A new study has suggested that college-aged women have negative opinions about sexually promiscuous female peers and consider them as unsuitable for friendship.

The study by Cornell University developmental psychologists also found that the participants' preference for less sexually active women as friends remained even when they personally reported liberal attitudes about casual sex or a high number of lifetime lovers.

Men's views, on the other hand, were less uniform - favouring the sexually permissive potential friend, the non-permissive one or showing no preference for either when asked to rate them on 10 different friendship attributes.

Men's perceptions were also more dependent on their own promiscuity: Promiscuous men favoured less sexually experienced men in just one measure - when they viewed other promiscuous men as a potential threat to steal their own girlfriend.

The findings suggest that though cultural and societal attitudes about casual sex have loosened in recent decades, women still face a double standard that shames "slutty" women and celebrates "studly" men, said lead author Zhana Vrangalova, a Cornell graduate student in the field of human development.
The study reported that such social isolation may place promiscuous women at greater risk for poor psychological and physical health outcomes.

Vrangalova said that for sexually permissive women, they are ostracized for being easy, whereas men with a high number of sexual partners are viewed with a sense of accomplishment

She said that prior research showed that men often view promiscuous women as unsuitable for long-term romantic relationships, leaving these women outside of many social circles.

For the study, 751 college students gave info about their past sexual experience and their views on casual sex.

They read a near-identical vignette about a male or female peer, with the only difference being the character's number of lifetime sexual partners (two or 20).

Researchers asked them to rate the person on a range of friendship factors, including warmth, competence, morality, emotional stability and overall likability.

Across all female participants, women - regardless of their own promiscuity - viewed sexually permissive women more negatively on nine of ten friendship attributes, judging them more favorably only on their outgoingness.

Permissive men only identified two measures, mate guarding and dislike of sexuality, where they favored less sexually active men as friends, showing no preference or favoring the more promiscuous men on the eight other variables; even more sexually modest men preferred the non-permissive potential friend in only half of all variables.

The study has been published in the early online edition of the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.