An incredible study from the Archives of Sexual Behavior is making a pretty presumptuous argument the explain the sexual behaviors of men versus women.
After surveying over 24,000 people, researchers claim that women are genetically hardwired to feel guilt about promiscuous activity. “Prior sex researchers have focused primarily on the emotion of sexual attraction in sexual decisions,” said David Buss a University of Texas at Austin evolutionary psychologist who was involved with the study. “These studies point to the importance of a neglected mating emotion — sexual regret — which feels experiential negative but in fact can be highly functional in guiding adaptive sexual decisions.”
Women reported feeling the most guilt for who they lost their virginity to, infidelity and having sex with a new partner too fast. Men –you dirty dogs, you– on the flip side regretted being too shy to make a move, not having enough sex when they were young and not having enough sex before they were married. And the reasoning behind this wasn’t societal pressures put on women to remain chaste, exemplified in several global cultures– it was mere science.
“For men throughout evolutionary history, every missed opportunity to have sex with a new partner is potentially a missed reproduce opportunity — a costly loss from an evolutionary perspective,” Martie Haselton, a UCLA social psychology professor added. “But for women, reproduction required much more investment in each offspring, including nine months of pregnancy and potentially two additional years of breastfeeding. The consequences of casual sex were so much higher for women than for men, and this is likely to have shaped emotional reactions to sexual liaisons even today.”
One interesting finding from all the data was that more women (17 percent) regret having sex with an unattractive partner, than men (10 percent) did. So maybe it’s not science or society. Maybe it’s butter-faced men.