I don’t know why the hell I even bother getting angry anymore, but Jesus Fucking Christ do I hate the media.
There’s some new study on sex and different male and female perceptions towards it (cue groans). It’s about casual sex. What kind of headlines is it prompting? Ones like these:
Women Have Not Adapted To Casual Sex, Research Shows; Casual sex rates low for many women; The one-night stand blues: How girls are left to regret brief encounters; and my favorite, Men like casual sex more than women – scientific fact
Anyone want to guess why this pisses me off? Probably because, oops!, that’s not what the fucking study says.
In fact, it says nothing at all about whether or not women have adapted to casual sex, and fails to show that they don’t like it because women are all about relationships. In fact, the results show quite the opposite — that contrary to popular belief, women don’t engage in casual sex because they think it might lead to a relationship. Amazingly enough, they generally do it for the same reason that men do: because they’re horny.
But it’s true that (presumably heterosexual) women were more likely to report negative experiences. Why was that, in the end? Is it because the men don’t instantly propose? No, it’s because the men are much more likely to treat the women like total shit.
Overall women’s feelings were more negative than men’s. Eighty per cent of men had overall positive feelings about the experience compared to 54 per cent of women. Men were more likely than women to secretly want their friends to hear about it and to feel successful because the partner was desirable to others. Men also reported greater sexual satisfaction and contentment following the event, as well as a greater sense of well-being and confidence about themselves.
The predominant negative feeling reported by women was regret at having been “used”. Women were also more likely to feel that they had let themselves down and were worried about the potential damage to their reputation if other people found out. Women found the experience less sexually satisfying and, contrary to popular belief, they did not seem to view taking part in casual sex as a prelude to long-term relationships.
“What the women seemed to object to was not the briefness 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,” Professor Campbell explained.
Oh, look at that. It’s not that women don’t like casual sex — it’s that men apparently aren’t putting in as much effort to provide their partners with sexual satisfaction, tend to blow the women off afterward rather than treating them like people, and feel more free to discuss the experience without the fear of being judged, called a whore and permanently looked down upon by their peers.
Somehow, all of this strikes me as having nothing to do with biology, and absolutely everything to do with social customs and gendered patterns of socially acceptable behavior. But of course, this information not only fails to appear in headlines, but is nicely buried toward the end of even Scientific Daily’s article.
To be entirely fair, it seems that the study’s author is also to blame. According to the BBC, “The academic leading the research said it showed that there was no evolutionary advantage for women in one night stands.” As I’ve just noted, the very results of the study prove this conclusion to be utterly without merit, but that doesn’t get you quoted in newspaper articles, now does it? Nothing for the MRAs and abstinence-only proponents to brag about there.
It seems to me that more accurate headlines would be “Men are more likely than women to be assholes during casual sex” or “Society has still not adapted to female desire for casual sex.” But not having the desire to pass out today, I won’t be holding my breath for their miraculous appearance.