New UK research has found that when looking for a partner, women do not find men with certain “exploitability cues” attractive.
Carried out by researchers at Brunel University London, the new study looked at 151 young heterosexual and bisexual female university students and asked them to rate 110 photos of men on how attractive they found them in the short term (that is for casual sex) and long term (for example, for a committed relationship).
They were also asked to rate how easy they said it would be to seduce, pressure, or deceive the man in the photo into sex based on what the researchers call “exploitability cues,” which include being shy, young, sleepy, intoxicated, immature, or reckless.
The findings, published in the journal of Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences, showed that women were able to pick up on these exploitability cues and determine how easy a man would be to manipulate or seduce, a finding which the researchers say mirrors that of a previous study which showed that men can also pick up on these cues in women.
However, unlike men, women are not attracted to a man if he shows signs of being easy to seduce, manipulate, deceive or pressure into sex, whether it is because he is drunk, or young, or immature or so on.
Instead, women are attracted to cues that indicate a man is romantically interested in them, such as being flirtatious, and which indicate their health and genetic fitness, such as being intelligent and good-looking.
“Research has focused almost entirely on men as perpetrators of sexual exploitation and women as victims,” said Dr Lora Adair.
“But we found women can also figure out men’s sexual exploitability based on signs they are drunk or a likely pushover.”
“We found that women can identify men that would be easier to pressure, deceive, seduce, and/or sexually assault, just as men can identify such women. But unlike men, women do not find these cues attractive,” with Adair adding that the cues heterosexual men look to exploit in women are probably different from the ones women would use to exploit men.
“Women aren’t attracted to men that seem easy to manipulate or deceive,” said Adair.
“By and large, we find no evidence at all of ‘game-playing’ or exploitive strategies in women’s mating toolbox.”
“What are women attracted to? Good health and interest. In short, women are interested in men that seem interested in them. Looking ‘easy’ isn’t sexy, reciprocating her interest is.”