Sunday, February 23, 2014

Regrets Non Regrets--Sex and Regrets

This is a blog about cancer, relationships, love and sex. So when I find new research on sexual matters I can’t wait to share it with you. Today’s post is about sexual regrets and how they are different for men and women.

Researchers at The University of Texas and at UCLA have been studying sexual regrets for many years and here is some of what they have learned: Both men and women experience sexual regrets—sometimes quite profound. Most illuminating were the gender differences and the explanations for the “why” of those regrets.

Women tend to regret sexual decisions such as a one-night stand or losing their virginity to the wrong person—or a sexual encounter that involves infidelity. Men tend to regret missed sexual opportunities.

The researchers who looked at this suggest that these  “regret differences” are based in evolution. Men, they say regret not being more sexually adventurous because they are hard-wired to seek mates. “For men throughout evolutionary history, every missed opportunity to have sex with a new partner is potentially a missed reproductive opportunity—a costly loss from a evolutionary perspective,” says Martie Haselton, professor of social psychology at UCLA.

“But for women, reproduction required more investment in each offspring, including nine months of pregnancy. The consequences of casual sex were much higher for women than men, and this is likely to have shaped emotional reactions to sexual encounters even today.”

Interestingly, the researchers found that the findings were replicated with gay men and women who participated in the research: missed opportunities were more of a regret for gay men and decisions to have sex generating more regrets for gay women.

This helps to explain a lot of those early relationship dilemmas and that classic, much spoofed, “Where is this relationship going?” conversation that woman tend to initiate.

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