My word this is exciting and interesting research!

The great gender divide over sexual regrets: Women want less casual sex, men want more!

In-dept survey looked into biggest sexual regrets for men and women
Women worried about losing their virginity to the wrong person
While men worried about not having more partners before marriage
Researchers blamed evolutionary attitudes for the difference

I do like that “blamed” there. As if this should all be something to have blame attached to it rather than it being a pretty simple laying out of what human beings are like.

13 thoughts on “My word this is exciting and interesting research!”

  1. Not sure we should rush to “evolutionary” there. May be, may not be. With a slut-shaming culture, it would be expected that people would feel that way.

  2. I’m reminded of the great John Betjeman, who replied when asked towards the end of his life and in a wheelchair if he had any regrets answered, “Yes, not enough sex”.

  3. “evolutionary attitudes”

    It’s not about “evolutionary attitudes”, it’s about the difference in our reproductive capacity. Men can reproduce every few days, women can reproduce every year, approximately. If a woman fucks a rubbish guy and gets pregnant, she’s got a year before she can reproduce with a good guy, the equivalent for a man is a few days.

    There’s some research been done into women who fool around and men who do the same, and in general, when women start screwing a man on the side, it’s because they’re looking for a new partner, where men will casually screw other women.

    And this is borne out by what successful men do, and what successful women do. Men who get to be top footballers, CEOs, cabinet ministers will shag other women. The women who get into those positions do so more rarely.

  4. Chimpanzees are our closest relatives, they have expensive, slow developing offspring which require considerable parental care. They don’t pair bond. Think about it.

    The thing that bothers me about evolutionary reasoning is there is an awful lot, it seems to me, of people inverting Hume; they start with an “ought” and then go prove the “is”. I can take you around my local estate and show you some considerable anecdata that the female homo sapiens is a naturally promiscuous lone parent. Or, it may be that humans evolved a mixed strategy, and the females only seek provisioning males in times of limited resources.

    There does seem to be mounting evidence that, having created the first “do as you please” society in human history (or something close to it), the females of the species seem to want to be lone parents. Which really does call into doubt whether they are instinctive monogamists, either lifetime ones or serial ones, at all.

    In which case, alpha-focussed promiscuity might be the “natural” strategy they employ. Which is why we need all the marriage contracts and rituals, the slut shaming, etc. To stop them doing what comes naturally which is, for want of a better term, “focussed promiscuity”.

    Just speculating of course.

  5. I can take you around my local estate and show you some considerable anecdata that the female homo sapiens is a naturally promiscuous lone parent.

    Is a local council estate full of alpha females? Or something further down the scale?

    And this is the source of “slut shaming”. It comes from women looking down on women who are indiscriminate about reproduction. Look at the most successful women around, women who have the resources to ignore society’s views, women who can have their pick of sexual partners, women who in many other ways ignore the demands of polite society, and they are basically serial monogamists. Katie Price, Madonna, Britney Spears could have sex with hundreds of men. But they don’t.

  6. ‘Chimpanzees are our closest relatives, they have expensive, slow developing offspring which require considerable parental care. They don’t pair bond. Think about it.’

    I’ve thought about it. What you seem to be saying is that some humans are closer to chimps than others, and indeed may be closer to chimps than they are to the other people. I wouldn’t disagree.

  7. If women are rational then they surely ought to be less keen on sex with randoms than men because even in a world of (less than perfect) contraception the risks they are run are considerably higher.

    I’m not talking about slut-shaming, I’m just talking about pregnancy. A woman who is pregnant with a baby she doesn’t want has three options and all of them are awful.

  8. “Chimpanzees are our closest relatives”

    This extrapolating human behaviour from chimp behaviour based on degree of genetic similarity really has to stop. We are 75% genetically similar to cows, which explains our behaviour 75% of the time…?

    And about 35% of our genes are shared with daffodils, which arguably explains the brain content of at least 35% of humanity.

    Alternatively they all explain the square root of f*ck all.

    http://a-short-saying.blogspot.co.uk/2010/11/99-chimp-but-also-35-daffodil.html

  9. Tim-

    Is a local council estate full of alpha females? Or something further down the scale?

    As many as any other social class. Alpha in females is purely about youth and looks remember, not social status.

  10. Doug,

    Don’t be silly. Humans and chimps are so close evolutionarily that arguably we should be reclassified as Pan sapiens. The point of what I said is that chimps also have small numbers of expensive young, but do not follow a pair bonding strategy.

    The question is why, if humans are instinctive pair-bonders (in particular, females) why one would need a powerfully imposed set of social rules to maintain it and why, when we do this experiment of relaxing/abolishing those rules, the pair bonding breaks down so rapidly.

    “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle”.

    It might actually be true.

  11. So Much For Subtlety

    Ian B – “Chimpanzees are our closest relatives, they have expensive, slow developing offspring which require considerable parental care. They don’t pair bond. Think about it.”

    Not sure I saw the words “pair bond” in that article. Nor does it have a lot to do with women regretting giving it up to some ar$e. Although it may have something to do with their regrets over cheating.

    “The thing that bothers me about evolutionary reasoning is there is an awful lot, it seems to me, of people inverting Hume; they start with an “ought” and then go prove the “is”.”

    Indeed. People can make any argument to defend what they want to be true. The good example of this being Desmond Morris’ The Naked Ape. Or a more recent example being Sex at Dawn which is truly awful. But it doesn’t mean we should give up on trying.

    “I can take you around my local estate and show you some considerable anecdata that the female homo sapiens is a naturally promiscuous lone parent.”

    But there is nothing natural about that Housing Estate. Because we pay them to have children by random and unreliable men. In fact the more children they have by the worse men, the more we give them. So it is not a fair or reasonable comparison.

    “Or, it may be that humans evolved a mixed strategy, and the females only seek provisioning males in times of limited resources.”

    Presumably women’s prime strategy is to marry a man who is a reliable provider and then cheat on him with someone hotter. That way she gets provisioned by the Beta but the better quality children of the Alpha.

    Of course if the State is willing to screw over the Beta, then she can skip that part and go straight to the Alpha who is way out of her league but will throw her a pity f*ck every now and then.

    “Which is why we need all the marriage contracts and rituals, the slut shaming, etc. To stop them doing what comes naturally which is, for want of a better term, “focussed promiscuity”.”

    Slut shaming is mainly woman-on-woman violence. They have an asset that men want – sex – and sluts devalue it. No one is going to pay court to a chaste woman if he can get a quick leg over from the village bicycle. But consider the man’s best strategy – sex with as many women as possible. Perhaps with some support for one or more of them if they have children. It looks to me that marriage etc etc is just an average between what women want and what men want. The middle of a Venn diagram – and a necessary pre-condition for civilisation.

    “Just speculating of course.”

    Indeed.

  12. So Much For Subtlety

    Ian B – “The question is why, if humans are instinctive pair-bonders (in particular, females) why one would need a powerfully imposed set of social rules to maintain it and why, when we do this experiment of relaxing/abolishing those rules, the pair bonding breaks down so rapidly.”

    Well let’s agree that women are not naturally instinctive pair bonders. But they certainly benefit if the man in their life thinks they are. Of course they do best if they can manage to persuade one or more men that they are naturally pair bonded – deeply in love with only one man. Then he can be more confident about his children and will provide for them. Even if she is stepping out with some other man or men. So women will naturally always claim to be faithful and will deeply resent any suggestion they are not. Even if they aren’t.

    Does that break down easily? Not so much I think. Marriage is about signalling the pair bond. Making it clear. Raising the costs of forming the pair bond and so making it harder to break.

    But women’s sexual value goes down, men’s goes up, after the age of 24 or so. Naturally a matched pair when they are 18 won’t be so well matched at 28.

    Look at that article – it is exactly what Evolutionary Psychology would have predicted:

    the main regrets women reported were losing their virginity to the wrong partner, cheating or moving too fast sexually.

    So women regret not holding out for a better deal on their virginity, for over-estimating their value with the present mate, and not holding out for a better deal yet again. That is, sex for women ought to be rare and discriminating as eggs are expensive. For men?

    However the major regrets for men were being too timid to approach a possible partner, not being more sexually adventurous when young and not being more sexually active before getting married.

    Sperm is cheap therefore men regret not spreading it as far and as wide as they can.

    “It might actually be true.”

    If they have a bunch of White Knights in Parliament who will vote so that another bunch of White Knights in blue uniforms will go around and take money from suckers they would not be caught dead sleeping with and giving it to them.

    End the welfare state. Then women will re-discover the joys of a boring husband with a steady reliable job. Accountants of the world rise up, you have nothing to lose but your on line porn collection.

  13. SMFS-

    What I was (not very well) trying to argue, is that the reason evolutionary psychology predicts that is that it unwittingly (perhaps) articulates cultural (moral) preferences. Since women are also articulating the same cultural-moral preferences, the two are bound to coincide.

    To use an illustrative example; in Chinese culture tiny ladies’ feet were very popular. A chinese scientist may thus use some evolutionary reasoning to conclude that women should like tiny feet. He then finds, lo! that women do indeed prefer tiny feet. But hasn’t really proved anything if, the scientist and his subjects are both working under the same cultural preferences.

    The second point I was making was not to approve of any particular behaviour. Often, learning that evolutionary instincts oppose a cultural system may indicate why the cultural system is a necessary overlay. For instance, violence. My natural instinct as a male, if you have disrespected me, is to round up my friends or clan, hunt you down, and kill you publicly to assert my dominance. This is routine behaviour in primitve tribes. Doesn’t actually make for a stable civilisation though. But it is interesting to note its reemergence in “ghetto” culture as it reverts to a tribal, instinct based state.

    Which is also characterised by lone mothers bringing up children conceived promiscuously, by the way.

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