The dating game is being unmasked as sex bridges the gap in its inception between men and women. Previously the sexes would see things rather differently, despite the fact that women are more likely to regret sleeping with someone too soon, while men regret not doing so in general. But it transpires that women can be as content as men when it comes to no strings sex, a study suggests, as long as they make the first move and the person they are sleeping with is good in bed.
A woman’s misgivings fade somewhat if the night of passion is their idea, according to researchers. They wake up with regrets the morning after if the sex was bad – but not so much if they enjoyed it. A study of almost 800 people to determine why women regret casual sex more than men, found feeling pressurised into it a key reason. Women feel much less regret if they initiate the encounter while men care less about who makes the first move.
Lead author Dr Leif Edwards Ottensen Kennair, from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, said women’s greater reluctance to have no strings sex may be due to their human evolutionary past. He said: ‘Women in the past had a lot more to lose from having sex with a non-committed partner as if they got pregnant the man could walk away at no cost to anything but his reputation while she could be left to bring up the child. We know today that women are more worried than men about pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections and their reputation.’
Women may also regret a one-night stand more because they are less likely to climax, according to the research. Put simply, men tend to have a better time during sex which cancels out some of the more unpleasant feelings such as shame and guilt.
The psychologists interviewed 750 people about their last no strings sexual encounter. Around half of women said they regretted it – compared with about a third of men. To find out why, they asked participants how much they enjoyed the sex, whether they had an orgasm, and how much they worried, felt immoral or felt pressure.
The study group were also to rate their agreement to the statement ‘I was the one to take the initiative.’ The results showed men and women regretted having sex if the sex was bad, the other person sexually incompetent or they experience worry or disgust. Each factor is more important for women than for men. Women felt less regretful if they made the first move but this had no impact on whether men felt regret or not.
Study co-author Professor David Buss, from the University of Texas, said: ‘Women who initiate sex are likely to have at least two distinguishing qualities. First, they are likely to have a healthy sexual psychology being maximally comfortable with their own sexuality; second, women who initiate have maximum choice of who they have sex with.’
The study, published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, found disgust was the biggest cause of regret over a one night stand. This could be disgust over the type of sex, someone’s hygiene or the act of having sex outside a relationship. The authors conclude: ‘Women’s greater worry and lower levels of sexual gratification partially explain why women regret casual sex.’
I don’t believe it has ever been easy to define sex and its consequences. However, what is beyond doubt is that men in general can attain orgasm easier than women whatever the circumstances. Women take more time to reach a climax, as opposed to men to whom the act is more mechanical and as such, less complicated.