Men cite a variety of reasons for not wearing condoms during sex (they think their dicks are "too long," they think sex with a condom doesn't feel as good, they're attempting to create more cast members for MTV's Teen Mom), but a survey indicates there's another reason why guys won't wrap it up: They are less likely to think a hot woman has a sexual transmitted infection (STI).
The survey, published in the medical journal BMJ Open, asked 51 heterosexual, English-speaking men between the ages of 18 and 69 to look at black-and-white photographs of 20 different women's faces. They were asked to rate each face's attractiveness, to guess the likelihood that each woman pictured had an STI, and to state how willing they would be to have sex with each woman, with a condom or without.
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Unsurprisingly, the more attractive a woman was perceived to be by a man, the more he wanted to have sex with her. Yet, according to the study, men were also less eager to wear a condom with the women they found more attractive.
While many studies have examined how perceived attractiveness influences decisions about sexual behavior, this study is the first specifically to look at the relationship between attractiveness and intended condom use in heterosexual men.
The results from the small sample of men indicated that the more attractive a man believed a woman to be, the less likely he thought that she would have an STI—and the more willing he would be to have unprotected sex with her.
"Although participants did not give justification for their prioritization, I personally believe that this might be due to a few reasons that are worth investigating further," Anastasia Eleftheriou, doctoral researcher at the University of Southampton and lead researcher in this study, tells Broadly. "One of them could be evolutionary, as men might subconsciously choose to reproduce with a woman that has 'good genes' even though this might put them at risk of catching an STI," Eleftheriou explains. "However, it might also be because they believe they might not get the chance to have sex with a very attractive woman very often, therefore, they are happy to risk it."
It might also be because they believe they might not get the chance to have sex with a very attractive woman very often, therefore, they are happy to risk it.
Justification aside, Eleftheriou believes studies like this can provide valuable insights into the biases many people have about STIs, which could potentially help improve sex education.
"Sex education that focuses on how most STIs, especially at an early stage, do not influence perceived attractiveness can definitely help," she says. "However, one of the main findings of the study was that there are different types of men with different attitudes on condom-use intentions based on attractiveness." Therefore, Eleftheriou believes, "tailored sex education interventions" might be a better method for removing the biases that surround STIs.
To gain comprehensive understanding of such biases, much more research needs to be done. This study only surveyed heterosexual men, but Eleftheriou says that "further studies will aim to investigate these relationships in other groups, such as women and homosexual or bisexual men."