Well, this is… unexpected. According to a new study conducted by researchers at Southampton and Bristol universities, heterosexual men are less likely to use a condom if they find their casual sexual partner attractive.
The group of researchers surveyed 51 heterosexual men between the ages of 18 and 69 by asking them to take part in face-to-face interviews. Participants were shown pictures of 20 different women, and asked to rate how attractive they were on a scale of 1 to 100, before being asked a series of questions.
They were quizzed on what the likelihood would be of them sleeping with each woman if they were single, the chances of them using a condom if they did have sex, how many other men (out of 100) they believe would also have condomless sex with each woman, and the chances of each woman carrying an STD.
The study was small, so should be taken with a huge spoonful of salt. But the results were interesting nonetheless, with the men saying they were more likely to use a condom if they didn’t find their partner attractive.
The lead author of the study Anastasia Eleftheriou explained in an email to the Washington Post: “Men are more willing to have condomless sex with attractive women… even though they might believe that those women are more likely [to have an STD].”
The study’s co-author Roger Ingham offered two possible explanations for such a result, noting firstly that it could be because “men want to reproduce with women they find to be more attractive”. His second suggestion was that men might believe sleeping with attractive women is a marker of status, “and so are willing to take more risk to acquire this status”.