We all have regrets when it comes to unwise choices we've made in past relationships or sexual encounters.
In a study published in the October issue of Archives of Sexual Behavior
, researchers from the University of Texas, Austin, analyzed data from three different studies. One of them included over 24,000 participants, which found that men and women had very different regrets about their sexual pasts. Men tended to regret the sexual adventures they hadn't pursued, but women expressed regret over the things they had done.
The most common regrets for women were:
1. Losing their virginity to the wrong partner (24 percent of respondents)
2. Cheating on a present or past partner (23 percent)
3. Moving too fast sexually (20 percent)
The most common regrets for men were entirely different:
1. Failing to make a move on a prospective sexual partner (27 percent of respondents)
2. Not being more sexually adventurous in their youth (23 percent)
3. Not being more sexually adventurous when single (19 percent)
Lead author Andrew Galperin has admitted that cultural standards likely play a significant role. "We do not doubt that social norms, such as a sexual 'double standard,' play a major role in sexual regret," Galperin said in a Nov. 25 press release. "But these norms themselves might have roots in the ancient selection pressures shaping women's and men's minds."
One example would be the intense cultural importance placed on women's sexual choices, especially when it boiled down to how they lost their virginity, which could be the contributing factor to the large number of women who reported regretting who they shared their "first time" with.
"I think that we’re all trapped in these stereotypes," Therese Shechter, director of "How To Lose Your Virginity," said in May 2012
. "Part of it is just millennia of double standards. But I also think we see these [ideas] reflected back to us through our popular culture. It’s pretty narrow, pretty shallow and pretty limited."
What are your biggest regrets when it comes to sex and relationships?