We all have preconceptions about casual sex - and the war of the sexes. Men, we know, are open to it. How many men would turn down the offer of casual sex with a woman they find attractive? Not very many. Sex without strings is like eating cake without getting fat: it's just too good to be true.
Men are taught to keep score of their one-night stands like notches on the bedpost thanks to popular media (think: American teen films and "the dreaded walk of shame" for any unsuspecting gal finding herself in the guy's dormitory) and contemporary attitudes towards sex. Men who have multiple sexual partners and one-night stands are players. Women who do it are sluts.
But, is it only men who have casual sex? Are women the fairer sex, with fewer casual encounters for sexual gratification?
Not so, says Terri Conley, a psychologist at the University of Michigan. After extensive research and questioning, Conley has discovered 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."
Women, Terri Conley argues, are like men. Both sexes are are motivated by pleasure-seeking when they enter the "sexual arena." They want to satisfy their urges, and casual sex can provide the release that they want. It's just that women are less likely to be satisfied by a short-term encounter, Conley points out, and they know it.
On average, women enjoy sex far more with a partner that they know, love and trust. The "unknown" factor may be a turn on for men, but for women, it's more of a turn-off. Women are more relaxed with a long-term partner, and are therefore more receptive to the experience and the pleasure.
Conley's research identified that if you removed the unknown factors and variables, and gave women the option of casual sex that is both safe and pleasurable (with Hugh Jackman or Orlando Bloom, for example), they are just as receptive as men.
Conley points out that things aren't quite what we expected them to be. This research, she says, "suggests that women are more similar to men in their reactions to casual sex than would have initially been expected."
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