How Willing Are You to Accept Sexual Requests from Slightly Unattractive to Exceptionally Attractive Imagined Requestors?

Abstract

In their classic study of differences in mating strategies, Clark and Hatfield (1989, Journal of Psychology and Human Sexuality, 2, 39–54) found that men and women demonstrated a striking difference in interest in casual sex. The current study examined the role of an imagined requestor’s physical attractiveness (slightly unattractive, moderately attractive, and exceptionally attractive) on men’s and women’s willingness to accept three different requests (go out, come to apartment, go to bed) as reflected in answers to a questionnaire. We tested two hypotheses with a sample of 427 men and 443 women from three countries. Hypothesis 1 states that men, relative to women, will demonstrate a greater willingness to accept the “come to apartment” and “go to bed” requests but not the “go out” request for all three levels of requestor attractiveness. This hypothesis reflects Clark and Hatfield’s main findings. Hypothesis 2 states that the physical attractiveness of a potential partner will have a greater effect on women’s than on men’s willingness to accept all three requests, and particularly for the explicit request for casual sex. The results partially supported Hypothesis 1 and fully supported Hypothesis 2. The discussion highlights limitations of the current research and presents directions for future research.

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Correspondence to Achim Schützwohl.

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Schützwohl, A., Fuchs, A., McKibbin, W.F. et al. How Willing Are You to Accept Sexual Requests from Slightly Unattractive to Exceptionally Attractive Imagined Requestors?. Hum Nat 20, 282–293 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12110-009-9067-3

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Keywords

  • Sex differences
  • Mating
  • Short-term mating
  • Physical attractiveness