Article

The Siren's call: Terror management and the threat of men's sexual attraction to women

Department of Psychology, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ85721-0068, USA.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (Impact Factor: 5.08). 02/2006; 90(1):129-46. DOI: 10.1037/0022-3514.90.1.129
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Why do sexually appealing women often attract derogation and aggression? According to terror management theory, women's sexual allure threatens to increase men's awareness of their corporeality and thus mortality. Accordingly, in Study 1 a subliminal mortality prime decreased men's but not women's attractiveness ratings of alluring women. In Study 2, mortality salience (MS) led men to downplay their sexual intent toward a sexy woman. In Study 3, MS decreased men's interest in a seductive but not a wholesome woman. In Study 4, MS decreased men's but not women's attraction to a sexy opposite-sex target. In Study 5, MS and a corporeal lust prime increased men's tolerance of aggression toward women. Discussion focuses on mortality concerns and male sexual ambivalence.

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    • "In line with this, research shows that existential anxiety intensifies the desire to distance oneself from animals and from one's body: MS increases disgust reactions to situations involving bodily products (Goldenberg et al., 2001), and viewing pictures of bodily waste increases the accessibility of death-related thoughts (Cox, Goldenberg , Pyszczynski, & Weise, 2007). Mortality primes have also been shown to increase men's dislike toward sexually attractive, seductive women and their tolerance for violence against a woman (Landau et al., 2006). The finding that MS led laypeople and municipal judges alike to recommend higher bonds for a woman arrested for prostitution (Rosenblatt, Greenberg, Solomon, Pyszczynski, & Lyon, 1989) can similarly be read as death anxiety increasing punitive impulses toward a violator of the purity ⁄ sanctity foundation. "
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