Does attractiveness influence condom use intentions in heterosexual men? An experimental study

BMJ Open, 2016;6:e010883 doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2015-01088, 17 June 2016

Abstract

Objectives Judgements of attractiveness have been shown to influence the character of social interactions. The present study sought to better understand the relationship between perceived attractiveness, perceived sexual health status and condom use intentions in a heterosexual male population.

Setting The study employed an electronic questionnaire to collect all data, during face-to-face sessions.

Participants 51 heterosexual, English-speaking men aged between 18 and 69 years.

Outcome measures Men were asked to rate the attractiveness of 20 women on the basis of facial photographs, to estimate the likelihood that each woman had a sexually transmitted infection (STI) and to indicate their willingness to have sex with or without a condom with each woman.

Results The more attractive a woman was judged to be on average, the more likely participants would be willing to have sex with her (p<0.0001) and the less likely they were to intend to use a condom during sex (p<0.0001). Multivariate analysis revealed that higher condom use intentions towards a particular woman were associated with lower ratings of her attractiveness (p<0.0005), higher ratings of her STI likelihood (p<0.0001), the participant being in an exclusive relationship (p=0.002), having a less satisfactory sex life (p=0.015), lower age (p=0.001), higher number of sexual partners (p=0.001), higher age at first intercourse (p=0.002), higher rates of condomless sex in the last 12 months (p<0.043) and lower confidence in their ability to assess whether or not a woman had an STI (p=0.001). The more attractive a participant judged himself to be, the more he believed that other men like him would engage in condomless sex (p=0.001) and the less likely he was to intend to use a condom himself (p=0.02).

Conclusions Male perceptions of attractiveness influence their condom use intentions; such risk biases could profitably be discussed during sex education sessions and in condom use promotion interventions.

Full text of paper (Open Access) available here

NB: The sample size of this study is small and not very diverse 

Sex and Disability on SBS Insight next week

SBS Insight
Airdate: Tuesday, April 12, 2016 at 20:30

Channel: SBS

Imagine: you’ve been married to your partner for 25  years. You live with them, love them, are sexually attracted to them, but physical intimacy? Almost impossible.

This is the reality for David and Jenni Heckendorf, who both have profound cerebral palsy that greatly limits their mobility. In order to have sex, they must use the services of a sex worker; a process of extreme trust, vulnerability and financial cost.

They lobbied to use their NDIS funding to access their sex worker, but others are restricted by state laws and regulations around sex work.

Rachel Wotton is one such sex worker, who works with clients with physical and intellectual disabilities.

What if your child had an intellectual disability? How do you teach them about all the nuances of sex and sexuality: consent, attraction, pleasure, emotion, consequences?

Mary McMahon has helped her gay son negotiate porn. Jarrod McGrath teaches sex-ed classes for children with intellectual disabilities.

And what happens, if and when kids come along? What is the most ethical course of action?

This week, Insight is looking at two issues that are definitely not mutually exclusive: sex and disability.

Women on average are physiologically sexually aroused to both male and female sexual stimuli

University of Essex, 05 November 2015

When it comes to what turns them on, women are either bisexual or gay, but never straight, according to a new study by the University of Essex.

Whereas previous research has shown that women generally are sexually aroused by both men and women to varying degrees, it overlooked the differences between women who are straight or gay.

  • Read more of press release from University of Essex here
  • View article abstract for ‘Sexual Arousal and Masculinity-Femininity of Women’ here

Why Straight Men Have Sex With Each Other

nymag.com, August 5, 2015

When straight women hook up with other straight women, no real explanation is required; when straight men hook up with other straight men, it’s a different story.

This divide stems from a common understanding of human sexuality: The female variety of it is more malleable, more inherently open to experimentation and variety, than the male variety. In Not Gay: Sex Between Straight White Men, out last month from NYU Press, Jane Ward, an associate professor of women’s studies at the University of California, Riverside, makes the case that this is a flawed understanding.

Read more here

‘Gay genes’: science is on the right track, we’re born this way. Let’s deal with it.