Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Sexual satisfaction: Treating a woman with oxytocin also benefits her male partner



The results of a study conducted at MedUni Vienna under the direction of Michaela Bayerle-Eder, doctor of internal and sexual medicine, showed that the sexual response of men, whose female partners had been treated with the "bonding hormone" oxytocin or a placebo, was enhanced -- even to the extent of improving their erectile function. This effect was not a function of the substance administered, so that the result is attributable to the improvement in communications within the long-term relationship.

Approximately one year ago, in a study published in the journal Fertility and Sterility, the researchers found that treating women with sexual dysfunction with the hormone oxytocin improved their sexual response but also that the comparison group, who had only been given a placebo, showed an almost identical improvement. The specialists in sexual medicine therefore also investigated the effects upon the women's male partners.

This study has now shown that treating the female partners with oxytocin not only enhances their own sexuality but also that of their male partners. Since the effect was found not only in the group receiving the active agent but also in the placebo group, it is once again thought to be triggered by the improved communication within the relationship.

The specific results: "The mere fact that the couple discussed sexuality more in their relationship and that they had to keep a joint diary helped to enhance their sexual response," summarises Bayerle-Eder. The results were just as good in the placebo group as they were in the group of couples where the women were given oxytocin. Says Bayerle-Eder: "This is of major importance for all sex therapists. It is not just the medication that helps but rather, and more importantly, the functional social interaction within a relationship."

This is particularly important for older couples in long-term relationships. The 30 couples in the study had been together for between 2 and 33 years and were aged between 41 and 65.


Thursday, April 6, 2017

Mate's looks all important for daughters, a little less important for mothers


When mothers and their daughters have to choose potential partners, they do not look much further than skin deep. Mothers are not quite as picky though, and will choose a man who is only reasonably attractive for their daughters. Daughters on the other hand prefer an attractive man, no matter how respectful, friendly, ambitious or intelligent he may be. This is according to the authors of a study in Springer's journal Evolutionary Psychological Science, led by Madeleine Fugère of the Eastern Connecticut State University in the US.

The research team assessed the mate preference of 80 women between the ages of 15 and 29 years old, and one or both of their parents. Only data collected from the 61 mothers present were analysed for the purposes of the current study. The women were presented with colour photographs of three male targets varying in attractiveness. Each photograph was paired with one of three trait profiles. The "respectful" profile included the traits "respectful, trustworthy, and honest;" the "friendly" profile included being "friendly, dependable, and mature;" and the "pleasing" profile meant that the man was "of a pleasing disposition, ambitious, and intelligent." The women had to rate the photographs and trait descriptions in response to how attractive they found the man, how favourably they rated his personal description, and whether they'd consider the person as a dating partner for themselves or their daughters.

Physical attractiveness strongly influenced how women and their mothers saw the target men. The attractive and moderately attractive ones came up trumps. Men with the most desirable personality profiles were rated more favourably than their counterparts only when they were also at least moderately attractive. Even when unattractive men possessed the most desirable traits, the mothers and daughters did not view them as potential dating material.

"We conclude that a minimum level of physical attractiveness is a necessity for both women and their mothers," says Fugére.

It was also found that daughters are pickier than their parents when it comes to choosing between potential mates. Mothers rated all men, even the least attractive ones, as potentially desirable partners for their daughters, while the younger women did not.

"This may signal that unattractiveness is less acceptable to women than to their mothers," states Fugère. "It might also mean that women and their mothers may have different notions of what constitutes a minimally acceptable level of physical attractiveness, with mothers employing a less stringent standard than their daughters."

She explains further that when women and their parents are asked their opinion about potential mates, they always rate traits like respectfulness and friendliness as more important than physical attractiveness. "Yet, in doing so, they assume that the potential mates at least meet a minimally acceptable standard of physical attractiveness. However, when a range of attractiveness levels is presented, physical attractiveness takes priority over other characteristics."


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Romantic Rejection: There's a Placebo for That


The use of placebos to alleviate physical pain is well established, but placebo effects on emotional pain are not as well understood. In a new functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study, researchers examined the impact of a placebo on social pain stemming from a recent romantic breakup. 

Young adults who were told that the saline nasal spray they received was a powerful analgesic for both physical and emotional pain reported reduced negative feelings while viewing a photograph of their ex compared to those who were told that the same spray was used to improve the quality of fMRI images. Those in the placebo group also had reduced activation of a pattern of brain activity associated with social rejection.
 The placebo increased activity in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC) in both the social pain test and in a separate physical pain condition in which heat was applied to participants' forearms (however, the placebo effect was more modest in this pain condition). The researchers further identify a pathway between the dlPFC and the periaqueductal gray in the brainstem involved in the regulation of social pain. Overall, the findings suggest that this brain network may underlie the placebo effect across a range of mental health conditions.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

People's romantic choices share characteristics, but for different reasons


Ever wondered what your exes have in common, and how they differ from people you never dated?
The people one dates share many similarities - both physically and personality-wise -- a new University of California study has found.
For observable qualities like attractiveness, similarity emerges because attractive people seduce other attractive people. But, researchers said, for qualities that vary greatly depending on where you live (like education or religion) similarity emerges because educated or religious people tend to meet each other, not because educated or religious people actively select each other.
"Do people have a type? Yes," said the study's primary author, Paul Eastwick, associate professor of psychology. "But sometimes it reflects your personal desirability and sometimes it reflects where you live." 
The study was published online this month in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology of the American Psychological Association. The article can be found here.
The article, which comprises three slightly different studies, looked at the characteristics of people in more than 1,000 past and present heterosexual relationships. The information was provided voluntarily through social media sites and live interviews in recent years, culminating in 2014. 
In one of the studies, researchers found that people's past partners have similar physical qualities. This was true even when the partners were short-term or casual relationships. "...during the partner selection process, people may have difficulty differentiating between partners that prove to be casual and short-term versus committed and long-term," the study said.
While intelligence or educational level also played a role, Eastwick said, it was often related to where the people went to school or the field in which they worked. 
"A second study examined the ex-partners of several hundred young adults sampled from schools across the United States. The exes of a particular person tended to be very similar on variables like education, religiosity, and intelligence, but this type of similarity was entirely due to the school that people attended. Within their local school context, people were no more or less likely to select educated, intelligent, or religious partners."
The study differs from most other research on relationships because this study surveys people's relationships over time, not just one committed relationship, Eastwick said.

Monday, March 20, 2017

A 48-hour sexual 'afterglow' helps to bond partners over time




Sex plays a central role in reproduction, and it can be pleasurable, but new findings suggest that it may serve an additional purpose: bonding partners together. A study of newlywed couples, published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, indicates that partners experience a sexual 'afterglow' that lasts for up to two days, and this afterglow is linked with relationship quality over the long term.
"Our research shows that sexual satisfaction remains elevated 48 hours after sex," says psychological scientist Andrea Meltzer (Florida State University), lead author on the study. "And people with a stronger sexual afterglow -- that is, people who report a higher level of sexual satisfaction 48 hours after sex -- report higher levels of relationship satisfaction several months later."
Researchers had theorized that sex plays a crucial role in pair bonding, but most adults report having sex with their partners every few days, not every day. Meltzer and colleagues hypothesized that sex might provide a short-term boost to sexual satisfaction, sustaining the pair bond in between sexual experiences and enhancing partners' relationship satisfaction over the long term.
To test their hypothesis, the researchers examined data from two independent, longitudinal studies, one with 96 newlywed couples and another with 118 newlywed couples. All of the couples had completed at least three consecutive days of a 14-day daily diary as part of a larger study.
Every night, before going to bed, the newlyweds were asked to report independently whether they had sex with their partner that day. Regardless of the answer, they were also asked to rate how satisfied they were with their sex life that day and how satisfied they were with their partner, their relationship, and their marriage that day (on a 7-point scale, where 1 = not at all, 7 = extremely).
The partners also completed three measures of marriage quality at the beginning of the study and again at a follow-up session about 4 to 6 months later.
On average, participants reported having sex on 4 of the 14 days of the study, though answers varied considerably across participants.
Importantly, sex on a given day was linked with lingering sexual satisfaction over time. Having sex on a given day was linked with sexual satisfaction that same day, which was linked with sexual satisfaction the next day and even two days later. In other words, participants continued to report elevated sexual satisfaction 48 hours after a single act of sex. Importantly, this association did not differ according to participants' gender or age, and it held even after sexual frequency, personality traits, length of relationship and other factors were taken into account.
Overall, participants' marital satisfaction declined between the beginning of the study and the follow-up session 4 to 6 months later. But participants who reported relatively high levels of sexual afterglow seemed to fare better relative to their peers, reporting higher initial marital satisfaction and less steep declines in satisfaction across the first 4 to 6 months of marriage.
The same pattern of effects emerged in the two independent studies, providing robust evidence for sexual afterglow, Meltzer and colleagues note. Together, the findings suggest that sex is linked with relationship quality over time through the lingering effects of sexual satisfaction.
"This research is important because it joins other research suggesting that sex functions to keep couples pair bonded," Meltzer concludes.


Tuesday, March 7, 2017

New study shows Americans are having sex less often


While the topic of sex is less taboo than it was a generation ago, that doesn't necessarily mean people are having more of it.
According to a new study published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior today, Americans who were married or living together had sex 16 fewer times per year in 2010-2014 compared to 2000-2004. 
The survey also found that overall, Americans had sex about nine fewer times per year in 2010-2014 compared to 1995-1999. 
The study is based on data collected from the General Social Survey, a nationally representative sample of more than 26,000 American adults asked about their sexual behavior since 1989.
"These data show a major reversal from previous decades in terms of marriage and sex," said Jean M. Twenge, the study's lead author and professor of psychology at San Diego State University. "In the 1990s, married people had sex more times per year than never-married people, but by the mid-2000s that reversed, with the never-married having more sex."
According to Twenge, author of the book "Generation Me," a critical factor appears to be birth cohort, with later-born generations having sex less often than those born earlier in the 20th century.
In an earlier study, Twenge and co-authors Ryne Sherman at Florida Atlantic University and Brooke Wells at the Center for Human Sexuality Studies at Widener University, found that Millennials had fewer sexual partners than their Generation X predecessors.
"Despite their reputation for hooking up, Millennials and the generation after them (known as iGen or Generation Z) are actually having sex less often than their parents and grandparents did when they were young," said Twenge. "That's partially because fewer iGen'ers and Millennials have steady partners."
Age also appears to play a significant role. People in their 20s have sex more than 80 times per year, declining to 60 times per year by age 45, and 20 times per year by age 65. Each year after the peak of sexual frequency at 25, sexual frequency declines 3.2 percent.
"Older and married people are having sex less often -- especially after 2000," Twenge said. "In a previous paper, we found that the happiness of adults over age 30 declined between 2000 and 2014. With less sex and less happiness, it's no wonder that American adults seem deeply dissatisfied these days."
Blame might be placed on the busy lives of more working parents, but the research didn't bear that out, said Twenge.
Instead, those who worked more hours actually had sex more often, as well.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Maintaining an active sex life may lead to improved job satisfaction, engagement in work


Maintaining a healthy sex life at home boosts employees' job satisfaction and engagement at the office, underscoring the value of a strong work-life balance, an Oregon State University researcher has found. 
A study of the work and sex habits of married employees found that those who prioritized sex at home unknowingly gave themselves a next-day advantage at work, where they were more likely to immerse themselves in their tasks and enjoy their work lives, said Keith Leavitt, an associate professor in OSU's College of Business. 
"We make jokes about people having a 'spring in their step,' but it turns out this is actually a real thing and we should pay attention to it," said Leavitt, an expert in organizational behavior and management. "Maintaining a healthy relationship that includes a healthy sex life will help employees stay happy and engaged in their work, which benefits the employees and the organizations they work for." 
The study also showed that bringing work-related stress home from the office negatively impinges on employees' sex lives. In an era when smart phones are prevalent and after-hours responses to work emails are often expected, the findings highlight the importance of leaving work at the office, Leavitt said. When work carries so far into an employee's personal life that they sacrifice things like sex, their engagement in work can decline. 
The researchers' findings were published this month in the Journal of Management. Co-authors are Christopher Barnes and Trevor Watkins of the University of Washington and David Wagner of the University of Oregon. 
Sexual intercourse triggers the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with the reward centers in the brain, as well as oxytocin, a neuropeptide associated with social bonding and attachment. That makes sex a natural and relatively automatic mood elevator and the benefits extend well into the next day, Leavitt said. 
To understand the impact of sex on work, the researchers followed 159 married employees over the course of two weeks, asking them to complete two brief surveys each day. They found that employees who engaged in sex reported more positive moods the next day, and the elevated mood levels in the morning led to more sustained work engagement and job satisfaction throughout the workday. 
The effect, which appears to linger for at least 24 hours, was equally strong for both men and women and was present even after researchers took into account marital satisfaction and sleep quality, which are two common predictors of daily mood.
"This is a reminder that sex has social, emotional and physiological benefits, and it's important to make it a priority," Leavitt said. "Just make time for it." 
Twenty years ago, monitoring sleep or daily step counts or actively practicing mindful meditation might've seemed odd but now they are all things people practice as part of efforts to lead healthier, more productive lives. It may be time to rethink sex and its benefits as well, he said. 
"Making a more intentional effort to maintain a healthy sex life should be considered an issue of human sustainability, and as a result, a potential career advantage," he said. U.S. employers probably won't follow the lead of a town councilman in Sweden who recently proposed that local municipal employees be allowed to use an hour of their work week for sex. The councilman's hope is to boost the town's declining population as well as improve employee moods and productivity. 
But employers here can steer their employee engagement efforts more broadly toward work-life balance policies that encourage workers to disconnect from the office, Leavitt said. The French recently enacted a law that bars after-hours email and gives employees a "right to disconnect." 
"Technology offers a temptation to stay plugged in, but it's probably better to unplug if you can," he said. "And employers should encourage their employees to completely disengage from work after hours."

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Couples may miss cues that partner is hiding emotions,

IMAGE
IMAGE: LAMEESE ELDESOUKY IS PICTURED. view more 
CREDIT: WUSTL PHOTO
Even the most blissful of couples in long-running, exclusive relationships may be fairly clueless when it comes to spotting the ploys their partner uses to avoid dealing with emotional issues, suggests new research from psychologists at Washington University in St. Louis.
"Happier couples see their partners in a more positive light than do less happy couples," said Lameese Eldesouky, lead author of the study and a doctoral student in Psychological and Brain Sciences at Washington University. "They tend to underestimate how often a partner is suppressing emotions and to overestimate a partner's ability to see the bright side of an issue that might otherwise spark negative emotions."
Titled "Love is Blind, but Not Completely: Emotion Regulation Trait Judgments in Romantic Relationships," Eldesouky's presentation of the study was offered Jan. 20 at the 2017 meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology.
Published in the Journal of Personality, the study examines how accurate and biased dating couples are in judging personality characteristics that reflect ways of managing one's emotions.
It focuses on two coping mechanisms that can be difficult to spot due to the lack of related visual cues: expressive suppression (stoically hiding one's emotions behind a calm and quiet poker face) and cognitive reappraisal (changing one's perspective to see the silver lining behind a bad situation).
Other findings include:
  • Couples generally are able to judge their partners' emotion regulation patterns with some degree of accuracy, but are somewhat less accurate in judging reappraisal than suppression.
  • Women see their partners in a more positive light than do men, overestimating their partners' ability to look on the bright side.
  • If someone is generally more emotional, their romantic partner thinks they are less likely to hide emotions.
  • If someone frequently expresses positive emotions, such as happiness, their romantic partner thinks they use reappraisal more than they actually do.
Co-authored by Tammy English, assistant professor of psychology at Washington University, and James Gross, professor of psychology at Stanford University, the study is based on completed questionnaires and interviews with 120 heterosexual couples attending colleges in Northern California.
Participants, ranging in age from 18 to 25 years, were recruited as part of a larger study on emotion in close relationships. Each couple had been dating on an exclusive basis for more than six months, with some together as long as four years.
In a previous study, English and Gross found that men are more likely than women to use suppression with their partners, and that the ongoing use of emotional suppression can be damaging to the long-term quality of a relationship.
"Suppression is often considered a negative trait while reappraisal is considered a positive trait because of the differential impact these strategies have on emotional well-being and social relationships," English said.
"How well you are able to judge someone else's personality depends on your personal skills, your relationship with the person you are judging and the particular trait you are trying to judge," English added. "This study suggests that suppression might be easier to judge than reappraisal because suppression provides more external cues, such as appearing stoic."

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Online daters ignore wish list when choosing a match

Do cyber daters contact their stated perfect match online? It seems not
QUEENSLAND UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY

Despite having a very clear 'wish list' stating their preference for potential ideal matches, most online daters contact people bearing no resemblance to the characteristics they say they want in a mate, according to QUT research.
The finding was revealed in the 'Preference vs Choice in Online Dating' study conducted by QUT behavioural economists Stephen Whyte and Professor Benno Torgler. 
They analysed the online dating preferences and contact behaviour of more than 41,000 Australians aged between 18-80 using data from the online dating website RSVP, with the findings now published by leading international journal Cyberpsychology, Behaviour and Social Networking.
"We looked at whether or not people actually contact people who match what they say is their ideal partner in their profile, and our findings show they don't. Stating a preference for what you are looking for appears to have little to no bearing on the characteristics of people you actually contact," Mr Whyte said.
"How people go about finding a partner is changing dramatically thanks to the internet. Where once we were limited to settings such as school, work, social gatherings or local night spots, there is a much wider choice at hand online.
"The psychology employed by humans choosing a mate can definitely be environmentally sensitive and the nature of online dating is triggering changes in underlying preferences and decision behavior of those involved.
"Disclosure of 'ideal' partner preferences is a widely offered and commonly-used option for people creating a profile on online dating websites, but whether it's effective or useful in helping people find that special someone is unclear.
"This study provides quite unique findings in that people may state a preference for an ideal partner but they are more than happy to initiate contact with potential love interests that bear no resemblance whatsoever to that 'Mr or Mrs Perfect' they initially think they prefer over all others.
"I think it's really encouraging findings for people searching for that special someone online.
"In our fast-paced world, and with the myriad of options the internet now offers, time spent searching and exploring all available potential partners can be costly."
Mr Whyte said instead of searching until they find the exact match to their stated criteria, people may actually prefer to settle on an acceptable threshold of qualities or characteristics in a potential mate, rather than hold out.
"As Internet and cyber dating continues to grow at a rapid rate further research is required into the decision-making process and the links between stated preferences and actual choice," he said. 
The research is the largest ever behavioural economic analysis of Australian online dating behaviour, with this body of work reviewing 219,013 participant contacts by 41,936 members of RSVP during a four-month period in 2016.
"Our study reviewed the interactions of people whose ages ranged from millennials to octogenarians, which in itself demonstrates how widespread online dating is and how it is changing traditional ways in which people find potential love interests," Mr Whyte said.


Thursday, February 9, 2017

Older adults embracing 'living apart together'


Since 1990, the divorce rate among adults 50 years and older has doubled. This trend, along with longer life expectancy, has resulted in many adults forming new partnerships later in life. A new phenomenon called 'Living Apart Together' (LAT)--an intimate relationship without a shared residence--is gaining popularity as an alternative form of commitment. Researchers at the University of Missouri say that while the trend is well understood in Europe, it is lesser known in the U.S. This means that challenges, such as how LAT partners can engage in family caregiving or decision-making, could affect family needs.
"What has long been understood about late-in-life relationships is largely based on long-term marriage," said Jacquelyn Benson, assistant professor in the College of Human Environmental Sciences. "There are now more divorced and widowed adults who are interested in forging new intimate relationships outside the confines of marriage. Recent research demonstrates that there are other ways of establishing long-lasting, high-quality relationships without committing to marriage or living together. However, U.S. society has yet to recognize LAT as a legitimate choice. If more people--young and old, married or not--saw LAT as an option, it might save them from a lot of future heartache."
Benson and Marilyn Coleman, Curators Professor of Human Development and Family Science, interviewed adults who were at least 60 years old and in committed relationships but lived apart. The researchers found that couples were motivated by desires to stay independent, maintain their own homes, sustain existing family boundaries, and remain financially independent. Couples expressed challenges defining their relationships or choosing terms to properly convey the nature of their relationships to others. For example, the majority considered traditional dating terms such as 'boyfriend' and 'girlfriend' to be awkward terms to use at their ages.
"While we are learning more about LAT relationships, further research is needed to determine how LAT relationships are related to issues such as health care and caregiving," Benson said. "Discussions about end-of-life planning and caregiving can be sensitive to talk about; however, LAT couples should make it a priority to have these conversations both as a couple and with their families. Many of us wait until a crisis to address those issues, but in situations like LAT where there are no socially prescribed norms dictating behavior these conversations may be more important than ever."

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Men and women are not that different with respect to age preferences of sexual partners




The difference between men and women with respect to their age preferences, when it comes to sexual partners, is smaller than earlier believed. A recent study shows that also men become interested in older and older women as they themselves age. 
While earlier research has indicated that even older men prefer young women, a recent study by Jan Antfolk at Åbo Akademi University suggests that this is only partly true. It is true that men, more than women, tend to maintain a sexual interest in younger partners. Contrary to what has been reported from earlier studies, most men and women are also sexually interested in partners their own age throughout life. Most sexual activity occurs between partners of approximately the same age.
Homosexual and bisexual men and women differ very little from their heterosexual counterparts. The only exception from this is that homosexual men are somewhat more likely than bisexual and heterosexual men to have sex with partners younger than themselves. 
###
The study was conducted in Finland and included 878 adult men and 1789 adult women. The study was recently published in Evolutionary Psychology

Friday, January 20, 2017

HPV prevalence rates among US men, vaccination coverage

Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States, as well as a cause of various cancers, and a new study published online by JAMA Oncology estimates the overall prevalence of genital HPV infection in men ages 18 to 59.


Male HPV vaccination programs have been available to the public since 2009 and the vaccination rate remains low in the United States.
Jasmine J. Han, M.D., of the Womack Army Medical Center, Fort Bragg, N.C., and coauthors used data for 1,868 men from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2013-2014. Samples were self-collected from penile swabs for HPV genotyping testing.
The overall genital HPV infection prevalence was 45.2 percent. In vaccine-eligible men, HPV vaccination coverage was 10.7 percent, according to the article.
The lowest prevalence was 28.9 percent among men 18 to 22, which increased to 46.5 percent in the 23 to 27 age group and then remained high and constant in older age groups, the study reports. The authors suggest the finding may reflect the current practice of giving HPV vaccination to younger male age groups. 
The study was cross-sectional, meaning it used data from one specific time and therefore cannot establish causality.
"The overall genital HPV infection prevalence appears to be widespread among all age groups of men and the HPV vaccination coverage is low," the article concludes.


One night stand regrets


Have you ever ended up in bed with someone without it turning into anything more? You're far from alone.
The numbers vary a lot with sources and countries, but a rather safe bet is that around half of people in Western Europe and the USA will have at least one one-night stand. In some countries maybe as many as 7 out of 10.
But how men and women experience the "morning after" varies greatly between the sexes.
"Women regret that they agreed to a one-night stand more often than men. Men regret passing up the chance more than women," says Professor Leif Edward Ottesen Kennair at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology's (NTNU) Department of Psychology.
These are the results of a previous American study. Kennair and Associate Professor Mons Bendixen wanted to see whether this is also true in Norway, which is supposedly a more sexually liberal and egalitarian country. They also wanted to try and find out why the results varied so much by gender. The Norwegian researchers collaborated with evolutionary psychologist David Buss of the University of Texas at Austin.
Same differences in Norway
Kennair, Bendixen and Buss found exactly the same pattern in Norway as in the U.S.
A larger proportion of women than men regretted the last time they had casual sex. Around 35 per cent of women and only 20 per cent of men regretted the experience to some degree.
"So we're not saying that there aren't men who regret casual sex," says Kennair.
But it is far more common for women to regret saying yes. They are also less unequivocally happy about the experience.
About 30 per cent of women in Norway were happy about their most recent casual sex experience, as were over 50 per cent of the men, according to Bendixen.
Only men regret saying no
At the same time, nearly 80 per cent of women were happy that they said no to casual sex last time. Only 43 per cent of men were totally happy that they passed it up.
"Women regretted having a one-night stand the most, but they weren't sorry about saying no at all, says Kennair.
But that's not the biggest difference. Very few women regretted saying no. But nearly 30 per cent of the men regretted not having casual sex, according to Bendixen.
Several possible explanations
Women worry more than men generally, and they worry about more than just casual sex. As Kennair sums it up, men do stupid things that they die from. Fewer women do these stupid things.
But this basic phenomenon does not change the study's main conclusion that women and men react so differently to one-night stands.
So why such dramatic gender differences in regret?
The researchers found no difference in regret between those who were single and those who were in a relationship, so they did not take partner status into account in their further analyses.
However, they did examine several possible reasons for regret, such as pregnancy concerns, STD infections and getting a bad reputation.
Across the board, women worry more about all these factors. But this doesn't explain why Norwegian women regretted casual sex so much more than men did, though, said Bendixen and Kennair.
And worry was certainly not the reason why virtually only men regretted saying no.
Less sexual gratification for women?
It's conceivable that women feel more regretful because they do not get as much sexual pleasure out of a one-night stand as men do. Maybe they regret it more because they don't have an orgasm?
This idea led the researchers to also ask whether participants achieved an orgasm or not.
Not surprisingly, men had orgasms during sex to a far greater extent than women the last time they had casual sex. But at the same time, the results show that far fewer women than men think orgasm is particularly important.
Both women and men are more regretful about one-night stands that did not end in orgasm for them. But overall, lack of sexual satisfaction does not seem to play into why women regret the experience more often than men.
"Men enjoy casual sex considerably more, but this doesn't explain the gender difference in regret, because gender is the most important influencing factor for both orgasm probability and sexual regret after casual sex," says Professor Kennair.
So what can be the reason?
Basic difference
An overall explanation presumably lies in the fundamental differences between men and women.
The study results support theories of parental investment and sexual strategy: men and women have throughout generations invested differently in their relationships and any children that resulted.
We're talking evolution psychology here.
All of us are descendants of individuals who managed to reproduce. Passing our genes on to the next generation as effectively as possible is the ultimate biological goal for everyone. If you don't, your genes die out eventually.
Through evolution, nature weeds out what is not working. But when it comes to short-term sex, the best strategy is fundamentally different for men and women.
"Due to selective pressure from the big difference in parental investment, one would expect men and women to regret different aspects of casual sex decisions - having casual sex with the wrong partner versus missing a casual sexual opportunity," notes the article about the study published in Evolutionary Psychology.
This might require an explanation.
Men are limited by access
Men can theoretically father thousands of children and are primarily limited, at least in theory for most of us, by the supply of willing, fertile women. Men who could reproduce freely would be able to afford having some of the kids fail to multiply as long as most functioned serviceably.
"Women and men differ fundamentally in their sexual psychology," says Professor Buss. "A key limitation on men's reproductive success, historically, has been sexual access to fertile women. These evolutionary selection pressures have created a male sexual mind that is attentive to sexual opportunities."
The quality of one's sexual partner in short-term relationships plays a lesser role biologically for men. Assuming women did not avoid having sex with them, men who ran from woman to woman and got them pregnant would have scored best in the evolutionary race.
"The winner takes them all," says Kennair with a smile.
Few men have such unlimited access to the other sex, but quantity over quality has been the main strategy for men in general.
Consider this example. A married man with two children, historically, could have increased his reproductive success by a full 50 percent by impregnating one other woman.
Men do not think about these things consciously, of course. Rather, men's sexual psychology is highly attuned to sexual opportunities and they experience regret at missed sexual opportunities.
Women see it differently. Partner quality has been far more important to them.
Women have the most to lose
Our ancestral mothers rarely could have increased their reproductive success by adding additional sex partners.
Women can seldom have more than 10-15 children during their lifetime, no matter how much they try. Obviously most women today bear far fewer children than that. The quality of the children, and thus the quality of the sexual partner who contributes to the children's genes, is far more important for women than for men.
"Female choice--deciding when, where, and with whom to have sex-- is perhaps the most fundamental principle of women's sexual psychology," says Dr. Buss.
For a woman, an ideal partner helps raise their children in order to give the next generation the best possible conditions to reproduce.
For most women through the generations, it has been important to secure a partner of high quality who was willing to invest more in their children together, and who did not waste resources by getting involved with other women and their potential children.
Thus it is quite natural that women regret casual sex much more with a man who is not an ideal partner. Women have for generations had much more to lose.
Culture does not change biology
Of course, most Norwegian women manage much better on their own today than they did even a few generations ago.
Many of the ancestral conditions that created these fundamentally different male and female sexual psychologies are no longer with us, especially in Norway.
Men are less important than they were in the past for providing resources to children. Women earn their own money, society offers various support schemes, and women are largely able to raise children without appreciably involving a man beyond the actual fertilization.
In sexually liberal countries one's reputation is not necessarily harmed in the same way as it once might have been by having casual sex. Effective contraceptives that women have control over also reduce the risk of getting pregnant with a partner who is less than ideal. But the fear of getting pregnant with a less suitable partner can still hang on, consciously or not. So can the fear of a bad reputation.
"Many social scientists expect that in sexually egalitarian cultures such as Norway, these sex differences would disappear. They do not. This fact makes the findings on sex differences in sexual regret in modern Norwegian people so fascinating scientifically," says Dr. Buss.
New cultural changes, it turns out, do not alter our biological foundation. Evolution doesn't work that way. The underlying gender differences in parental investment in offspring and the way we act do not change within a few generations.
Our evolved sexual psychology is the only one we have. It operates in the modern world as much as our evolved food preferences, whether or not it is currently adaptive.
The study participants consisted of 263 students aged 19 to 37 years. All had at least one one-night stand behind them.