Women have less regret after casual sex when they initiate it
Women typically regret having casual sex or one-night stands, and researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology have identified factors that affect how much remorse they experience.
According to the study, when a woman initiates a fling, she feels much less regret afterward. Men do not have guilt after casual sex as often as women do, and initiative is not a factor that causes men to feel regret.
“Regret is a highly unpleasant emotion and our findings suggest that having control over their decision to engage in sex buffered women from experiencing regret,” said co-author Joy P. Wyckoff. “These results are another reminder of the importance of women’s ability to make autonomous decisions regarding their sexual behaviors.”
“Women who initiate sex are likely to have at least two distinguishing qualities,” said study co-author David Buss. “First, they are likely to have a healthy sexual psychology, being maximally comfortable with their own sexuality. Second, women who initiate have maximum choice of precisely who they want to have sex with. Consequently, they have less reason to feel regret, since they’ve made their own choice.”
The study also revealed that women experience less regret if their partner was skilled and the sex was satisfying.
“Women have less regret if the sex was good. For men, this also plays a less important role. The underlying causes are biological,” said Mons Bendixen.
Disgust is another factor that drives how much regret women feel after short-term sexual encounters. The researchers found that the impact of disgust was strong among men as well.
“The feeling of disgust or revulsion is the single factor that best explained why women and men regretted the last time they had casual sex when we controlled for all other factors,” said Bendixen.
Disgust is often felt when people have feelings of moral regret, or when the act was not hygienic or the sex itself was perceived as being repulsive.
“Sexual disgust is an important adaptive emotion,” said Buss. “It functions to help people avoid, now or in the future, potential sex partners who are either low in mate value or who carry some risk of sexually transmitted infections.”
The study is published in Personality and Individual Differences.