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The Real Reason Women Might Regret Casual Sex A new study reveals sexual regret isn't about sex itself.

The Real Reason Women Might Regret Casual Sex A new study reveals sexual regret isn't about sex itself.

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Published by 14215469
Our emotional and psychological responses to interactions with other human beings are shaped by culture and socialization at least as much as biology. But as sexual mores continue to shift – perhaps more rapidly than many folks are comfortable with – it's comforting to believe that some evolutionary fact underlies our unease. Human sexual expression has long been widely variable, and social institutions have struggled to reign it in through a variety of mechanisms (outlawing same-sex relationships or premarital sex; valorizing female chastity and reproduction within marriage) for a variety of reasons (economic stability based on a nuclear family model; continuance of male social, political and economic dominance).
We are complicated animals, and even as we study our own motivations and feelings, we are operating within a set of cultural assumptions and values that – being thickly swaddled in them – we cannot fully see. Which helps psychologists who fancy themselves evolution experts to conclude that their own personal preferences, or the current norms of their culture, are universal and explicable by evolution alone.
Our emotional and psychological responses to interactions with other human beings are shaped by culture and socialization at least as much as biology. But as sexual mores continue to shift – perhaps more rapidly than many folks are comfortable with – it's comforting to believe that some evolutionary fact underlies our unease. Human sexual expression has long been widely variable, and social institutions have struggled to reign it in through a variety of mechanisms (outlawing same-sex relationships or premarital sex; valorizing female chastity and reproduction within marriage) for a variety of reasons (economic stability based on a nuclear family model; continuance of male social, political and economic dominance).
We are complicated animals, and even as we study our own motivations and feelings, we are operating within a set of cultural assumptions and values that – being thickly swaddled in them – we cannot fully see. Which helps psychologists who fancy themselves evolution experts to conclude that their own personal preferences, or the current norms of their culture, are universal and explicable by evolution alone.

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Published by: 14215469 on Dec 17, 2013
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The Real Reason Women Might Regret Casual Sex
 A new study reveals sexual regret isn't about sex itself.
The Guardian  / By Jill Filipovic  / December 5, 2013
 
T
he "walk of shame" is a Sunday morning ritual on college campuses (and sometimes beyond) across the United States: young women, hair matted and still in last night's skirt and heels, trudge home post-hook-up. It's a uniquely female ritual, and the term itself evokes a singularly female image. While men also have to go home after  sex, often disheveled and exhausted, there's no shame attached to their commute. In a culture that imbues sexual activity in women with shame and judgment while applauding sexual prolificacy in men, it will surprise no one that women are more likely than men to report regretting sexual encounters. But according to a new study, it's not cultural views of female sexuality that saddle women with regret; it's evolution.  The research team found that college-age women are more likely to regret a one-time sexual encounter, whereas men are more likely to regret not taking a sexual opportunity. Women's biggest sexual regrets are losing their virginity to the wrong partner, cheating on a partner or moving too fast sexually. Men, on the other hand, regretted not making a move on a potential partner, and a lack of sexual adventurousness in their younger or single days. Similar patterns held among gay men and lesbians
 –
 women were more likely to regret sexual activity, while men were more likely to regret chances not taken. Martie Haselton, a UCLA social psychology professor on the research team, said:
 
One thing that is fascinating about these emotional reactions in the present is that they might be far removed from the reproductive consequences of the ancestral past. For example, we have reliable methods of contraception. But that doesn't seem to have erased the sex differences in women's and men's responses, which might have a deep evolutionary history. Or a deep cultural one. While evolutionary biology traffics in real, science-backed facts,
 
evolutionary psychology is largely a project of backward-looking guesswork, and often an attempt to chalk up complex social phenomenon to evolution. That's wildly appealing, because people love having their
 
The Real Reason Women Might Regret Casual Sex
 A new study reveals sexual regret isn't about sex itself.
biases confirmed, and because alleged scientific confirmation of an "evolutionary" reason for social inequity handily gives us an out for having to deal with injustice. If women have actually emotionally evolved to feel sexual shame absent social context, then what's the point of pushing back on a social context that sexually shames women? In reality, our emotional and psychological responses to interactions with other human beings are shaped by culture and socialization at least as much as biology. But as sexual mores continue to shift
 –
 perhaps more rapidly than many folks are comfortable with
 –
 it's comforting to believe that some evolutionary fact underlies our unease. Human sexual expression has long been widely variable, and social institutions have struggled to reign it in through a variety of mechanisms (outlawing same-sex relationships or premarital sex; valorizing female chastity and reproduction within marriage) for a variety of reasons (economic stability based on a nuclear family model; continuance of male social, political and economic dominance). We are complicated animals, and even as we study our own motivations and feelings, we are operating within a set of cultural assumptions and values that
 –
 being thickly swaddled in them
 –
 we cannot fully see. Which helps psychologists who fancy themselves evolution experts to conclude that their own personal preferences, or the current norms of their culture, are universal and explicable by evolution alone.  As cultural norms change, so do sexual behaviors and our responses to them.  A recent UK survey found
 
that more women than ever before have had same-sex sexual experiences
 –
 four times as many women as two decades ago. And while the vast majority of respondents had sex before marriage, majorities nonetheless said sex before marriage was wrong. That disconnect between a cultural ideal
 –
 that sex is best within the confines of marriage
 –
 and the biological and social reality
 –
 that human beings physically desire sex and that we have had sex outside of the confines of marriage for all of human history
 –
 is perhaps a better explanation of any attendant negative emotions attached to premarital sex than an evolutionary guessing game. The UK survey also found that women bear the brunt of negative sexual experiences, whether that's sexual assault, sexually transmitted infections or unintended pregnancy. Women will of course feel less positive about sexual experiences that are tainted by assault or fear. And women will of course feel less positive about sexual experiences in a culture that attaches negative attributes to sexually active women.

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