Men who are looking for one-night stands are able to pick up on cues that indicate a woman is “sexually exploitable,” according to a new study. Sexually exploitable is somewhat of a loaded term, but to researchers from the University of Texas at Austin, it means that a woman is willing to have—or can be pressured into—sex. That includes falling for your best pickup line.
The study, to be published in Evolution and Human Behavior, is not a guide to improving your chances at a bar. The researchers were interested in the way men select potential partners, and the unconscious cues that guide their decisions.
They asked 76 undergraduate straight men to rate photos of women for their attractiveness—for both short- and long-term relationships—and their “exploitability,” such as how easy it would be for a man to seduce them.
Women that were rated as “easy” were more likely to have certain traits, including signs of being easily manipulated—immature, flirty, low intelligence—or being incapacitated, such as drunk or tired. Men also found these women more attractive, but only when judging their potential for short-term relationships.
The results of the study seem to support the researchers idea that men are more turned on when they perceive that a woman’s guard is down.
A follow-up study by the same researchers, though, shows that not all men are on the lookout for an “easy lay.” Men who pick up on these cues tend to be more promiscuous, and lacking in empathy and warmth. For other men, drunk and dumb women blend into the crowd.
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