On Women and Casual Sex – Part I: The Pleasure Theory

Actually, Good Charlotte, girls DON’T like cars and moneyas much as they like boys who know how to “please” them…

One of the oldest and hoariest tropes in our culture is idea of sexual drives differing in men and women; men areso the idea goeshot blooded, almost bestial and totally at the mercy of their libidos. Dudes are so horny that they just can’t control themselves; arousal means that they must satiate it at almost any cost. They’ll stick it in just about anything that offers the right combination of friction, suction and heatand they’re pretty flexible about their standards for all three. Deprive a man from sexual release for long enough and just about anything becomes fuckablehow else can you explain sailors mistaking manatees for mermaids?

Women on the other hand are less erotic and primal; they are slow to arouse, quicker to turn off if everything isn’t just so, and simply aren’t as interested in sex. Women may like sex but men need sex. One of the oldest jokes in the world1 is that women could rule the world if they got together en masse and decided to hold the Great Fuck-Out until they were given control.

Never is this more apparent when it comes to the idea of casual sex. Ask the average man on the street about who’s more into sexor who’s more likely to go home with a relative strangerand you’ll be told over and over again: men like sex more.

There are all sorts of reasons given for this apparent dichotomy. Some people will insist it’s because women know they have the power(s)he who cares less has the most leverage, after alland enjoy wielding it over men. Others will hoist the old canard about alpha males and assholes.  Others will insist it’s all about status; women only sleep with the highest status males they can find. The wild and wonderful world of evolutionary psychologywhich is usually thrown around by people who don’t understand itwill tell you it’s because of sex’s evolutionary purpose of procreation. Women, according to evo-psych, are guided by the unconscious need to ensure the survival of their genes. This, in practice means that they are driven to be especially picky about the potential fathers of their children, giving preference to men who are more likely to care for the child or be able to provide for it’s welfare and help ensure it’s future success at propagating it’s own genes. Men, on the other hand, are driven by the need to spread their seed far and wide; women can only give birth every nine months while men can potentially father children several times a day.

The actual reason, as it turns out, is slightly more complicated than that.

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“So, You Wanna Go Back To My Place And Bang?”

One of the most common arguments held up that “proves” that women don’t like casual sex as much as men is an infamous study conducted 1989; the study had a male and female participant go up to random members of the opposite sex and ask “Would you like to go out tonight?”, “Would you like to go back to my apartment?”, and “Would you like to go to bed with me?” Men and women were equally likely50%to go on a date, but when it came to sex, the results weren’t terribly surprising; upwards of 75% of men said yes to sex while absolutely 0 women agreed that yes, they would like to go to bed with a total stranger who propositioned them in the middle of the day on a college campus.

“How dare you ask a lady that … without buying her a drink first?”

There were a couple other interesting aspects to this study that usually get ignored, but the gist is women are not as receptive to casual sex as men are. This study has been held up repeatedly as “proof” of the disparity between male and female sex drives, which is unfortunate, considering that it has a number of rather glaring flaws.

To whit: the study ignored a number of issues that might affect a woman’s willingness to have sex with a complete stranger with absolutely no previous interaction beyond “hello” and “hey, let’s fuck!” It focused entirely on heterosexual response, not controlling for the possibility that the respondents might be homosexual or bisexual. They did not control for whether or not the subject was single, married, asexual or practicing abstinence. Andby it’s own admissiondid not even begin to scratch the surface of any number of sociological issues that might affect somebody’s response to an offer of anonymous sex by a stranger.

While it’s almost impossible to identify or control for every possible variable that might affect a person’s receptivity to sexual offers, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they can’t be measured.

Unfortunately, it took a while before someone tried.

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Sperm is Cheap, Eggs are Expensive

Considering that 1989 was near the beginning of the AIDS crisis, it’s not entirely surprising that college students might be a little wary of anonymous sex; HIV was still in the early stages of being recognized as something other than just a “gay” disease. In fact, the researchers in the Clark/Hatfield study speculated that men and women might become even more conservative vis-à-vis casual sex in the years that followed. A follow-up study in 2009, utilizing similar methodology by Clark and Hatfield found similar results; once they controlled for people who were in relationships, 60% of men and 0 women were receptive to an offer of casual sex from an attractive stranger.

So. Case closed, right?

Not so much.

In 2011, a paper published by Terri Conley examined the results of four concurrent sub-studies (the study doesn’t seem to be available online at the moment; you can read a very comprehensive summary here) regarding potential influences on a person’s receptivity to casual sex. She made several tweaks to the Clark-Hatfield study’s methodology; in her first study, she asked informed subjects to fill answer a questionnaire regarding being approached by an attractive stranger and rating their likelihood of responding on a 7 point scale. She also asked them to fill out other seven point scales about issues that would affect their potential acceptance or refusal including social status, potential STD infection, sexual satisfaction, likelihood of getting gifts, etc. Another variation of this randomized the gender of the theoretical propositioning person; men had as much of a chance of being asked whether they would consider going to bed with an attractive man as they would a woman.

A third variation asked for their perception of a man propositioning a woman, while a fourth asked bisexual women specifically about the likelihood of their being receptive to a woman approaching them as opposed to a man.

Another study asked about their receptiveness to specific individuals: in this case, Johnny Depp, Donald Trump, Brad Pitt, Carrot Top, Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Lopez and Roseanne Barr. Another specifically asked about the likelihood of being receptive to a proposition from their best friend of the opposite sex while yet a third was directed specifically at homosexual men and women.

The results were interesting to say the least.

It became clear early on that the Clark-Hatfield study’s methodology was flawed; it wasn’t a matter of whether women were less interested or receptive to sexual offers than men wereit was that they were less interested when those offers came from men. In fact, hetero-identified women were more likely to be willing to go to bed with another woman. Even gay menpropositioned by an attractive gay manwere less likely to accept.

When it came to the celebrities, the studies got interesting: men and women were equally likely to go to bed with the attractive celebrity and equally less likely to bed the unattractive one. Yet, when it came to opposite-sex friends, the gap re-established itself; men were more likely to go to bed with their female friend than women were with their male friend.

So what made for such a difference in the responses?

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What Women Want (When They Want To Get Laid)

It came down to two issues: personal safety and potential sexual prowess in the proposer.

Contrary to the idea in evolutionary psychology that women will instinctively respond to outward signifiers of social superiority like money or status, women are far more motivated by the likelihood of sexual pleasure than any other factor.

The better the lay the man was perceived to be, the more receptive the women were to the possibility of a fling.

According to the results of the study, women consistently thought that men were potentially more dangerous and far less likely to be good in bed. Men and women (gay, bi and straight) on the other hand, consistently thought that women were likely to be at least a decent lay (at the median for the study), warmer and less dangerous.

In short: the  it came down to a question of potential risk vs. potential sexual pleasure. Social status and finances—signs of a potential good provider, according to evolutionary psychology—didn’t move the needle. It was the perception of whether a guy was a decent lay or not that made her more likely to sleep with him; in other words, was he worth the risk? The differences in women’s response to an attractive stranger versus an attractive celebrity had less to do with fame than with familiarity; when theoretically propositioned by both Brad Pitt and an equally attractive unknown man, women were more likely to pick Brad because they felt that they knew him well enough that it mitigated the potential risk.

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So Why Aren’t Women Having More Casual Sex?

Actually … this is a somewhat misleading question. Women are far more open to casual sex and short-lived flings than we suspect; in fact, a fourth study by Conley found that approximately 40% of women who had been propositioned in real life (as opposed to the scenario played out in the Clark-Hatfield study) had accepted the proposal. Women weren’t refusing casual sex in the Clark-Hatfield study because they didn’t like sex or were instinctively searching for higher status men; they were refusing the offers because the scenario and the proposer were an ideal set-up for making the prospect of casual sex less attractive, even among people predisposed to casual sex with men.

Women are interested in seeking out sexual pleasure, just as men are. However, they’re trapped between opposing forces; while on the one hand they want to get laid, on the other, society and gender roles tend to shame women who take ownership of their sexuality. Our society still puts emphasis on the commodity model of sex: that men are the aggressors (the purchasers), women are the pursued (the vendors), and sex has a “price”. If a woman gives away her goods too “cheaply”, it devalues her as a person. Because so many men measure themselves by their sexual conquests, the “easier” a woman is, the less glory there is to be had by sleeping with her; as a result, she is only as valuable as the sex she doesn’t have. When you add in other factorsthe risk of pregnancy is borne entirely by the woman, it’s much easier for women to contract an STD from a man than vice versa, the risk of violence from men is far higher than the reverse, etc.more often than not, the possible sexual pleasure isn’t worth the potential fallout.

In other words: in a culture of slut-shaming, blaming rape victims for their own assault, increasing restrictions on contraception and abortion, a man has to be pretty impressive to make it worth a woman’s time for a fling.

Now if all this sounds daunting … well, it is. It will require a long-term societal solution—working to build a world of true equity, where women feel safer and more secure and aren’t demonized for their sexuality.

In the short term however, you need to learn how to be that impressive sort of person who is worth the risk.

Next week, we’ll talk about just why and when women say “yes” and how to be the sort of person they say “yes” to.

 

1Literally. The Lysistrata, performed in 411 BCE, is the story of how the women of Sparta and Greece forced an end to a war by refusing to sleep with their menfolk.

Originally appeared at DoctorNerdLove

Stay tuned for On Women and Casual Sex, Part 2.

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—Photos:
adronicusmax/Flickr
orphanjones/Flickr
epSos.de/Flickr

About Harris O'Malley

Harris O'Malley provides geek dating advice at his blog Paging Dr. NerdLove, as well as writing the occasional guest review for Spill.com and appearing on the podcast The League of Extremely Ordinary Gentlemen. He can be found dispensing snark and advice on Facebook and Twitter (@DrNerdLove.)

Dr. NerdLove is not really a doctor.

Comments

  1. Average NY Woman says:

    This is the only article which I have ever read that I felt expressed the total truth of my experience as a woman. “Our society still puts emphasis on the commodity model of sex: that men are the aggressors (the purchasers), women are the pursued (the vendors), and sex has a “price”. If a woman gives away her goods too “cheaply”, it devalues her as a person. Because so many men measure themselves by their sexual conquests, the “easier” a woman is, the less glory there is to be had by sleeping with her; as a result, she is only as valuable as the sex she doesn’t have. When you add in other factors—the risk of pregnancy is borne entirely by the woman, it’s much easier for women to contract an STD from a man than vice versa, the risk of violence from men is far higher than the reverse, etc.—more often than not, the possible sexual pleasure isn’t worth the potential fallout.”

    This is the first time that I have ever read my emotional experience of casual sex from the woman’s point of view so clearly stated. Of course, there are women who are risk takers, even high risk takers. I think, however, that most of us are calculated risk takers, and the risk of being rewarded by violence and pain, or the loss of social respect if the encounter is shared by the man with others, when you wanted kindness and pleasure is more than most people would endure. Men usually get the pleasure and kindness payoff from their risks with strange women, or at least the pleasure. The risk isn’t the same for females, and women learn that early on. Often times, it is taught to young women as a survival/safety tool. By the age of 25, every woman knows a woman who did not heed the teachings and suffered for it, and sometimes even perished. The consequences for casual sex for females are even greater in non-Western and third world nations.

    Thank you Harris O’Malley for this article!! It was such a treat to see this article written by a man.

    • I guess there are too many risk taking women these days then, Given the flourishing hookup culture and the Fling/FWB scene.

    • Its ironic isnt it. Despite all the serious risks women face…

      There are more college going age virgin males than females.
      The median number of sexual partners for women is higher than that for men. And
      More women experience casual sex and hooking up than men.

      I’m still wondering whats worse. Having an active and adventurous sex life involving a variety of attractive men and later earning a reputation of being a slut by the age of 25, OR being a 28 yr old guy who loses his virginity to a hooker.

  2. Average NY Woman says:

    This is the only article which I have ever read that I felt expressed the total truth of my experience as a woman. “Our society still puts emphasis on the commodity model of sex: that men are the aggressors (the purchasers), women are the pursued (the vendors), and sex has a “price”. If a woman gives away her goods too “cheaply”, it devalues her as a person. Because so many men measure themselves by their sexual conquests, the “easier” a woman is, the less glory there is to be had by sleeping with her; as a result, she is only as valuable as the sex she doesn’t have. When you add in other factors—the risk of pregnancy is borne entirely by the woman, it’s much easier for women to contract an STD from a man than vice versa, the risk of violence from men is far higher than the reverse, etc.—more often than not, the possible sexual pleasure isn’t worth the potential fallout.”

    This is the first time that I have ever read my emotional experience of casual sex from the woman’s point of view so clearly stated. Of course, there are women who are risk takers, even high risk takers. I think, however, that most of us are calculated risk takers, and the risk of being rewarded by violence and pain, or the loss of social respect if the encounter is shared with the man by others, when you wanted kindness and pleasure is more than most people would endure. Men usually get the pleasure and kindness payoff from their risks with strange women, or at least the pleasure. The risk isn’t the same for females, and women learn that early on. Often times, it is taught to young women as a survival/safety tool. By the age of 25, every woman knows a woman who did not heed the teachings and suffered for it, and sometimes even perished. The consequences for casual sex for females are even greater in non-Western and third world nations.

    Thank you Harris O’Malley for this article!! It was such a treat to see this article written by a man.

  3. I think this has a great deal to do with the culture of men to initiate.

    I have been on both sides (though maybe close to neutral in both instances) of the attraction scenario.

    In my teens I was a quiet, introverted, bean stalk with wild thick crazy hair and bad teeth.

    In my 20’s I filled out, got caps on my teeth, and my never having acne problems caught up as others had problems or scarring from bad acne. My crazy head of hair became a full head of wavy brown hair as I learned to use various hair products. As I filled out my face became a classic rectangular face. I was still quiet, but I could now engage in long and spirited conversations about most anything (though I was still not initiating conversations that much).

    I went from a social pariah to getting indications of interest maybe 3 or 4 times a year (which based on some frank discussions with men seems like a lot for a man).

    Just this little taste of sexual interest did a lot for my ego. I can only imagine the position (a great deal of) women must be in where they get DAILY attention and interest.

    Getting hit on, or just subtle indications of interest makes you feel like hot shit. Having this feeling on tap all day I’m thinking would make a lot of women feel very entitled.

    Women may not be as interested in casual sex because they feel like A) they’re hot shit and they’re entitled to GREAT SEX (not just sex) and B) if they refrain from expressing interest they probably didn’t lose much as they will have another interested man in the next 40 minutes.

    Women feel they are entitled to GREAT SEX whereas men scrape and scramble just to get ANY SEX.
    Women are analogous to dieters in the west who have to screen carbs and other bad foods, while men are analogous to starving ethiopians who will not pass up the chance at a meal no matter what.

    • For me, there is great sex and there is mediocre/bad sex that is not worth having. I love great sex, but masturbation is way better than mediocre sex. I am very good at giving myself great orgasms. I don’t need sex with a man unless it’s really good. And by the way, that has nothing to do with the man looking like Brad Pitt. It has everything to do with a sense of connection, chemistry, mutual attraction and a guy who is interested in our mutual pleasure and not just getting his own rocks off.

      • I get where you are coming from Sarah.

        I don’t see anything in what you wrote that disagrees with the idea that women refrain from pulling the trigger on casual sex until they reach a much higher level of attraction (which was my point and seems to be the point of the article).

        If that great attraction for you is connection, mutual attraction and men respectful of your pleasure too, that’s great.

        However, I do not believe that this applies to all women (and maybe not even a majority). If your thinking were true of all women then thugs, players, and criminals would not be swimming in female attention.

        If women want equality, then they are going to have to step down from the pedestal and stop (falsely) idolizing their behavior and misguidedly attributing noble motives to their behavior.

        I’m sorry, but I refuse to believe that for most women (and maybe not even a majority), the reason they are not attracted to 95% of men is due to the men’s selfishness and only thinking of his pleasure.

        The reason women are not attracted to the vast majority of men (enough to engage in casual sex anyway) is due to *their own* selfishness and only thinking of *their own* pleasure.

        • @John D.

          The majority of women are probably attracted to around 20% of men, sexually. I think 5% is too low.

          Yes, the problem with too many women is their flagrant lack of honesty. They like to pretend…Most women place men in either the: 1) long term partner bucket, 2) dating bucket, 3) sex only bucket, or ) no bucket (unattractive). Most men (80%) are in bucket #4 (unattractive).

          Now, lets look at #s 1, 2, and 3. Number one is when she is ready to find a long-term partner/husband. Lots of requirements here. Sexual prowess is not a primary here at all.

          Most of them men who are lucky enough to be deemed attractive will be placed in buckets #2 and 3. These men will be for dating and/or for sex only. Physical attractiveness is paramount. The thugs, degenerates, derelicts, etc will get plenty of action. In a woman’s mind, since it is all about sex and sexual prowess, these men are viewed as superior for sex.

          As a man, the worst place to be is a husband. It is always better to be a lover. Married men just are not treated well sexually by married women.

          Most will will deny this reality. But, as I stated, women love to pretend.

        • What I disagreed with in your earlier comment is the idea that women think they are such hot stuff that we are “entitled” to great sex. My point is that I simply don’t enjoy meciocre or bad sex. It doesn’t do anything for me. I’d rather masturbate myself. If the choice is bad sex or no sex, I’ll take no sex.

          Yes, mutual attraction is key to great sex but a big part of that is having an emotional connection and being able to communicate.

          Personally I don’t know any women who are involved with derelicts. All the women I know have boyfriends and husbsnds who are normal hardworking guys.

          • @Sarah…

            What percent of men do you think are capable of giving a woman “good sex?”

            • I have no idea. I haven’t had sex with nearly enough men to have a statistically valid sample. The best sex I’ve had, has been in relationships with guys I cared about.

          • Sarah

            yes, husbands and boyfriends they probably wouldnt have considered for a fling in their wild days.

            • I’m curious. Why would the husbands WANT to have been considered for a fling? The men I’ve been truly into–I wouldn’t have wanted them to consider me for a fling while they were sowing their wild oats. I would want them to take me seriously.

              • Because sometimes casual sex is fun n exciting, especially if you aren’t ready to settle down for monogymy or marriage/etc? I wouldn’t mind a fling, I’d prefer love but I’ll take a fling in the meantime.

                • I get that, Archy, but I’m not sure it answers my question. If I’m married to a guy, I don’t really want him to have wanted me as a fling. I have no problem with casual sex. It happens, and as long as it happens honestly, there’s no worry.

                  • Aya : “Why would the husbands WANT to have been considered for a fling?”

                    Because a mans sexual worth is validated much better thru a fling than marriage.

                    Not so for women.

                  • OHH, I misread. If I have a fling and we fall in love and then get married then hooray, the feelings would progress. And by that I mean starts off casual, then we date, then married, etc. If a woman first wanted me as a fling and we fell in love, got married, I wouldn’t care. Feelings change, would you be crushed by a man who wanted you only as a friend first?

              • @Aya:
                Because a fling, a little bit of attraction, and (maybe) some casual sex, is most often better than receiving no attraction, or even attention, at all.

                If you can get the instantaneous “hots” for someone, why wouldn’t you want that someone to take you seriously? Or phrased another way, why do so many women only want to be taken (and *not* in the sexual way…) seriously by men that they have no particular sexual attraction to?

                • FlyingKal–you made me think. When a woman gets attention and attractions, she’s easy, sl*tty, cheap. All she has to do is be a woman and dress/act a certain way. So that attention is worth nothing. I’m extremely popular with men, for relationships, casual sex, and serious relationships (although I know this will fade as I get older). I’ve even been called addicting many times. It doesn’t make me feel any better, and I get shit for it to boot, and bullying–from men and women. A fling, a little bit of attraction, and some casual sex–it often does more harm than help, emotionally. It’s just a different perspective.

                  • Aya – I’m not sure I get your point. Unless you’re trying to say that even with a good thing, too much of it will often just wear you down? If so, then I’m totally with you.

                    I’m not saying that it’s true for all women that “All she has to do is be a woman and dress/act a certain way.” I’m pretty certain there are women who also struggle for recognition, and who are happy for the occasional “fling” with a somewhat attractive and decent person.

                  • Aya writes:
                    “When a woman gets attention and attractions, she’s easy, sl*tty, cheap. All she has to do is be a woman and dress/act a certain way. So that attention is worth nothing.”

                    What about relationships you did enjoy? Were those brought on entirely or mostly by men expressing interest? Then it was not worth nothing.

                    You did not have to make yourself vulnerable and be weighed in somebody elses eyes as a human being and told yay or nay. At best you can claim the privilege to have men come to you was a mixed bag, but if you got relationships you enjoyed or sex you agreed to (whether you enjoyed it or not) HANDED TO YOU w/out having to risk rejection is a HUGE PRIVILEGE.

                    At best, it sounds like the grumblings of stars who complain about having to sign so many autographs.

                    Allow me to quote Dr. Smith from Lost in Space: “OH THE PAIN! OH THE AGONY!”

              • Aya, I doubt youre so naive.

                I meant, many husbands and bf’s are not hot/good looking/Alpha enough to have been considered for a hot fling by the same women, who marry them later.

                An average woman can easily have casual sex and flings with hot guys, but for marriage she has to settle for someone her EQUAL.

              • @Aya….

                “The men I’ve been truly into”

                That’s the point. You’re not “into” all men. You don’t mind them being YOUR fling. But, you seem to have an issue if they consider you THEIR fling.

                Am I wrong?

                • Jules–I want to be on the same page and honest. Either we’re each other’s fling or we have a deeper connection. I don’t want to be considered a fling for a man I care about. If a man approaches honestly about a fling, there’s nothing wrong with that.

                  • Aya

                    “I don’t want to be considered a fling for a man I care about.”

                    but would you rather he didnt even consider you physically / sexually attractive?

                    And I hope you got the answer to “Why would the husbands WANT to have been considered for a fling?”. Its a dynamic that doesnt affect women. If a man marries you, you can be sure as hell he would have considered you for a fling as well. Thats not how women work

  4. The author seems to be attempting to make the point that women do indeed hold their own to men libido to libido when it comes to casual sex.

    To my mind, the fact that in the rare eventuality that the necessary 990 of 1000 mental toggle switches are in the “on” position women THEN hold their own for needs of casual sex means they do NOT like casual sex as much as men.

    The reason I say this is that most men may measure womens frigidity in terms of obstructing the mans chance of getting laid.

    A more objective standard would be to measure womens frigidity in how often it obstructs HER getting laid.

    From a lot of the conversations I have had here on tgmp and with women elsewhere, there own reservations often lead to an undersexed life.

    Saying that women hold their own in libido regarding casual sex ONCE all the dozens of mental switches have been thrown reminds me of the scene in the movie “The Jerk” in which Steve Martin is working the “guess your weight” stand. He declares that you can win any prize on the shelf. When people actually play, he says you can win any prize between this high and this low, and between this left and this right.

    It turns out that the allowed prizes are only 8% of the total shelf space of stuffed animals and other goodies.

    Saying that 8% of the time women hold their own is very misguided.

    It’s very interesting that the author seems to be trying to lay out a tortured web of obstructions (both internal and external) for women to embrace casual sex (i.e. gender differences) to try and make the argument to ERASE gender differences and claim women have always liked casual sex after all!

    You can hardly get more ironic than that!

  5. This is all a foreign world to me. I won’t speak for the collective of women, because I am one woman and I have female friends who are just as abnormal as me. But I have never even considered the thought of casual sex as being appealing. Everyone’s talking about women being picky or whatever. For me it’s just that there is nothing I’d rather do LESS than follow some strange guy home and get stark naked with him. That is about as an attractive prospect to me as going to a greasy bar to find said strange man to get stark naked with (big introvert talking here). Maybe it speaks to me having a low sex drive. Or maybe I’m just a horribly shallow and picky woman who hates mankind or whatever.

    Even if it marks me as shallow or frigid, I’m glad I’m not a part of it, cuz clearly people have some serious hang-ups, men and women. And when casual sex is supposed to be FUN, I’m starting to wonder why anyone even looks for it. Seems to me it makes everyone miserable. There were a lot of arguments I wanted to refute, but then I was like, “You know what? I don’t care. I don’t go to bars. I don’t want casual sex. So I’m just gonna keep my mouth shut and go buy a dog to cuddle.”

    Clearly I didn’t keep my mouth shut. OOPS.

    I do think this article is a good one though. I agree with all of it, even if none of these reasons are why I personally don’t do casual sex. I think in the end, there is a 99% chance of the man getting off and about a 40% chance of her getting off, just cuz women take more time, patience, and context. And if you were going into casual sex with a 40% chance of getting off, I don’t think men would be too hot on it either.

    • I’m a guy and I don’t like casual sex too. For me its not about the chance of getting off. I know If I have casual sex most likely I would have an orgasm. But that’s make me want to go from bar to bar looking for a chance to have that orgasm with strangers? Well I could get my orgasm from easy and fast masturbation . Or I can get that orgasm from fun, loving and meaningful sex with woman I care and I love, my girlfriend.

      Even when I’m single, I don’t really think about getting a casual sex either. I’m too desperate and lonely for girlfriend, real partners than worry about have to try getting that 99% chance of orgasm with some woman from the bar.

      What, are you really a guy, because all men only want sex!!!. lol, I dont know if I’m the minority or abnormal or shallow, because like you, I also know many male friend who are the same as me. And I’m not even have low sex drive. I just not really into casual sex.

      • It’s probably a good thing, in the long run. I mean, it seems like less of a hassle to just stay at home and watch/read porn. XD And in the end, you’re probably going to wake up alone whether you have casual sex or stay home with porn/masturbation/sexual frustration/chocolate ice cream. I know I have personally avoided AAAALL of these bitterness problems men AND women seem to have because I’m willing to stay at home and not worry about it. People are free to have all the casual sex in the world and that’s great for them. But yeah, with you on this one. Not appealing whatsoever.

        But people will react with shock when you say that. It’s like I tell people I didn’t drink or go to parties in college and they’re all “WHAT? IS THERE SOMETHING WRONG WITH YOU?” and I could attempt to explain it to them– that I hate large groups of strangers, that loud music prevents interesting discussion, that standing puke puddles and drunk men harassing me strike me as kind of gross– but in the end, it’s just best to say that I’ve never been interested. But if any woman or man (especially a man) say that drinking/casual sex are unappealing, people tend to think there’s something wrong with you.

    • It’s not a guarantee that men would “get off” as you say, but men are more likely to consider the opportunity since women rarely ask for sex at all.

      • I may have to revoke my feminist card for saying this, but I honestly don’t think women are just that into casual sex as men. Women are aroused in different ways, often ways that need context, a story (which is why romance novels sell far better for women than porn– because there’s a story, context, and its longer than three seconds). Women do like sex as much, but casual sex just lacks what entices many women. So honestly, all the bitching kind of just leads to nowhere when you’re standing up against a wall of biological incongruence. But then again, the women I befriend don’t seem to be very sexual, so maybe I’m making assumptions based on the small group of people I know. But it does explain why romance novels are much better sellers for women than porn– they need some sort of emotional investment.

  6. “women are far more motivated by the likelihood of sexual pleasure than any other factor.
    THE BETTER THE LAY the man was perceived to be, the more receptive the women were to the possibility of a fling.”

    Why are these people desperately trying to sugarcoat the bitter pill that women have higher requirements of physical appearance of men, when looking for casual sex? That they find fewer men physically and sexually attractive?

    A GOOD LAY is a man with a great body, is preferably tall, handsome and well endowed, with plenty of experience and confidence (that cannot be pulled out of the ass)

    I guess then, women like to divide men into 2 groups. The good lays (20%) , the mediocre ones (80%)
    That might just just explain why its more difficult for men to get laid. No? Not likely? Tell me the chances of this are too remote.

    • Well said Keith. I feel the “good lay” wording is a fairly clumsy way of articulating the concept of initial attraction. I’ve been on the receiving end of drunken chat-ups that consist of a great deal of hot air about how good the guy is in bed, when the truth is that no promises of a mind-blowing time in the sack will ever make me want to go to bed with someone I just don’t fancy.

      The studies cited also don’t follow a terribly realistic example. Casual sex is one thing, but accepting an offer from a complete stranger with NO prior introduction, conversation or flirtation is another. If a person is going to hook up for the night, they tend to do so after some degree of interaction with the other person, establishing a mutual physical attraction and chemistry, in order to spark that interest. Without that chemistry, you really ARE just judging based on initial physical attractiveness, which as you stated above in your post citing the OK-Cupid survey, is weighted very firmly in the favour of females. So really a study founded in sexual propositions made without so much as a “hi my name is….” is really judging initial physical attraction rather than anything to do with attitudes or willingness to enter into casual liaisons of any kind. It bears no semblance to reality.

      • Peter von Maidenberg says:

        It seems Doc doesn’t really want to get into what makes a man perceived as a good lay. As you suggest, it’s probably got nothing to do with talking about it.

        I’ve heard it described as “the kind of confidence you can’t pull out of your ass.” IOW, it’s not a positive mind game – it’s the ability to not need one. Unspoken, unthought confidence. Which supports my theory that only a very narrow slice of men are worth a one-night stand to most women.

    • As a woman who has had casual sex, I have to say I totally agree with it being about “being a good lay”. I’m actually really surprised how little this comes up, because amongst me and my female friends, many of whom have had casual sex, a LOT of how we chose someone is definitely about “will I get enough pleasure from this encounter for it to be worth the risks?”
      Now, I will also add, that yes, looks are a PART of whether someone might be a good lay. If I find someone really unnattractive, I probably won’t enjoy sex with them. Neither would a man go home with someone he finds ugly. But simply being attractive physically isn’t enough for me to go home with them. It’s not always the hottest guys who are getting the most sexual partners. Looks do help but if you act like selfish prick, it’s gonna turn women off.
      A woman who’s interested in sex is still gonna think: What if they’re selfish in bed and hate foreplay, don’t last very long, etc.? What if they’re violent? I need to spend at least enough time with them to get a feel for whether they’re safe. Then, if I think they’re safe enough, I also need to know if they’re the kind of person who will care about my pleasure. This you can tell to a certain extent by their character and body language.
      What I’m amazed at is how little it comes up that women are harder to get off than men. Women do not come as easily as men. Most women don’t have an orgasm the first time they are with a man, though most men DO have one the first time. So why would a woman go home with someone unless she thinks there’s a chance of an orgasm? The man knows that he will probably have one as long as he has a willing partner, but a woman has no guarantee of pleasure. she needs to suss out if they guy has the type of personality and behaviour that point toward someone who will want to please her in bed. If he’s not, there’s no point. She would rather go home and give herself an orgasm with no risks.

      Yes, looks are important to both men and women, but I dont see a whole lot of women dating men who are way more attractive than them, so I don’t see how women are any more picky than men when it comes to looks.

  7. Peter von Maidenberg says:

    Doc, let’s interrogate what makes a man [i]perceived to be a good lay.[/i] About as far as you get into it is “Brad Pitt.”

    I’m going to guess it’s a sense that a man is physical and fully embodied – not just comfortable in his own skin, but really lives in his body. Doesn’t have to be a perfect physical specimen. But he can’t just be using his bod for hanging clothes on and carrying his head around.

    Some of the signs might be not being a talker or overly animated, being a little deliberately scruffy in appearance, occupying space (say in a chair or standing at a bar) with a look of entitlement, and being deliberate in his movements, even a hand wave or a facial expression.

  8. “Its also painful to see that men are regarded as the ‘shallower’ sex.”

    You can’t ask “who do you find attractive, based on looks?” and then complain about shallowness.
    I’m sure that those women who found 80% of men unattractive, based on their photos only, would have no problem dating many of them once they knew more about them.

    • “I’m sure that those women who found 80% of men unattractive, based on their photos only, would have no problem dating many of them once they knew more about them.”
      Oh realllllllly?

      • Actually Archy–yes. I initiated contact with a guy on a dating website. His pictures were nothing to write home about. You know why I did it? Because his profile was incredibly well written and it looked like we’d have a lot in common.

        • And another guy I’m interested in. I didn’t notice him at all for months in that way, despite seeing him all the time. Once I got to know him and his worldviews better, he suddenly became very sexy.

          • Peter von Maidenberg says:

            That’s unusual, isn’t it – that a woman would be sexually attracted to a man because of knowing him? Where does prowess fit in? Where does being a good lay?

            And responding to a dating profile because it’s well written? You’re a rare woman if words can move you that way. Men are to act, and speech is not an act unless you’re a linguistics major.

          • @Aya….

            Without sounding judgmental, just what is the point of cycling through all these men?

            • Jules–It’s dating. Trying to figure out who and what situation works best for you. When you’re young, you date. You don’t settle for the first person that comes your way. You test connections, chemistry, and day-to-day life.

              • Aya…..

                I am not suggesting you settle for “the first person that comes your way.” But, in the grand scheme of things, there is always something better out there. I guess you just keep going until……

                I think this is the fundamental difference between men and women. Women, as with shopping, always want to see and visit one more shop. But, in life, you can never sample all of them.

                But, I respect you view. If that is what is necessary to find the BEST (though there is always one better), then by all means indulge yourself.

                • It’s also about place in life. Not all men and women are truly ready to settle down at every point in life nor do they know what they want. If you truly love someone, there actually isn’t “better” out there. He/she is number 1 and making each other happy is one of the most wonderful feelings in the world. It’s just getting to the point and finding the person and lifestyle that fits you. There can be some growing pains at times.

        • So he wasn’t anything to write home about, but still attractive? or was he unattractive and then magically his personality makes him attractive? Neutral is different to unattractive.

        • Actually its no different for men either. Men only care about looks is just the biggest myth ever in my opinion. Men and women are not so different. because as a guy I have several times being attracted to women i dont notice first , even I have known her for years, beause before I didnt know her personallity and charm. The bigggest killer for me is woman who are kind. Even if I dot find her attractive first, she could became hundred times prettier after.

    • You dont even notice that I also mentioned in the same survey, men rated 80% of women physically appealing atleast to some extent !

      Why dont you talk about this difference, instead of talking about ifs and buts?

      When in comes to LOOKS ALONE, women are much more shallower than men. They find the vast majority of men unappealing. Men are more forgiving to women on looks and find the looks and bodies of most women appealing.

      • @Keith…

        Correct. Most men are viewed as unattractive by most women.

        When it comes to just sex, it is all based on attraction. If the man is deemed attractive or if her girlfriends have put the word out that he is a great lay, then that is all that matters. Women do share men like this whom they are not interested in dating but just having sex with. It happens rather frequently.

        I have seen women who are having sex with complete derelicts. Why? In here mind he is “attractive” or the dick is good. So, it is not always the most conventionally attractive men. Usually, those men are sexing anyone who they wish, including other conventionally attractive women.

        But, yes you are correct. Most women find few men attractive. The opposite holds true for men.

        • Bay Area Guy says:

          But, yes you are correct. Most women find few men attractive. The opposite holds true for men.

          Absolutely.

          Growing up, I was taught that men are shallow objectifiers, in contrast to women. But the more I study women, the more I realize that’s not the case. If anything, I’ve reached the conclusion that women are the shallow ones.

          • @Bay Area Guy,

            I do not like to use the word shallow. I just has this judging connotation to it.

            What is really going on is a bit more complex. Women put men into categories. So, if a man is rejected for dating, he might be OK for her just have sex with – if only once! This is what men need to understand about women. When a woman meets a man, she usually knows in rather short order where she is going to put him. Most of us are going to be deposited in the unattractive category.

            Clearly, when women seek out long-term partners they are anything but shallow. Gawd, they have a list of requirements coming out of the rear. Also, the priority of the items on the list are different than for short term dating.

            Why women find so few men attractive? I have no idea. But, what is ironic is most women also think other women are 5 or 6, but see themselves as 9 or 10. Now, how can that be? Well, you and I know it cannot be. You have to pretend!

      • I believe a lot of this has to do with the sexist fact that boys are taught that almost any girl is sexy to get, while girls are taught that boys are hideous and will ruin your life.

  9. Actually … this is a somewhat misleading question. Women are far more open to casual sex and short-lived flings than we suspect; in fact, a fourth study by Conley found that approximately 40% of women who had been propositioned in real life (as opposed to the scenario played out in the Clark-Hatfield study) had accepted the proposal. Women weren’t refusing casual sex in the Clark-Hatfield study because they didn’t like sex or were instinctively searching for higher status men; they were refusing the offers because the scenario and the proposer were an ideal set-up for making the prospect of casual sex less attractive, even among people predisposed to casual sex with men.

    The thing is, we don’t know how many propositions these 40% women got until they said yes. For example 10 different men proposed to one particular woman and she deemed one of them acceptable for casual sex. In the Hatfield study 0% of women accepted *a single* offer for casual sex. So there is no contradiction to the Hatfield study like Nerdlove suggests. It’s also not clear that the 40% of women from the Conley study are predisposed to casual sex. That’s just wild speculation from Nerdlove. Imho, having had a drunken hook up once doesn’t make you predisposed to casual sex.

  10. There was a survey on OK-cupid.
    It showed that women rate 80% of men as physically unattractive
    while men rate only 20% of women physically unattractive.

    It is really amazing how unforgiving and harsh women are to men on their looks. Its also painful to see that men are regarded as the ‘shallower’ sex.

    Since physical attractiveness is a prime criteria when choosing casual sex partner, it tells us why men are at a huge disadvantage in this realm.

    • John Smith says:

      Unfortunately I fear you are true. Women seem to hold women to higher standards as well. People complain about the unrealistic standards women are held to by showing images of super skinny women in magazines, and blame men. Personlay I think it is down to women having too high expectations of themselves and of men. Most men I know like women to look “normal” (for want of a better way of describing the natural look). You just need to look at porn, or film and TV celebrates men find attractive, as apposed to those ones we are told we must like.

      Normally they are not the model size 0, yet you look at the men women so often seem to want, for all the talk of “I like a sense of humor” they are football players and men with 6 packs. This is not to say women never like men who are not conventionally attractive, but just that I think the conventional wisdom that men are shallow and want skinny big boobed stunners and women are “all about the personality” is completely wrong.

    • Strangely the accusation of men being “shallow” is one I have often thought to have stemmed from a perceived male preoccupation with stereotypically attractive females. As you point out here, this is groundless. Quite to the contrary, I find it refreshing to see the variety of females men express as viewing as beautiful. Personally as a woman I wish I could look at most men the way heterosexual men view the female populace. Few men would ever critique a woman’s appearance the way other women do.

    • That same exact study ALSO showed that women were far more likely to message the less attractive men than the men were willing to message the less attractive women. So while men may rate men lower overall, women still message the “plain” guys at a similar rate of the more attractive men. Where as men consider more women attractive but tend to only message the women they deem most attractive, leaving the less attractive women to fend for themselves.

      This is at least the tenth time I’ve seen the first conclusion of the study mentioned and not the second conclusion. Ya’ll need to read to the end of the article. The point of the study was to show that everyone is shallow. Which is not news to me.

      • Wasn’t that same study also saying men did the majority of first contacts n women rarely messaged first, and the women that did message were far far fewer than those who rated men as mostly unattractive?

    • And single women wonder why they are still single, their standards are too high for 80% of men.

    • I think part of it is that in American culture women are expected to put way more effort into their appearance than men. Most straight guys dress like total shit, like bad hair, they think putting on a badly fitting T-shirt and ugly jeans makes them fuckable? Come on. Of course women think 80% of men are ugly; they aren’t even trying. Introduce me to a guy who knows how to groom himself and then we can talk.

  11. Emma Sayle of Killing Kittens (Elite Casual Sex/Orgy Party– female centric) had a really interesting interview with London Real (youtube) recently….the rules for her parties, which occur in London, NYC, and LA are that (1) only women are allowed to approach men, (2) men can only come if part of a couple, and (3) etc.

    The woman at her parties feel safe in such an atmosphere and feel free to experiment with other women and/or men….

    Interesting interview….BTW Emma Sayle herself does not participate in the casual sex….she just hangs out or tends bar!

    • Single men usually pay more to get into swinger clubs than couples and single women walk in for free. Male sexuality is cheap, female sexuality is valuable.

      In normal nightclubs it’s not that different. You try to get slightly more women than men. I used to organize parties for a living and we always tried to have a 60/40 gender ratio in the venue. Women feel uncomfortable when they walk into a club filled with men. For men it’s the opposite. Entering a club and a dozen of women checking you out is awsome.

      • Fees for Killing Kittens (members have to submit an application and photos!) in London, I think, were 150 pounds for a couple and 100 pounds for a single female…

        Interesting how Emma figured out the party fee (it’s a business after all!)…

        I remember in NY there used to be clubs, like Plato’s Retreat, which would get written up in the Village Voice….those clubs seemed sleazy and scummy…and then downright dangerous when the AIDS hysteria started in the 80s…..

    • I would also guess the reason that Killing Kittens have the stringent rules they do is to protect themselves from possible litigation.

    • Peter von Maidenberg says:

      Don’t forget that a lot of women feel safer hooking up with a man who’s part of a couple already. He’s validated socially, sexually, and adds a thrill of naughtiness. He’s like a certified pre-owned Corvette.

      • You know he’s made at least one woman happy, so chances are he’s got some clue about what he’s doing.

        • Peter von Maidenberg says:

          He’s also easier to let go of, ’cause she’s there.

          Let’s face it, single men are only sexy if they offer a hint of potential disaster. It’s society and evolution getting together to play a great cosmic joke on women and men at the same time, as if to teach a lesson neither can learn without the kind of help the other will never be there to give.

        • Sarah

          More often than not, its not sex thru which men make women happy in relationships.
          Its thru other things like being a good companion, friend, father to kids, good provider etc.

          As someone said earlier, for women, sex with the long term partner is not a high priority any longer. Her strongest sexual desire was for the other men (with whom she had casual sex and flings with)

          • I dunno, I’ve never been married or had kids but I’m in a long term relationship and I want sex more than he does. And I’m in my 40’s. I’ve only slowed down a little since my 20’s.

  12. I was just talking to some girlfriends who are all in monogamous relationships the other day about casual sex. Basically we were interacting in different forums in public with different men and discussing if we would take them home and have casual sex with them. Casual sex and me have a long history together. Things I take into consideration with casual sex is STDs, shaming, safety and all those things. But there are ways to mitigate those risk factors with casual sex in general. Won’t eliminate risk but will lessen some of those risks. Except maybe shaming. Shaming I don’t much worry about anymore basically because the damage has been done. I don’t lie to the people I sleep with or date. If they want numbers I give numbers. Men don’t particularly want women with a sexual history as a partner. I have one I accept it and the resulting feelings about that. I know numerous women who would be horrified by reactions they would get if they started having casual sex. Especially if they wanted a relationship down the road.

    Anyhow I found when I was younger and much more attractive and hanging out with younger men mostly (and the occasional older man into younger women) I had more men approaching me for casual sex. Now that I’m older and not that same level of attractive, not so much. I do approach men of varying degrees of stereotypical attractiveness and honestly the results are mixed now.

    For me casual sex with a man has little to do with their physical attractiveness and almost all to do with their charisma and charm. In our little trip almost to a person I picked the most outgoing and probably cockiest people as people I would take home. They all varied on attractiveness. I wouldn’t go for that type of person for a relationship. But I don’t want a guy for a one time sexual encounter who I have spend most of the time getting out of his shell. I want someone whose shell is off and he’s ready to go. That’s what it comes down to. I also don’t want someone who is going to get overly emotionally involved with me after what I see to be a singular sexual encounter.

    • Listen to this, men. Charisma and charm. Cocky and outgoing. This woman is, rare among women, being honest about the men she’s bedded. Nor is she unique in any way. Those things are the key to getting laid.

      (though for a relationship, you can add a decent amount of money and a reasonable quantity of emotional intelligence. Also big muscles do fit in there somewhere).

      • PursuitAce says:

        And just like that we’re back to the PUA world. Isn’t that interesting?
        I have a good friend who has six girlfriends. (He’d have more, but that’s all he has time for…seriously…so that makes him poly something I’m sure.) After several conversations we’ve both come to the same conclusion. We’re both happy that we are who we are. Neither of us would trade lives or relationship situations.
        So I say be all that you can be. But don’t lose who you are. You’ve only got the one you…

      • The Wet One says:

        What Kat speaks of is a big part of game alright. I know my sex life improved when I finally adopted the motto of “I don’t give a frak what people think. I’m doing this!”

        It is most freeing to not worry about what other humans think. Women would do well to take part of this freedom, but they won’t. Sucks don’t it?

      • For a one night stand absolute cocky and outgoing is going to win for me. Realistically how many men looking for a one night stand want to spend the entire night trying to pry a woman out of her shell to sleep with him? I, personally, don’t want to sit and have to talk up a man all night to get a quick, non-committed piece. I don’t want to learn about his family or who he is as a person. I want someone who is ready to go. I would assume men looking for one night stands are the same.

        I also know when I look for women for one night stands it’s incredibly frustrating for me and something I’ve nearly stopped doing because I end up with women playing the hard to get game. Well if you’re not that into me or it then say it so I can get on to the next one.

        I look for an entirely different type of man when I look for a relationship and I’m much more willing to get to know those men and work them out of their shell. But a relationship and casual sex are two different things to me. I think there are a lot of men and women who use casual sex and relationship interchangeably. At least that’s what I’m getting from this thread. Lots of guys wondering why women go for the cocky outgoing type for casual sex. Well there it is… you’re too nice to use for a night and too much work to use for what will amount to a few hours of sex and nothing more.

    • Peter von Maidenberg says:

      Try approaching someone who’s attractive but not stereotypically so. Or doesn’t that float your boat?

      FWIW, I have a theory. That men can see women’s sexuality as a much more subtle thing, something that can grow out of her individual self. Most don’t of course – but men at least have that option. Whereas women are so constrained by society, biology and necessity that even when they manage to leave those things behind, they have no choice but to see men’s sexuality as some kind of social or physical success. Leaving one’s mark. At the end of the day, he’s got to be something more than an individual to be sexy – he has to show exceptional involvement in the world.

    • Thats right Kat.

      Good thing women can be mediocre in all those aspects of personality, charisma, charm and intellect and still have an as active an adventurous sex life as they want.

  13. Nerdlove’s argument seems to be about semantics. He argues it’s a myth that men are more into sex than women. But studies show that women are less likely to accept sexual proposals than men. I mean, it is possible that women even have a higher sex-drive than men. They just don’t act on it for whatever reasons. But that chances nothing on the fact that it’s easier for women to get laid than men. This is what people mean when they say men have a higher libido.

    It’s like being a vegetarian and a steak lover at the same time. It’s possible. Someone can really love the taste of a nice medium-rare steak but decide not to eat meat for whatever reasons. Bottom line is the local steak house is not going to make any money on that person. Even though that person actually really likes steak.

    • Oh I like this metaphor! Let’s carry it further.

      Let’s say the steak-lover doesn’t indulge primarily because they object to the inhumane ways the majority of meat cows are raised and slaughtered. Instead of bitching that this person “should just get over it and eat steak” or whatever , the local steak house might consider sourcing their meat from free-range, hormone-free, organic farms or whatever. Suddenly, they might have reclaimed that hitherto steak-free vegetarian! Sure, it might hurt their bottom line a little at the beginning, but they might also dramatically expand their customer base. Besides, they’re probably doing a good thing for the planet (and ethically).

      So I guess my point is that if we REALLY care about getting laid more, it’s probably in guys best interest to create a more sex-positive world free of slut-shaming. Like, it’ll make more sex all around. For everyone. Both sexes get more sex.

  14. The risks are substantially higher for women for it to be so profitable, unfortunately, that is the reason I think that will stop women from having more casual sex. I wouldn’t be willing to take that risk. One one night stand could cost me more so than the man. Thankfully I have the option of swinging both ways and therefore feel safer with women but for completely straight women, it must be incredibly irritating having to weigh up the options everytime they are tempted enough. The risks should take precedence, not whether this guy is better looking than the other one you refused

  15. Did any of you guys read the article? I’m requoting a very relevant part of it, just in case:

    “In other words: in a culture of slut-shaming, blaming rape victims for their own assault, increasing restrictions on contraception and abortion, a man has to be pretty impressive to make it worth a woman’s time for a fling. Now if all this sounds daunting … well, it is. It will require a long-term societal solution—working to build a world of true equity, where women feel safer and more secure and aren’t demonized for their sexuality.”

    Now, Nerdlove is riding a current issue bandwagon, but he makes a fair point right there.

    You can rage against the machine and having been dealt a bad hand all day long and may even be assessing your situation right, but at the end of that day, you’re no closer to getting laid than you were in the beginning. On the contrary, even. The same way you can’t have your cake and eat it too, if you are unable to perceive sex itself and the people who have it – be they women or the mythical sexhaver alpha males – casually, on a as a matter of fact basis, you will prevent yourself from being able to find casual sex. You have to be sex positive for anyone to perceive you as a potentially good lay. Amongst other things, of course, but that is a very important part of it and I am not seeing that in the overwhelmingly negative comments left here.

    • kiplops,
      concerning the paragraph you quote, a similar statement is true for men.
      “In other words: in a culture of creep-shaming, suspecting men of being sexual predators, no reproductive rights for men, a woman has to be pretty impressive to make it worth a man’s time for a fling. Now if all this sounds daunting … well, it is. It will require a long-term societal solution—working to build a world of true equity, where men feel safer and more secure and aren’t demonized for their sexuality.”
      kiplops:
      “You can rage against the machine and having been dealt a bad hand all day long and may even be assessing your situation right, but at the end of that day, you’re no closer to getting laid than you were in the beginning.”
      Maybe it is not about getting laid but about seeing the world as it is, so you can assess if the world of casual sex is worth your time and your efforts. In my opinion casual sex is a bad deal for most men and for most women; it is a meat market.
      “You have to be sex positive for anyone to perceive you as a potentially good lay.”
      Come on, this is just not true. I bet almost everybody knows of several counterexamples.

    • That’s exactly the message I took away from it too!

      Instead of bemoaning being at a disadvantage, we should build a more sex-positive world. A safer one, where woman feel encouraged to engage in casual sex if they so desire. Then there’s more sex to go around for everyone! Finally a rising tide of orgasms that floats all our boats.

  16. Bay Area Guy says:

    Yet again, Nerdlove doesn’t actually refute the so-called myth. He simply provides another rationalization for it.

  17. wellokaythen says:

    The “perception of prowess” can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. If a woman is turned on by the way that a man looks or sounds, and the thought of having sex with him turns her on, then her arousal will already get a boost even before they start. Expectations can be very powerful when it comes to sex. The more turned on you are, the better your lover seems to be.

    (Of course, many women are disappointed with the reality of what the hot guy is actually like in the sack. Expecting hot sex is no guarantee that it will happen.)

  18. wellokaythen says:

    I think the question of personal safety (or at least the perceptions/assumptions about personal safety) is a key point when it comes to being propositioned by a total stranger.

    It seems like someone could factor that into a study and actually test it. Are people who feel more able to defend themselves more likely to accept offers of casual sex than people who feel less able to defend themselves? All other things being equal, is a woman who feels confident that she could handle a dangerous situation more likely to engage in casual sex? I honestly don’t know.

    Also, the potential negative consequences of casual sex are not totally equal between men and women. (Just speaking of hetero sex for the moment.) Men to some degree are more able to “walk away” afterwards because the effects are not symmetrical. Women can get pregnant, and men can’t. There are STI’s that are more easily transmitted from male to female than female to male. A man is more likely to get an orgasm out of it than a woman is.

    I’m not saying it’s all on one side and none on the other, just that the effects are not quite equal. Maybe that has a bearing on women being more cautious.

    (God, I feel so old-fashioned saying all of this.)

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      I agree with every word here.

      • Why dont you consider the other side of the coin, that women also find fewer men physically attractive regardless of the risks they face?

    • The risk of negative consequences is NOT the only reason why women are less likely to indulge in casual sex.

      Women also find fewer men sexually / physically appealing. Women dont find the vast majority of men good looking enough for casual sex.

  19. And so nice guys finish last

    • @derek…

      Yes, for sex. No for marriage.

      However, the sex is going to suck in marriage. So, maybe in the end, you are correct.

    • Well, you can be nice AND have big muscles AND be cocky, charismatic, confident, outgoing, AND make decent money. Those things aren’t mutually exclusive.

      You can add a bit of edge, a bit of arrogance even to your personality, and still remain fundamentally decent as a human being.

      Very few people manage this, though, wanting to be loved “for who they are”.

  20. I for one am not going to nitpick the article – I found it fascinating! As I’ve been in a committed relationship since I was 14, casual sex wasn’t really on the table for me, so I have no personal insights into it that either support or refute this article. It makes sense to me that women take a combination of safety + prowess into consideration (and looks certainly factor in to a woman’s perception of prowess – sure, it’s not the most accurate way to know what kind of a lover a man is, but *everyone* makes snap judgments based on just the surface of a situation/person, don’t pretend it’s just women). And it makes sense to me too that for men, the safety+prowess criteria are not as heavily weighted.

    Anyway, happy Thanksgiving all!

  21. For all the guys complaining about how hard it is to be average looking, just move to New York. Your dating options will skyrocket along with your ego.

    With regard to the subject at hand, the argument over women wanting casual sex or being willing to put out gets tiresome. All of my single female friends really want to be dating someone and having sex outside of that feels too far less than what we really want. I recently read a quote in a personals ad placed by a man that I thought summed it up really well “Sex is what people have when they don’t have love.”

    These kinds of articles do always seem to ignore the innate difference between men and women, that being us females innately need to connect on a deeper emotional level in order to be happy in bed. Women are emotional creatures, and hook-ups have an emotional expense to them as well. Female friends who do hookup will tell me that even though they are ok with doing so, that they felt bad afterwards anyway. As a 30-something woman who’s lived through a couple of decades among single female friends, I would say that while women are willing to hook-up, most of the time they feel bad afterward if there wasn’t a connection. And if there was a connection, they feel bad when nothing further comes of it.

    And then, there’s the oxytocin. This article doesn’t begin to address what happens chemically when two people hook-up. Oxytocin is released during sex which causes people to feel bonded, it often affects women more than men. Though I’ve known men who, once they learned about this, stopped sleeping around because they became aware of how much hook-ups were affecting them emotionally as well.

    It would really be wonderful if we could all just get back to having respect for one another, being willing to get to know eachother and give one another a chance – that’s when magic happens – even for the average guys. There seems to be a big enough world of casual sex for anyone who wants it. At least here in NY, anyway.

    • Are we in the same NYC? I’m 23 and in NYC, and I can’t get ANY.

      • The Wet One says:

        Ahh….

        The lament of the young man.

        Listen up Collin:

        NO ONE CARES!!!!!

        Got that? We don’t. I got mine so STFU!!!!

        Of course, men don’t tend to get theirs until later in life, so there you go. But I gotta tell ya, it became much much easier to get some the older I got. Money and a car seemed to help along with a professional job title. But mostly money. Namely because I got real tired of the game and just saw prostitutes. No shortage of getting it that way. But you gotta have da money.

        Not really into that anymore due to my Beloved Sweetie who is the finest woman a man could want, but I only got the confidence and calmness to woo her after more a few ladies of the night.

        Just sayin’ hombre. And no one is going to tell you that this is an ok route to your eventual satisfied future.

        Anyways…

    • Peter von Maidenberg says:

      New York didn’t work for me. It only reinforced that life (not just sex, life) is a status game I didn’t want to play. New York works because it forces a lot of people into private, lonely lives and drops them off the radar.

    • The bigger the city, the ‘bigger’ the expectations and standards of the average woman living there. You can assume its a general rule.

  22. I think prostitution should be legalized.

    Most men cannot measure up to women’s requirements of looks, physique and charm etc. Women are selective, they have very high standards, they want casual sex with superior high quality men. Thats ok. Im not complaining or baling them. You cant help how youre wired and what youre attracted to.

    Im just saying sex work should be legalized so men who are dont measure up to womens standards would also be able to obtain casual sex.

    • You confuse standards with looks, physique, and charm. Not the same thing. Some of us just want a connection with a guy who we have a connection with–with whom we have fun, who finds us attractive, and respects us, whether it’s casual or not.

      • @Aya…

        “Some of us….”

        Yes, some of you. When it comes to just sex, I think most women simply want a guy whom they find attractive and safe. He can be a jackass,……it does not matter. Because she is only interested in him for sex and not dating.

        For dating the bar is raised.

        For marriage and/or long term relationships the bar is raised even higher.

        Just the way it is with women.

  23. It means what we as a society are very reluctant to and uncomfortable with accepting.

    That it is more important for men to have good looks, be desirable, attractive and appealing.
    Its more important for men to have an attractive face, great physique, sexual prowess, good endowment, in order to attract the opposite sex.

    Women can be totally mediocre looking and still attract high quality men for sex.

    • I disagree. I’m very average looking, and even when I look back to the period of my life when I was at my peak (21-22 years old), I don’t recall ever being approached or hit on by a really good looking guy. Those guys pursue the most attractive women, not the plain Janes or wallflowers. Believe me, I went to enough clubs with friends to learn this.

      That said, I was a seriously horny young woman and I know I would have had way more casual sex if I wasn’t afraid of (a) getting pregnant, (b) getting an STD, (c) my physical safety and (d) being labelled “cheap” or a slut by my friends and acquaintences. There were times I was dying to go home with a guy but did not do so because of a combination of those 4 reasons.

      Now that I’m older, I am less concerned about the above but over the years I’ve kesrned that casual sex doesn’t do much for me. I need to relax in order to have an orgasm and that usually takes awhile to get comfortable with a new person. I ‘ve never once had an orgasm during casual sex and so I am always left feeling frustrated. Just not enough payoff to make it worth it.

      • Sarah

        You could’ve approached 10 attractive guys for casual sex and its very likely 4-5 of them would have taken up the offer. But obviously you dont even consider offering sex to a guy, an option. Thats usually all the effort women have to put in to get laid.

        You could go to a sex finder website and do 2 things. Either wait for a week until your inbox is flooded by messages from 3 dozen men, shortlist the best looking 3-4 and take things from there. OR you could offer sex to 10 good looking guys on these websites and I can assure you 4-5 will respond. This is such a high success rate that only very attractive men can dream about.

        In bars attractive men will not approach you themselves because they have attractive women there. Its not a matter of them not finding you attractive enough for casual sex. Its just that for very attractive guys (the ones you only wanted to bang) were likely to have female company already. If you were to meet them in a one to one situation they would probably not mind having a fling with you.

        Women can obtain sex with men who are better looking than them so easily, that most are offended that a guy wants them only for sex. We hear many a fat/nerdy/chubby girls complaining that good looking guys would sleep with them over and over again but will not date them so they dont want to be any one’s booty call.

        • Co-sign on James’ comment. An “average looking woman” (whatever that means) might not get the large number of men hitting on her that a “beautiful woman” (whateer that means) does, but male interest and casual sex is still so much more easily obtainable for the “alw” than for an “average looking male.”

          As someone who is fairly average looking, and has dealt with more than a large number of rejections among my few success stories, It always bugged me that so many women take that position of power for granted. Its a privilege, and like most privileges the empowered party doesn’t know they have it, or don’t appreciate its full power…

          • It’s not a privilege if most of it is boring and you get shamed for it in the end.

            • Being in a political office is boring and you get shamed for it in the end.

            • I wouldn’t think it was boring. Even the most awkward casual encounters I had were still enjoyable and I learned a lot. And there are ways to keep activity discreet; you can’t be shamed if no one know about it.

              I don’t know. Perhaps this is a case of “the grass is always greener”? I know in my youth I would have happily taken a dose of shame pills to not be so sexually frustrated for so long so often. Who cares what other people say or think?

            • It is a privilege whether you choose to exercise it or not.

              • Who gets to decide what is a privilage though? If you say it’s a privilege but someone else is telling you it isn’t, why does your opinion of what privileges other people have win? Why doesn’t their opinion of what they don’t think is a privilege win?

                I understand that to a lot of men, casual sex is a privilege. But I have never personally ever considered it a privilege neither do I think it makes my life any easier.

                If you had easy access to casual sex, you are fully entitled to see that and call that a privilege. But in my life, as a woman, casual sex will never be a privilege to me or of mine. I should be able to set those terms for myself right?

                • Bay Area Guy says:

                  Okay Erin, fair enough.

                  However, you should understand how what you said comes across to men.

                  Let me put it this way. Men, all over the world, have far more positions of power and political influence than women do. However, I abhor the political process and have no intentions of ever running for political office. I think politics is draining, sleazy, corrupt, and would likely turn me into a rotten person. Therefore, I don’t consider having a better chance to be elected to political office a privilege for men like me.

                  How do you think that would come across to most women, particularly feminists?

                  Even though I may not want it, they would still consider it a privilege for men, because men still have that OPTION.

                  • Joanna Schroeder says:

                    I think both of you are touching on a bigger conversation about privilege.

                    Here’s the thing – perhaps women do have more options for a fast and simple lay. But I suspect it’s probably also more dangerous for women to go home with a stranger. So there, the safety-while-having-casual-sex-with-a-stranger factor privilege is higher for a man.

                    So I think the Oppression Olympics being played here is pointless. Erin is right, if your privilege doesn’t suit you, it’s useless. And Bay Area Guy (who from now on into perpetuity I’m calling BAG) is right that even if a privilege isn’t being utilized it still exists.

                    But to compare them is pointless.

                    • Nice, you just explained away the concept of male privilege for the majority of men. Gonna try remember that for future conversations on privilege:P

                    • “But I suspect it’s probably also more dangerous for women to go home with a stranger. So there, the safety-while-having-casual-sex-with-a-stranger factor privilege is higher for a man.”

                      Except that you have to actually GET TO THE POINT OF HAVING CASUAL SEX with a woman before that even becomes a factor, which is so much more harder for a man than for a woman.

                      This feels way too much like arguing with rich white dudes about how yes they do have privilidge.

                • I hate it when men claim that its a privilege for women.

                  I consider myself average looking and its not easy for me to obtain casual sex easily with the men I want, when I want.

                  Sure its easy for me to go to pick up ok / alright looking looking, 35 year old, but that tall 27 year old with the dashing smile that I really want is not easy to attract. I will have to work for his attention and I might lose sometimes. I will face a lot of competition from pretty young girls. Moreover, attractive men are not always available when I’m in the mood. I’d be lucky if I call a good looking booty call guy, and he hasnt got another girl for the night and agrees to come. over.

                  • “I hate it when men claim that its a privilege for women.”

                    “Sure its easy for me to go to pick up ok / alright looking looking, 35 year old, but that tall 27 year old with the dashing smile that I really want is not easy to attract.”

                    You do realize that most men do not have this same ability, nor is it EASY. You’re proving the privilege exists regardless of if you like it or not. You have the option to get EASY casual sex whilst men do not, or at least women have a far far easier time getting casual sex. I’ve NEVER heard a guy say it’s easy for him to get casual sex yet I’ve seen multiple women say that and then some suggest it’s no privilege?

                    Some of you women are so out of touch with men it’s saddening, do you actually read the men’s comments here? It’s like spitting in our face when you say how easy it is and then try to claim it’s no privilege.

                  • “Sure its easy for me to go to pick up ok / alright looking looking, 35 year old”

                    Wow.

                    I gotta tell you, as an average looking 30 yr old male, its NOT easy for me to pick up an average looking 30-something year old woman. I can, obviously, but I’m the one who is going to have to approach, make the moves, be aggressive, and in a lot of cases, as I’ve learned from personal experience, it still won’t be enough. The fact that you can do that easily, and brush it off as an worthless ability, speaks volumes.

                    • Bay Area Guy says:

                      What I find fascinating is that certain female commenters, by their own admission, are either plain looking or unattractive, and yet they STILL are able to acquire casual sex with relative ease.

                      Granted, it may not be “satisfying” or with the men that they want, but they still are getting way more action than the average guy. I know certain guys who are decent looking, work out a lot, etc, and yet they would kill to have access to the kind of casual sex that self-described unattractive women can obtain with relative ease.

                      The same holds true for online dating. As Archy once said, imagine the frustration a man feels when he hears a woman complain about being bombarded with emails/messages, when he gets NONE.

                      Ladies, admit it. You’re the ones with privilege within the world of dating and sex.

                      Either that, or I never want to hear the term “male privilege” again.

                      Deal?

        • Well, maybe the good looking guys might have thought I was “good enough” for sex but nothing else , but really, isn’t that humilating for me? I guess I never felt like chasing after a good looking guy and offering him sex knowing that he would probably sleep with me, but then laugh with his friends about the slutty ugly fat chick who threw herself at him. I mean, you know that’s what would happen. No thanks!

          • Sarah–you have a good point. I have a lot of guy friends and they’ve done exactly what you do. Sleep with someone they deem unnattractive then laugh about it and publicly humiliate her. Exactly what you said, the sl*tty*, ugly, fat, desperate girl or some combination of those. There’s something about that that would sting so so incredibly badly that a few moments of having a penis inside of you just wouldn’t make it worth it.

            • Yes but you can get that from all kinds of relationships too, date someone and they cheat on you, that’d sting more than casual sex if you’re in love with them. Infact to be honest your risk of sexual assault probably rises if you date someone vs a 1 time thing seeing as the majority of sexual assault is in relationships last I checked.

              • Archy, no–for me. Being cheated on would not humiliate me. If a partner has sex with someone else, there could be many reasons and they don’t say anything about me. If he explains himself well, is discreet, and it doesn’t affect our bond and relationship, it’s not a big deal to me. On the other hand, being talked about as sl*tty, ugly, gullible, or desperate would truly sting.

                • I’ve seen my friends worlds get crushed after being cheated on, one hasn’t had a gf since after 10 years. I guess for some cheating is a mortal sin. I dunno how I’d react, I’d probably tell her to F off but I’d rather be called names then be in love n cheated on.

              • yes, every relationship has emotional and physical risks but that’s actually an argument in favor of being more careful and picky, not less!

            • Sarah & Aya

              Yet those mediocre looking / below average women will not consider having casual sex with a guy who is their EQUAL…a dorky, average looking, quiet guy who is far less likely to carry STD’s (little or no sexual experience), sexually abuse/use her, and go on to tell the whole college he banged her afterwards.

              Fat, below average women love to bang guys way out of their league and then complain they were treated like crap (which is totally unnecessary I agree).
              Most women would rather bang hot guys and get treated like crap than have sex with guys their EQUALS. That’s why they think casual sex = getting used & having reputation tarnished.

              And honestly, such juvenile behavior only happens until high school. Adult mature men dont do that and they are less picky on looks than they were in their teens.

      • Having said that, I would like you to appreciate that you still had it way way better than the average looking guy who is your equal in looks.

        You could easily have sex with average looking men (100’s of them) while the average looking guys cannot even get average looking women for this purpose.

        • Yes. I will ackowledge that privilege. But it wasn’t a privilege that was any good for me, because I couldn’t make use of it, due to the 4 fears I mentioned in my earlier comment. Unfortunately.

          • The Wet One says:

            I really want to say something in this thread, but I got nothing.

            Maybe chicks should “woman up” more and demand that their freaky side be respected.

            Or something????

            I dunno…

          • Sarah I think your point finally just broke through to me. If I understand you right, what you’re saying is: “Yes, the system did provide me the privilege of being able to easily acquire sexual partners. However, the same system prevented me from exercising this privilege because it HAD ALREADY instilled in me a deep sense that abusing this privilege was wrong (for X, Y, and Z reasons).

            As in, even if you could mitigate the risk of pregnancy, STIs, etc. you had already been conditioned to the point that this privilege was effectively useless to you in context. Did I understand you right?

            If so, I’m kinda with the Wet One on this issue. How do we solve this? I guess sex positive education fixes it? I mean, honestly I’m a little envious, the article suggests that any woman who can overcome her sex-negative conditioning finds herself shooting fish in a barrel (or horny men in a bar, as it were).

            • @Dan, yes that’s it exactly.

              How do we change it? I wish I knew. Along with the other issues (e.g. safety) it would have to be a world where no one would judge a woman negatively for having “too many ” partners. A lot of women justifiably worry that being perceived as a “slut” will ruin their chances of having a meaningful relationship when they want one.

      • When you were dying to go with the guy, it was probably because he was good looking…out of the league of a very average looking woman like yourself.

        If youre not having casual sex, its not because you cant attract men.

  24. Even if the risk of rape, STD’s, the slut-shaming is removed; the different will still remain.
    The different is that women find fewer men sexually appealing. Women are more selective because they find fewer men attractive.

  25. Men are a lot more forgiving to women on their appearance when looking for casual sex.

    Most men find an average looking woman good enough for casual sex. Men are naturally and instinctively attracted to women’s bodies even if they are just ordinary. Women, on the other hand, only notice men who stand out in terms of looks. The body of an average looking guy does little for most women. Unless a guy is really good looking with a great body, he cannot draw women’s sexual interest.

  26. Women desire casual sex as much as men. But the difference is that women are much more selective about sex partners. Women find very few men sexually/physically desirable.

    Men on the other hand find a much larger number of women sexually appealing.

    Most women would only consider casual sex if the man is really good looking, charming etc.

  27. The column is a whole wordy lot of nothing, as usual, but it makes some very good points. What he essentially says is – if you want to start having sex, stop hating the people who already do.

    It is good advice.

  28. So women are just more picky than men?

    • More like more cautious. They have more factors to evaluate the men; pregnancy and cultural issues (slut shaming, perceived violence against women) are the big ones in my eyes. They can’t just jump at the chance like me do because the repercussions are greater than that of men. That’s not to say men don’t have problems, but at the very least they are percipience to be less of an issue.

      • *viewed to be less of an issue. Stupid spell-check.

      • Guess that’s an reasonable explanation for the difference between gay men and straight women when it comes to sexual activity.
        But wait…
        If 2-3% of the population are homosexuals and women desire equally sex shouldn’t that mean that for every gay man who has clearly shown sexual interest towards us there has been some 10-25 women that had sexual interest towards us but didn’t let it show?
        That seems pretty unbelievable.

  29. 2. If women are evaluating potential risk of violence before selecting a man for (casual) sex, shouldn’t there be a high demand for quiet, thoughtful, and slim guys? Instead of the obnoxious, loud-mouthed muscular guys more often being chosen?

    3. . If women are evaluating potential risk of STD’s before selecting a man for (casual) sex, shouldn’t there be a high demand for virgin or inexperienced men?

    • @FlyingKal…

      You’re omitting the perceived sexual prowess part of the equation. Quite, thoughtful, and slim guys are not perceived by women as being able to give them the good sex they desire.

      When it comes to sexual desire in women, I think they (women) are far more primal than men. The drivers are novelty and variety.

      I truly believe when a woman is seeking a long term partner, the quiet, thoughtful, kind, and slim man has an edge. However, the sex she gives this man will be a pittance compared to the other sex partners. Why? Because in her mind, sex with the long term partner is not a priority any longer. Her strongest sexual desire is for the others…IMO.

      Finally, on the risk/threat of violence matter… I believe that women are willing to take greater chances if they believe the sex is going to be great with the man. Men take more risks just for sex, period. A guy can be a thug or criminal. But, many women will still have sex with him. A lot more than you think.

      • You’re omitting the perceived sexual prowess part of the equation. Quite, thoughtful, and slim guys are not perceived by women as being able to give them the good sex they desire.

        No, I didn’t omit it. That was kind of the point I was trying to make.
        What the article states makes total sense, until you start checking up on the choices that women actually do, and discover, just as you say, that the stuff about “safety, slut-calling and STD” more often than not actually takes the back seat to perception of attractability (and good sex).

        I think there’s a pretty big divide between answering a study about what you (think you) are attracted to, and what you actually are attracted to in reality.

  30. It focused entirely on heterosexual response, not controlling for the possibility that the respondents might be homosexual or bisexual. They did not control for whether or not the subject was single, married, asexual or practicing abstinence.
    I guess that means that in your opinion, women are much more likely to be homo- or bisexual (why on earth that would ever affect the result I don’t know…), asexual or practicing abstinence, than men are.
    Which would actually confirm the prejudice you’re trying to debunk here.

  31. John Schtoll says:

    I believe the biggest weakness with this study as opposed to the first one is that people were ASKED how they would react instead of studying HOW they did react.

    There was a study done a few years ago that I read about (can’t find link) which asked women and men WHO did the most housework / yardwork in a given 2 month perioud. Both women and men said that women did most and if I remember correctly the margin was huge, BUT when they then did a time use survey where it was filled out by both people at the same time right after events occurred, it came out fairly even. This was consistent across about a 1000 couples.

    IOW, Women (and men) might say they would do this OR that but when it comes right down to it, would they actually do it. The problem is there is also a social pressure to choose certain answers on a questionnaire to make themselves feel better, i.e. I woudn’t sleep with a guy who has money just because he has money BUT when the situation arises, their answer could very well be very different.

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