Men: Score! Women: Whoops!

A study finds women experience more regret over one-night stands.

Published June 25, 2008 10:25PM (EDT)

What do you know, women still experience more regret over one-night stands than men do, according to a new study. Researchers at Durham University in the U.K. surveyed 1,743 men and women about their morning-after feelings and found that 80 percent of men and 54 percent of women reported feeling good after a hookup; men also feel more confident and sexually satisfied afterward, and are more likely to brag to friends about it.

I suppose hookup hand-wringers might argue that this study is proof that young women are hooking up and tuning out, that they're having casual sex because they think they're supposed to and not because they want to. That may, indeed, be true in some cases, but I'd sooner believe that this study illustrates the familiar stud-slut double standard. Even young women of the hookup generation -- and I am one -- aren't immune to culturally commanded sexual shame; greater permissiveness toward one-night stands doesn't necessarily make it easy for women to feel proud of their sexploits. On the same note, it's no surprise women report less sexual satisfaction from their hookups: Plenty of women don't exactly experience sexual shame as an aphrodisiac, and hookup culture doesn't emphasize female pleasure so much as it does humping like bunny rabbits.

The researchers, however, focused on biological rather than cultural explanations for the study's results. "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," said lead researcher Professor Anne Campbell. "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." I'll leave you with the study's ultimate conclusion because it gave me a good chuckle: Women have yet to catch up with this bio-logic and "adapt" to meaningless sex.

By Tracy Clark-Flory

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