Why Would Men Turn Down Casual Sex?

Say you were to approach a strange man in public and ask him, “Will you have sex with me?” What do you think he’d say? A social-experiment group called Whatever did just that: They sent a hot woman up to random men to ask if they could spare a few minutes for romance-free, totally impersonal intercourse. And guess what? Half of the men said yes. Check out the video:

As it turns out, another group performed the same experiment about 25 years ago. That time around, about 75 percent of men agreed to sleep with the strange woman. So men today are actually twice as likely to say no when a random attractive woman asks, “Will you have sex with me?”

Have we men gone prude or lost our mojo? I don’t think so. I think this experiment—small and silly as it may be—shows that today’s men are smarter and more careful than the men of decades past. Thanks to more open conversations about sex in schools and the mainstream media, we’re better equipped to consider the emotional repercussions and risks of disease.

We also no longer expect our buddies to say ignorant things like, “What kind of red-blooded male turns down sex?!” According to that old stereotype, men should recount dates by talking about whether or not they got laid. But when a good friend of mine took a new girl out recently, you know what he emphasized during his recap? He kept talking about how adventurous and smart she was—and that she reads the same books as he does. He also offered her the couch after their barhopping adventure left them both drunker than they’d planned for. I complimented him for being a nice guy. (Yeah, touchy feely stuff. We can handle that now!)

The upshot for you is that the more measured men are about their sex lives, the more confident you can be that you and your sex partner are on the same page emotionally. So the guy you consider your almost-boyfriend is probably not telling his friends he’s just in it for the sex. (Unless, of course, you’re just in it for the sex, too. There’s no harm in friends with benefits.) This also means that if you ask a guy how he feels about you, you’re more likely to hear a straight answer—or at least a sincere effort on his part to figure it out.

So get excited—we men are slowly becoming more thoughtful creatures. You’re still going to have to deal with our affinity for all things mechanical and our enthusiasm for anything shown on SportsCenter, but I think you’ll find that we’re also becoming better communicators and are being more cautious with your emotions.

But don’t worry—we are definitely still horny. We just want to earn the right to have sex with you. Well, half of us, anyway.

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