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Men gain self-esteem upon first having sex; women lose it

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A new study from the University of Pennsylvania finds that men feel better about their bodies after having sex for the first time, while women feel worse. Over at Salon, Tracy Clark-Flory points out that

the body image findings in this latest research might also have something to do with what Masters & Johnson dubbed sexual "spectatoring," which is when you see yourself "from a third person perspective during sexual activity, rather than focusing on [your own] sensations and/or sexual partner." Translation: You think, "Do my breasts look OK from this angle" instead of, "Wow, this position feels fantastic." The researchers suggest that women may be especially prone to this — in part because, duh, they are much more commonly sexually objectified in the culture at large.

Makes sense. Many people have said that the culture forces women's sexuality to be more performative than men's, although I might argue that men are feeling more and more of that pressure themselves, especially given how much the internet age has boosted consumption of porn (much of which is itself homemade — i.e., performed by the same demographic that's so voraciously consuming it). Bottom line, kind of a downer of a story; I should add that our own by-no-means-scientific study of first-time sex has generally found that guys have a better time.