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Kevin Lewis

July 07, 2018

Sex through a sacred lens: Longitudinal effects of sanctification of marital sexuality
Krystal Hernandez-Kane & Annette Mahoney
Journal of Family Psychology, June 2018, Pages 425-434


Research attending to the role of religion and spirituality in enhancing sexuality in marriage is virtually absent. In response to this scarcity, this longitudinal study examined the sanctification of marital sexuality among newly married, heterosexual individuals (N = 67; married 4-18 months at Time 1). Greater sanctification of marital sexuality early in the marriage predicted more frequent sexual intercourse, sexual satisfaction, and marital satisfaction 1 year later for individual respondents, after controlling for initial levels of the dependent variable as well as age, frequencies of religious service attendance and prayer, and biblical conservatism. Greater sanctification continued to longitudinally predict greater sexual frequency and sexual satisfaction after also controlling for initial marital satisfaction. Participants with higher initial levels of sanctification of marital sexuality, relative to those with lower levels, experienced smaller declines in sexual satisfaction across 1 year. Findings add to empirical evidence that greater sanctification of close relationships facilitates relational well-being.

Benevolent Sexism and Mate Preferences: Why Do Women Prefer Benevolent Men Despite Recognizing That They Can Be Undermining?
Pelin Gul & Tom Kupfer
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming


Benevolent sexism (BS) has detrimental effects on women, yet women prefer men with BS attitudes over those without. The predominant explanation for this paradox is that women respond to the superficially positive appearance of BS without being aware of its subtly harmful effects. We propose an alternative explanation drawn from evolutionary and sociocultural theories on mate preferences: Women find BS men attractive because BS attitudes and behaviors signal that a man is willing to invest. Five studies showed that women prefer men with BS attitudes (Studies 1a, 1b, and 3) and behaviors (Studies 2a and 2b), especially in mating contexts, because BS mates are perceived as willing to invest (protect, provide, and commit). Women preferred BS men despite also perceiving them as patronizing and undermining. These findings extend understanding of women's motives for endorsing BS and suggest that women prefer BS men despite having awareness of the harmful consequences.

Do Men and Women Know What They Want? Sex Differences in Online Daters' Educational Preferences
Stephen Whyte, Ho Fai Chan & Benno Torgler
Psychological Science, forthcoming


Using a unique cross-sectional data set of dating website members' educational preferences for potential mates (N = 41,936), we showed that women were more likely than men to stipulate educational preferences at all ages. When members indifferent to educational level were excluded, however, the specificity of men's and women's preferences did differ for different age groups. That is, whereas women expressed more refined educational preferences during their years of maximum fertility, their demand specificity decreased with age. Men's specificity, in contrast, remained stable until the 40s, when it was greater than that of postreproductive women, and then was higher during their peak years of career-earnings potential. Further, when individuals' level of education was controlled for, women (compared with men) were more likely to state a higher minimum preference for educational level in a potential mate.

Risk or Release?: Porn Use Trajectories and the Accumulation of Sexual Partners
Kyler Rasmussen & Alex Bierman
Social Currents, forthcoming


A central question in the study of pornography consumption is whether consumption influences risky sexual behavior. In this research, we focus on one key aspect of risky sexual behavior, the accumulation of sexual partners. Using longitudinal latent class analysis of a nationally representative sample, we determine distinct trajectories of pornography consumption. We then use hurdle models to relate membership in these trajectories to the initiation of sexual activity and accumulation of sexual partners. Even with controls for likely confounds (such as risk-taking propensity and relationship formation), we find that adolescents with a trajectory of early and regular pornography use are more likely to report the initiation of sexual activity and nearly double the number of sexual partners as those with a low-use trajectory. This research is of sociological interest because pornography consumption is becoming increasingly common well before adulthood, suggesting that recent cohorts of emerging adults may be more likely to engage in risky sexual behavior through the accumulation of multiple sexual partners.

Attentional and evaluative biases help people maintain relationships by avoiding infidelity
James McNulty et al.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, July 2018, Pages 76-95


Two longitudinal studies of 233 newlywed couples suggest that automatic attentional and evaluative biases regarding attractive relationship alternatives can help people maintain relationships by avoiding infidelity. Both studies assessed participants' tendency to automatically disengage attention from photos of attractive, opposite sex individuals; one study assessed participants' tendency to devalue those individuals by comparing their attractiveness evaluations to evaluations made by single people, and both studies assessed infidelity and relationship status multiple times for approximately three years. Several sources of devaluation emerged, but only participants' history of short-term sex predicted both biases; having more short-term sexual partners was associated with being slower to disengage attention from attractive alternatives, and, among men, evaluating such individuals more positively. In turn, both processes exerted indirect effects on relationship dissolution by predicting infidelity; being 100 ms faster to disengage attention from attractive alternatives or rating them 2 scale points lower in attractiveness was associated with a decrease in the odds of infidelity of approximately 50%; the effect of devaluation on infidelity was stronger among participants who evidenced steeper declines in marital satisfaction. These associations emerged because unfaithful individuals took longer to disengage attention from attractive alternatives compared with other social targets and did not differ from singles in their evaluations of those alternatives. Among several other predictors of infidelity, partner attractiveness was associated with a decrease in the odds of infidelity among men but not women. These findings suggest a role for basic psychological processes in predicting infidelity, highlight the critical role of automatic processes in relationship functioning, and suggest novel ways to promote relationship success.

Do men with more masculine voices have better immunocompetence?
Steven Arnocky et al.
Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming


The human voice is often considered to be a secondary sexual characteristic that signals underlying information about the immunocompetence of the speaker (i.e. the immunocompetence handicap hypothesis; ICHH). However, no studies have yet shown a relationship between vocal characteristics and biomarkers of immune function or self-reported health. In a sample of 108 men, we examined correlations between masculine vocal characteristics [i.e. relatively low fundamental frequency (F0), low F0 variability (F0-SD), low formant position (Pf), and high vocal tract length (VTL)] in relation to salivary immunoglobulin-A (sIgA; a marker of mucosal immunity), testosterone (T), and well-validated measures of self-reported health status. Results showed that sIgA correlated with masculinized F0, Pf, and VTL. Self-report health correlated with masculinized Pf and VTL. Anticipated future health correlated negatively with F0-SD and sick role propensity (less interference of illness in daily life) correlated positively with VTL. Perceived susceptibility to infection correlated with more feminized F0 and F0-SD. Our results demonstrated a small but consistent relationship between men's vocal characteristics and one putative indicator of mucosal immunity along with self-identified health status. We suggest that more research is warranted to determine whether the masculinity of men's voices may serve as an indicator of their phenotypic quality.

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