OTTAWA, June 26, 2008 ( – In the last several decades many have claimed that the sexual and feminist revolutions freed women to enjoy casual sex without fear of adverse consequences. Yet according to Professor Anne Campbell from Durham University in the UK, the negative feelings reported by women after one-night stands suggest that they are not well adapted to fleeting sexual encounters. Her findings are published online in the June issue of Springer’s journal, Human Nature.

  Professor Campbell looked at whether women have adapted to casual sex by examining their feelings following a one-night stand. She hypothesized that if women have adapted, they should rate the experience positively. To test this theory, a total of 1743 men and women who had experienced a one-night stand were asked to rate both their positive and negative feelings the following morning, in an internet survey.

Prof Campbell added: “Evolution often acts through positive or negative emotions which draw us towards adaptive behaviours or drives us away from harmful ones. For example, we enjoy other people’s company but get depressed if we spend too much time alone. Basic emotions guide us down pathways that have been advantageous for our ancestors. It seemed obvious that if our female ancestors really were adapted to short-term relationships they ought to enjoy them.”

Overall, however, women’s feelings were much more negative than men’s. 80 percent of men said they had overall positive feelings about the experience, compared to 54 percent of women.

The predominant negative feeling reported by women was regret at having been “used”. Women were also more likely to feel that they had let themselves down and were worried about the potential damage to their reputation if other people found out.

“What the women seemed to object to was…the fact that the man did not seem to appreciate her. The women thought this lack of gratitude implied that she did this with anybody,” Professor Campbell explained.