WASHINGTON — In general, women regret short-term sexual encounters like one-night stands more than men do.But, the reason has remained unknown.
However, various factors determine whether and how much they regret them. According to a Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)-led study, an initiative is the clearest gender-differentiating factor for regret after casual sex, although other conditions also affect how much an individual regrets the encounter.
“The factor that clearly distinguishes women from men is the extent to which they themselves take the initiative,” says Mons Bendixen, an associate professor in the Department of Psychology at the NTNU.
Initiative is the clearest gender-differentiating factor for regret after casual sex, although other conditions also affect how much an individual regrets the encounter.
In contrast to women, sexual regret for men is not affected by whether they take the initiative. “Women who take the initiative see the man as an attractive sexual partner,” says Professor Leif Edvard Ottesen Kennair, also at NTNU’s Department of Psychology.
“Women who initiate sex are likely to have at least two distinguishing qualities,” said researcher 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.”
Researcher Mons Bendixen pointed out that these effects are not as strong in men, “Women have less regret if the sex was good. For men, this also plays a less important role. The underlying causes are biological”.
The higher-investing sex faces larger repercussions of mating decisions than the lower investing sex. Women have a higher minimum obligatory parental investment (e.g., 9 months internal gestation) than men. So, women’s regret should be more closely tied to the quality of their sex partner than men’s.
“For women, sexual skill might be a cue to high male quality,” said researcher Kelly Asao. In short, women may profit more from high quality in their sexual partners than men do.
This study,published in the Personality and Individual Differences, added several factors that can explain responses to casual sex.
The researchers also asked study participants if they took the initiative for the sex act, if they felt pressured to have sex and whether the partner was skilled or sexually competent. Participants were also asked if they experienced disgust.
Women also feel disgusted more often than men after a short-term sexual encounter. This is one of the key factors in whether or not they feel regret.
People may feel disgusted because they feel moral regret, but also if the act is unhygienic or if the sex itself was perceived as gross.
With Agency Inputs
New vaginal ring to prevent HIV, pregnancy is safe: Study
An experimental vaginal ring designed to prevent pregnancy and HIV looks safe, according to an early stage study.
The ring is designed to provide 90 days’ protection at a time. The dual-purpose ring releases the antiretroviral drug dapivirine and the contraceptive hormone levonorgestrel, said researchers led by Dr Sharon Achilles, of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
This small, 14-day trial involving 24 women who were not pregnant and not infected with HIV was the first clinical study of the ring.
“We are very encouraged by our findings in this first-in-human study of the dapivirine-levonorgestrel ring,” said Achilles, an assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences.
Its use resulted in sufficient levels of levonorgestrel to prevent pregnancy and adequate levels of dapivirine to reduce risk of HIV infection, the researchers noted.
There were no safety concerns, and the ring was well-tolerated, according to the Microbicide Trials Network study.
The researchers have started a second Phase 1 trial in which women will use the ring for 90 days.
“With a second study underway, we are another step closer to potentially having an easy-to-use product that can provide safe and effective, long-acting protection against both HIV and unintended pregnancy,” Achilles said in a network news release.
The research was funded by the US National Institutes of Health and presented Wednesday (Oct 24) at an HIV prevention conference, in Madrid, Spain.
Research presented at meetings is usually considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.