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Open Mike

Welcome to Open Mike

Open Mike is a forum for readers on a specific topic that will change every one or two months. The forum includes Your Turn, an opportunity for readers to share anecdotes and opinions related to the chosen topic. Conversely editors and writers select the most interesting entries and post them the following month In This Corner!

For our readers who don't have time to write but want to share their opinions, Open Mike also features a Three-Minute Survey - not the typical, simplistic Internet poll, but a set of five questions related to the monthly topic. When the survey is completed, we will publish Survey Says: a brief article analyzing the results.
Open Mike

Survey Says:

Sex and Double Standards
Results from our February/March 2001 Three-Minute Survey

The results are in, and you wouldn't believe it: people of all ages and sexes agree that sleeping with someone after the very first date or meeting decreases the chances of a long-term relationship. But, they tend to say, that is not because of a double standard. And there's more...

Let's back up a bit. Our survey seems to show that Conversely readers are generally not too eager to jump into stranger's beds. Roughly half of all women have only taken the shortcut to sex twice or less - in fact, one fourth don't recall any such incidents. With men these proportions are similar, and they are also just as likely as women to have been bed-hopping on more than five occasions. The one difference was that, in men, the number of such episodes was correlated to age (older men having more), while in women there was no relationship of this kind. All in all, however, there's a fair amount of practical experience to move on to the next question.

By and large, most women told us that they never saw the "man of the hour" again, though a fair number claimed they had followed up on one occasion, perhaps two. For men, the split between "never" and "maybe once" was roughly the same. The message seems to be that for both genders, these "one-nighter" experiences have lived up to their billing. Thus, it would follow that both men and women find a quick trip to the boudoir generally dooms any chances for a serious relationship.

Readers confirmed this, though not as dramatically as we expected. In fact, almost two-thirds of women and half of men said their temporary partner's decision to jump into bed with them did not have any impact on their chances of becoming a long-term partner. The remaining men and women admitted to a negative bias towards those who hopped into the sack with them too soon. Remarkably, only a handful of women, and not a single guy, said that speedy sexual acquiescence increased the likelihood of a long-term relationship.

For those who discard partners after the quick release, the main reasons were concern over the other person's lack of "discrimination" - the perception that they would sleep with anyone - and the prospect of cheating should a serious relationship ever develop. Virtually no one considered that the turn-off was the ease of the conquest.

So far so good.

Then we asked readers if they considered their disdain for these short-lived bedmates to be a double standard: i.e., did they admit to judging others differently than they judge themselves. The surprise: many respondents, especially women, denied applying a double standard - even when they agreed that men who slept with them quickly were summarily dismissed as "boyfriend material." Men appeared to be more straight-forward: of those who said that "fast women" got downgraded on their to-do lists, almost all admitted to applying a double standard. They said: don't we all do it?

So we are driven to conclude, with some hesitation, that women and men behave roughly the same, but men are more comfortable admitting that they apply a double standard.



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