Research Matters

Research Matters

Sex and the Economy


Grim economic times could cause men to seek more sexual partners, giving them more chances to reproduce, according to research by Omri Gillath, a social psychology professor at the University of Kansas.

Episode #107



2 minutes (3.1 MB) | Download mp3

Transcript


An investigator finds that grim economic times could cause men to seek more sexual partners. From the University of Kansas, this is Research Matters. I’m Brendan Lynch.

According to research by Omri Gillath, a social psychology professor at KU, men are more likely to pursue short-term mating strategies when faced with a threatening environment.

Gillath: If you think you might die soon, the best thing that you can do is create as many kids as you can — spread you genes around and hope that your partners take care of them. There’s a huge advantage for a man to use these short-term mating strategies.

When made to think about their own death Gillath and his colleagues found that men responded more vigorously to sexual pictures and had increased heart rates when viewing them, compared to when they thought about just dental pain.

Gillath: The ultimate sign of low chances of surviving is death. After threatening them with their own death, we asked them to all kind of test some were with a computer and we asked them to look at a computer with sexual and nonsexual images, to see if death makes men more interested in sex.”

Could a terrible economy prompt men to stray away from their long-term committed relationships and follow a more promiscuous lifestyle? Gillath thinks that’s possible.

Gillath: The economy today is giving us signs that we have lower chances of survival. There’s not as much money, we’re not sure if we’re going to have our jobs, we’re not sure we can support our existing kids. It’s like living on the savannah and discovering you don’t have enough fruit and the animals are scarce. In such times, guys might be more inclined to spread their genes and hence be highly prepared for sex.”

For more on mating strategies and the economy, log on to Research Matters dot KU dot EDU. For the University of Kansas, I’m Brendan Lynch.

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Permanently dismal economy could prompt men to seek more sex partners


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