Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 41, Issue 1, pp 149–160 | Cite as

Effects of Sex and Sexual Orientation on Self-Reported Attraction and Viewing Times to Images of Men and Women: Testing for Category Specificity

  • Richard A. LippaEmail author
Original Paper


In a paradigm that asked participants to rate the sexual attractiveness of male and female swimsuit models, Lippa, Patterson, and Marelich (2010) showed that heterosexual men’s category specificity exceeded heterosexual women’s in two ways: (1) Heterosexual men showed much larger differences in their attraction and viewing times to male versus female photo models than heterosexual women, and (2) heterosexual men’s attractions to female but not male models increased with model attractiveness whereas heterosexual women’s attractions to both sexes increased with model attractiveness. The current study used the same paradigm to study category specificity in homosexual and heterosexual participants. In addition to replicating previous findings for heterosexual men and women, the results showed that homosexual men were high on category specificity, like heterosexual men, whereas lesbians showed lower levels of category specificity than men, but sometimes higher levels than heterosexual women.


Sexual orientation Sexual attraction Category specificity Sex differences Gender differences 



This research was supported by a generous grant from the American Institute of Bisexuality. Thanks go to Travis Patterson, Amy Steffes, and Ian Roberson for their assistance with this study. A version of this article was presented at the University of Lethbridge Workshop, “The Puzzle of Sexual Orientation: What Is It and How Does It Work?”, held in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, June 2010.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyCalifornia State UniversityFullertonUSA

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