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Study: Women Feel 'Pressured Into' Having Casual Sex

Young Woman and Man Flirting

A Norwegian study has proven the obvious: women are more likely than men to regret having no-strings-attached sex. In order to find a reason behind this baffling statistic, the study asked nearly 800 people to fill out a survey to reveal their feelings about their last random sexual encounter. The study’s author, Dr. Leif Edward Ottesen Kennair (who has a lot of names for some reason), said the study suggests that “women are more worried than men about pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections and their reputation.” Shocking!

But the biggest revelations in this study — if you read the headlines, that is — is that women actually don’t regret casual sex “as long as they make the first move and the person they are sleeping with is good in bed.” The Daily Mail headline reads, “Women don't regret a one night stand as long as they made the first move and the person they are sleeping with is good in bed, study finds.” And The Sun headline reports, “Women are happy with one night stands — as long as they make the first move.”

Those headlines confirm the feminist narrative that women’s feelings about casual sex mirror men’s. The interesting thing about this study, though, is that all of its participants were people who’d had a no-strings-attached sexual encounter. The study’s authors weren’t asking a random sampling of people if they had casual sex, they were only focused on people who had. And that’s fine, it’s their study. But surely the takeaway is not that 50 percent of women feel no regret after one-night-stands (hooray!), but rather that half of women who choose to have one-night-stands regret it. That’s a lot!

Is it really so surprising that, of the women who engage in casual sex, the ones who don’t regret it are the ones who initiated it and whose partners were good in bed? If you’re already someone who set out to sleep with a person you don’t know, then it stands to reason that your criteria for a successful encounter would be good sex. And, if your chosen partner turned out not to be so great between the sheets, you’re probably going to regret sleeping with him, since that defeats the whole purpose of having casual sex.

In reality, the fact that some women enjoy casual sex is far less important than that many women reported feeling “pressured into” having sex with people they didn’t know well. It’s important to note that the women themselves are describing their encounters as “no-strings sex,” not assault, or harassment or rape. This study isn’t examining #MeToo moments. And yet, they say they felt “pressured into” having sex. And that, of course, they didn’t enjoy it — because they didn’t want to do it in the first place.