What Psychologists Know that You Don’t

Sexual Double-Standard: Big Lie That Hurts Women AND Men

If a man wants to have sex AND be honest about his intentions, he might try saying, “Look I have a burning desire to be with you physically. As with you, it might or might not lead to anything. But I most definitely would not view you differently – only a pig would – if you agree. Of course, I wouldn’t tell anyone. And I will try my hardest to please you physically.” Read More

Don't do it!

Sexual harassment such as is being recommended is a crime. It's unethical to promote such a thing, though abyssmally typical of a woman to do so. She probably wants to turn you in to HR so she can have your job.

If honesty was what women wanted, the darlings would all be valiantly striding forth to overturn all those repressive laws which deprive them of the come-ons they so desperately crave. I don't see that happening.

The OP is confused because she imagines monogamy is something women try to impose on men, rather than something women are trying to escape from by overthrowing and destroying the evil Patriarchy which tries to impose it on them.

The male desire for virgins, a concept which has been thoroughly trashed by feminism, is a manifestation of the male monogamous impulse. Is there a corresponding female desire for male virgins? Not really.

One might be better off saying men are monogamous while women promote polygamy (or never argue against it) and detest monogamy.

Paternity from a macroview

I think the global desire for men to have a virgin and want monogamy with their choice of women (or women depending on culture) boils down to a deep need to know he is, indeed, the father of any offspring produced.

not so sure desire for virgins is all that global

Sure, you can find guys in every corner of the world who wants a virgin, but I'm not so sure it's a universal desire by any means, especially in our freer western societies. And age also makes a difference. For example, a woman who's 35 and a virgin might be a red flag for sexual hangups that many guys don't want to deal with.

I'd say the instinct about making sure your children are your own is probably stronger.

sex payoff

Where to start! First if one man wants to have sex with a lot of new women, he can. And often does. So there goes your 1:1 ratio. Same for some women of course but it doesnt usually happen that way, over millennia. Why? well there are a lot of factors: power, culture, survival,what have you keep the odds off, but here s one I don t see written about often and wish more would.

I m an old lady now and would like to see more about this because I havent figured it out. But guys, imagine this: would you be so keen for sex if you didnt get a pay off every single damn time? Do you even want to hear that it s not like that for women? If there are some out there, pardon me but you arent like most of us.

For a woman to get hers, it can take a long while and getting to know and feel safe with a partner, never mind the skills involved and even biology can play dirty tricks with the equipment,and pregnancy is a biological imperative that always lurks, so even when we think we re equal and try to believe it, it aint reality. And after a lifetime of paying my own way and treating my dates far more often than they treated me( well I' liked the arts and fine food, and am no beauty, but I was generous in bed too), I' d just like to understand. What if women just wanted to be loved too and for men to know it takes longer and find us worth working for? Maybe just getting your rocks off without knowing us is cheap. That s just how it is. We re different. And I m still a feminist.

Wrong, you can't get away from the 1:1 ratio

No, your 1:1 ratio doesn't go away. If it's not 1:1, just who do you think all those men are having sex with???

The author makes a good point. I've always wondered about those off-balance ratios, especially when reported without any question. Just where are men supposed to get tons of different female partners if women aren't having a lot of partners? Have men found a secret supply of lusty women on another planet???

I had 20 sexual partners and

I had 20 sexual partners and my wife had 5 (she says). One could accuse my wife of lying, but to accuse all of the women of holding down their numbers is not consistent with human behaviour.

Those 20 women were very promiscuous (several were strippers -- my wife doesn't know that).

In any population of women, there will be some who under report, some will over report for various reasons, and some will be dead-on honest.

I think it is very possible that each of those women had a very high number, some even 100 plus.

So if a small percentage of women have a very high number and the rest of the female population have a low number, the average will spread that number out. To get a low average, there would have to be some women with very high numbers and a lot with very low numbers.

The mean, median and mode all have to be measured to get an accurate picture of what's going on.

What you say is

What you say is mathematically accurate and possible. But it doesn't seem likely to me because of the sheer differences in reported numbers. In many of these surveys, men typically report roughly twice the number of partners as women. By your scenario, that would mean that HALF the partners of the typical man were these rare super-high-partner-number women (like strippers as you suggest). Of the men I know quite well myself who have had a lot of partners, that doesn't appear to be the case.

Rather, in my experience, once I've gotten to honest conversations with women who realize that I, unlike a lot of men apparently, admire women who are sexually confident and enthusiastic enough to have had a lot of partners, they admit to quite a bit more than they would to a lot of guys. Ask almost any experienced woman, and she will tell you that many guys have VERY fragile egos when it comes to a woman having had more partners than them, and so they know to keep their mouths shut about it.

Many therapists will tell you the same thing. But you're welcome to keep believing in your delusion if it makes you feel more comfortable about yourself. Perhaps you find it unsettling and emotionally rattling to consider that happy, successful, intelligent women might have enjoyed a lot of sexual partners, and it makes you feel better to believe that only "bad women" like strippers, etc. would ever do such a thing? If so, your viewpoint is quaintly old-fashioned and out-of-touch.

I'm a young woman of 36,

I'm a young woman of 36, married for 14 years. Thought I wanted monogamy but realize about 6 years ago how unhappy it was making me. My husband is happy with it, but we are working out ways for me to deal with my needs.

I do believe women would have many more orgasms if we were not so sexually repressed. My home was liberal and free of religion in the traditional sense, I was aloud to discover my body and sexuality. I am a multi-orgasmic woman with a free imagination. I wish all girls and women had that opportunity, we'd put men's sexuality and libido to shame!!

I can relate.

I am a married woman in my 40s, 2 kids and have been cheating for years. My sex drive is very high, and I usually have a couple guys who I date for long periods of time for sex. It is a beneficial situation for myself, as I love my hubby and I will not break up the marriage. The guys I date are all married and feel the same. Slut? Whore? Think what you will, I enjoy what I do and I take care of myself.

I really think we need to redefine marriage, taking the monogamous requirement out. Marriage was created to protect property and children, let it go back to its original purpose.

" Slut? Whore?" ---- try

" Slut? Whore?" ---- try evil.

You are a very evil person.

Don't forget lying

Don't forget lying scum-pig.

what a piece of non-human garbage.

and what is your motive for saying that?

What is your motive for your totally uninformative post? The only thing I can think of is you have a desire to shame the previous poster. I don't think she had such a motive. Which really makes you the shameful person here. Have you nothing better to do with your time?


I think what we have here is a classic case of he (or she) who smelt it, dealt it. You should not be so quick to invoke "evil" as an ally. From what I hear, it frequently backfires.


women constantly lament about sexual double standards yet have zero to say about all the dating double standards where the guy has to be the one to approach,impress,court and put his head on the chopping block and often to get repeatedly shot down while the woman can just sit back like an entitled princess and excommunicate any guy she feels is unworthy...many sudies have indicated that women think 80 plus precent of guys are undateable,unscrewable and outright unworthy of them yet we never hear about that do we now ? So with all due respect i could really care less if women are judged harshly in the sexual marketplace.That said I personally do not call women sluts btw.

Sure, but it's a two-way street

What about the women who don't get asked? Don't you think they feel even more rejected and helpless?

As for the 80% being undateable, I'm a guy and I'll have to admit I'm not attracted to most women, as totally shocking as that might be to you! But I'm very attracted to just the right kind for me. So I discriminate the same way.

I don't see how guys have it any worse than women. You're just feeling too sorry for yourself and you don't see what the other side is dealing with. That attitude alone would probably keep you from meeting nice women.

It may not be two-way, and the author of this article does not address this point, too

.. um, except that each time a couple has sex, the man may have the orgasm, while the woman may not. So, even after starting with a guy one is attracted to, the woman's problem is not totally solved.

not sure how that changes anything

Woman's problem not totally solved? Man always has an orgasm? What planet are you from? I've heard from more than one woman a story about hooking up with a guy who had too much to drink and couldn't get it up. No orgasm for that poor schlub, even if she was perfectly capable of having one. Thank goodness for the trusty vibrator when she got rid of the guy!

You sound like one of those

You sound like one of those loser guys that call themselves "feminists" because you think it will ingratiate you with women.

No, its not the same, most women will be approached at some time, even the ugliest will get laid.
Not so with men.

The other side is dealing with problems of their own making. They limit their choices to unavailable men and then cry about it.

your viewpoint is too narrow

See, getting laid is your yardstick, and so you only look at the whole value of the situation from that viewpoint. A lot of women are looking for something more, and when they look around and see men only having the yardstick of "getting laid" many of them so no value in what you so highly value. So what you say is unfair is so only by your yardstick, not a universal truth. You're just thinking inside your own box.

But even within your argument, what you say is silly. Even ugliest woman (see how you put value on women -- kind of fascinating) will get laid? Uh, yeah, by what kind of man, huh, as they would say.

But let's take all of your values and really compare here. So if you're the ugliest man on the planet, you can still get laid with the prettiest-looking woman around by paying for it. Women can't do that quite as easily. So doesn't that totally blow your statement?

Or is your whole comparison based on it having to be "free"?

You sound like someone who just wants to complain that being a man sucks, and women have it a lot better. So, just for chuckles, why don't you get an operation and change your sex to a woman and enjoy all the attention?


Are you arguing that because men have to deal with one problem, you don't care about a problem women face? This isn't some competition where want the other side to be worse off. We should attempt to solve any problems we can.

Women get plenty of support.

Women get plenty of support. They have society, the media, the educational system, organizations, corporations, the law, and government all falling all over themselves to promote and support women.

Men have nothing -- no support.

There is no reason for the average man to care about women's problems.

Men should care about women as much as women care about men, which is not at all, until they want something.

Things must be interesting in

Things must be interesting in that Bizarro world you live in.

Here in the real world, things don't quite work like that. Like the fact that women earn less than their male counterparts. Or the fact that human trafficking is still a problem in the US and abroad, and that females are the most frequent victims.

How many men do you think are victims of sexual harassment compared to the number of women?

You can look at language, where a guy being called a girl, or being told he throws like a girl, is one of the worst things you can call him. If a woman does something brave, she's got balls. If a man is a coward, he's a pussy.

Typical feminist bunk

wage gap = junk statistics.

As for the rest of your malarkey, the vast majority of women enjoy plenty of support...

... which will never stop them from whining and blaming men for their self induced problems.

uh, you're whining too

Whining about women whining? Not setting up a good example for men, are you?

I would rather say that the

I would rather say that the difference in the amount of sexual partners has something to do with men who exaggerate and women who tend to understate the amount of sexual partners they had. This doesn't even have to be the result of ouright lying. The "double-standart" might bring the genders to different views as what counts as a sexual encounter.
What should also be adressed is, that the (adjusted) data might suggest that there is a small percentage of men who have sex with the majority of women. As another comment suggested, there is strong evidence that women select more harshly and that this basically results in two classes of men. A distinction that can't be made that clearly for women.
The justified resons for the "double standard" (which isn't really one) come down to:
- Women want monogamy from the alpha males (~20% of men)
- Those men don't care about monogamy because they basically swim in alternatives
- All other men favor monogamy because of scarcity of women and fear of losing their women to the alpha males.
- When a woman picks a beta male as a provider she'll get polyamorous desires because she wants to cheat on her provider to sneak in the genes of the alpha male (statistics confirm this. In America 1 out of at least 20 children are the result of cuckolding)
- So basically female polygamous desire hints at betrayal as genetic stragedy while male polygamous desire simply hints at high sexual market value

no, there is no difference

Interesting how so many people actually believe there is a big difference in the total or average number of sexual partners men and women have, or even how many times men and women have sex. Explain to me how a man can have a new female sexual partner without there being a female who is at that time also having a new male partner? And how can a guy have sex with a woman without a woman having sex?

Do your math and think.

no difference?

do the math? If one prostitute has sex with 1000 people, does this not kind of cancel out the 1:1 ratio?

No, it does not cancel the 1:1 ratio.

If one prostitute has sex with 1,000 men, it's still the case that the total number of male partners all females had, and all female partners males had, is still the same. And averages are based on total, so the averages are also the same. As another person commented, it does change the median, but not the average or total, so the ratio remains exactly the same.

In this case say there are 1,000 men and 1,000 women (population has to be considered approximately equal for the two genders). Say one woman is a single prostitute and the other 999 are married to the 999 men, and one man is single. Say the prostitute, as you suggest, has had sex with all 1,000 men, while the other 999 women have only had sex with their husbands. So that means each man except for the single man, has had sex with two women (the prostitute and their wife). So that's a total of 1,999 new partner experiences for all the men, or 1.999 partners on the average. The 999 women have each had only one partner, and the prostitute has had 1,000, for a total of 1,999 new partner experiences. So all the women and all the men each total 1,999 new partner experiences.

Now, obviously, the very busy prostitute is pushing up the average for all the other women to 1.999 as a group.

But the fact remains that each woman in the group, including the prostitute, is 1.999 partners, which is EXACTLY the same as the average for men. And the totals are the same too. So it's still 1:1, exactly.

But if you're going to try to say that prostitutes are making up the difference in the ratio, I think you're on thin ice. I know a lot of guys who've slept with a lot of women, and none of them were prostitutes. And I know women who've slept with a lot of guys, and I know they wouldn't admit that to a lot of people because of slut shaming.

So if you really believe that women are modest and don't really like sex much, and men sleep around a lot, you're not really plugged into our American sexual culture in a realistic clear-headed way.

Op here. That last post

Op here. That last post wasn't from me, I'm not bad at math. If you'd read my original comment carefully you would have noticed that I actually agreed with the article where it pointed out that it is mathematically impossible to have those uneven numbers it cited. I made a suggestion where those numbers might come from. But what I also wanted to make clear was that this statistical "win-win-situation" doesn't necessarily imply that those numbers are equally distributed among the members of their respective genders.
My whole point was that those numbers are much more unevenly distributed among men. So if you pick a man out of a random group it is very likely that he had much more or much less sexual encounters than the average woman. The consequences or implications of that can be found in my original post. I don't even feel negatively about this. I just think that the point in morality and equlilibrium the article tried to make was oversimplified.


There are so many anonymouses here I wasn't replying to a particular post, just in general that so many people seem to think it's possible for women to be more modest than men in total or average numbers.

Certainly many people are below average, and a few are way above average. But I'm not sure which kind of distribution you have with the two genders. It's tempting to think some men have a huge number of partners, while women are closer to their group average. But that leaves many men needing to be below average, which doesn't seem correct either. So, in the absence of any compelling arguments to the contrary, I tend to believe that women are distributed much like men, just like their totals and averages are the same. My personal sample is not big enough to be meaningful, but perhaps it's representative. I know a guy who has had over 100 partners, and he brags about it. And I know one women who's had over 100 partners, and she doesn't brag about it. I doubt she would have told me if she didn't know beforehand that I'm totally cool about it and admire her for it. But to the more conventional judgmental people in the distance, they hear my friend bragging, and they assume my female friend is modest. So there you have just a small example.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • You may quote other posts using [quote] tags.

More information about formatting options

Anita E. Kelly, Ph.D., is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Notre Dame. She is author of The Clever Student and The Psychology of Secrets.


Subscribe to Insight

Current Issue

Let It Go!

It can take a radical reboot to get past old hurts and injustices.