Study: Men downplay their attraction to adolescent girls

A new study of Bulgarian men has replicated a previous 2013 experiment on British men. In both studies, the same photographs of adolescent girls (Tanner stages 3-4) were shown to one group of men labelled as age 14-15, and a different set of men labelled as age 16-17. Subjects reported more sexual attraction when the photographs were labelled as 16-17. The researchers conclude:

[T]he consistent finding that the same photographs of younger females, but with different age labels, were assigned significantly different levels of attractiveness suggests that cognitive factors beyond biologically driven sexual attraction were involved in making these ratings. In all the three samples, apparently younger girls were rated as less attractive than older girls despite being the same photographs. We hypothesize that this difference reflects some self-censoring mechanism involved in making such judgments. This may involve a form of comparison between participants’ own sexual attraction to the individual girl and the likely social norms surrounding this judgment.

This finding has now been replicated across four samples, including one that is yet to be reported.

4 thoughts on “Study: Men downplay their attraction to adolescent girls

  1. A related issue is how the culture men are in affects what they report about their sexual attractions. How does the self-reporting of men in a country where the age of consent is 18 differ from that of men in a country where it’s 13 etc?

    I remember reading a post by an American man who had served in Afghanistan about how men over there are more open about their sexual attraction to minors due to it being more accepted. One time him and his squad were watching School of Rock when 10yr old Miranda Cosgrove came on and one shouted out “Wow! Hot liitle bitch!” and all the other men cheered out in agreement. This would never have happened back in America for fear of being lynched.


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