Study: Women Feel Worse About Themselves After Losing Virginity

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woman hiding under the covers after sex feel shame
A college study shows how men and women's self-esteems fare after having sex for the first time.

When I finally cashed in my V-Card, I was the last of my friends to do so. I was a late bloomer and the longer I postponed the deed, the more my friends looked at my virginity like it was some kind of anomaly. When it happened, I felt good about the boy and what would come afterwards—no pun intended—and that, at the very least, we'd remain friends. Boy, was I wrong. Two weeks later, he unfriended me on Facebook. My reaction? Bye, bye confidence. Study: Breakup Pain Akin To Being Scalded With A Red-Hot Poker

As it turns out, I'm not the only one who's felt this way. Salon reports on the findings of a Pennsylvania State University study published in the April issue of the "Journal of Adolescence" show that women are generally less satisfied with their physical appearance after their first time having sex. A man's self-esteem, on the flip side, tends to go up after losing his V-card.

The survey targeted students who enrolled in the college as virgins, and it affirms the results of a 1995 study that showed women reported feeling less pleasure and excitement than men after their first sexual experience. Instead, they were flooded with feelings like embarrassment, sadness and guilt. Did Jay-Z Take Beyonce's Virginity?

Part of this comes from what Masters and Johnson call "sexual spectatoring," in other words: seeing ourselves in the third person and feeling more concerned with how we look in a position than with how it feels. According to researchers, women tend do this because they're obsessed with the "female ideal"—that culturally pervasive idea of what it means to be female, sexy, and worthy of high self-esteem.

 

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