Alright, let's set the tone before anybody gets mad. This is the title of an actual scientific study, OK? Let's not shoot the news editor.
Now that that's settled, here's the story: researchers at Florida State University and Northwestern University have found, in fact, women like being valued for sex when that valuation comes from a committed partner. Hence the title of the study. What that means, roughly, is that when strangers or partners of low levels of commitment objectify or sexually value women, it leads to increased levels of body shame and anxiety. Conversely, when male partners showing high levels of commitment (i.e. they're married and satisfied with the relationship) demonstrate sexual valuation, that leads to women feeling satisfied and content.
This is all technical speak to say: Women don't like catcalls and non-committed booty calls. But women love boning committed partners, and it makes them happy.
Now, that's not to say women can't enjoy casual sex. But evolutionarily speaking, it benefited ancestral women to find and maintain long-term commitments, since, after all, they're the ones to carry around that bun in the oven for nine months. It also benefited them to respond positively to sexual valuation by men in committed, long-term relationships, because more sex led to greater chances of reproduction.
The present publication cited copious previous research, but conducted two studies to suss out its findings. The first study surveyed 113 newlywed couples, with the husbands reporting on sexual valuation, body valuation, and non-physical valuation of their wives, along with marital satisfaction. Wives reported on perceived partner commitment and marital satisfaction. Researchers found that wives were less satisfied with their marriages when they perceived their husbands as being less committed and valued them for sex, while wives were more satisfied with their marriages when they perceived their husbands as being more committed and valued them for sex.
The second study of 108 newlywed couples reported on sexual frequency, perceptions of partner commitment, and marital satisfaction. This was based on the theory that "sexual valuation... would result in frequent sex" and "frequent sex would have been adaptive in the context of a committed relationship but maladaptive in the context of a less committed relationship."
In the end, the research concluded that "interpersonal processes do not have universally positive or negative implications for relationships; rather, their implications depend on the context in which they occur, including contexts that were reproductively beneficial or costly throughout evolutionary history." In other words, women don't straight-up like been seen as sexy, nor do they straight-up dislike being seen as sexy. It all depends on who's seeing them as sexy.
In other news, I'm single, ladies. And I see high value in committed relationships.
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Ryan Craggs is Thrillist's Senior News Editor. He's single, ladies, and sees high value in committed relationships. Follow him @ryanrcraggs.