Study: Actually Women DO Enjoy Casual Sex!

Would you have casual sex with a stranger? How about a close platonic friend?

How about with Johnny Depp?

Getting more interested, ladies? If so, you’re adding to the evidence that some widely accepted beliefs regarding men, women and short-term sexual encounters may be significantly off-base.

In a newly published paper describing a series of studies, University of Michigan psychologist Terri Conley asserts that “when women are presented with proposers who are equivalent in terms of safety and sexual prowess, they will be equally likely as men to engage in casual sex.”

Her research suggests women, like men, are motivated by pleasure-seeking when they enter the sexual arena. It’s just that women are less likely to be satisfied by a short-term encounter, and they know it.

Writing in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Conley describes a series of experiments that refine the results of a seminal 1989 study widely cited in articles and textbooks. That study, by psychologists Russell Clark and Elaine Hatfield, found that when a female college student introduced herself to a male colleague and asked if he wanted to have sex with her, 69 to 75 percent of the guys said yes. When the genders were reversed, not a single woman was interested.

That huge difference has largely been explained in terms of Sexual Strategies Theory, an evolutionary approach that focuses on the desire, conscious or unconscious, to pass one’s genes to the next generation. If that’s our driving impulse, women need to be choosy about their sexual partners; they’re looking for men who are likely to stick around and provide support during their child-rearing years. Men, on the other hand, have an evolutionary incentive to spread their seed as widely as possible.

Although Conley also takes an evolutionary approach, her perspective is significantly different from that much-discussed thesis. She points to a relatively new approach called Pleasure Theory. It asserts “the pursuit of pleasure is the central force that motivates sexual behavior,” and that reproduction is a byproduct of this effort.

“If humans are having pleasurable encounters, enough instances of vaginal intercourse will occur to ensure the survival of the species,” she notes.

In other words, our motivation may be simpler than the first generation of evolutionary psychologists believed. Girls — and boys — just want to have fun, and biology takes care of the rest.

Read more of this story here.

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With political activists as parents, Stephanie learned gender politics at an early age and embraced stiletto feminism in high school. As a marketing professional, she’s written for a variety of publications. She founded to be a voice for the sex-positive alpha female.