Conley and her colleagues describe four experiments examining attitudes towards, and experiences with, casual sex. In the first, 195 volunteers recruited on a university campus read a short scenario in which one student approaches another, introduces him or herself, and asks if they could have sex that night. The second student agrees.
Half the participants read a version in which the second student was named Lisa; for the other half, he was named Mark. Afterwards, all filled out a questionnaire in which they offered their perception of him or her.
The result: “Women who accepted a casual sex offer were viewed as more promiscuous, less intelligent, less mentally healthy, less competent, and more risky than men who accepted the same offer,” the researchers report. That’s a particularly striking finding, given that the views are those of students and other members of the university community—people usually thought of as tolerant in their thinking on sex.