Two to tango

Kevin Lewis

February 10, 2018

Thin Is In? Think Again: The Rising Importance of Muscularity in the Thin Ideal Female Body
Frances Bozsik et al.
Sex Roles, forthcoming


Research has documented an increased emphasis on fitness in media targeting women. However, it is unclear whether this emphasis has resulted in increased muscularity in the perceived ideal female body shape. We sought to evaluate whether the ideal female figure has incorporated increased muscularity into the existing ideal body type that already emphasizes thinness. In Study 1, 78 female undergraduates evaluated images of U.S. beauty pageant winners over the past 15 years on dimensions of thinness, muscularity, and attractiveness. Results indicated that muscularity and thinness ratings of pageant winners significantly increased over time. In Study 2, 64 female undergraduates evaluated two different versions of the same image of a model: a Thin Muscular image and a Thin Only image in which the appearance of muscularity was removed through digital editing. When images were presented in pairs, results indicated that participants found the Thin Muscular image more attractive than the Thin Only image. These results suggest that the current perceived ideal female figure includes both extreme thinness and muscularity and that women prefer this muscular thin figure to a solely thin figure. These findings have implications for clinical treatments related to body image, compulsive exercise, and media literacy.

Genetics, the Rearing Environment, and the Intergenerational Transmission of Divorce: A Swedish National Adoption Study
Jessica Salvatore et al.
Psychological Science, forthcoming


We used classical and extended adoption designs in Swedish registries to disentangle genetic and rearing-environment influences on the intergenerational transmission of divorce. In classical adoption analyses, adoptees (n = 19,715) resembled their biological parents, rather than their adoptive parents, in their history of divorce. In extended adoption analyses, offspring (n = 82,698) resembled their not-lived-with fathers and their lived-with mothers. There was stronger resemblance to lived-with mothers, providing indirect evidence of rearing-environment influences on the intergenerational transmission of divorce. The heritability of divorce assessed across generations was 0.13. We attempted to replicate our findings using within-generation data from adoptive and biological siblings (ns = 8,523-53,097). Adoptees resembled their biological, not adoptive, siblings in their history of divorce. Thus, there was consistent evidence that genetic factors contributed to the intergenerational transmission of divorce but weaker evidence for a rearing-environment effect of divorce. Within-generation data from siblings supported these conclusions.

An evolutionary perspective on orgasm
Gordon Gallup, John Towne & Jennifer Stolz
Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences, January 2018, Pages 52-69


The capacity to experience an orgasm evolved to promote high-frequency sex in species with low reproductive rates. Growing evidence shows that orgasms also have a variety of other reproductive consequences. Based on a distinction between orgasm frequency and orgasm intensity, there is emerging evidence in humans that orgasms function to promote and fine tune what are often very different, sex-specific reproductive outcomes. We provide an overview of the effect of hormonal contraceptives on orgasm, mate choice, and sexual satisfaction. The effects of sex during pregnancy, along with orgasm induced vocalizations, facial expressions during orgasm, and the putative effects of semen exposure on orgasm and sexual functioning in females are also discussed. Recent research suggests that female orgasms evolved to promote good mate choices, and we propose that instances of orgasmic dysfunction in many women may be a byproduct of an inability to find and/or retain high-quality male partners.

Race and Trends in Pornography Viewership, 1973-2016: Examining the Moderating Roles of Gender and Religion
Samuel Perry & Cyrus Schleifer
Journal of Sex Research, forthcoming


While some research has uncovered racial differences in patterns of pornography viewership, no studies to date have considered how these patterns may be changing over time or how these trends may be moderated by other key predictors of pornography viewership - specifically, gender and religion. Using nationally representative data from the 1973-2016 General Social Survey (GSS; N = 20,620), and taking into account different ethnoreligious histories with pornography as a moral issue, we examined how race, gender, and religion intersect to influence trends in pornography viewership over 43 years. Analyses revealed that Black Americans in general were more likely to view pornography than Whites, and they were increasing in their pornography viewership at a higher rate than Whites. Moreover, Black men were more likely to consume pornography than all other race/gender combinations, but differed only from White women in their increasing rate of pornography viewership. Lastly, frequent worship attendance moderated trends in pornography viewership only for White men. By contrast, regardless of attendance frequency, Black men and women showed increasing rates of pornography use, while White women showed flat rates. We conclude by discussing the implications of these findings for research on the intersections of race, gender, religion, and sexuality.

Personality Change Among Newlyweds: Patterns, Predictors, and Associations With Marital Satisfaction Over Time
Justin Lavner et al.
Developmental Psychology, forthcoming


The early years of marriage are a time of significant personal and relational changes as partners adjust to their new roles, but the specific ways that spouses' personalities may change in early marriage and how these changes are associated with spouses' marital satisfaction trajectories have been overlooked. Using 3 waves of data collected over the first 18 months of marriage (N = 338 spouses, or 169 heterosexual newlywed marriages), we examined changes in spouses' self-reported Big 5 personality traits over time and the association between initial levels and changes in personality and spouses' concurrent marital satisfaction trajectories. Results indicated significant changes in personality over time, including declines in agreeableness for husbands and for wives, declines in extraversion for husbands, declines in openness and neuroticism for wives, and increases in conscientiousness for husbands. These results did not differ by spouses' age, demographics, relationship length prior to marriage, cohabitation prior to marriage, initial marital satisfaction, or parenthood status. Initial levels of personality as well as changes in personality over time were associated with spouses' marital satisfaction trajectories. Taken together, these findings indicate that newlywed spouses' personalities undergo meaningful changes during the newlywed years and these changes are associated with changes in spouses' marital satisfaction. Further research is needed to understand the processes underlying changes in personality early in marriage and to examine the mechanisms linking changes in personality and changes in marital satisfaction.

Changing Jobs and Changing Chores? The Longitudinal Association of Women's and Men's Occupational Gender-Atypicality and Couples' Housework Performance
Elizabeth Aura McClintock
Sex Roles, February 2018, Pages 165-181


Prior research linking occupational sex composition (the proportion of women in an occupation) to housework has yielded conflicting results and relies exclusively on cross-sectional data. The present article extends scholarship on the gendered division of household labor by using longitudinal data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) 1981-2013 to assess how changes in occupational sex composition alter heterosexual married couples' housework performance over time. I find that either spouse's gender-atypical employment (e.g., husband's employment in a predominately female job) is associated with gender-atypical housework performance by both spouses (e.g., higher housework hours for the husband and fewer hours for the wife). The association of women's occupational sex composition with housework is driven by changes in individual women's occupations and both spouses' housework over time. In contrast, the association of men's occupational sex composition with housework is driven by differences between different couples, not by within-couple change over time. Thus, fundamentally different causal mechanisms link women's and men's occupational sex composition to couples' housework performance, and only for women are longitudinal changes in occupational sex composition associated with changes in housework. These findings have important implications for understanding occupation and housework as domains of gender performance.

Men with more masculine digit ratios are partnered with more attractive women
Berenika Kuna & Andrzej Galbarczyk
Personality and Individual Differences, 1 April 2018, Pages 8-11


The low 2nd to 4th digit ratio (2D:4D) is thought to reflect higher prenatal exposure to testosterone and may be associated with higher testosterone levels in adulthood and higher reproductive success in males. However, there is little evidence that higher testosterone levels are directly responsible for higher male fertility. Here, we investigate if this phenomenon may be related to mate choice, and, in particular, if males with lower 2D:4D are partnered with more attractive and potentially more fertile women. We compared waist-to-hip ratio and breast size of 50 women from two groups, depending on the 2D:4D (more masculine, more feminine) of their actual partner. Moreover, we examined the relationship between men's digit ratio and their mate's body type. Men with more masculine 2D:4D were coupled with women with significantly lower waist-to-hip ratios. They were also four times more often partnered with women who had both relatively narrow waists and large breasts. These findings suggest that levels of sex steroids during fetal development in males may have long-lasting influences on their mating value. This is the first study to show relationships between men's intrauterine environment, reflected by 2D:4D, and their actual partners' anthropometric traits, linked to perceived attractiveness and potential fertility.

Ghosting and destiny: Implicit theories of relationships predict beliefs about ghosting
Gili Freedman et al.
Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, forthcoming


Two studies examined how implicit theories of relationships are associated with ghosting (i.e., ending a relationship by cutting off all contact). Previous research on implicit theories of relationships has identified two types of beliefs, destiny and growth, and the present research examines how these implicit theories are associated with ghosting perceptions, intentions, and behaviors. Study 1 was an exploratory study conducted on Mechanical Turk that focused on romantic relationships (N = 554). Study 2 was a confirmatory study conducted on Prolific Academic that aimed to replicate the romantic relationship findings and extended the research to friendships (N = 747). Stronger destiny beliefs, compared to weaker destiny beliefs, were positively associated with feeling more positively toward ghosting, having stronger ghosting intentions, and having previously used ghosting to terminate relationships. Stronger growth beliefs, compared to weaker growth beliefs, showed the opposite pattern with perceptions of acceptability and intentions to use ghosting. Taken together, the present research provides an important first step in understanding how implicit theories relate to relationship termination strategies and, specifically, the process of ghosting.

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