A study from Cornell University revealed that college aged women judged promiscuous peers more negatively than their less sexually active counterparts and view them as unsuitable for friendship. Female promiscuity was defined as bedding 20 or more sexual partners by the early 20s.
What was very surprising was that young women with more liberal values towards casual sex and women who were deemed promiscuous were just as likely to judge sexually permissive women as undesirable friends.
“Sexually permissive women are ostracized for being ‘easy,’ whereas men with a high number of sexual partners are viewed with a sense of accomplishment,” said lead author Zhana Vrangalova, a graduate student in the field of human development in the College of Human Ecology. “What surprised us in this study is how unaccepting promiscuous women were of other promiscuous women when it came to friendships – these are the very people one would think they could turn to for support.”
Promiscuity and Isolation
Women aren’t the only gender that views women with multiple sexual partners negatively. Previous studies have shown that men often view promiscuous women as unsuitable for long term relationships. The effects of this social ostracism were quantified by a study posted in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, which reports that promiscuous women are at greater risk for social isolation and poor psychological and physical health.
Hey, at least they’re outgoing.
When asked about the person on a range of friendship factors, female participants – regardless of their own promiscuity – viewed sexually permissive women more negatively on nine of 10 friendship attributes, judging them more favorably only on their outgoingness.
Why the Hate?
The authors of the study believe that this phenomenon is a combination of evolutionary traits and societal double standards. In terms of evolution, they speculate that female disapproval of sexually permissive women maybe a protection mechanism designed to keep mates from straying. From a societal standpoint, the social stigma of associating with women who are considered promiscuous can lead to friendship avoidance.
The study’s authors indicated that their findings could aid could aid parents, teachers, counselors, doctors and others who work with young people who may face social isolation due to their sexual activity.
Source: The Cornell Chronicle