Oppression or Opportunity? Sexual Strategies and the Perception of Sexual Advances

  • Lisa KlümperEmail author
  • Sascha Schwarz
Research Article


From an evolutionary perspective, the perception and interpretation of sexual advances depend on sex-specific mechanisms, individual differences in the perceivers’ mating strategies, and the actor’s attractiveness. In two studies (N = 1516), participants evaluated hypothetical situations of sexual advances from a coworker varying in attractiveness (study 1) and physical appearance or status (study 2). In both studies, men perceived sexual advances as less negative than women, especially when the advances arise from a (physically) attractive actor. Furthermore, the higher the sociosexual orientation of the participants, the less harmful these sexual advances are perceived. Finally, the same behavior from an attractive or physically attractive actor is perceived as less harmful than from an unattractive actor. Results are discussed from an evolutionary perspective on the perception of sexual advances.


Sex differences Mating strategies Sociosexual orientation Sexual advances Attractiveness 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants. The participants were encouraged to contact the authors for any questions.

Supplementary material

40806_2019_215_MOESM1_ESM.docx (29 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 28 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Human and Social Sciences, Social and Personality PsychologyBergische Universität WuppertalWuppertalGermany

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