The link of sex to regret is not too far fetched. Most would have experienced regrets of both types—sex which one should have had, and sex which one shouldn’t have had but did—but as long time readers of this column know, and new readers must surely be learning now, I like to look at the research. So I went trawling one more time through the archives of, well, the Archive Of Sexual Behaviour (https://link.springer.com/journal/10508) to find out more.
And sure enough the theme has been researched. Here’s the Reuters coverage from the days of yore (well, 2013 does seem a long time ago), https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-sex-study/men-and-women-take-home-different-regrets-after-sex-study-idUSBRE9AP01C20131126 because it seems fair to assume that a subscription to this journal is not really commonplace.
The gender skew in the analysis—women are more likely to regret the sex they had, while men are more likely to regret the sex they did not have—seems sadly intuitive. There’s some irony too in the factors of regret for men and women. A significant category of regret for men seems to be, ‘having been too timid in pursuing some possibility of sex’, while for women there’s, ‘rushing into it’.
Is there resolution? Well, I think the vicious cycle breaks if men try and not worry about being timid, and instead ensuring that they are not forcing their partners to ‘rush into it’. Mostly because that’s more likely to lead to better sex for all involved, and men feeling that they have been more timid is quite likely to be all in their mind anyway.
What do you think?