Arbitrary Social Norms Influence Sex Differences in Romantic Selectivity, Eli Finkel & Paul Eastwick
Psychological Science, October 2009, Pages 1290-1295
Men tend to be less selective than women when evaluating and pursuing potential romantic partners. The present experiment employed speed-dating procedures to test a novel explanation for this sex difference: The mere act of physically approaching a potential romantic partner (vs. being approached), a behavior that is more characteristic of men than of women, increases one's attraction to that partner. This hypothesis was supported in a sample of speed daters (N= 350) who attended a heterosexual event where either men (eight events) or women (seven events) rotated from one partner to the next while members of the other sex remained seated. Rotators were significantly less selective than were sitters, which meant that the tendency for men to be less selective than women at events where men rotated disappeared at events where women rotated. These effects were mediated by increased self-confidence among rotators relative to sitters.
“Anything From Making Out to Having Sex”: Men's Negotiations of Hooking Up and Friends With Benefits Scripts
Marina Epstein, Jerel Calzo, Andrew Smiler & Monique Ward
Journal of Sex Research, September 2009, Pages 414-424
Popular media and academic literature often portray men as happy beneficiaries of nonrelational or casual sex — a view that is consistent with traditional notions of masculinity. This study examined the validity of this notion, using semistructured interviews to explore ways that 19 college-age men defined and enacted “hooking up” and “friends with benefits” scripts. Men's definitions reflected both standard and alternate conceptions of these scripts, and their experiences indicated variability in intentions and outcomes. Whereas a few men embraced the no-strings-attached nonrelational scripts, most rejected the script or enacted an amended version that allowed for greater relational connection. Further, their experiences were not all positive and were not all devoid of emotional connection. These alternative enactments challenge the pro-masculine, universally positive conceptualization of nonrelational sex portrayed in the media and in some empirical research.
Marriage and the City: Search Frictions and Sorting of Singles
Pieter Gautier, Michael Svarer & Coen Teulings
Journal of Urban Economics, forthcoming
This paper develops and tests a model where cities play an important role as marriage markets. The idea is simple. Cities are dense areas where singles can meet more potential partners than in rural areas. To enjoy those benefits, they are willing to pay a premium in terms of higher housing prices. Once married, the benefits from meeting more potential partners vanish and married couples move out of the city. Attractive singles benefit most from a dense market and are therefore more likely to move to the city. Those predictions are tested and confirmed with a unique Danish dataset.
The Sexual Double Standard and Adolescent Peer Acceptance
Derek Kreager & Jeremy Staff
Social Psychology Quarterly, June 2009, Pages 143-164
The belief that women and men are held to different standards of sexual conduct is pervasive in contemporary American society. According to the sexual double standard, boys and men are rewarded and praised for heterosexual sexual contacts, whereas girls and women are derogated and stigmatized for similar behaviors. Although widely held by the general public, research findings on the sexual double standard remain equivocal, with qualitative studies and early attitudinal surveys generally finding evidence of the double standard and more recent experimental vignette designs often failing to find similar results. In this study, we extend prior research by directly measuring the social status of sexually permissive youth. We use data collected from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health to relate adolescents' self-reported numbers of sexual partners to a network measure of peer acceptance. Results suggest that the association between lifetime sexual partnerships and peer status varies significantly by gender, such that greater numbers of sexual partners are positively correlated with boys' peer acceptance, but negatively correlated with girls' peer acceptance. Moreover, the relationship between boys' sexual behaviors and peer acceptance is moderated by socioeconomic origins; sexually permissive boys from disadvantaged backgrounds are predicted to have more friendships than permissive boys from more advantaged backgrounds. Our results thus support the existence of an adolescent sexual double standard and suggest that sexual norms vary by both gender and socioeconomic origins.
How Willing Are You to Accept Sexual Requests from Slightly Unattractive to Exceptionally Attractive Imagined Requestors?
Achim Schützwohl, Amrei Fuchs, William McKibbin & Todd Shackelford
Human Nature, September 2009, Pages 282-293
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.
(Nod to Kevin L, whom EVERYONE finds attractive)