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Culture & Religion

Why (Some) Men Think Dumb Women Are More Attractive

Some men–those who lack empathy and warmth–are better than others when it comes to picking up on visual cues that flag women as more willing to engage in casual sex. 

What’s the Latest Development?

A study out of the University of Texas–Austin has found that certain kinds of men take more notice when women are susceptible to sexual advances, such as when they are tired, separated from family and friends, intoxicated, and so on. Graduate student researchers originally found that men, when asked which kind of woman was more suitable for a one-night stand, preferred photos of sleepy, unintelligent or drunk women (when asked to choose a long-term partner, they preferred alert, intelligent women). In a modification of the original study, they found that men lacking in empathy and warmth were more likely to pick up on these visual cues, which suggested vulnerability and a greater willingness to have sex without an accompanying emotional commitment.

What’s the Big Idea?

Men and women have different reproductive strategies which influence under what conditions they are willing to have sex. Biologists generally believe these differences stem from evolutionary pressures. Because men produce about 170 million sperm each day, there is little reproductive risk in playing the field. Women, however, who have vastly fewer eggs than men have sperm, take a larger risk if they involve themselves with a man who has no intention of providing, either by helping to raise a child or by offering emotional support. The Texas researchers presumed that because evolution works more slowly than technological innovations, such as various forms of birth control, women remain more reluctant than men to have uncommitted sex. 

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