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ChangingMinds Blog! > Blog Archive > 25-May-14


Sunday 25-May-14

Touching underwear, risks and money

What gets you turned on? It's different for men and women and there can be many differences within this. For many men, just seeing an attractive woman in a state of partial undress is enough. The are a relatively uncomplicated gender when it comes to sex, with an easily aroused drive to spread their seed. Men fundamentally seek just two things: health and fertility. Health can be seen in such as shiny hair and clear skin and eyes. Fertility can be seen in big breasts, wide hips and youth.

Women are more involved in childbirth and nurture, so are more selective. They broadly seek power and kindness ('protect me but don't hurt me') yet, like men, can also be turned on by relatively simple things, including healthy, attractive men, though not as quickly and easily as men.

Sex sells. While the generalized statement can be contested, the drivers above are often used in advertising, which is why you see attractive women and powerful-looking men in all kinds of adverts.

It has been shown that after looking at sexual images, men, but not women, become more impatient for financial rewards and will take more risks in doing so. Such knowledge is gold dust for people selling finance a carefully designed ad can hook in an awful lot of money.

But how about women? Can you use subtle sexual cues to get them to take more risks when making decisions? Anouk Festjens and colleagues faked a demonstration of clothing, including getting women to handle t-shirts or men's boxer shorts, then afterwards gave them a test that included options for shorter or longer-term financial reward. The women who handled the boxer shorts tended to go for the shorter-term benefits, which in selling you usually want. In further tests, women who handled boxer shorts were willing to pay more for products (men only had to look at a bra to get them to pay more).

Does this mean women are more tactile? Perhaps. It certainly has relevance for those who use sexual imagery to sell to women. Perhaps one way of improving things would be to get the women in the adverts to engage in sexually arousing touching, for example showing a woman doing washing handling her partner's underwear.

Anouk Festjens, Sabrina Bruyneel, and Siegfried Dewitte (2013). What a feeling! Touching sexually laden stimuli makes women seek rewards. Journal of Consumer Psychology

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