Women Want Casual Sex? Yes and No
Posted by BroadBlogs
Which is it?
Maybe you’ve heard of this project: strangers approach students on college campuses and propose a one night stand or a short-term fling. Women almost always decline, but a lot of men accept.
Standard conclusion: evidence supports evolutionary psychology which claims women are picky, wanting faithful men with good genes, who will provide for their children. Men, on the other hand, will have sex with as many women as possible to better “spread their seed.”
But wait. A new study found that women were as likely to accept casual offers as men. So long as the possible partners were Brad Pitt or Johnny Depp.
Neither Brad nor Johnny propositioned real live research subjects. Rather, men and women were surveyed on a variety of scenarios.
Would you like to have sex if a stranger propositioned you in broad daylight? Survey says women find this set-up is no more appealing on paper than in the real life original study. Real or imagined, men were much more likely than women to accept.
What if fears of violence were removed? Women were asked if they’d like to have sex with their best male friend. Not really. Men were much more interested in sex with a female friend.
How about sexy men who seemed non-violent. Johnny Depp or Brad Pit? By all means, YES!!! Just as interested as men were in having sex with Angelina Jolie or Christy Brinkley.
Researchers queried on a variety of factors that might drive appeal or repulsion, including assumed sexual capability, status, warmth, faithfulness, likely gift-giving, or worries about danger, STDs or mental illness.
For women, nothing much affected their feelings other than worries about violence, or most especially, sexual capability.
For the most part, women said “no” to strangers and good friends because they didn’t think they’d enjoy sex with them very much. And they said yes to Johnny and Brad because they thought they would.
Still, another survey found that large numbers of women regretted one-night stands. While 80% of men had positive feelings, only 54% of women did. Displeased women felt used or worried about their reputations, while the men felt even more confident after these encounters. Lead researcher, Professor Anne Campbell of Durham University (UK) explained, “What the women seemed to object to was not the briefness of the encounter but the fact that the man did not seem to appreciate her.”
Others have found emotional connection to be extremely important to women. Women who respond to my blog constantly say they enjoy sex, but that it needs to be with someone they care about.
Maybe the truth lies somewhere in between. I need a strong emotional connection, myself. But I’d make an exception for Brad or Johnny.
Is my general preference due to evolutionary psychology? I doubt it. American Indians and Tahitians were promiscuous before European contact, so I don’t think monogamy’s in the genes.
In the western world women’s sexuality is repressed by negative messages from parents, friends, religious instructors, words like slut and whore, and worries about reputations. The threat of sexual violence can make sex seem fearful, while the act of sexual violence can make sex seem abhorrent. Since women are the sex objects, we don’t have sexy men to focus on. Instead we too often dwell on ourselves, distracted by how good or bad we look. All of this makes emotional connection an important component for many women.
My conclusion: Women are as biologically capable as men of wanting casual sex. But a lot of women want a lot more.
About BroadBlogsI have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.
Posted on March 23, 2011, in body image, feminism, gender, men, psychology, sex and sexuality, sexism, women and tagged casual sex, Evolutionary Psychology, feminism, gender, men, men's health, psychology, sex and sexuality, sexism, sexuality, social psychology, women. Bookmark the permalink. 72 Comments.