September 21, 2012

Why Women Act Like Sluts

Sex has functions besides procreation.  People have sex when they don’t want to reproduce or can’t reproduce. Often, sex provides a form of social bonding, which is very important in a social species such as our own.

It seems logical, then, that all other things being equal, someone who is looking for a social connection will want to find someone to have sex with as quickly as possible.

However, all things aren’t equal.  Men and women experience different levels of risk when it comes to short-term sexual relationships.

While both men and women risk contracting diseases, women take on additional risks. They can become pregnant without a committed mate who will share the responsibilities of childcare.

In a study that was published in Evolutionary Psychology, researchers attempted to find out if social exclusion would cause women to seek out short term sexual relationships in order to gain social connections.   They reasoned that women who felt socially excluded would think that the benefits of a short-term sexual relationship outweighed the risks.

The researchers performed two experiments.

In the first, women were asked to perform a questionnaire that was supposed to be a personality inventory. They were then given fake results. Some were told that they would probably lose their current friends and grow old alone. Others were told that they would have rewarding friendships throughout their lives. A control group was told that they would probably have accidents when they were older.

The women then had to complete questionnaires that showed whether they were more interested in short-term, promiscuous sexual behavior or long-term, committed sexual behavior.

Women who were told they would be socially excluded showed more interest in unrestricted, short-term sexual behavior and less interest in commitment than the women in the other two groups did.

In the second experiment, women were told to either write about a time they felt rejected, about a time they felt included or about what they did the day before.

They had to look at pictures of men’s bodies and choose which bodies they would prefer in short-term sexual partner.

The women who were made to think about being excluded showed more preference for muscular men than the women in the other groups did.  Women are more likely to choose muscular men as short-term mates than as long-term partners.

The researchers said that these experiments showed that for women who feel socially excluded, the benefits of a quickie, in terms of making these women feel socially included, outweighed the risks.

I have another explanation, though.

Promiscuous women develop bad reputations. Other women become jealous of them and ostracize them.  Promiscuity can itself be a cause of social exclusion.

Women may forego one night stands and devote themselves to long-term committed relationships because they want to meet the approval of others, not because they wouldn’t enjoy the sex.

If a women has already been made to feel like other people don’t like her, then being promiscuous doesn’t create as much risk for her.  She can enjoy sex with a sexy, muscular guy without worrying about becoming unpopular; she wasn’t popular in the first place.

Image Credit: Photos.com

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