Do Women Really Regret Having One-Night Stands More Than Men?


Zinhlezonke Zikalala |

By: Zinhlezonke Zikalala; Photography by Pexels

Sure seems that way if the latest research is anything to go by.

More than half of the world’s population will at some point (if they haven’t already) have a one-night stand, so researchers from Norway decided to look into how the different sexes feel about it the morning after the night before.

Say What?

“Women regret that they agreed to a one-night stand more often than men. Men regret passing up the chance more than women,” said Professor Leif Edward Ottesen Kennair at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s (NTNU) Department of Psychology.

What’s The Deal With One-Night Stands?

When this research was conducted, a team of 263 male and female students aged 19 to 37 years who had all experienced at least one one-night stand were recruited. This team found the same pattern in Norway as in the US, with around 35% of women and only 20 percent of men regretting the experience to some degree. Women were more likely to feel unhappier about the experience, with just 30 percent of women who say that they were happy about their most recent casual sex experience as compared to over 50 percent of the men.

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The also showed that when it came to turning down the offer of a one-night stand, almost 80 percent of women were more than happy that they had said no, however only 43 percent of men felt the same way. While trying to make sense of the possible reasons for the difference in reactions, the team suggested that it could be that women worry more and are less likely to take part in risky behaviour then men. This theory still doesn’t explain the difference in reactions after the “event”.

The Difference In Reactions Explained

Therefore further questioning ruled out the idea that women feel more regretful because they don’t get as much sexual pleasure out of a one-night stand as men do; also suggestions that pregnancy concerns, STIs and getting a bad reputation could instead help explain the patterns.

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Evolutionary psychologist Dr David Buss, one of the co-authors on the study, explains that, “Women and men differ fundamentally in their sexual psychology. A key limitation on men’s reproductive success, historically, has been sexual access to fertile women. These evolutionary selection pressures have created a male sexual mind that is attentive to sexual opportunities.”

And although society, culture, and attitudes change, our basic biological function does not. Buss adds, “Many social scientists expect that in sexually egalitarian cultures such as Norway, these sex differences would disappear. They do not. This fact makes the findings on sex differences in sexual regret in modern Norwegian people so fascinating scientifically,” sys Buss.

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