Sex Differences in the Motivation for Viewing Sexually Arousing Images

Maiko Kobayashi*, Koyo Nakamura, Katsumi Watanabe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Sexual motivation strongly influences mate choice and dating behavior and can be triggered by merely viewing sexually arousing visual images, such as erotic pictures and movies. Previous studies suggested that men, more than women, tend to search for sexual cues that signal promiscuity in short-term mates. However, it remains to be tested whether sex differences in the motivation to view sexual cues can be observed by using robust and well-controlled behavioral measures. To this end, we employed a pay-per-view key-pressing task. Japanese self-identified heterosexual male and female participants viewed images of men, women, or couples with two levels of sexual arousal (sexual vs. less sexual). Participants could alter the viewing time of a presented image according to their willingness to keep viewing it. Male participants were the most eager to view sexually arousing images of the opposite sex, whereas female participants were more strongly motivated to view less sexual images of couples. Such sex differences may reflect differentiated reproductive strategies between men and women in terms of men’s motivation toward promiscuity and women’s motivation toward long-term relationships.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-283
Number of pages11
JournalEvolutionary Psychological Science
Volume7
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Sep

Keywords

  • Mate selection
  • Pay-per-view key-pressing task
  • Sex differences
  • Sexual motivation
  • Sexual strategies theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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