Sex and Regret Differs in Men and Women

Hindustan Times (New Delhi, India), December 1, 2013 | Go to article overview

Sex and Regret Differs in Men and Women


New Delhi, Dec. 1 -- Even the rare men who do not claim sexual assault was consensual or that the woman enjoyed it, almost never think of it as "wrong". The only regret, even in their comparatively more virtuous minds, is being accused, caught or ridiculed.

New research from the US shows that even when casual sex - and we're talking consensual here - and regret go hand in hand, the nature of regret varies widely with gender. Men are more likely to regret not seizing the opportunity for a meaningless quickie, while women are more remorseful about a one-night stand, say psychologists at University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and the University of Texas at Austin in the current issue of the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior.

In short, women regret having casual sex and men regret not having enough. Since the findings are self explanatory, I'm going to quote chunks from the report.

The three most common regrets for women, in descending order, were: losing their virginity to the wrong partner (24%), cheating on a present or past partner (23 %) and moving too fast sexually (20%).

For men, the top three regrets were, in descending order: being too shy to make a move on a prospective sexual partner (27%), not being more sexually adventurous when young (23%) and not being more sexually adventurous during their single days (19%).

The US study found that the findings held true for gay men and lesbians, and bisexual men and women. While rates of actually engaging in casual sex were similar overall among participants (56%), women reported more frequent and more intense regret.

More women (17%) than men (10%) included "having sex with a physically unattractive partner" as a top regret, a finding that should be quoted widely to counter ridiculous statements like, "But why would he do it when women threw themselves at him? She is not even attractive."

Clearly, the moral from former International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn's age of un-innocence fable has been quickly forgotten. Strauss-Kahn resigned from the IMF in May 2011, after being arrested by NY police over allegations of sexual assault by a maid at his New York hotel. He continued to insist his behaviour was "inappropriate" but did not involve violence, constraint or aggression. Now he works as an economic advisor to the Serbian government. For free. But going back to consensual casual sex, evolutionary pressures probably best explain the stark contrast in remorse between men and women when it comes to casual sex, write UCLA researchers. …

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