What Do Men and Women Each Regret Most About Sex?

It’s not what you’d think.

Ask me what I regret most about sex and you’re likely to hear about the time a guy I dated in college went down on me after eating a Hall’s cough drop. But that’s not the norm for most people—I hope. 

Digging deeper into our shameful, sexy contrition, Psychology Today analyzed three studies sampling the erotic regrets of men and women across the country. Participants were either given regrettable scenarios and asked to rank them, or asked to list their own experiences that they wish they could re-do.

Thee results were pretty standardized across the board: men and women, regardless of their sexual orientation, had a clear division. Men tend to regret sexual inaction (letting “the one” get away, not making a move on a cute girl), while women regretted actions (losing their virginity to the “wrong” person, cheating on a partner). 

Though it can’t be totally pinned on evolutionary psychology, researchers suggest that’s definitely a factor. Back in caveman times, women wanted to keep a partner around for protection, while men wanted to spread their seed, as they say, to increase their chances of passing on their genetic material. So it stands to reason that women would fear damaging their relationships while men fear missed opportunities. 

But regrets be damned! We’ve evolved past prehistoric times. Leave the “coulda woulda shouldas” to the cavemen, and always remember to practice good oral hygiene. She’ll thank you later.

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