A reader writes:
I appreciate what your first reader writes with regard to the way that additional partners made him more happy in marriage by virtue of limiting regret. That being said, I am not so convinced. Take a look at how a grocery store like Trader Joe's has applied the research on choice in social psychology:
Customers may think they want variety, but in reality too many options can lead to shopping paralysis. "People are worried they'll regret the choice they made," says Barry Schwartz, a Swarthmore professor and author of The Paradox of Choice. "People don't want to feel they made a mistake." Studies have found that buyers enjoy purchases more if they know the pool of options isn't quite so large. Trader Joe's organic creamy unsalted peanut butter will be more satisfying if there are only nine other peanut butters a shopper might have purchased instead of 39. Having a wide selection may help get customers in the store, but it won't increase the chances they'll buy.
While sleeping with more women beforehand might make me less likely to regret not sleeping with more women, it is also likely to increase another type or regret: that I didn't choose someone better.