A new study shows that women are more likely than men to regret having sex. According to a Reuters report on the study, “Men most often regret not having sex with more people while women frequently regret having sex with the wrong partner.”
Specifically, for women, their most common regrets were “losing their virginity to the wrong partner, cheating on a present or past partner and moving too fast sexually.”
Scientists involved hoped to show that regret is the result of the human evolutionary process. Women, they argue, had more at stake if they select the wrong partner because the work of child rearing falls disproportionately on them. Men, however, in evolutionary terms, want simply to spread their seed as widely as possible.
The study was conducted by researchers at UCLA and the University of Texas. The study gathered information from about 25,000 men and women and the results were published in the academic journal, Archives of Sexual Behavior.
Scientists may want to point to evolution as the cause of these differing attitudes toward sex. But feminists, on the other hand, are often quick to dismiss the scientific/biological explanation. Instead they tend to blame it on cultural influences. For example, Elizabeth Nolan Brown writes at Bustle.com about this study, denying that women’s more frequent sexual regrets are the result of “unchangeable evolutionary imperative ingrained in our brains.” Instead, she blames society, for telling women that virginity and purity are valuable, and for shaming them as sluts when they sleep around.
I think both the scientists and the feminists are missing something here. Seems to me that women have more regrets because women and men tend to have sex for different reasons. To be specific, men are more likely to have sex for mere physical reasons, while women are more likely to have sex in hopes that it will lead to “something more”–namely, that it will lead to a loving, long-term relationship. When that doesn’t happen, obviously, they are going to be more likely to regret having sex in the first place.
To pretend that men and women have sex for exactly the same reasons is to ignore basic biology and common sense. That doesn’t mean women aren’t motivated by carnal desire, or than men aren’t interested in long-term, loving relationships. It’s simply a question of emphasis. What’s the greater motivation, on average, when you compare the sexes?
When you think about it, the conclusions of this study are so obvious, so consistent with common sense, that few regular folks outside the academic world would feel the need to conduct a scientific study in order to reach the conclusion. Of course women regret sex more than men.
To most feminists, it’s offensive to suggest that women have innate neurological or physiological differences that explain why they behave differently than men. It always has to be society that’s to blame. Never mind that male and female brains are actually wired differently. Feminists feel that if they admit these innate differences, then they will lose the moral high ground on issues of sexual politics. How, after all, can you wage a political battle against human biology?
But it seems to me that the best thing feminists could do is to start their arguments with the following reality: Men and women are fundamentally, physiologically, neurologically different. That doesn’t mean that women shouldn’t receive equal rights in any way, shape, or form. On the contrary, starting with reality–a reality that any common sense individual, especially anyone who has raised both a son and a daughter, knows beyond any doubt–would go a long way toward making mainstream society listen to what feminists have to say.
But if feminists continue to ask the world make-believe that there is no difference between men and women other than what is imposed by our culture–it makes it very hard for regular folks to take their arguments seriously. One has to deny both scientific evidence and common sense to buy what feminists are selling.
What if feminists began their arguments on an entirely different premise? What if they began by celebrating and acknowledging innate gender difference? What if they admitted that women have different strengths, and different desires than men–and that those differences were actually GOOD things? A world without women would be a lousy, cold world. Wouldn’t celebrating women for the wonderful beings they are be a much more “pro-woman” attitude?
Seems to me, instead of asking why women regret sexual promiscuity, we ought to be asking why men don’t feel more regret. Maybe if there’s something messed up in our society’s attitudes about sex, it’s the latter, not the former. How else can you explain the fact that one in four pregnancies ends in abortion these days, even with contraception so widely available? How else do you explain the epidemic of children being raised without fathers? Should men regret knocking up all these women, and abandoning the children that result? Yes they should.
But sexual liberation has always been the chief aim of feminism–and modern secularism. Sexual license is perhaps the chief incentive we humans have to reject God, and the self-control love and marital fidelity require. That’s why so many in our culture look at a statistic about women regretting sex, and they see the regret as the problem, not the sex.
Feminism today is pro-sex, but not pro-woman. There’s a difference. For feminists, whether sexual promiscuity makes women happy is irrelevant, it is a behavior they will try to encourage no matter what.
Nathan Harden is editor of The College Fix and author of the book SEX & GOD AT YALE: Porn, Political Correctness, and a Good Education Gone Bad.
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