A recent study from Ghent University in Belgium found that dangerous and harmful behaviour like smoking and drinking makes men more appealing as short-term sexual partners. "Duh," we thought, and then asked an expert to tell us why.
I'd like to argue that smokers and drinkers (so-called "bad boys," or risk-taking men) are not somehow more hot than more timid or straight-laced guys, but I cannot do so in earnest: Everyone knows men like these are desirable.
Thanks to a recent study, this is now scientifically verifiable. Called "The Young Male Cigarette and Alcohol Syndrome: Smoking and Drinking as a Short-Term Mating Strategy," the study was conducted by Eveline Vincke of Ghent University in Belgium and "explored the possibility that male youngsters use these physically risky behaviours as a short-term mating strategy." The findings confirm this possibility to be true, identifying smoking and drinking as sexually compelling because they are physically harmful. According to the study findings, "despite all efforts to sensitise youngsters for the dangers of smoking and drinking, male tobacco and (especially) alcohol use still bring attractiveness benefits in short-term mating situations." In fact, warning young people of the dangers of smoking and drinking may be having the exact opposite effect, the study found: Such education reinforces the dangerousness of the behaviour, thus solidifying its attractiveness in the eyes of young women.
But why are people so aroused by this tired, stereotypical hot guy? Tristan Bridges is a masculinity scholar and a professor of sociology at the College at Brockport State University of New York. In an interview with Broadly, Bridges explained that the link between dangerous behaviour and masculinity is historic. "In the 1970s, the psychologist Robert Brannon famously said that a form of [the phrase] 'Give 'em Hell' was an integral component of contemporary masculine identity," Bridges said. What Brannon meant was that being a man was defined by being an aggressive asshole—and it still is.
Bridges explained that researchers have recently been studying men in laboratories, observing the way they react to the perceived loss of their masculinity. "Research has shown that men whose masculinity is experimentally challenged are more likely to support war," Bridges said. "They express more sexual prejudice towards gay men; they are more likely to claim to believe that men are inherently superior to women, and more."
But does this mean that men are genetically programmed to live dangerously? Not so much. Bridges says that this is a social phenomenon, the result of an idealised division between the genders. "What do men turn to when they have nowhere else to turn?" Bridges asked rhetorically. "How do they find ways to establish masculine identities when their claim to masculinity has been challenged? Risk-taking is one method on which research has shown that men rely."
Read the full Broadly article here: https://goo.gl/N9dXcW