Men have more casual partners, regardless of the validity of their report.
Studies have found that on average, women report fewer nonmarital sexual partners than men, as well as more stable longer relationships.
This is in line with the idea that in general men “swagger” (i.e., exaggerate their sexual activity), while women are “secretive” (i.e., underreport sex).
Structural factors such as social norms shape men’s and women’s perceptions of appropriate sexual behaviors.
Society expects men to have more sexual partners, and women to have fewer sexual partners.
According to the sexual double standard, the same sexual behavior is judged differently depending on the gender of the (sexual) actor (Milhausen and Herold 2001).
Interestingly, men are more likely to endorse a double standard than women.
In the presence of sexual double standards, males are praised for their sexual contacts, whereas females are derogated and stigmatized for the same behaviors, “He’s a Stud, She’s a Slut.”
Research suggests that lifetime sexual partnerships affect peer status of genders differently.
A greater number of sexual partners is positively correlated with boys’ peer acceptance, but negatively correlated with girls’ peer acceptance.
As humans, self-serving bias is a part of how we think and how we act.
A common type of cognitive bias, self-serving bias can be defined as an individual’s tendency to attribute positive events and attributes to their own actions but negative events and attributes to others and external factors.
We report on sexual behaviors which are normative and accepted to protect ourselves, and avoid stress and conflict.
That will reduce our distinction from our surroundings, and will help us feel safe.
As a result, in our society, men are rewarded for having a high number of sexual partners, whereas women are penalized for the same behavior.
The only long-term solution is the ongoing decline in “double standard” about sexual morality.
Until then, researchers should continue questioning the accuracy of their data.
Computerized interviews may be only a partial solution.
Increasing privacy and confidentiality is another partial solution.
By Shervin Assari. This article was reproduced from The Conversation