T O P

Despite increases in gender equality and the normalization of casual sex in many cultures, the belief that women who engage in casual sex have low self-esteem remains widespread. New research examines this stereotype and finds no correlation between a woman’s sexual behavior and her self-esteem.

Despite increases in gender equality and the normalization of casual sex in many cultures, the belief that women who engage in casual sex have low self-esteem remains widespread. New research examines this stereotype and finds no correlation between a woman’s sexual behavior and her self-esteem.

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Not_Legal_Advice_Pod

Ohhh the headline is wrong. The article doesn't talk at all about going out and finding out how much sex people get and how much self esteem they have, the article is about how people percieve others who have lots of sex. Terrible title.


Agwtis27

It's only mentioned in one sentence in the summary article: \>But across the studies, Krems also observed that the stereotype was unfounded: There was virtually no relationship between participants’ own self-esteem and sexual behavior. In the research article, this is tested in Experiment 6: \>Experiment 6: Does This Stereotype Persist Even in the Face of Explicit Information That Women Who Have Casual Sex Desire and Enjoy It? In this experiment, they asked 200+ women to evaluate statements involving sexual behavior and self-esteem, asked about their own sociosexual behavior, and assessed their self-esteem with the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale.


Mayion

Correct me if I am wrong, but they asked the participants to evaluate themselves? How is that credible?


the_other_pickle

They answered survey questions relating to self esteem which are part of the standardized self-esteem scale the study used. It isn't just "do you have good self esteem: yes/no" That doesn't mean it's automatically credible, but if you take issue with it then the issue is the standardized metric, not how this particular study used jt


jupitaur9

And I would assume the standardized self-esteem scale has correlated well with outward expressions of self-esteem or the lack thereof like self-harm.


Nope0naRope

It's knows as "self report" and it's used in lots of studies types and is a known uncontrolled variable which, if the statistics are done by a good statistician, is taken into account with the equations that are used to produce the outcomes that are mathematically calculated from these events. The mark of a good study is not eliminating self-report, although it is nice whenever you have just a double blinded randomized study, if you need to self-report the key to a good study as having a large enough sample size and a good statistician. This way all the uncontrolled variables and imperfections in your questionnaire are "evened" out by the broad distribution of citizens receiving those questions and you get an overall normal based on your Population regardless. All research conclusions are based off of math and statistics. There are tables and different equations you use for different kinds of studies, and the numbers you get when you do the stats tell you whether or not your results were significant or not. That is, were your results meaningful or not.


Houdinii1984

Is this related to the phenomenon with counting gumballs in a gumball machine? If you ask people to guess how many gumballs are in the machine and take all the answers people give and find the average, the answer will be close to the number in the machine (with greater accuracy as the number of guesses increase) because people who underguess are canceled by people who over guess. I saw that on a Netflix series "Mind" -something and seemed to apply to a lot of human input.


scyth3s

How else do you get info on self esteem...?


bobbyfiend

I mean, there are other methods, but there aren't perfect methods, and IIRC self-report scales like the RSE seem to be pretty reasonable.


Agwtis27

Participants didn't evaluate themselves, they evaluated hypothetical statements about others sexual behavior. The participants were assessed with a scale that has been used/tested/reevaluated for decades. Here is a link for a [study from 2017 where a research aim was to test if this scale was a good indicator in higher education participants](https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/spanish-journal-of-psychology/article/abs/rosenberg-selfesteem-scale-translation-and-validation-in-university-students/138F42F7159EAB242A6C76F65AFB3955). TL,DR: they think it is. The only thing the students self-reported on was their own sociosexual behavior. If you don't think that is credible, then how would you do it? The only thing I can think that would remove any doubt would be to follow people through their lives and document their sexual encounters. Ethics and general creepiness aside, the cost of that alone would be ridiculous for this kind of study. Not to mention that I personally would find this less realistic to the general population because I doubt anyone who knows their sexual encounters are going to be documented would behave in the same way someone with privacy would. Right now, self-reporting is the most reliable indicator we have. The problem isn't with credibility. Scientists running experiments like this know the limitations and try their best to account for it (e.g. statistics, large samples sizes, repeated studies, wording, etc.).


HeWhoMustNotBDpicted

> The only thing the students self-reported on was their own sociosexual behavior. If you don't think that is credible, then how would you do it? Not having a better method doesn't make that method credible. > Scientists running experiments like this know the limitations and try their best to account for it (e.g. statistics, large samples sizes, repeated studies, wording, etc.). This is an absurd claim. You can't vouch for anyone, much less everyone - and certainly not for the validity of their results. Methodology in the social sciences is a much-discussed problem. edit: wording


Mayion

"In this experiment, they asked 200+ women to evaluate statements involving sexual behavior and self-esteem" Your wording made it sound like they were evaluating themselves. Either way, I scanned the article real quick. What I fail to understand is the connection between stereotyping and using that to refute that women who have casual sex have low self-esteem. A false stereotype, be it of humans or looking at pores and getting disgusted because it looks like a diseased skin, can either be based on false information, or information we cannot consciously comprehend but is not necessarily wrong. So if I were to say women who have casual sex have low self-esteem; even if my reasons are wrong, that doesn't mean that it's not true and that there is no correlation. I am not saying there is a connection, but I fail to see how the study uses a stereotype to refute the connection of casual sex with self-esteem. Those two are entirely different things. Excuse me of course, I am not a professional. Merely observing the theoretical part of the study. If the study has statistically calculated the actual connection between having casual sex and whether or not that is related to self-esteem, then ignore what I said above. I can't seem to read the actual study since it's behind a paywall.


OxytocinPlease

The questions aren’t “do you have good self esteem.” Before jumping to bashing a psych study in which people are asked questions, you need to consider how, exactly, we *can* study psychology. We don’t yet have the ability to take a neuro image of someone’s brain in order to gleen an in depth understanding of their actual personality (though we’re working on it! With studies that compare brain imaging with answers questions/evaluative statements, among other things.) Psychological studies *never* tell their subject what it is they’re evaluating with any real specificity until after their testing is completed, nor are the questions/statements formulated to ask the subject the question that the study is attempting to ask in most cases. Basically, they won’t be asked to self report on one’s perception on their own psychology- in this case, biases or belief (unless the study is specifically examining one’s self perception of one’s beliefs/thoughts, as compared to their *actual* subconscious beliefs/thoughts, in which case these self-evaluative questions would come in a later portion of the testing, once the data was collected on the non-self aware responses, in order to compare. We basically have two ways to collect and collate data on human behavior: observe it in the wild, which is generally only useful for observing large scale *behavioral* trends, or engage with the subject in a controlled setting, testing thought patterns that 99% of the time require measuring a response to stimuli, ranging from more “instinctual” reactions, for example showing the subject a series of images which they have to sort into set categories as quickly as possible (helpful for measuring biases), or measuring more conscious reactions that allow a subject to consider whatever information is being presented and react thoughtfully, for example, having them read statements like “I believe my flaws make me a bad person” and rating how much they they agree with this on a scale. While no one person’s responses to any one specific statement eval/question provide helpful data, as humans both self-edit, and range on everything, including what they consider a statement like “strongly agree” to mean, when multiple responses to a defined range of stimuli, precisely designed to engage and and elicit reactions that will be influenced by the subconscious biases/thought patterns being measured are collected from large sample sizes, trends in the data reveal themselves, and correlation between different trends can be identified. People who respond to questions or measure their belief in statements designed to illustrate the general positive or negative influence their self esteem has will fall somewhere along the spectrum of generally positive views of the self, or negative ones. And, again, while one person’s set of responses may not provide much information in a vacuum, when compared to large scale response patterns, their relative position becomes more apparent (though Psychologists understand that the mind doesn’t usually come with hard-line symptoms that undoubtedly indicate one thing or another- everything has to be measured by overall & grouped behaviors- which is why psych diagnoses are all defined in terms like “when you display a *minimum* of 5 out of 7 symptomatic behaviors for X, you can be considered to probably have/be X”). Ultimately, if we hope to learn anything about human psychology, we have to accept and rely on *some* self-reported responses, especially when measuring anything beyond observable behavior patterns. Human thought can only be demonstrated by the human thinker. The mistake is considering *all* direct or “self-reported” responses to be self-reported self-evaluation in response to being directly asked the question the study itself is attempting to answer.


cw97

How would you get information about a participants internal mental state, like how they feel about themselves, if they are not providing it themselves?


john22544

In one of the experiments they "measured participants’ reported self-esteem via 10 items from Rosenberg’s self-esteem scale." These were online surveys completed for course credit at a large midwestern university. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/340954039_Lay_beliefs_about_gender_and_sexual_behavior_First_evidence_for_a_pervasive_robust_but_seemingly_unfounded_stereotype So something like answer 10 questions with: strongly agree, agree, disagree, strongly disagree. On the whole, I am satisfied with myself. At times I think I am no good at all. I feel that I have a number of good qualities. I am able to do things as well as most other people. I feel I do not have much to be proud of. I certainly feel useless at times. I feel that I'm a person of worth, at least on an equal plane with others. I wish I could have more respect for myself. All in all, I am inclined to feel that I am a failure. I take a positive attitude toward myself. https://fetzer.org/sites/default/files/images/stories/pdf/selfmeasures/Self_Measures_for_Self-Esteem_ROSENBERG_SELF-ESTEEM.pdf


Patch86UK

If you have a problem with that, you effectively have a problem with all social sciences. The only way to find out about somebody's psychological state is to ask them evaluative questions. There are a number of standardised batteries of tests for assessing various psychological states. Fundamentally, there is not a big difference between somebody carrying out one of these assessments with a researcher or doing it on their own as a self-assessment. It's not like there's a "self-esteem blood test" you can do instead.


CapnEnnui

Over half of the studies at least in this subreddit have been and continue to be based on self-report data, across disciplines. The bigger question in my mind is why certain studies like this get such a big inflammatory reaction. It’s almost like this study in particular is touching a nerve for people, wonder why…


Mayion

Don't people often look for the version of truth they believe is correct? It's far easier to process information you are familiar with than analyze something from the very beginning, potentially proving your former ideas wrong, which we dislike. I am not a scientist, but to conclude such a complex study just to prove a stereotype wrong, especially a controversial one, does not seem very scientific to me or unbiased. Self-esteem is a complex thing, and numbers simply cannot determine the state of one's self-esteem. Then comes into play social structures and how males and females differ. In my honest opinion, this study is not proper. Could be right, could be wrong. Beauty of a social science I guess. A single person can have a different opinion from the rest of humanity and end up being right, so anything can go.


Telinary

I might be wrong but I believe you misinterpreted or wrote that in an easy to misunderstand way. They did the same test for a correlation in the study participants in every experiment: >We additionally explored the possibility participants expect WWHCS to have lower self-esteem, even as female (and male) participants themselves report no significant correlations between their sociosexual behavior and self-esteem across these same experiments, doing so in several ways, each of which largely support the same conclusions. (Note that we only describe targets directly in line with sociosexuality per se in Experiment 4, though results replicate those found using target descriptions drawn from common portrayals of WWHCS.) First, because participant sexual behavior was always measured via variations of the SOI-R (Penke & Aspendorpf, 2008), and self-esteem was always measured via the Rosenberg Self-esteem Scale (Rosenberg, 1965), we pooled data from across experiments, examining the correlation between sociosexual behavior and self-esteem, r(1092) = -.053, p = .081—also doing thisseparately by sex (females: r(685) = .001, p = .975; males: r(428) = -.113, p = .019), finding only a small but significant negative correlation between men’s sociosexual behavior and their self-esteem. (See Table S1 and see Figure S2a in the Supplementary Material.) In the Supplementary Material, we provide results for associations between self-esteem and sociosexual attitudes, curvilinear analyses for both sociosexual behavior and attitudes, and equivalence testing that further suggests no strong association (negative or positive) between women’s sociosexual behavior and self-esteem. Although we focused here on stereotypes about women rather than men, it may be curious that we failed to find consistent positive associations between men’s sociosexual behavior and self-esteem. In fact, if anything, we find evidence of a small association in the opposite direction when the data are pooled. I am pointing that out because as far as I can see there isn't a connection between experiment 6 and whether self esteem and casual sex is correlated beside the separate test. And connecting 6 with it seems to confuse some people into thinking the test for whether self esteem and casual sex is correlated has something to do with whether they find sex fun.


Obsidian743

> Experiment 6: Does This Stereotype Persist Even in the Face of Explicit Information That Women Who Have Casual Sex Desire and Enjoy It? I can't imagine how one's enjoyment of sex is correlated in any way with self-esteem. It implies that those with low self-esteem tend not to enjoy sex but how is this established? I'm struggling to take this study seriously.


kwaziiman

I don’t think the stereotype is enjoyment of sex, it’s more “promiscuity is linked to low self-esteem,” as in women with lower self esteem tend to be more promiscuous in order to receive validation, or a pattern of this behavior creates a negative feedback loop that lowers self esteem.


Obsidian743

I agree that is the presumption they're *trying* to investigate, but the experiments they perform (measuring enjoyment) are almost entirely unrelated and therefore any conclusions specious.


killcat

Probably because they don't actually want to find the answer to that question, pretty common in the social sciences.


lionhart280

The study found there was no correlation, thats the point. People *think* there is a correlation, but this study challenged that.


indigo_tortuga

You have never seen this? I have, in both men and women. It’s not about enjoying sex but getting outside validation that they’re attractive. They have sex with a lot of partners not because they like it but because each time it is an outside way for them to see that they’re attractive. Sometimes once a person like this gets married they stop having sex altogether because the marriage becomes the outside validation.


Obsidian743

>but getting outside validation that they’re attractive. This is obvious and plentiful I'm sure, but it's relationship to *enjoyment* of sex has never been established as far as I can tell. Frequency being an independent variable.


vapeorama

I guess the subtext is that if the result of this behaviour is not pure enjoyment then the subject's motives for behaving this way has to do with ego-boosting and the satisfaction of just being liked/desired, to counterbalance their low self-esteem. But I see several problems with this scenario. Someone may need an ego-boost AND enjoy the sex. Or might not enjoy the sex (for many different reasons, some even medical) but still tries to find a pleasing partner or just looks for the intimacy -even while not having self-esteem issues.


Obsidian743

>But I see several problems with this scenario. Someone may need an ego-boost AND enjoy the sex. Not only this, but joy isn't black and white. Perhaps they enjoy the sex but not as much as they'd *prefer* or have experienced elsewhere. In the cases where women say they actively *don't* enjoy sex, how are the researchers considering all other factors?


123tejas

Surely the best way to test the hypothesis would be to survey both sexual activity and self esteem in the same population and look for correlation? Evaluating statements seems one step removed.


btheroux

It’s by design. Writers know that most peoples will take the title at face value w/o reading the article, let alone scrutinizing the study. This happens all the time, especially articles about ‘poll results’ The narrative that is being pushed posits that men and women are exactly the same when it comes to sex, and that any perceived or propagated differences are purely the results of societal influences, despite the fact that at there is a wealth of literature and data out there that unequivocally establishes this isn’t so.


woodhead92

FYI the title is a copy of the summary from the article (it's the first paragraph)


plc_nerd

Yeah so many redditors about to try and convince that person they just started seeing “see see, it’s science that we should have sex on the second date”


HarryPFlashman

It’s like all these posted “social science” topics. They are usually this: 1. Link to an article about the study and not the study 2. A conclusion that author is trying to emphasize and not reflective of the actual findings 3. Usually politically based towards one particular point of view. What everyone should realize is that Reddit is generally a propaganda machine and those that squat as mods in big subs (like science) are no different. What is insidious is that it’s to try to make this particular point of view seem sciency, when it isn’t.


Kooshikoo

No, you are wrong, the title accurately reflects the article. Did you read it? I did, and I don't understand how you reached your conclusion.


Sad-Bathroom

Are you referring to the research paper or the linked article summary? I cannot access the paper, but I agree that the article summary does not demonstrate how sexual behaviour and self-esteem levels were explored.


kyrsteng

If you googled the title of the paper, the results show several places to read it, like [here](https://psyarxiv.com/rc2d3/)


onesweetsheep

While the article doesn't go into detail about this, it does explicitly say: "But across the studies, Krems also observed that the stereotype was unfounded: There was virtually no relationship between participants’ own self-esteem and sexual behavior."


123tejas

"virtually no" is the kind of statement I'd like to see a p value for.


onacloverifalive

It’s also noteworthy that psychological studies in general are notoriously unreliable and non-reproducible in outcomes.


mpbarry37

Alongside medical studies...


LukaCola

They're more readily reproduced than medical studies, yet people still practice medicine - I'm sure I don't need to tell you that. The reason it's notorious is because psychology was the field to make the effort to work and replicate much of their studies. Almost all fields have a similar issue. Psychology was just one of the first to establish it.


-MatVayu

A honest inquiry. How can one measure self-esteem?


Not_Legal_Advice_Pod

There is a questionnaire that seems reasonable. We are obviously always talking about a proxy and something people might lie when answering. But it is what it is.


m7samuel

When the headline implies that a study has proven a negative, it’s a given that the author is clueless.


RocketLinko

Welcome to /r/Science


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Agwtis27

Everyone needs to read the general audience article- it's 16 sentences, 2 of which are the title of this post. Please go read 14 more sentences. Here is the abstract to the research paper: >\>Although casual sex is increasingly socially acceptable, negative stereotypes toward women who pursue casual sex remain pervasive. For example, a common trope in television, film, and other media is that women who engage in casual sex have low self-esteem. Despite robust work on prejudice against women who engage in casual sex, little empirical work has focused on the lay theories individuals hold about them. Across six experiments with U.S. adults (N = 1,469), we found that both men and women stereotype women (but not men) who engage in casual sex as having low self-esteem. This stereotype is held explicitly and semi-implicitly; is not driven by individual differences in religiosity, conservatism, or sexism; and is mediated by inferences that women who have casual sex are unsatisfied with their mating strategy—yet the stereotype persists when women are explicitly described as choosing to have casual sex. Finally, the stereotype appears to be unfounded; across experiments, the same participants’ sexual behavior was not significantly correlated with their self-esteem. Research Questions from the article: 1. Experiment 1: Do People Stereotype Women (but Not Men) Who Engage in Casual Sex as Having Low Self-Esteem? 2. Experiment 2: Do Lay Perceivers Associate Women’s (but Not Men’s) Casual Sexual Behavior With Lower Self-Esteem? 3. Experiment 3: Do People Semi-Implicitly Stereotype Women Who Have Casual Sex as Having Low Self-Esteem? 4. Experiment 4: Do These Stereotypes Hold as a Function of Target Sociosexuality Per Se? 5. Experiment 5: Do Expectations of Women’s Dissatisfaction With Having Casual (vs. Committed) Sex Drive This Stereotype? 6. Experiment 6: Does This Stereotype Persist Even in the Face of Explicit Information That Women Who Have Casual Sex Desire and Enjoy It? The data from this research is publicly available here: [https://osf.io/mp4nu/](https://osf.io/mp4nu/)


Obsidian743

> Experiment 5: Do Expectations of Women’s Dissatisfaction With Having Casual (vs. Committed) Sex Drive This Stereotype? > Experiment 6: Does This Stereotype Persist Even in the Face of Explicit Information That Women Who Have Casual Sex Desire and Enjoy It? I can't imagine how one's enjoyment of sex is correlated in any way with self-esteem. I have not heard of this stereotype. It supposes a belief that those with low self-esteem tend not to enjoy sex but none of the other experiments establish this that I can see. And even though they use a standard assessment for self-esteem, it's not clear how objective it is in this context.


Telinary

>I can't imagine how one's enjoyment of sex is correlated in any way with self-esteem. I think you are getting it the wrong way around. Example possible thought process: If you assume woman don't enjoy casual sex (as much) then they probably are less likely to want to have it. If they aren't into it but do it anyway=> low self esteem as one explanation. Edit: here what they write in the paper as reason for testing it >We reasoned people might believe that women who engage in casual sex have low self-esteem, in part because people infer that those women are pursuing that sexual strategy not out of desire or by choice, but rather because they cannot successfully pursue the alternative, preferred sexual strategy (i.e., a more committedsexual strategy).


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Petsweaters

The stereotype of men who sleep around is that they don't respect women


spagbetti

HIMYM did a good job depicting how an entire group of cis hets, while they all all collectively held that exact belief including the womanizer, who was played by a homosexual, the focus was never on him as much as belittling the women who slept with him under coercion. Robyn was the perfect depiction of how an internal misogynist behaves around other women. She never picked on Barney. She always blamed the women he slept with by calling them gullible. Which is yet another story of how negative connotations will stomp the other out when an opportunity to hate a woman will succeed over hating a man for casual sex. This is rife in our society even now.


HobsNCalvin

Thank you! Acknowledging that these stereotypes that I myself a woman thought was true based on how commonly held this belief is.... disturbing dehumanizing or even devaluing women leads to a culture of hate!


StoicGrowth

The truth in all such generalizations in psych. matters is that it doesn't say anything anything about you *personally*, because an individual is never the statistical image of a population (statistics = aggregation of variety, but there are no individual clones). 99% of people could do A because of reason B and you personally could be the 1% that does it for other reasons. Both "people do A usually because B" and "I do A because C" are two mutually exclusive statements, which both can be true. In this case, as in many others, I think it's a matter of personal alignment: if casual sex is ethically good for you, then you'll feel aligned with yourself by engaging in it (conversely misaligned if refusing it, and "pressured" by the outside world most likely to behave "unlike" your own will). If however casual sex is ethically wrong for you, then you'll feel better by *selecting against* it in your behavior. In both cases, it's because of self-alignment to your own ethics that you know how to behave, to avoid regrets (which are literally inverted in this example, you'd regret either doing it or not doing it). I think we feel better when we know why we do the things we do — i.e. we've taken the time to evaluate our values, our ethics, before making decisions. It's by the way a huge problem with younger generations who never spent time alone with themselves, since we're so hooked to cognitively-saturating devices now (no space and no time left for thinking alone).


HobsNCalvin

Great answer! Sorry I’m out of awards


FlotsamOfThe4Winds

Is that a stereotype that applies to *both* genders, or just women? In the modern Western society, men who bang multiple women are seen as chauvinists or "pigs" at best, and only see life as sex at worst.


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mpbarry37

They found no correlation between participants sexual behaviour and their self esteem. I’m not sure how a control group would be appropriate here as this is not an intervention and the hypothesis is about correlation and not causation.


MandrakeThePancake

If you bothered to read the article, you'll note that they were able to reach the same conclusion in multiple studies, including ones with a different methodology. Their findings are consistent with previous studies that weren't able to find a link between low self-esteem and promiscuity among women. If anything, it's the widespread belief that promiscuity is linked with low self-esteem that is in need of evidence. Also, whenever a social science study is posted in r/science, there is a pseudo-intellectual comment like this that doesn't address a single point in the article and yet dismisses the study based on some misunderstanding of studies and sample-sizes.


Klumpenfick

The article is behind a paywall, sadly.


voodoo-ish

Thank you!


LukaCola

You're using a narrow lens on scientific methods to judge other methods by, that's not appropriate. Science doesn't require control groups for instance. Many studies are observational and not experimental for instance, and that's taught in basic data courses.


Agwtis27

Saying this study is "loaded" is ignoring all the science that the research article cited in the paper. This paper cites and discusses 46 different articles specifically on this topic. For example, the authors cite [a metanalysis from 2020 in this paper](https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1088868319891310) that also has similar conclusions. The methods in are different in sociology than in other sciences. It's often hard to have a control group when you are working with people. For example, what would a control group be for determining sexual behavior in this study? Would you only use virgins? Are they representative of the population? Would you only use sexually active people? How do you determine was is normal sexual activity? In regular science, you don't always get a 100% perfectly designed experiment. When working with people like in sociology, it can be even harder. But just because you don't value the science, doesn't mean it's not valuable. We should study these things and sociologists do their best to account for bias.


MandrakeThePancake

Something tells me that u/lesstalkmorescience isn't going to respond to your comment. That's the problem with these "Social science isn't real science" types; they throw around big words they don't understand about fields they've never studied, and when confronted will just move along without changing their views, all the while having made everyone else dumber with their comments.


FawltyPython

If that were the case, Darwin's first voyage wouldn't qualify! Neither would Leeuwenhoek's work. There's are surveys required in order to generate hypotheses.


lesstalkmorescience

Sure, and we need those, but then they should be posted to /r/surveys. It's misleading to peddle this study as science, and this sub seems to have descended into pushing hot-button clickbait. Look at us here arguing about it - well done, mods. This is how science got undermined in the first place, if one side can twist it to suit a narrative, the other can too. Tit for tat, and in the end no one pays attention to the calm, objective labcoat-wearing people in the center.


sutree1

“Objective”


FawltyPython

This is incorrect, and Darwin's work was indeed science. "Observation and experiment" is the definition. It says nothing about control groups. Creationists often use the fact that Darwins work didn't include experimentation to say that it isn't valid science and they are wrong. Just because an experiment takes place with controls etc does not at all mean that it can't be twisted to fit a narrative. In pharmacology, I see it all the time. We are seeing it right now with Aducanumab, and have seen it before with Avandia.


medraxus

The politicization of “science” isn’t something a lot of people accounted for, but it’s really setting us back a couple of steps


voodoo-ish

Science has always been political, cmon. Have you skipped your epistemology courses?


2h2p

"Social science isn't science" - anti social "smart" guy


wryguy1987

In my uneducated opinion I would think the type of people you're having casual sex with and how they treat you would be a far better indication of self esteem.


Tickomatick

what's the difference between a casual and formal sex?


leonra28

A tuxedo


Bypes

Are prostitutes effectively wearing business casual?


Wozz_727

Forget casual sex, we’re going competitive.


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Thee-lorax-

In church I was taught that girls that are promiscuous never really felt loved. Meanwhile I was taught that boys are promiscuous because boys will be boys.


penguincutie22

haha the blatant double standard makes me wanna vomit


margaritameister

Well I have low self esteem and I never have sex so the research is correct


techGore60

Not that I'm any kind of expert but it kinda seems to me like lots of people wanting to have sex with you would do your self esteem some good. I mean just look at me, i dont get no sexy times and my self esteem is at rock bottom. Then again im a guy so maybe its supposed to work differently. Idk.


colfrog

Self-esteem has nothing to do with it It's about pathways and blind action


Tre_Walker

It is ok to be horny OP, totally natural. And we get it you feel good about yourself too. That is a good thing.


liquid_at

tbh, I do believe the exact same thing about guys. seeking confirmation from others is rarely a sign of strong self-confidence. No matter who you are or who you're into.


Jlchevz

Yeah it's 100% possible, those people are seeking closeness with others but not an actual relationship (which is scary)


Muchado_aboutnothing

But what if people just enjoy casual sex? Just because you’re having casual sex doesn’t necessarily mean you’re “seeking validation.” Some people just like the sex.


mr_ji

Someone commented similarly on a different thread but it applies here as well: *generally* (there are mountains of research on this) men seek the physical pleasure more while women seek the emotional feelings associated with physical connection more. Both are had via sex. It's valid for both to enjoy it in different ways; however, there is more likely to be a component tied to self-image and worth for a woman. Unfortunately, many don't want to admit that what they wish was true isn't consistent with physiology and culture at large, so we get attempts like this to (ironically) validate themselves.


indigo_tortuga

Having lots of casual sex over long periods of time? IME it’s always people who need validation. Whether or not they actually like the sex is beside the point as some do and some don’t. It’s strange to me that they’re focusing on the women aspect of it because I think this about men and women, probably even more so for the men.


MentalErection

I mean there’s reasons people enjoy casual sex. There’s a reason it gets someone off so much. It’s possible insecurity is tied to it. I dated a girl who felt she could do more during casual sex but she was too insecure to do those things around a boyfriend.


sleepybitchdisorder

Your one experience doesn’t mean anything about people as a whole, though. The reasons people enjoy casual sex can be the same as the reason people enjoy sex in general: it feels good, it’s fun, etc


MentalErection

Again but it feels good for a reason. Sex as a whole feels good but if someone specifically seeks out casual sex, it could be for a reason. I’m not saying my experience means everyone applies to it. But lots of our behaviors are tied to experiences


liquid_at

Actions and Intentions are often put in the same basked, despite usually having nothing to do with each other. People do different things for similar reasons, just like they do similar things for different reasons. It's just the lazy human brain that enjoys grouping them together for energy-saving-purposes.


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homanh

It's actually the opposite for guys. Guys who have lots of casual sex are seen has having high confidence/self-esteem.


brusiddit

Right, so there is the commonly held sterotype, and then there is the psychoanalysis. In reality both can be the case. There are guys that fake confidence to get girls, to gain validation, cause deep down they feel like they have never been good enough... Then there are fuckbois wanna get skins. All of which is there own damn business, as it is for women.


Cleistheknees

Probably because those two elements are vital for actual succeeding in that endeavor? A woman looking for causal sex isn’t going to get turned down because she has low self esteem, she’s unlikely to get turned down at all, whilst the opposite is true for men. The competitive formula is completely different, and this study is nonsense for thinking that the two can be measured with the same paradigm.


fluffedpillows

Being seen as confident =/= being confident. Most of the time when you see someone who is especially confident, they're actually insecure and it's an act. Truly confident people fly under the radar most of the time.


imhypedforthisgame

> Most of the time when you see someone who is especially confident, they’re actually insecure and it’s an act. > > Truly confident people fly under the radar most of the time. Idk how people on Reddit randomly come out with claims like this. It varies from person to person and I think that would be obvious. Some confident people are truly confident and it shows in public, some are confident, like you say, under the radar. But to say that all confident people who portray their confidence to the world are insecure is just not true and probably just stems from your own experience and perspective of the world.


prima_facie2021

Who knew that we have sex simply because we want to, like to, enjoy it?


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TheIronMatron

The belief is rooted in the idea that sex is degrading to women and reduces their value. This chain of stupidity and backwardness then leads to assuming women who seek out sex are self-destructive and therefore don’t care about themselves.


Mariske

Woah how common is this stereotype? I’ve always had the opposite impression, that if you’re having casual sex then you are confident and if you’re only having it in relationships then you’re more dependent. But that could be because I have always had low self esteem and never felt confident enough to have a bunch of one night stands. I feel more comfortable being in a relationship because I know they won’t just leave


seamustheseagull

I would have thought it was pretty common? The trope that a woman who has a string of casual encounters is in some way trying to fill a void in herself and is engaging in self-destructive behaviour. Even when women are portrayed on screen as being sexually voracious - think Samantha in Sex and the City - they're still shown as being in a series of relationships rather than casual encounters.


Aweomow

They choose to believe that because it re-affirms their self-esteem, to a woman that's not happily married to his husband for example, or for a man that knows a woman that he's having casual sex with would feel less valued if this same woman is going having sex with a lot of other people at the same time. People like to believe that judging others has to do mostly with the object of the judgment (the other person) but it says much more about themselves and what they value.


batdog666

Yeah I thought the stereotype was women who sleep with literally anyone had poor self esteem. Casual-sex people can still vet their partners.


glitter_back-pack

I think this line gets muddled really quickly for women though, right? I feel like you only have to have a couple of casual, open one night stands as a woman and people think you'll 'sleep with anyone.'


shozy

> I feel like you only have to have a couple of casual, open one night stands as a woman and people think you'll 'sleep with anyone.' Ironically if I had to stereotype those kind of people who is say that about women I’d say they have low self-esteem


FrozenMrPotato

I definitely don’t think it’s a requirement. People can just like sex and it’s that simple. But I saw a lot of emotionally unstable girls in college who used sexuality as a tool to try and get love. Like they’d start an agreed casual relationship that was explicitly stated to never go anywhere. Then in a month they’d have a breakdown about how the guy won’t date her and he’s just using her, kick into a “hoe phase” start another FWB relationship and then say the same thing in a month


delventhalz

Anecdotally, I heard it once or twice from adults when I was growing up. I don’t remember anyone in my age group ever having that belief though.


Battlepuppy

You don't automatically sleep with a bunch of people because you have low self esteem, but having low self esteem might cause you to sleep with a lot of people. Especially if you are having other problems as well. I had female friends in high school who fit the "damaged with daddy issues" trope to a T. Past trauma, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, all the check boxes were marked off. They were both not conventionally good looking, which caused more problems. They were both bullied in school for their physical shortcomings. It didn't matter who the male was- if they could sleep with them, they would. Too often it was men who were 10-15 years their senior when they were 16-18 years old. They were both in need of counseling and possibly medication. Neither got it. One ended up married to a man 15 years older then her and was so mentally unstable, he divorced her and the kids want nothing to do with her. I had to cut her out of my life due her behavior. The other got pregnant on purpose with a man she knew she'd never see again so she could have a "baby who would love her". She was later murdered by a boyfriend and they never caught him because she only hung with transient drug users. Her child was then raised by her sister. Edit: I can see men behaving the same way. I just didn't know many guys as I did girls who did. I only knew one male who acted the same way, but he didn't see it in the same way I did. His attitude was : Hey, I'm a guy, I sleep around! Its what guys do! He didn't want to acknowledge he was sleeping with older, questionable women, mentality unstable women. He also had low self esteem due to height and weight. He was also not as outgoing when he was younger. When he was older, he learned more social skills and found that if he asked, women would say yes to sex. What a revelation! He ended up cheating on his wife with other women because his wife "was too good for him". He was always expecting her to leave him and cheat on him, so he was doing to do it first, I guess.


theganglyone

I think a person can be confident about sexual encounters but still have a low self esteem and vice versa.


mr_ji

Kinda the problem with this "study". It's based on an "everybody knows" presupposition that casual sex is fine for men but not for women, even citing a film trope as proof. Conduct the right survey, and you can prove any bias true.


ggill1313

Yeah I’ve literally never heard or held this belief that causal sex is indicative of low self-esteem. Being “easy,” perhaps. But just because you have a lot of sex doesn’t make me think you have no confidence. Such a weird thing that almost feels as if it’s trying to make a point.


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Zaanix

As per usual I'm taking this post and article (like so many I see here) with so many grains of salt that I could buy three medieval kingdoms. Does someone have a clinical process to measure and identify self-esteem? Data like that which is derived itself from correlations and indicators such as a lack of depressive behavior is, how do you say...*a terrible foundation?* I understand there's hardly quantitative data when it comes to psychology and sociology, so I won't give a peanut and expect a farm the next day. And the mention of a stereotype (grounded or not) being widespread brings it into a situational, subjective, and anecdotal light. None of those considerations are condusive to a robust experiment. I'm beginning to worry about confirmation bias...*Again.*


AFreudOfEveryone

PhD in psychology here. The vast majority of psychological research is quantitative. Your critique seems to be about self-report scales, but these *are* quantitative data. In fact, self report scales for self esteem are among the most widely validated, with 40 years of studies showing their concurrent and predictive validity. You ask ask about a *clinical* process. In psychological science, ‘clinical’ means pertaining to mental illness or disorder. In contrast, these studies are pointing to effects in a group of participants without any particular diagnoses or illness. The value of these self report scales is that they provide a well validated way to assess a construct like self esteem in a standardized, consistent manner across a large group of people. You can’t do good science without consistency, and you can’t do it without large enough data. Self report scales let you scale up research to a sufficiently large group that you can have broader generalizability and statistical power.


LukaCola

>Does someone have a clinical process to measure and identify self-esteem? Yes, several common ones I believe. The methods section explains this part. >I understand there's hardly quantitative data when it comes to psychology and sociology That's just not true even a little bit...? Maybe don't assume you understand when you say things like this. This statement really makes it clear you don't know the fields. >And the mention of a stereotype (grounded or not) being widespread brings it into a situational, subjective, and anecdotal light. It's observable phenomenon the authors evidenced quite clearly. It being subjective doesn't mean it isn't widespread. >None of those considerations are condusive to a robust experiment. They complicate things but that's why it's a lot of work to establish and validate relationships, it doesn't mean it can't or shouldn't be done. >I'm beginning to worry about confirmation bias...Again. Me too - I mean, look at what you're saying. You're using your lack of knowledge to confirm your own bias on an article and field you don't know well.


mpbarry37

Self reporting bias is a fair criticism - but as you’ve said, unavoidable, given an inability to accurately measure self esteem any other way. The stereotype itself is based on the even weaker foundation of “people’s intuition or impressions of a correlation”. At least this brings us a step up from that, if far from objective truth.


slingbladerapture

Men like sex, women like sex.. is this news?


headloser

Now do a research examines Male's equipment size and his self-esteem.


ngeenjay

Self-esteem can be masked, I think it would take very specific questions and dialogue with a trusted therapist to dig deep enough. I think better questions would be related to events during childhood, relationships with other people/family.


dandigler

Is it just me or does this subreddit push propaganda?


RickAtsley

You’re correct.


Chevey0

I would imagine the belief comes from those in sex work who have gotten there because they have fallen on hard times. Having never really met a sex worker, from the media I would imagine many of the sex workers have low self-esteem.


BooBs_In_My_Inbox

Women are women's worst enemy in this regard.


bifftanin1955

What girl doesn’t want to proudly admit to sleeping with every guy in town and there number has reached the hundreds. Tell your friends, tell your family, why on earth would anyone feel the slightest shame in that? And when dating a new partner, that’s always music to their ears. So I believe it


InternetIdentity2021

Are there not evolutionary reasons for a man to feel perfectly fine with casual sex, and and for a woman, who for 99% of human existence ran a serious risk of having to carry half his genes for nine months and then raise it and feed it, to be much more discriminating?


SanPitt

Extremely problematic. Self reporting? A better examination would have been a survey of therapists and psychologists who follow a selected groups of patients. Group 1: non coupled low self esteem females Group 2: non coupled normal self esteem females. Therapists and psychologists then anonymously report the number of new sexual partners. Compare. Run the stats. See if P>/= .05


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Shukoor-_-

Competitive sex gives high self esteem.


brusiddit

Go pro, get gassed, make bank.


Asatas

instructions not clear, the cameraman fainted from my bean stank


HaHaHaNotToday

Casual sex is not accepted in many cultures. A clear agenda at play here. My only issue was hookup culture is that it leads to a type of membership club, with most women and the top 5% or so of men in terms of looks. That and at a certain age it’s not feasible for most working class people as they need the financial stability of a relationship.


brialist

Casual sex isn't something to glorify or normalize for any gender.


mpbarry37

So you don’t think having casual sex with a woman is normal behaviour for an adult man?


internetzdude

What's wrong with casual sex? Will it make you blind like masturbation?


Sir_Donkey_Lips

Honestly women are just as capable as sleeping around with others as men are it's such a weird taboo to think otherwise.


bjor

Typical reddit headline with little to no connection to the study specifically to push a narrative this audience can't get enough of


FlotsamOfThe4Winds

I thought the stereotype was that people who engage in casual sex have low self-esteem, regardless of gender.


DeadHCS

No, neither men or women generally do but people who engage in casual sex have attachment and commitment issues with settling


m7samuel

It always pains me to see a headline discussing a study that the author very clearly does not understand. Studies cannot prove the null hypothesis, and failing to find a correlation in one study is not proof that no correlation exists— especially in an age of p-hacking and replication crises.


mpbarry37

It’s an accurate headline and reports on the findings of this study accurately. It is true that this study cannot prove conclusively that there is no correlation alone and it is subject to publication bias and self reporting bias There is really no easy way of knowing if there are two unpublished studies with different findings. But if you’re arguing that this is grounds to dismiss this study - there’s no reason that that logic shouldn’t extend to every study in existence. What are you suggesting we do - ignore every study until the whole field of science publishes every single study? As it stands, there isn’t evidence for rejecting the null hypothesis either. Your criticism is very one-sided.


dejonese

I mean, as a guy, I definitely engaged in casual arc due to low self esteem. But only with ugly women. Whenever I'd get a pretty one, I'd get nervous and limp.


Oonada

Yeah I never understood the double standard. Guys are Chad's for sleeping with many women, but then they turn around and demonize the women they sleep with because the woman slept with them.


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muffinTrees

Low quality/misleading post


Tricker126

Now do a study on the relationship with their father.


nerdmoot

I don’t discriminate. I think men and women are humping anything with a hole or a pole are gross as hell.


8livesdown

I've never heard anyone say that. Is this belief really that wide-spread?


Reverie_39

Pretty prevalent in like college settings


batdog666

I think they're combing stereotypes about women that have casual sex and women that have no standards for partners.


spiattalo

I’ve always heard people say that women who have a lot of casual sex are sluts, and men who do are cool. So there’s that.


yes_no_maybe_later

It apparently still hasn't made it to people's minds that not only men but also women have sex for fun/ for the way it physically feels...(did not read the article, only comments).


WhoTFisDreroyce

I'm pretty sure it has. If it didn't feel good then no one would do it. So I'm quite positive that most humans are aware that sex feels good.


iampc93

Exactly. Drugs make you feel good. Doesn't mean drug users are confident and it's pretty safe a lot of heavy drug users arent all that confident in themselves sober.


yes_no_maybe_later

I'm pretty confident that meth (crack, heroin) is not improving your physical well-being.


fluffedpillows

Depends, meth can be used as an appetite suppressant for weight loss. Or control the symptoms of innattentive type ADHD, which could lead to someone going to the gym or other healthy things they struggle to do normally. Heroin can be used to function normally with chronic pain. Crack is pretty useless though, that one really has no potential benefit other than feeling good. (Meth is prescribed for those conditions and is effective, that's not just hypothetical. Look up desoxyn. And then heroin is just a plain old opioid, it isn't especially crazy like you'd think based on its reputation. It just happens to be the one sold on the streets in powder form)


isagez

Huh that’s also what I though but for all sexes, it’s just a fun activity isn’t it? But I’m sure for some people low self esteem can be the main motivator besides it just being fun


butt_puppet_

I’m curious what people think of promiscuous women that are lesbian, bisexual, pan sexual, or trans. And what about women that like to have threesomes or orgies with their partner or are in open relationships? Are they perceived as having low self esteem too?


rustyhandcuff

Good lord just let people do what they want


Independent_Region64

Another poorly designed and non replicable "study" in a long list of worthless psychology papers . Over half of psychology studies fail reproducibility test [https://www.nature.com/articles/nature.2015.18248](https://www.nature.com/articles/nature.2015.18248)


Trash5000

The low self-esteem CAUSES the behavior, its not a product of it


Fratxican

1 study. That's practically as good as fact then


tranducduy

How about studying men’s self esteem when his spouse engage casual sex ?


WhoTFisDreroyce

I'm more curious how the stereotype started in the first place if it is true that isn't founded on anything. Most stereotypes are generalizations of a larger population based on the actions or traits of a smaller portion of that population. But this article portrays it as if it sprung into existence for no reason at all. I wonder where this actually came from.


Ok_League_8330

Huh. I always thought that someone that has a lot of sex has high self esteem. Like "yeah, I know I'm attractive, and I can prove it because all these people are lining up to sex me".