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One-night stands are immoral, say women
08:23am 31st March 2006
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They are apparently more sexually liberated than ever before - but most women still believe one-night stands are immoral, research shows.
Forty years after the dawn of women's lib, British females judge friends and acquaintances who indulge in casual sex as being 'needy' and 'deviant'.
The study of women's attitudes towards sex revealed that women of all ages believe that sex outside marriage or a committed relationship is wrong.
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Those who have one-night stands do so out of desperation or drunkenness.
The findings, by psychologists from Sheffield University, fly in the face of image of the carefree, liberated 21st century woman portrayed in programmes such as Sex And The City.
The research follows an Amnesty International survey which found that many people believe that rape victim who has had lots of sexual partners is at least partly responsible for her predicament.
Researcher Dr Sharon Hinchliff asked 46 women aged 20 to 83 about their views on sex.
Ninety per cent thought casual sex was wrong and only 10 per cent admitted having a one night stand.
Women of all ages were judgmental of those who sleep around, with some of the younger women being harsher than the pensioners.
The women also had double-standards, with some of those who had had one night stands in the past saying it was wrong for others to do so.
Dr Hinchliff said: "There was a feeling that if women did have one night stands, they were doing it for some reason other than their own pleasure. They were desperate and needing attention and wanting love, or they were drunk and out of control.
"There was something missing from their upbringing to make them want to do this or they were doing it to get pregnant.
"It went against their morals and wasn't the way women should behave. They were positioning it as deviant.
"Some of these women had had one night stands themselves, so it was all right for them but not for others." Speaking at the British Psychological Society's annual conference in Cardiff, Dr Hinchliff said that women engaging in casual sex were seen as trying to be like men.
However, most believed that true fulfilment can be found only in a loving, committed relationship.
One interviewee, a 60-year-old woman from Sheffield, said: "They always seem to be out to try to get some kind of sexual gratification and I don't believe it. I don't think they can really.
"They are acting like men when they go out on the town. I can't see that they get the enjoyment out of it that they pretend to."
Dr Hinchliff, who found the women's attitudes 'shocking', said: "It doesn't fit in with the image we have got of today's independent women who can go out and have sexual freedom without the ties of a relationship.
"It seems much easier for men. The attitude is that it is a bit of bravado for men to sleep around, have many sexual partners and casual sex.
"Women are meant to have had sexual freedom from the Sixties. Now it seems we must question the degree of sexual freedom we have got."