Academic studies can be fascinating... and totally confusing. So we decided to strip away all of the scientific jargon and break them down for you.
When it comes to casual sex, researchers have long referred back to the seminal 1989 study which suggested that men are more likely to accept a sexual invitation from a stranger than women are. But clever researchers from Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz in Germany didn’t think this painted a fair picture of male vs. female sexual desire -- they thought that perhaps the 1989 study left out important cultural context, like the potential for slut-shaming and the possibility of sexual violence that are unfortunately all too real to women. These researchers wanted to see what would happen if they added a bit more nuance to the oft-cited study to find out: Would women be more likely to accept strange men’s sex propositions if they wouldn’t suffer the social repercussions or safety risks?
To do this, they brought 60 heterosexual men and women into a lab under the guise of testing for an online dating site. Subjects were shown pictures of someone of the opposite sex and told that these men or women had seen his or her picture and were either interested in a date or sex, depending on the condition -- meaning: some of the subjects were explicitly told that the people in the photos wanted to have sex with them.
The researchers left them alone to indicate which potential suitors they would date or sleep with. If subjects were interested in sex with any of the people in the photos who also expressed that desire toward them, a date would be arranged -- a.k.a., how Tinder is actually supposed to work. Since it was subjects' potential concern for their safety that made the 1989 study a poor indicator of true willingness to engage in casual sex, the researchers told participants here that they would film the first 30 minutes of the date -- in effect ensuring their safety for at least 30 minutes.
The rates of interest in casual sex were exactly the same for men and women when they were taken off the streets and into a lab that controlled for all of the stigma and potential danger women often face.
Turns out, when you remove societal judgement and safety risks, women are just as DTF as men are. Who knew safe, sex-positive environments were such a turn on for women? Well, hopefully everyone now.
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