As a woman, have you ever found yourself avoiding friendships with other women who have “slutty” reputations? According to a study titled, “Birds of a feather? Not when it comes to sexual permissiveness,” conducted at Cornell University by Zhana Vrangalova and others, women will negatively associate with ladies who like to play the field—even if they enjoy the game, as well.
Is it evolutionary? Vrangalova doesn’t think so, but rather finds the results more related to social stigma. If both you and your best friend have bedded 25 men, there’s no way society can look upon either of you with respect and dignity. But if you’ve gotten a couple dozen notches on the bedpost while your closest female buddy’s only got a couple, chances are she should save you from a negative reputation…right?
Predictably, the classic double standard saves men from this bias. While women disliked sexual permissiveness when it came to other females in the study and had potentially no rational explanation for it, men cited evolution as the cause for their preference for less experienced men as friends.
Are we supposed to believe that men have more competitive sexual natures than women? Perhaps that’s what this study will end up supporting. Amongst the 721 male and female college students surveyed in the study, 90% of women called female promiscuity negative, while men seemed to find it a much less negative trait in females. If men need to get laid more than their other hetero male friends, female promiscuity should clearly be seen as a positive factor for them.
It is kind of unsettling that college age women who have lots of sex partners do not appear to support other women who have similar preferences. Hopefully this study will bring some awareness to this tendency and make girls think twice before they alienate one another based on their sex lives.