Sexual attraction to exploitability
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This research explores the relationship between sexual exploitability and sexual attractiveness. Sexual exploitability describes the ease with which a woman could be pressured, deceived, or coerced into sex, or sexually assaulted. Study 1 documented novel cues to sexual exploitability. Moreover, men found women displaying these cues to be attractive as short-term mates, supporting the hypothesis that men’s attraction functions to motivate the pursuit of sexually accessible women. In Study 2, it was determined that women also perceived other women who displayed cues to exploitability as sexually attractive to men. Because displaying exploitability enhances a woman’s sexual attractiveness, women may have co-evolved mate attraction mechanisms designed to capitalize on this feature of male sexual psychology. In Study 3, it was hypothesized that three individual differences would predict which women would be more likely to signal exploitability as a mate attraction tactic: propensity towards short-term mating, relationship status, and self-perceived mate value. Women self-reported their likelihood of using mate attraction tactics involving the intentional display of exploitability cues. Women inclined toward casual sex were more likely to report using such tactics. In Study 4, a separate set of female participants made a hypothetical video dating profile to provide a record of their actual behavior in a mate attraction scenario. Women inclined toward short-term mating and high in the personality characteristic of Openness to Experience were more likely than their female counterparts to display exploitability cues in their videos. These convergent results across studies support the hypothesis that women pursuing short-term mating capitalize on the relationship between exploitability and attractiveness to achieve their mating goals. Results from these studies expand our knowledge of sexual exploitability and mate attraction. Documentation of a comprehensive list of cues to exploitability expands our knowledge of potential predictors of sexual victimization. Identification of individual differences that predict which women may functionally display exploitability cues increases our understanding of which women may be at greater risk for sexual exploitation.