Say I told you a story about Student A who proposes casual sex to Student B. Student B accepts the offer. What would you think about Student B if I said she was a woman? What would you think about Student B if I told you he was a man?
Well, that hypothetical story was actually used as part of a new study recently published in Psychology of Women Quarterly that found that women who consented to casual sex were judged more harshly than men.
For the study, a group of 195 participants read that hypothetical story of the two students meeting. For one half the participants, Student B was “Lisa” and for the other half, Student B was “Mark.” In both cases, the participants were asked for their opinions on either Lisa or Mark, depending on which one appeared in their story.
In those responses, the female student received more negative feedback. The study’s researchers reported their findings as such: “Women who accepted a casual sex offer were viewed as more promiscuous, less intelligent, less mentally healthy, less competent, and more risky than men who accepted the same offer.” Ughhhhh.
Another part of the research involved having 174 individuals take on the hypothetical role of Student B and state whether they would accept the invitation and what they thought other people would think of their decision. Female participants were more likely to decline the proposition. One of the reasons women gave for this was that they didn’t want to be judged.
Here’s the thing: You totally have a right to make whatever decisions about casual sex and just sex in general you feel are appropriate for your life. If casual sex isn’t something you feel comfortable with, that’s totally valid. If casual sex is your thing, that’s cool too! The point is that you should make the decisions based on your personal feelings.
It’s really unfortunate that there are a lot of women who feel like they don’t have the freedom to make decisions exclusively based on their own knowledge and personal emotions, and instead have to consider a whole bunch of people’s judgments when really it should be nobody’s business but their own.
As a woman, I wish we didn’t feel the need to weigh how people may judge us into sexual decisions, but I completely understand why it happens. Slut shaming can be extremely traumatic and have unbelievably tragic consequences. We have to do what we can to bring that kind of judgment about fellow women’s sexual decisions down to zero.
We are all going to have opinions and boundaries that we adhere to in our own sexual lives, but it becomes as issue when mentally acknowledging our differences becomes a superiority thing where it affects how you treat others or impacts the value you give them as a person. That shouldn’t happen.
Knowing and understanding your personal feelings about sex is great, but just make sure you aren’t pushing what you think on other people. You and all other women deserve to make decisions free of judgment about what is right for her life!
What do you think about this study? Do you factor in what others may think when you make decisions? Has that ever prevented you from doing something? Let us know in the comments!