Disgust Trumps Lust: Women’s Disgust and Attraction Towards Men Is Unaffected by Sexual Arousal

Abstract

Mating is a double-edged sword. It can have great adaptive benefits, but also high costs, depending on the mate. Disgust is an avoidance reaction that serves the function of discouraging costly mating decisions, for example if the risk of pathogen transmission is high. It should, however, be temporarily inhibited in order to enable potentially adaptive mating. We therefore tested the hypothesis that sexual arousal inhibits disgust if a partner is attractive, but not if he is unattractive or shows signs of disease. In an online experiment, women rated their disgust towards anticipated behaviors with men depicted on photographs. Participants did so in a sexually aroused state and in a control state. The faces varied in attractiveness and the presence of disease cues (blemishes). We found that disease cues and attractiveness, but not sexual arousal, influenced disgust. The results suggest that women feel disgust at sexual contact with unattractive or diseased men independently of their sexual arousal.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2

Notes

  1. 1.

    van Overveld and Borg (2015) did not find this effect.

  2. 2.

    We used five-point and seven-point Likert scales with at least the endpoints labeled throughout the study, as Weijters, Cabooter, and Schillewart (2010) recommend.

  3. 3.

    Participants received an individual ID code in part one, but some did not report it in part two.

  4. 4.

    The assumption of homogeneity of variance was met despite the difference cell sizes.

  5. 5.

    Some interaction effects were significant, because one of the cell differences was significant and the other was not. However, these differences never reflected trends in line with the literature. Furthermore, for interaction effects, they were partly very small groups, hence low power and hence a higher type II error rate.

  6. 6.

    This variable was only available from participants who completed the neutral condition (n = 44).

  7. 7.

    As a reminder, the attractiveness level refers to the attractiveness manipulation, hence to the attractive and unattractive faces we chose based on pilot testing. Attractiveness ratings refer to how attractive participants of this study rated the faces.

  8. 8.

    We would like to thank two anonymous reviewers for pointing out some of these limitations.

References

  1. Al-Shawaf, L., Lewis, D. M. G., & Buss, D. M. (2015). Disgust and mating strategy. Evolution and Human Behavior, 36(3), 199–205. doi:10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2014.11.003.

  2. Al-Shawaf, L., Conroy-Beam, D., Asao, K., & Buss, D. M. (2016). Human emotions: An evolutionary psychological perspective. Emotion Review, 8(2), 173–186. doi:10.1177/1754073914565518.

  3. Andrews, A. R. I., Crone, T., Cholka, C. B., Cooper, T. V., & Bridges, A. J. (2015). Correlational and experimental analyses of the relation between disgust and sexual arousal. Motivation and Emotion, 39(5), 766–779.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Ariely, D., & Loewenstein, G. (2006). The heat of the moment: the effect of sexual arousal on sexual decision making. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 19(2), 87–98.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Barlow, D. H. (1986). Causes of sexual dysfunction: the role of anxiety and cognitive interference. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 54(2), 140–148.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Bogaert, A. F. (1996). Volunteer bias in human sexuality research: evidence for both sexuality and personality differences in males. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 25(2), 125–140. doi:10.1007/BF02437932.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Borg, C., & de Jong, P. J. (2012). Feelings of disgust and disgust-induced avoidance weaken following induced sexual arousal in women. PloS One, 7(9), e44111.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Borg, C., de Jong, P. J., & Weijmar Schultz, W. (2010). Vaginismus and dyspareunia: automatic vs. deliberate disgust responsivity. The Journal of Sexual Medicine, 7(6), 2149–2157. doi:10.1111/j.1743-6109.2010.01800.x.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Borg, C., Heitmann, J., & de Jong, P. (2015). “Yuck, they are kissing!” Understanding the transition from disgust to desire and its implications for sexual dysfunction. Paper presented at Emotions 2015. Tilburg: 6th International conference on emotions, well-being and health.

    Google Scholar 

  10. Bundy, C. (2012). Visible difference associated with disease: skin conditions. In N. Rumsey & D. Harcourt (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of the psychology of appearance (pp. 398–413). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  11. Buss, D. M., & Schmitt, D. P. (1993). Sexual strategies theory: an evolutionary perspective on human mating. Psychological Review, 100(2), 204–232. doi:10.1037/0033-295X.100.2.204.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Buss, D. M., & Symons, D. (2015). Part III: mating. In The handbook of evolutionary psychology. Somerset: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  13. Buunk, B. P., Dijkstra, P., Fetchenhauer, D., & Kenrick, D. T. (2002). Age and gender differences in mate selection criteria for various involvement levels. Personal Relationships, 9(3), 271–278. doi:10.1111/1475-6811.00018.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Carvalho, J., Gomes, A. Q., Laja, P., Oliveira, C., Vilarinho, S., Janssen, E., & Nobre, P. (2013). Gender differences in sexual arousal and affective responses to erotica: the effects of type of film and fantasy instructions. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 42(6), 1011–1019. doi:10.1007/s10508-013-0076-2.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Chivers, M. L. (2010). A brief update on the specificity of sexual arousal. Sexual and Relationship Therapy, 25(4), 407–414. doi:10.1080/14681994.2010.495979.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Chivers, M. L., Seto, M. C., Lalumière, M. L., Laan, E., & Grimbos, T. (2010). Agreement of self-reported and genital measures of sexual arousal in men and women: a meta-analysis. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 39(1), 5–56. doi:10.1007/s10508-009-9556-9.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Curtis, V., Aunger, R., & Rabie, T. (2004). Evidence that disgust evolved to protect from risk of disease. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 271(Suppl_4), S131–S133. doi:10.1098/rsbl.2003.0144.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  18. DeBruine, L. M. (2014). Women’s preferences for male facial features. In V. A. Weekes-Shackelford & T. K. Shackelford (Eds.), Evolutionary perspectives on human sexual psychology and behavior (pp. 261–275). New York, NY: Springer Science + Business Media.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  19. DeBruine, L. M., Jones, B. C., Tybur, J. M., Lieberman, D., & Griskevicius, V. (2010). Women’s preferences for masculinity in male faces are predicted by pathogen disgust, but not by moral or sexual disgust. Evolution and Human Behavior, 31(1), 69–74. doi:10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2009.09.003.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Dixson, A. F. (2009). Sexual selection and the origins of human mating systems. Oxford, GBR: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  21. Eastwick, P. W., Luchies, L. B., Finkel, E. J., & Hunt, L. L. (2014). The predictive validity of ideal partner preferences: a review and meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 140(3), 623–665. doi:10.1037/a0032432.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Fessler, D. M. T., & Navarrete, C. D. (2003). Domain-specific variation in disgust sensitivity across the menstrual cycle. Evolution and Human Behavior, 24(6), 406–417. doi:10.1016/S1090-5138(03)00054-0.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Fleischman, D. S. (2014). Women’s disgust adaptations. In V. A. Weekes-Shackelford & T. K. Shackelford (Eds.), Evolutionary perspectives on human sexual psychology and behavior (pp. 277–296). New York, NY: Springer Science + Business Media.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  24. Fleischman, D. S. (2017). Sex-differences in disease avoidance. In T. K. Shackelford & V. A. Weekes-Shackelford (Eds.), Encyclopedia of evolutionary psychological science. New York, NY: Springer Science + Business Media.

    Google Scholar 

  25. Fleischman, D. S., Hamilton, L. D., Fessler, D. M. T., & Meston, C. M. (2015). Disgust versus lust: exploring the interactions of disgust and fear with sexual arousal in women. PloS One, 10(6), e0118151. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0118151.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Flying the Nest (2015, March 1st). Hiking the Hollywood sign [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1UofPVuSZo.

  27. Gangestad, S. W. (1993). Sexual selection and physical attractiveness. Human Nature, 4(3), 205–235. doi:10.1007/BF02692200.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Goldey, K. L., & van Anders, S. M. (2016). Identification with stimuli moderates women’s affective and testosterone responses to self-chosen erotica. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 45(8), 2155–2171. doi:10.1007/s10508-015-0612-3.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Grauvogl, A., de Jong, P., Peters, M., Evers, S., van Overveld, M., & van Lankveld, J. (2015). Disgust and sexual arousal in young adult men and women. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 44(6), 1515–1525. doi:10.1007/s10508-014-0349-4.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Gruijters, S. L. K., Tybur, J. M., Ruiter, R. A. C., & Massar, K. (2016). Sex, germs, and health: pathogen-avoidance motives and health-protective behavior. Psychology & Health, 1–17. doi:10.1080/08870446.2016.1161194.

  31. Guo, Y., Logan, H. L., Glueck, D. H., & Muller, K. E. (2013). Selecting a sample size for studies with repeated measures. BMC Medical Research Methodology, 13(1), 100.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Hamilton, L. D., & Meston, C. M. (2013). Chronic stress and sexual function in women. The Journal of Sexual Medicine, 10(10), 2443–2454. doi:10.1111/jsm.12249.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  33. Harte, C. B., & Meston, C. M. (2008). The inhibitory effects of nicotine on physiological sexual arousal in nonsmoking women: results from a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over trial. The Journal of Sexual Medicine, 5(5), 1184–1197. doi:10.1111/j.1743-6109.2008.00778.x.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Hawk, S. T., Tolman, R., & Mueller, C. W. (2007). The effects of target attractiveness on men’s sexual arousal in response to erotic auditory stimuli. Journal of Sex Research, 44(1), 96–103. doi:10.1207/s15598519jsr4401_10.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  35. Hock, R. (2015). Human sexuality (4th ed.). Boston: Pearson.

    Google Scholar 

  36. Ioannou, S., Morris, P., Terry, S., Baker, M., Gallese, V., & Reddy, V. (2016). Sympathy crying: insights from infrared thermal imaging on a female sample. PloS One, 11(10), e0162749. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0162749.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  37. Istvan, J., Griffitt, W., & Weidner, G. (1983). Sexual arousal and the polarization of perceived sexual attractiveness. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 4(4), 307–318.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  38. Janssen, E., & Bancroft, J. (2007). The dual-control model: the role of sexual inhibition and excitation in sexual arousal and behavior. The Psychophysiology of Sex, 15, 197–222.

    Google Scholar 

  39. Jones, A. L., & Kramer, R. S. S. (2015). Facial cosmetics have little effect on attractiveness judgments compared with identity. Perception, 44(1), 79–86.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  40. de Jong, P. J., van Overveld, M., & Borg, C. (2013). Giving in to arousal or staying stuck in disgust? Disgust-based mechanisms in sex and sexual dysfunction. Journal of Sex Research, 50(3–4), 247–262. doi:10.1080/00224499.2012.746280.

  41. Kelley, K., & Musialowski, D. (1986). Repeated exposure to sexually explicit stimuli: novelty, sex, and sexual attitudes. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 15(6), 487–498. doi:10.1007/BF01542313.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  42. Kent, G. (2002). Testing a model of disfigurement: effects of a skin camouflage service on well-being and appearance anxiety. Psychology & Health, 17(3), 377–386.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  43. Koukounas, E., & Over, R. (2000). Changes in the magnitude of the eyeblink startle response during habituation of sexual arousal. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 38(6), 573–584. doi:10.1016/S0005-7967(99)00075-3.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  44. Koukounas, E., & McCabe, M. P. (2001). Sexual and emotional variables influencing sexual response to erotica: A psychophysiological investigation. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 30(4), 393–408. doi:10.1023/A:1010261315767.

  45. ter Kuile, M. M., Both, S., & van Uden, J. (2010). The effects of experimentally-induced sad and happy mood on sexual arousal in sexually healthy women. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 7(3), 1177–1184. doi:10.1111/j.1743-6109.2009.01632.x.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  46. Lee, E. M., Ambler, J. K., & Sagarin, B. J. (2014). Effects of subjective sexual arousal on sexual, pathogen, and moral disgust sensitivity in women and men. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 43(6), 1115–1121. doi:10.1007/s10508-014-0271-9.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  47. Little, A. C. (2014). Facial attractiveness. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science, 5(6), 621–634. doi:10.1002/wcs.1316.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  48. Little, A. C., DeBruine, L. M., & Jones, B. C. (2011). Exposure to visual cues of pathogen contagion changes preferences for masculinity and symmetry in opposite-sex faces. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences, 278(1714), 2032–2039. doi:10.1098/rspb.2010.1925.

  49. Little, A. C., DeBruine, L. M., & Jones, B. C. (2014). Sex differences in attraction to familiar and unfamiliar opposite-sex faces: men prefer novelty and women prefer familiarity. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 43(5), 973–981.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  50. Lund, E. M., & Boggero, I. A. (2014). Sick in the head? Pathogen concerns bias implicit perceptions of mental illness. Evolutionary Psychology, 12(4), 706–718. doi:10.1177/147470491401200403.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  51. Madkan, V. K., Giancola, A. A., Sra, K. K., & Tyring, S. K. (2006). Sex differences in the transmission, prevention, and disease manifestations of sexually transmitted diseases. Archives of Dermatology, 142(3), 365–370.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  52. Mass, R., Hölldorfer, M., Moll, B., Bauer, R., & Wolf, K. (2009). Why we haven’t died out yet: changes in women’s mimic reactions to visual erotic stimuli during their menstrual cycles. Hormones and Behavior, 55(2), 267–271. doi:10.1016/j.yhbeh.2008.06.007.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  53. Masters, W. H., & Johnson, V. E. (1966). Human sexual response. Oxford: Little, Brown.

    Google Scholar 

  54. Mehrabian, A., & Blum, J. S. (1997). Physical appearance, attractiveness, and the mediating role of emotions. Current Psychology: a Journal for Diverse Perspectives on Diverse Psychological Issues, 16(1), 20–42. doi:10.1007/s12144-997-1013-0.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  55. Miller, S. L., & Maner, J. K. (2011). Sick body, vigilant mind: the biological immune system activates the behavioral immune system. Psychological Science, 22(12), 1467–1471. doi:10.1177/0956797611420166.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  56. Mortensen, C. R., Becker, D. V., Ackerman, J. M., Neuberg, S. L., & Kenrick, D. T. (2010). Infection breeds reticence: the effects of disease salience on self-perceptions of personality and behavioral avoidance tendencies. Psychological Science, 21(3), 440–447. doi:10.1177/0956797610361706.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  57. Murray, D. R., Jones, D. N., & Schaller, M. (2013). Perceived threat of infectious disease and its implications for sexual attitudes. Personality and Individual Differences, 54(1), 103–108. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2012.08.021.

  58. Oaten, M., Stevenson, R. J., & Case, T. I. (2009). Disgust as a disease-avoidance mechanism. Psychological Bulletin, 135(2), 303–321. doi:10.1037/a0014823.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  59. Olszanowski, M., Pochwatko, G., Kuklinski, K., Scibor-Rylski, M., Lewinski, P., & Ohme, R. K. (2015). Warsaw set of emotional facial expression pictures: a validation study of facial display photographs. Frontiers in Psychology, 5, 1516. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01516.

  60. van Overveld, M., & Borg, C. (2015). Brief emotion regulation training facilitates arousal control during sexual stimuli. The Journal of Sex Research, 52(9), 996–1005. doi:10.1080/00224499.2014.948111.

  61. van Overveld, M., de Jong, P. J., Peters, M. L., van Lankveld, J., Melles, R., & ter Kuile, M. M. (2013). The sexual disgust questionnaire; a psychometric study and a first exploration in patients with sexual dysfunctions. The Journal of Sexual Medicine, 10(2), 396–407. doi:10.1111/j.1743-6109.2012.02979.x.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  62. Park, J. H., van Leeuwen, F., & Stephen, I. D. (2012). Homeliness is in the disgust sensitivity of the beholder: relatively unattractive faces appear especially unattractive to individuals higher in pathogen disgust. Evolution and Human Behavior, 33(5), 569–577. doi:10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2012.02.005.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  63. Peng, M., Chang, L., & Zhou, R. (2013). Physiological and behavioral responses to strangers compared to friends as a source of disgust. Evolution and Human Behavior, 34(2), 94–98. doi:10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2012.10.002.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  64. Prause, N., Janssen, E., & Hetrick, W. P. (2008). Attention and emotional responses to sexual stimuli and their relationship to sexual desire. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 37(6), 934–949. doi:10.1007/s10508-007-9236-6.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  65. Principe, C. P., & Langlois, J. H. (2011). Faces differing in attractiveness elicit corresponding affective responses. Cognition and Emotion, 25(1), 140–148.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  66. Re, D. E., & Rule, N. O. (2016). Appearance and physiognomy. In D. Matsumoto, H. C. Hwang, M. G. Frank, & D. (Eds.), APA handbook of nonverbal communication (pp. 221–256). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  67. Renfro, K. J., Rupp, H., & Wallen, K. (2015). Duration of oral contraceptive use predicts women’s initial and subsequent subjective responses to sexual stimuli. Hormones and Behavior, 75, 33–40. doi:10.1016/j.yhbeh.2015.07.013.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  68. Rohrmann, S., Hopp, H., & Quirin, M. (2008). Gender differences in psychophysiological responses to disgust. Journal of Psychophysiology, 22(2), 65–75.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  69. Rozin, P., Nemeroff, C., Horowitz, M., Gordon, B., & Voet, W. (1995). The borders of the self: contamination sensitivity and potency of the body apertures and other body parts. Journal of Research in Personality, 29(3), 318–340. doi:10.1006/jrpe.1995.1019.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  70. Rozin, P., Haidt, J., & Mcauley, C. R. (2008). Disgust. In M. Lewis, J. M. Haviland-Jones, & L. F. Barrett (Eds.), Handbook of emotions (3rd ed., pp. 757–776). New York, NY: Guilford Press.

    Google Scholar 

  71. Ryan, S., Oaten, M., Stevenson, R. J., & Case, T. I. (2012). Facial disfigurement is treated like an infectious disease. Evolution and Human Behavior, 33(6), 639–646.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  72. Sacco, D. F., Jones, B. C., DeBruine, L. M., & Hugenberg, K. (2012). The roles of sociosexual orientation and relationship status in women’s face preferences. Personality and Individual Differences, 53(8), 1044–1047. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2012.07.023.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  73. Schachter, R. J., Pantel, E. S., Glassman, G. M., & Zweibelson, I. (1971). Acne vulgaris and psychologic impact on high school students. New York State Journal of Medicine, 71(24), 2886–2890.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  74. Schaller, M. (2015). The Behavioral Immune System. In The Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology (2nd ed.pp. 206–224). John Wiley & Sons, Inc.. doi:10.1002/9781119125563.evpsych107.

  75. Schmitt, D. P. (2015). Fundamentals of human mating strategies. In The Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology (2nd ed.pp. 294–316). John Wiley & Sons, Inc.. doi:10.1002/9781119125563.evpsych111.

  76. Simmons, J. P., Nelson, L. D., & Simonsohn, U. (2011). False-positive psychology: undisclosed flexibility in data collection and analysis allows presenting anything as significant. Psychological Science, 22(11), 1359–1366. doi:10.1177/0956797611417632.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  77. Skolnick, A. J. (2013). Gender differences when touching something gross: unpleasant? No. Disgusting? Yes! Journal of General Psychology, 140(2), 144–157. doi:10.1080/00221309.2013.781989.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  78. Stevenson, R. J., Case, T. I., & Oaten, M. J. (2011). Effect of self-reported sexual arousal on responses to sex-related and non-sex-related disgust cues. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 40(1), 79–85. doi:10.1007/s10508-009-9529-z.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  79. Stone, E. A., Shackelford, T. K., & Goetz, A. T. (2011). Sexual arousal and the pursuit of attractive mating opportunities. Personality and Individual Differences, 51(5), 575–578. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2011.05.021.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  80. Sugiyama, L. S. (2016). Physical attractiveness in adaptationist perspective. In D. M. Buss (Ed.), The handbook of evolutionary psychology (2nd ed., pp. 292–343). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons Inc..

    Google Scholar 

  81. Toates, F. (2009). An integrative theoretical framework for understanding sexual motivation, arousal, and behavior. Journal of Sex Research, 46(2–3), 168–193.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  82. Tooby, J., & Cosmides, L. (2008). The evolutionary psychology of the emotions and their relationship to internal regulatory variables. In M. Lewis, J. M. Haviland-Jones, & L. F. Barrett (Eds.), Handbook of emotions (3rd ed., pp. 114–137). New York, NY: Guilford Press.

    Google Scholar 

  83. Trivers, R. L. (1996). Parental investment and sexual selection. In L. D. Houck & L. C. Drickamer (Eds.), Foundations of animal behavior: Classic papers with commentaries (pp. 795–838). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

    Google Scholar 

  84. Tybur, J. M., & Gangestad, S. W. (2011). Mate preferences and infectious disease: theoretical considerations and evidence in humans. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 366(1583), 3375–3388.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  85. Tybur, J. M., & Lieberman, D. (2016). Human pathogen avoidance adaptations. Current Opinion in Psychology, 7, 6–11. doi:10.1016/j.copsyc.2015.06.005.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  86. Tybur, J. M., Lieberman, D., & Griskevicius, V. (2009). Microbes, mating, and morality: Individual differences in three functional domains of disgust. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 97(1), 103–122. doi:10.1037/a0015474.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  87. Tybur, J. M., Merriman, L. A., Hooper, A. E. C., McDonald, M. M., & Navarrete, C. D. (2010). Extending the behavioral immune system to political psychology: are political conservatism and disgust sensitivity really related? Evolutionary Psychology, 8(4), 599–616.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  88. Tybur, J. M., Bryan, A. D., Lieberman, D., Caldwell Hooper, A. E., & Merriman, L. A. (2011). Sex differences and sex similarities in disgust sensitivity. Personality and Individual Differences, 51(3), 343–348. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2011.04.003.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  89. Tybur, J. M., Lieberman, D., Kurzban, R., & DeScioli, P. (2013). Disgust: Evolved function and structure. Psychological Review, 120(1), 65–84. doi:10.1037/a0030778.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  90. Vonderheide, S. G., & Mosher, D. L. (1988). Should I put in my diaphragm? Sex-guilt and turn-offs. Journal of Psychology & Human Sexuality, 1(1), 97–111.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  91. Wagstaff, D. L., Sulikowski, D., & Burke, D. (2015). Sex-differences in preference for looking at the face or body in short-term and long-term mating contexts. Evolution, Mind and Behavior, 13(1), 1–17.

    Google Scholar 

  92. Wallen, K., & Rupp, H. A. (2010). Women’s interest in visual sexual stimuli varies with menstrual cycle phase at first exposure and predicts later interest. Hormones and Behavior, 57(2), 263–268. doi:10.1016/j.yhbeh.2009.12.005.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  93. Wang, H., Hahn, A. C., DeBruine, L. M., & Jones, B. C. (2016). Do partnered women discriminate men’s faces less along the attractiveness dimension? Personality and Individual Differences, 98, 153–156. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2016.04.024.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  94. Weijters, B., Cabooter, E., & Schillewaert, N. (2010). The effect of rating scale format on response styles: The number of response categories and response category labels. International Journal of Research in Marketing, 27(3), 236–247. doi:10.1016/j.ijresmar.2010.02.004.

  95. Wiederman, M. W. (1999). Volunteer bias in sexuality research using college student participants. Journal of Sex Research, 36(1), 59–66.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  96. Wilcox, A. J., Dunson, D., & Baird, D. D. (2000). The timing of the “fertile window” in the menstrual cycle: day specific estimates from a prospective study. BMJ, 321(7271), 1259–1262. doi:10.1136/bmj.321.7271.1259.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  97. Willis, J., & Todorov, A. (2006). First impressions: making up your mind after a 100-ms exposure to a face. Psychological Science, 17(7), 592–598. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9280.2006.01750.x.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  98. Woodard, T. L., Collins, K., Perez, M., Balon, R., Tancer, M. E., Kruger, M., et al. (2008). What kind of erotic film clips should we use in female sex research? An exploratory study. The Journal of Sexual Medicine, 5(1), 146–154. doi:10.1111/j.1743-6109.2007.00641.x.

  99. Wright, E. T., Martin, R., Flynn, C., & Gunter, R. (1970). Some psychological effects of cosmetics. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 30(1), 12–14.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  100. Young, S. G., Sacco, D. F., & Hugenberg, K. (2011). Vulnerability to disease is associated with a domain-specific preference for symmetrical faces relative to symmetrical non-face stimuli. European Journal of Social Psychology, 41(5), 558–563. doi:10.1002/ejsp.800.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  101. Zsok, F., Haucke, M., de Wit, C. Y., & Barelds, D. P. H. (2017). What kind of love is love at first sight? An empirical investigation. Personal Relationships.

Download references

Acknowledgements

We would like to thank Andrea Schlump for her helpful comments on the study design and Aaron Kreidel for the editing of the stimuli. This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Florian Zsok.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Zsok, F., Fleischman, D.S., Borg, C. et al. Disgust Trumps Lust: Women’s Disgust and Attraction Towards Men Is Unaffected by Sexual Arousal. Evolutionary Psychological Science 3, 353–363 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40806-017-0106-8

Download citation

Keywords

  • Disgust
  • Sexual arousal
  • Attraction
  • Physical attractiveness
  • Disease avoidance