joked easily about sexual positions and penis size (“I was like, ‘That’s a pinkie, not a penis!’”) with the offhand knowledge only familiarity can breed. Most of them said that though they’d had a lot of sex, none of it was particularly sensual or exciting….

Most striking to me was the innocence of these young women. Of these attractive and vivacious females, only two had ever had a “real” boyfriend—as in, a mutually exclusive and satisfying relationship rather than a series of hookups—and for all their technical know-how, they didn’t seem to be any wiser than I’d been at their age. This surprised me; I’d assumed that growing up in a jungle would give them a more matter-of-fact or at least less conventional worldview. Instead, when I asked if they wanted to get married when they grew up, and if so, at what age, to a one they answered “yes” and “27 or 28.”

“That’s only five or six years from now,” I pointed out. “Doesn’t that seem—not far off?”

They nodded.

“Take a look at me,” I said. “I’ve never been married, and I have no idea if I ever will be. There’s a good chance that this will be your reality, too. Does that freak you out?”

Again they nodded.

“I don’t think I can bear doing this for that long!” whispered one, with undisguised alarm.

I don’t think I can bear doing this for that long! 

That sentence about says it all and for me pretty much answers the question:  Have women adapted to casual sex?


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