Women Aren’t As Cool With One-Night Stands As Men

Women Aren't As Cool With One-Night Stands As Men

Let’s start with one thing:

Just like every  study  ever conducted, just because this doesn’t apply to YOU doesn’t mean it doesn’t apply. There is just a mountain of evidence that suggests that as much as women often want to be cool with NSA and FWB sex, for the most part, they’re not.

From Salon, Dr. Melvin Konner reports:

“The research on this is clear, and transnational. A 2008 study by Anne Campbell was called “The Morning After the Night Before.” A British television station surveyed thousands of people through its website; 998 of the men and 745 of the women who responded were heterosexual and had had a one-night stand. They were asked about their agreement with positive and negative statements about the event. Men were much more likely to report greater sexual satisfaction, wellbeing, and self-confidence, while women were much more likely to feel that they had been used and had let themselves down. Overall, subtracting negative scores from positive ones, men had more than double the net gain from the experience. As for regret, 23 percent of men but 58 percent of women said they would not repeat it.”

As for the sex itself, men spoke of “euphoria,” “excitement and lust,” and “blowing off sexual steam.” Some women had fun and felt free, but most said things like

– “The expectation was better than the reality, the sex was rubbish.”

– “The sex is never particularly satisfying because it is difficult to let go with someone you don’t even know.”

– “Not as good as sex with a partner; they are more into your needs and know your body a lot better.”

I’ve said it a million times. Men look for sex and find love. Women look for love and find sex. Sure, there are  exceptions of men who are indifferent to lustful one-night stands and perfectly content marrying their high school girlfriends, and women who have racked up hundreds of sexual conquests without affecting their self-esteem.

There is just a mountain of evidence that suggests that as much as women often want to be cool with NSA and FWB sex, for the most part, they’re not.

But they are far fewer than the converse.

Konner continues:

“A 2001 overview in the Personality and Social Psychology Review by Roy Baumeister, Kathleen Catanese, and Kathleen Vohs combed more than 150 studies to answer the question “Is there a gender difference in sex drive?” Overall in these studies, ‘men have been shown to have more frequent and more intense sexual desires than women, as reflected in spontaneous thoughts about sex, frequency and variety of sexual fantasies, desired frequency of intercourse, desired number of partners, masturbation, liking for various sexual practices, willingness to forego sex, initiating versus refusing sex, making sacrifices for sex, and other measures.’

There were no studies with contrary findings–not a single one indicating stronger sexual motivation in women than men.”

I don’t know why it’s so controversial to report that men and women – who are biologically different, are, in fact, biologically different, but it is. To  me, this explains what we observe regularly: men are cool sleeping around and  can easily separate sex from  feelings. We’ll sleep with women we don’t like, women we’re not attracted to, etc. And while women  sometimes choose that path, they often have regrets when sleeping around.

As always, you can do what you want with this information.  But please  don’t claim the information isn’t true because it doesn’t apply to you.

So, can you easily separate sex from feelings? Let me know in the comments below.

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  1. 21

    I agree with Amy. For me, it’s not even that I can’t have sex without detachment (and I certainly can in theory), but why would I want to? For me, sex alludes to a certain measure of trust. Why would I just want a random up inside me getting all this good lovin’? Uhhh…don’t think so. In fact, I can pleasure myself and get better satisfaction than with a random because I know my body and I know what it takes to give me the big O. So, if I am bringing up my number count, it would have to mean something.

    By the way, I have had sex with a couple of people in the past, and I was the one who lost feelings afterward.

    1. 21.1

      Stacy, totally agree with you that sometimes self pleasuring gives better satisfaction! But it still can’t replace intimacy with a man you are attracted to, even if it is just for the night 😉 I agree the sex is definitely better with someone you have a trusted and passionate relationship with, but what to do if that is not the situation you are in? And what if you still want sex, but are not interested in a commitment or relationship?

      I didn’t want a relationship or commitment with anyone for quite awhile. During that time, I found it very easy to separate emotions from sex. ONS and NSA was easy for me, it gave me what I wanted, without disrupting my life or distracting my thoughts with emotional BS. I could go out, have fun, get a little pleasure, and then go back to my life as usual the next day, without feeling any sort of obligation to the guy I had been with. In fact, if they seemed to show too much interest in me early on, as in wanting something more serious, exclusive or committed, I would drop them and run.

      In regards to your comment:
      “Why would I just want a random up inside me getting all this good lovin’?”

      I think it has a lot to do with your frame of mind and outlook on the situation. When I decide to be with a man, I’m not thinking about it in terms of ‘what he is getting from me’ or ‘what I am giving to him’, frankly, I’m only thinking about what I’m expecting to get out of it (LOL). I think this is the difference between feeling used or guilty the next day, versus if he satisfied me enough to maybe give him a call again sometime.

      Now don’t get me wrong, when I say I’m only thinking about what I expect to get out of it, that doesn’t mean I am just lazy in bed and not doing things that make it pleasurable for him too. Pleasure on both sides makes the whole thing way more hot and passionate, if that is lacking on either side, then it’s pretty much just boring sex and won’t go beyond a ONS.

      Has anyone had NSA sex with someone and it eventually turned into a relationship? Interested to hear from both men and women about their experience with that.

      1. 21.1.1
        Karmic Equation

        With the exception of my first bf when I was 20, where we dated for about 8 weeks before having sex, all my relationships started with NSA sex.

  2. 22
    Karmic Equation

    I can’t have sex without emotions because I can’t have sex without liking the guy. This is assuming we all categorize “liking” as an emotion.

    I believe that the “liking” a woman feels BEFORE she has sex is a REAL feeling but that most (if not all) feelings BEYOND liking that she feels AFTER sex are oxytocin-induced. The problem is that oxytocin isn’t like other drugs. It doesn’t make a woman high; it doesn’t make a woman down; it causes her to HAVE FEELINGS that she otherwise may not have.

    For me, personally, I learned in my 20’s to dismiss any “feelings” I have towards men in the 3-5 days after sex. Come day 6, if we hadn’t had sex again, the man–and whatever feelings I may have had–are gone. I usually don’t give him a second thought. And FTR, I only had two ONS when I was in my 20s 🙂 I made out with about 2 more guys that never went beyond heavy petting, so I don’t count those events. But after some illogical feelings that resulted from my first ONS (I was feeling bad that he didn’t call me after sex…but I remembered on day 4 that he didn’t ask for my number and I didn’t offer it…so it was impossible for him to call me — and the sex was not even good, so it was beyond me why I was missing this guy I didn’t know and wanting him to call me when he couldn’t).

    I was married through my 30s and then divorced just before turning 40. And I’ve had two ONS since, one resulted in an LTR of 6 yrs, and the other I don’t even remember his name. I remember I thought he was really cool and I liked him. But afterwards, he called me only one time afterwards and he had been calling every few days before we had our date/sex. And quite truthfully, it was about a week after he had stopped calling before I realized I hadn’t heard from him. While I liked him enough to have sex with him, I obviously didn’t like him enough to notice he stopped calling. I could do this because oxytocin has little to no effect on me now.

    Desensitizing myself to oxytocin effects makes it possible for me to not invest in the outcome of sex. And being able to disassociate the feelings I have AFTER sex allows me to have relationships that begin without commitment.

    With the exception of my first relationship, all my other LTRs, including my marriage, began with sex and NO commitment (my husband was not even my bf before he became my fiance, lol).

    I don’t think any woman can have sex “without emotions”. However, I think ALL women CAN have sex and OVERCOME their oxytocin addiction AFTER sex if she really wants to. Meaning that guys can’t hurt a woman after sex unless she lets him…because she believes in the FAKE feelings that oxytocin induces in her.

    Stop believing those feelings are real. Instead start telling yourself those feelings are NOT real UNLESS they are supported by his consistent efforts AFTER sex.

    I’ve noticed that I start thinking about a guys flaws and all the things I wasn’t crazy about at around day 3-4 after sex, as long as we don’t have sex again in the meantime. So perhaps, for women who want to try to overcome their oyxtocin addiction, she should AVOID sex for 7 days after the first time she has sex and start catologing her feelings after that 7 days. THOSE feelings are the real feelings…not the feelings in the 3-7 days that oxytocin is still having in her system.

    “Missing him” IS a real feeling, but it’s NOT HIM that she’s really missing. She’s missing the object that gives her her oxytocin rush. Just like an addict missing heroin because she’s coming down off the heroin high.

    Do you want to be a drug addict? Even if that drug is naturally biologically produced rather than man-made? Not me.

    1. 22.1
      Love's Explorer

      Wow! KarmicEquation, thanks for this explanation. It really helps me understand why I’m feeling so attached to the man I’ve been having sex with, even though I don’t consider us to be very compatible for a long-term relationship. I’ve been training myself to be “addicted” to the rush I get from sexual activity with a certain person. Perhaps now I can step back a bit from this wave of feelings and deal with things more realistically.

      I really enjoy casual sex with a regular partner, but I always tend to get uncomfortably attached (even in the face of glaring flaws in the man’s personality). I guess we’ll see if I can handle this situation more smoothly now that I understand it better intellectually, or if I’ll need to follow the 60-90 day rule.

  3. 23

    I’ve never waited 90 days myself, but I’ve only ever had sex when I felt close to certain that the relationship had a future. I don’t think it takes a specific formula like ‘wait 90 days then you’re onto a winner’ – often you can tell much sooner than that how a man views a future with you. Any time I have felt uncertain of a man’s affections for me I have withheld sex. In my last relationship I even specifically said when we were in bed that I liked him a lot, but I don’t have sex outside of relationships. Result? 4 year relationship! I’ve also NEVER regretted walking away from a sexual encounter – and every single time I’ve done that, the guy has turned out to be (as expected) not interested in me at all, and only wanted sex. I think women need to trust their intuition more and not invest so quickly in a fantasy – which is all anyone is until you *really* spend a lot of time with them. Don’t be afraid to walk away and don’t be afraid to tell it like it is – if they’re just playing around then they can feel free to move on. No one needs to get hurt.

  4. 24

    I recently “dropped” a guy who made it clear to me that what we had was a FWB relationship — for over two years! Yes, I let it continue that long. No, it wasn’t because I had low self-esteem or couldn’t find anyone else. I really truly liked him. In fact, I fell in love with him and it got very emotional. BIG MISTAKE — because the only person that benefited from the whole thing was him. He was very caring, kind and did a lot of things for me. I would even say at times he was jealous when other men approached me. Feelings get in the way of a FWB relationship. He was an amazing guy, genuine person, and the sex was incredible. I don’t feel gross or disgusted it happened. But now in my life, I just need (and deserve!) more, and he certainly isn’t ready. I guess timing is everything!

  5. 25

    Wow. Did you even read your own words?? .. you say “He was very caring, kind and did a lot of things for me .. was an amazing guy, genuine person, and the sex was incredible” .. and then you claim “the only person that benefited from the whole thing was him” Huh? .. well, it’s OK. We get it, princess.

  6. 26

    Well, same old story. A woman or a man can sleep without feelings – it’s that simple. However, if you want a partner to STAY, you are more than likely to hear the comment that you were “easy”.

    I don’t buy this. A man once told me that and I countered with, “You were there too, weren’t you?”

    Personally, I think Friends with benefits is a selfish act. Do you really use your friends and then say, bye?

    1. 26.1
      Karmic Equation

      Sure. Friends borrow money from friends and never pay them back plenty of times.

      Presumably both parties get enjoyment out of the sex, else the party not enjoying it shouldn’t do it. Much less selfish than the friend who borrows the money and doesn’t give anything back, right?

      If one party is expecting MORE than just sex to result from the benefts, that party needs to come clean instead of of assigning fault to the other party who made no commitment.

  7. 27

    Interesting. Figures are figures but I also think that there is social pressure for men to report casual sex as positive even when it is not necessarily the case. Please do not judge men but before meeting my current partner (and soon to be husband) I had over 70 different sex partners, including two there’s ones with 4 different men, one night stands, sex buddies and formal relationships. Now, as I have learnt from previous experience, your sexual past is irrelevant and I wouldn’t like to upset my partner for something that it no longer exists, we’ve had a policy of not asking about it unless it is needed. He simply assumes I slept with my formal partners which are 4. Once he said to his male friends that he slept with 20 people but he confessed to me the actual number could be counted with one hand but he felt under buddy’s pressure to be a ‘man’. I also know that if someone asked me about my actual ‘number’ they would think I’m a wh*’re, that I was sexually perverted and deviated and so on…so I choose not to tell the absolute truth about it because it won’t make any difference to anyone anyway. At all this, I’ve always been faithful when I’m in a relationship or even when I had something casual that wasn’t specifically addresed as exclusive. I’ve experimented enough and now that I’m 25 I know that what I want is to settle down in monogamous marriage and have a family. My partner is 32 and was single for 8 years before meeting me. He didn’t have any sexual contact for 20 months before meeting me. He says he got tired of things that led nowhere and that he craved for a serious relationship. I didn’t crave for a relationship but it just happened. What I want to say is that sadly, men and women are under pressured to be ‘players’ and ‘respectable ladies’ when actually sexuality is unique to each and one of us.

  8. 28

    I’ve met a guy online a month ago and we hit it off on the first date, amazing attraction and chemistry. We kissed on that date and ended up spending the night together on the second. I was taking him too seriously and thought it would be just sex and a ONS.

    The thing is, we end up connecting at other levels as well and talked a lot about ourselves. We slept holding each other and cuddling.

    We were at my place and he had breakfast the next day and he only left after lunch time.

    I was very surprised because I actually liked him. So after a week we end up spending another night together and we bonded even more. I started to have feelings for him and was willing to see where we were heading, although he referred to me as “friend”. He said he wanted to take me out to a proper date but he never planned for the date and starting contacting me for sex only. I understood that he wasn’t feeling the same way I did, so I called it off. I said to him I can’t do a FWB thing and would like to go on proper dates and slow things down. I never heard from him again, so I guess although sex was great and there was an emotional connection, he didn’t want anything else besides a FWB situation.

    I’m glad I called it off before I got too involved, but what I took from this experience is that I can’t separate sex from feelings and see it as an activity like playing tennis or whatever. And that I should wait to know the guy more before jumping into bed, because I do want a real relationship.

    I’m not sure if women can have sex without feelings or emotions. There are many emotionally unavailable men out there, but there are many emotionally unavailable women too!

  9. 29

    I think a lot of women feel guilty saying they like one night stands…

    Ive had a few and some were awesome and yes some i do regret but thats because the sex was bad. I also regret some relationships.. so what thats life.

    Sex and feelings can totally be separated, good sex is good sex no matter if there are feelings or not.

    I have had amazing sex with someone whose name I dont even remember and I would definitely say its all the way up there with the sex I had with someone I truely care about.

    Its all about how you see it and if you can just let go and have a great time.

  10. 30

    Personally, I have had both experiences. Meaning, one nights stands, with no future or whatsoever. and One night stands who actually ended up in two, or three year relationship. I can only explain it by the amount of chemistry there was, the sitting, and the intellectual fusion we sometimes have with people with just meet. On the other hand, and this where I am completely confused, is when I go through the rational, traditional path of dating and waiting before jumping into bed with person, that it actually don’t end up working. So I am asking myself a lot of questions, and one of them   is, why would a guy accept to go on dates, seduces me, spend good moment with me without intimacy, to finally just leave after we past through the first night together? Why are men acting this way these days? I feel like they know they won’t have sex until the forth or fifth dates or even more, and they still enjoy waiting, until they can get what they want??? Are we women fooling ourselves by saying with no sex, guys won’t leave…??Are we fooling ourselves by putting ourselves through all these rules of dating for at the end, being fooled back…Don’t we have to change our dating methods??

    1. 30.1
      Karmic Equation

      Most women have ONS with guys they consider “hot”.

      “Hot” guys have options. Usually lots of them.

      So unless you’re as hot as the hot guy, he’s unlikely to stick around because he thinks he can find a hotter option than you. It’s fun to sleep with hot guys. It’s futile to yearn for a relationship with him though. So sleep with that hot guy if you want. But expect him to disappear after sex if you’re not as hot as he is, e.g., he is “out of your league”.

      If you ARE as hot as the hot guy, then after his lust has been sated, he can more clearly assess your compatibility and a lot of guys decide you and he aren’t compatible after sex and then disappear.

      There’s a saying: Women think clearly before sex; men think clearly after.

      If you’re starting to get disappointed or bitter at men disappearing after sex, don’t have NSA sex.

  11. 31

    In my 40s now, thought I could handle it. I did with one person, didn’t with another. Looks like I need more than just casual. I knew this in my 20s – I should have stayed with it!

  12. 32
    Hookup Hangover

    After ten years alone I decided to get on a dating site. Within days I met a man I did not expect to meet. I haven’t felt that kind of attraction in decades. He was very up front with me that he was about to take a break from relationship hunting, but that he really wanted me. And I caved. On our second date, we had sex. Great sex, for hours, anything goes. And we went our separate ways in the morning.

    Here’s the thing – I’m really struggling to … I don’t even know. I’ve continued to meet and date men on the dating site although I haven’t yet met anyone I feel much of a connection with. But those evenings when I’m alone I want to be back in that night.

  13. 33

    Womans are not as comfortable a out 1 night stand as man is because of the label socially she get.   Man has credit for being “playboy” but woman she called number of labels that aren’t very nice.   As reading some of this comments here tell me, lot of woman here can’t seperate her emotion from sex.   This tell me that she “put up with” a 1 night stand in the hope that it would be something else.

    If a woman have and end game which is something different to what most mans end game for 1 night stand is, chance are she will be left very dissapoint with the result.   If woman see 1 night stand as a mean to and end, that being she will do it with him hoping that he will develop feeling for her, most of the time she will be dissapoint with the result.   The better looking the guy, the less likely he will stay around.   This is offset by the woman feel good because she land a hot guy.   But, unable to remove emotion from the equation, if she long for this hot one to be hers after this night, the result could be even worse.

    As a 34 yo man who been married for 8 years, been married before for only 1 year, and in between having many fling with girls, I can say that it is a thing that man he want to brag to his friends about how many girl he slept with.   It’s less specific and more about the number; the quantity.   Woman on the other hand, I think if she talk to her girlfriend about 1 night stand, there’s no achievement seen in how many man she sleep with.   In fact this harm her credibility.   But, removing the emotions to not feel bad afterward doesn’t mean she didn’t have connection at the time.   It is   it just physiological desire for woman to have sex like man does, but at the time, even if she know it won’t last, it still come down to how he made her feel *at the time*.   I don’t think theres anyway a woman can esape the emotional side and this is why, invariably, woman are “no so cool with 1 night stand” like Evan say.


  14. 34

    I’m a woman and I’m not quite sure what to make of this information – because I am conflicted internally myself. I was raised conservative and didn’t believe in one night stands, but after two dissatisfying relationships I discovered casual sex and it was incredibly empowering to find out I could have hot sex and not care for the man after.   I just got really sick of it after a while – even though sometimes the sex was hot and I never got attached emotionally – because I realized I did want a boyfriend. One night stands can hit what you want out of them, it doesn’t have to mean bad sex or broken hearts, and yet despite giving you what you want are ultimately still dissatisfying!

  15. 35

    Lot of very old-fashioned sexists commenting here, riffing on the nonsense theme that “women are sensitive, emotional creatures who prefer goody-goody sex inside committed relationships and men are dumb pigs”.   Grow up ffs – women enjoy sex much more than men do – just look at the whole-body flushing, eye-rolling, convulsive giggling, ejaculating (much more so than a man) and shaking of a typical female orgasm and compare it to the minor, localised, genital  twitching that passes for the typical male orgasm.   I can orgasm in the toilet in about 30 seconds after I’ve had a piss, if I need to.   The male orgasm is a very trivial experience; barely worth having sex for.   I tend to get off vicariously on the more intense female orgasm and have sex for the company and conversations afterwards.   Women love one-night stands, but only if they think the guy is tolerant enough and discreet enough to let them get away with it socially.     

  16. 36
    Zach U.

    Maybe it just depends on how much oxytocin you have your system, or the amount of testosterone or estrogen you have in your system? I know when I have physical intimacy with a female, I absolutely cannot my divorce my feelings and emotions from her. I feel a bond as if we are meant to be a bf and gf.I figure this is not fair to women, so as a male I reject all casual sex altogether now. What bothers me enormously is how some women handle such rejection. Because they are not used to approaching men like men constantly are FORCED to approach women, some of their reactions to me have been downright nasty. I have be accused of being a jerk, being gay, not being kind because the female was doing me an “easy” favor for me, et cetera, by rejecting one night stands. Even if I told the woman I wouldn’t have casual sex if she were Miss America because it is against my values and boundaries, I was still treated rudely. Honestly, I was sexually molested by a 18 year old teenage babysitter girl when I was 12, and I just do not wanna have sex with any woman unless I am 100% positive she loves me for being the man that I AM. Yes, I have my therapy. Is there something wrong with this? Why are men held to a different standard than women? I disagree with many of the thoughts on this site that men and women have totally different psychological outlooks. I actually tend to identify more with women when it comes to sexuality and relationships and communication. But because they have been trained that I am so different as a man, I shamed for being the man that I am.I am not the knight in shining armor, emotionally stunted guy, and very much never will be because I am not that man and I am proud for being who I am. I like being different and unique, and I am convinced there is a woman just for me. But right now, it is hard.

  17. 37

    The writer doesn’t seem to understand that there is NUANCE in human behavior, and there are sociological as well as biological factors that contribute to why women may regret ONS more. It’s not that women are trying to “act” like they are okay with casual sex- it’s that it is a totally different era, where people have busier lives and women, especially, have less need for commitment from men (i.e.; greater ability to provide for themselves). There is a bevy of research on college hookups that is more recent, and shows that women are not damaged or regretful of these instances in general, at least not as much as stated here.
    There is an older study that shows that women are fine with ONS when the sex is good- something that would happen more often if women were comfortable in these situations.
    Logically, why would one gender be ALWAYS INCLINED to do something that the other gender was NOT AT ALL inclined to do? Seems like it wouldn’t work!
    Fact is, there are pros and cons for both genders for casual sex. Many men and women like it, and many men and women dislike it. It’s not black and white.

    1. 37.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      You don’t like what the study says so you willingly ignore the study and shoot the messenger who posted it with an ad hominem attack. Got it.

    2. 37.2

      “Why would one gender be always inclined to do something that the other gender was not at all inclined to do?” Because it’s a pathway to something that they do want. Or, at least, they believe it might be, hope it might be. This goes both ways. And is not at all restricted to sex, nor restricted to males or females.

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