Evolutionary Psychological Science

, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp 267–275 | Cite as

Experimentally Inducing Disgust Reduces Desire for Short-Term Mating

  • Laith Al-ShawafEmail author
  • David M. G. Lewis
  • Maliki Eyvonne Ghossainy
  • David M. Buss
Research Article


Short-term mating strategies involve casual sex, multiple partners, and short-time intervals before initiating intercourse. Such strategies should be difficult to implement in the presence of high levels of sexual disgust. Researchers have therefore suggested—and found evidence for—the hypothesis that individuals with a stronger proclivity for short-term mating have lower levels of sexual disgust. Here, we suggest a related hypothesis: inducing sexual disgust should reduce desire for short-term mating. Experiment 1 (N = 341) and experiment 2 (N = 361) investigated the effects of disgust induction on desire for short-term mating. Both studies found that inducing disgust reduces desire for short-term mating, and that the effect of sexual disgust is particularly strong. These results support the novel hypothesis advanced here and corroborate the broader hypothesis that reduced sexual disgust is a previously undiscovered design feature of short-term mating strategies.


Disgust Emotions Evolutionary psychology Sexual disgust Mating Short-term mating 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laith Al-Shawaf
    • 1
    Email author
  • David M. G. Lewis
    • 2
  • Maliki Eyvonne Ghossainy
    • 3
  • David M. Buss
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of ColoradoColorado SpringsUSA
  2. 2.School of Psychology and Exercise ScienceMurdoch UniversityPerthAustralia
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyAmerican University of BeirutBeirutLebanon
  4. 4.Department of PsychologyThe University of Texas at AustinAustinUSA

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