It seems that the sexual revolution of the 1960’s that was supposed to free women for casual encounters has failed.
Researchers at Durham University surveyed 1,743 men and women that had engaged in one-night stands. They then asked the respondents to rate their positive and negative feelings the following morning, in an internet survey.
Women reported negative feelings after fleeting sexual encounters and felt “used” after one-night stands, according to the research, led by Professor Anne Campbell.
The study, part of a project at Durham University, and published in the June issue of the journal Human Nature, found that after a one-night stand women were overwhelmed with negative feelings, believed they had somehow let themselves down, and were worried about the potential damage to their reputation.
Women also found casual sex less satisfying and, contrary to popular belief, did not seem to consider the experience as a prelude to a long-term relationship.
Professor Campbell explained:
What the women seemed to object to was not the fleetingness of the encounter but the fact that the man did not seem to appreciate her. The women thought this lack of gratitude implied that she did this with anybody.
On the other hand, compared to just 54 percent of women, who reported positive feeling, 80 percent of men had overall positive feelings about the experience, felt greater sexual satisfaction and contentment afterwards, as well as a greater sense of well-being and confidence about themselves. They were also more likely than women to want their friends to hear about what they had done.
The study concluded women “have not adapted” to meaningless sex, because it did not suit them at this stage in evolution; whereas men are more likely to reproduce, and therefore they would benefit from numerous short-term partners.
For women, finding partners of high genetic quality is a stronger motivator than sheer number, and it is commonly believed that women are more willing to have casual sex when there is a chance of forming a long-term relationship.
Professor Campbell went on to state:
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.