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Showing Skin: Tattoo Visibility Status, Egalitarianism, and Personality are Predictors of Sexual Openness Among Women

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Research indicates that women with tattoos are evaluated more negatively than women without tattoos on numerous qualities. Further, men perceive better chances for sexual success with tattooed women than those without visible tattoos. Despite these findings, less is known about whether women with visible tattoos are more open to casual sexual encounters than their non-tattooed counterparts, and if so, what variables may predict such openness. The purpose of the present study was to explore whether, and to what extent, stereotyped perceptions of tattooed women as sexually open are accurate, and to explore the possible role of egalitarianism in sexual openness. Measures of personality and sensation-seeking were also examined. A sample of 814 women, both tattooed and non-tattooed, were recruited through a Western Canadian university research pool and various social media outlets to complete an online questionnaire assessing these attributes. Women with tattoos reported greater willingness to engage in uncommitted sexual relations, as well as higher endorsement of egalitarianism and sensation-seeking, relative to non-tattooed women. Among tattooed women alone, several personality and tattooing variables predicted sexual openness. Findings suggesting body tattooing as an indicator of sexual openness are critically discussed in relation to contemporary stereotypes surrounding femininity and sexuality.

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Correspondence to Cory L. Pedersen.

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Skoda, K., Oswald, F., Brown, K. et al. Showing Skin: Tattoo Visibility Status, Egalitarianism, and Personality are Predictors of Sexual Openness Among Women. Sexuality & Culture 24, 1935–1956 (2020).

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