In a report that should surprise no one, University of Ottawa researchers have determined that women have one-night stands for the sex.
In a survey of 510 mostly Canadian women, “the person’s physical appearance turned me on” was rated as the number one reason heterosexual respondents had opted for casual sex.
Although women in committed relationships reported having sex as an expression of love or affection, casual sex was almost purely physical. The number two and number three reasons for casual sex, respectively, were “It feels good” and “I was ‘horny.’”
“To my knowledge, this is the first study to specifically compare physical and emotional reasons for casual sex,” said study co-author Heather Armstrong, writing in an email to the National Post.
Emotional closeness barely even made the list. As per the survey, women are more likely to have casual sex because a man had “beautiful eyes” and “smelled nice,” rather than doing it because they wanted to feel intimate.
Prepared by the University of Ottawa’s Human Sexuality Research Laboratory, the study’s stated goal was to “explore women’s motivations to have sex” — whether it be straight sex, gay sex, casual sex or sex with a spouse.
“As expected, women reported more physical motivations for casual sex and more emotional motivations for sex in a committed relationship,” read the study.
As expected, women reported more physical motivations for casual sex and more emotional motivations for sex in a committed relationship
Namely, committed women were far more likely to have sex with their partners to “show my affection,” “communicate at a ‘deeper’ level” or solidify “the natural next step in my relationship.”
However, even in marriages and long-term courtships, “it feels good” still held the #1 spot as to why a heterosexual woman would take her partner to bed.
Recruited mostly from a “large, urban university in eastern Canada,” the study’s 510 subjects were 78% Caucasian, mostly non-religious and had a mean age of 21.6 years.
Possibly due to the relative youth of the group, it included a high number of current or recent virgins, as evidenced by the #24 reason for having casual sex with a man being “I wanted to see what it would be like to have sex with another person.”
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In recent decades, the science of casual sex has been informed heavily by a 1989 study out of the United States. Prepared by researchers Russell Clark and Elaine Hatfield, the study recruited men and women on U.S. university campuses and asked them to approach classmates with random propositions for sex.
Of the men approached by female participants, an incredible 69% agreed. By contrast, not a single woman assented to a man’s random request to “go to bed with me tonight?”
More recently, a 2011 study out of the University of Michigan found that when women can be assured of “safety” and “sexual prowess,” they were just as likely as men to opt for a night of commitment-free sex.
“The extent to which women and men believed that the proposer would be sexually skilled predicted how likely they would be to engage in casual sex with this individual,” read the study.
Asked if she suspected that her study reflected a change in sexual norms, Ms. Armstrong responded that rates of casual sex are likely rising — but that the reasons for it are pretty much the same as they always have been.
“People have casual sex because it feels good and because their partner’s attractive and I think that probably would have been the case in the past as well,” she said.
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