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

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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.


  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.


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  2. [...] last time we talked about one of the eternal questions: why aren’t women more receptive to casual sex? The common answer is that women approach sex differently than men do—whether it’s treating sex [...]

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