27 June, 2008

Men like casual sex more than women

It is now a truth acknowledged even by science: men like casual sex more than women do.

One of the first academic studies to investigate positive and negative emotions felt after casual sex has revealed that evolution has not adapted women to having casual sex. Otherwise, they conclude, women would feel better about a one-night sexual partner, instead of feeling "used" and regretful.

An internet survey of 1,743 men and women who have had one-night stands found that 80 per cent of the men had positive feelings about it, feeling greater sexual satisfaction and contentment, plus a greater sense of well-being. Only 54 per cent of women felt the same way.

"Evolution often acts through positive and negative emotions which draw us towards adaptive behaviours or drives us from harmful ones," said Professor Anne Campbell of Durham University, whose study is published in the journal Human Nature. "Basic emotions guide us down pathways that have been advantageous for our ancestors. If our female ancestors were adapted to short-term relationships, they ought to enjoy them like men do."

Men are biologically capable of reproduction with many women, which may explain their apparent happiness with casual relationships. But for women it is quality, not quantity that is important, said Professor Campbell.

"In evolutionary terms women bear the brunt of parental care and it has been thought that it was to their advantage to choose their mate carefully and remain faithful to ensure their mate had no reason to believe he was raising another man's child.

"Recently, biologists have suggested that females could benefit from mating with many men – it would increase the genetic diversity of their children and, if a high-quality man would not stay with them, they might at least get his excellent genes for that child," she said. [source]

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