The Sluts vs The Studs

So do we view women’s sexual behaviour the same way we view men’s sexual behaviour? I’d like to believe we do…but then I’ll read another research study and I’m not so convinced.

This study always pisses me off…well the results do. Not the study itself. Diary entries portray a woman having sex with someone she recently met. This is the first time they have sex. In these fake diary entries, the authors manipulate whether the woman provided the condom, the man provided the condom, or if they simply did not use a condom at all. And what did they find?

Well, 457 female undergraduates rated the woman’s behaviour as more negative and more inappropriate when she provided a condom (ummmm…what?). The participants even reported that the woman would feel less positive about herself simply because she provided a condom.

And here’s the kicker! The participants didn’t think that she would feel so horrible about herself if her male partner provided the condom or if they just didn’t use a condom at all (because, that’s obviously a smarter choice. Not). Again, wtf?

This is a pretty clear example of how the sexual double standard comes out in all sorts of ways in regards to women’s sexual behaviour.

So what else do we know about the sexual double standard? Well, there is a lot of research on this topic (yay! I never get to say that), buuuut the research is not that clear. For the most part, men and women both report that they personally don’t believe in a sexual double standard.

So that means, most people think that men and women can bang freely, no judgment. This is good, right? But…’s actually not that clear. Because then you ask people what they think other people think about women’s and men’s sexual behaviour annnnnd things get a bit messy. Most people think they don’t judge men and women differently. Just other people do.

One cool study actually found evidence of a reverse sexual double standard. In this study, roughly 500 participants (university and non-university participants) completed survey measures. Of these, 67% of women and 35% of men believe that men have greater sexual freedom compared to women29% of women and 39% of men believe men and women have equal freedom, and 26% of men and 4% of women believe the women have more sexual freedom vs men.

But when participants were asked to describe what kind of words they use to describe men with many sexual partners (many = 10, btw), the words used to describe these men are along the following: predatorplayerexploiterpromiscuousdesperate but words like stud were never used.

This is supposedly a good thing – that we are not rewarding men for being free and easy. And we might actually be judging men more harshly.

Overall, 75% of men and 68% of women would discourage a male or female friend from dating an experienced person. But when it comes down to dating an experienced male, 23% of women and 26% of men report they wouldn’t want her to date that guy compared to only 2% of women and 6% of men who would discourage friends from dating the experienced female.

So at the end of the day, I can’t make heads or tails of this shit.

I wish I could say that the sexual double standard doesn’t exist but I don’t think we’re there yet. Boo. Hiss.