Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Rough sex is most commonly associated with curiosity and a need for novelty, with only a small subset motivated by aggression

Rough Sex and Pornography Preferences: Novelty Seeking, Not Aggression. Rebecca L. Burch, Catherine Salmon. EvoS Journal. Jul 2022. https://evostudies.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/Burch-Salmon-2022-Vol12SpIss1.pdf

Research on sexual behavior often characterizes rough sex as sexual aggression and/or abuse. The same characterization exists for pornography and many links between these topics imply an escalation between pornography use, rough sex, and sexual violence. Among 734 male and female undergraduates, we examined relationships between rough sex, sexual violence, other sexual acts, and pornography use. Findings indicate that rough sex is most commonly associated with curiosity and a need for novelty, and that rough sex is associated with pornography consumption and other sexually adventurous behaviors, such as public sex and the use of sex toys. The relationship between rough sex and pornography appears to be rooted in a need for sexual novelty, with only a small subset motivated by aggression.

Keywords: Pornography, Rough Sex, Aggression, Sexual Novelty

People who enter into a new romantic relationship often experience that they are desired by others more than they were before

16 - Shifts in Partner Attractiveness: Evolutionary and Social Factors. Chp 16 from Part III - Postcopulatory Adaptations. Rebecca L. Burch et al. The Cambridge Handbook of Evolutionary Perspectives on Sexual Psychology, p 363-390. June 30 2022. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108943543.020

Summary: Researchers have spent decades investigating factors in attraction; biological variables, cultural norms, and social pressures have all had their time in the spotlight. Humans are complicated animals and each of these realms have shown measurable effects. However, evolutionary approaches provide a unifying theory that subsumes and explains each of these factors and how they interact to create intricate yet predictable patterns in human mating behavior. In this chapter, we give a brief summary of major factors influencing attractiveness as perceived by men, including biological factors such as age and ovulatory status but also social factors such as exposure to highly attractive, or simply novel, women. Understanding how attractiveness can vary over time and within relationships can be useful, not only to research but also in applied clinical fields such as couples’ and marital therapy.

Hormonal contraceptives as disruptors of competitive behavior

Hormonal contraceptives as disruptors of competitive behavior: Theoretical framing and review. Lindsie C.Arthur, Kathleen V. Casto, Khandis R. Blake. Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology, July 11 2022, 101015. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.yfrne.2022.101015

Abstract: Emerging evidence suggests that hormonal contraceptives (HCs) impact psychological outcomes through alterations in neurophysiology. In this review, we first introduce a theoretical framework for HCs as disruptors of steroid hormone modulation of socially competitive attitudes and behaviors. Then, we comprehensively examine prior research comparing HC users and non-users in outcomes related to competition for reproductive, social, and financial resources. Synthesis of 46 studies (n = 16,290) led to several key conclusions: HC users do not show the same menstrual cycle-related fluctuations in self-perceived attractiveness and some intrasexual competition seen in naturally cycling women and, further, may show relatively reduced status- or achievement-oriented competitive motivation. However, there a lack of consistent or compelling evidence that HC users and non-users differ in competitive behavior or attitudes for mates or financial resources. These conclusions are tentative given the notable methodological limitations of the studies reviewed. Implications and recommendations for future research are discussed.


Hormonal contraceptives (HCs), designed to prevent pregnancy, are one of the most widely used prescription medications among reproductive age women1 (United Nations, 2019). Although the specific type, formula, and resulting mechanism of action varies, common to all HCs is endocrine disruption due to the introduction of synthetic ovarian hormones into the bloodstream. Despite the prevalence of HC use worldwide and numerous positive impacts on women’s reproductive autonomy, emerging evidence suggests that there may be negative effects of HCs on psychological functioning including altered and potentially maladaptive emotion processing (Lewis et al., 2019, Pahnke et al., 2019, Pletzer and Kerschbaum, 2014). Compared with naturally-cycling2 (NC) women, HC users may exhibit significant alterations in neurophysiology, affecting both structure and function in numerous areas of the brain associated with cognition and emotion (Sharma et al., 2020; for review, Brønnick et al., 2020, Porcu et al., 2019). Behavioral researchers have also begun to uncover differences in adaptive social behaviors between HC users and NC women. Much of this research has focused on a set of outcomes under the broad category of competitiveness and competition, which are important for women’s personal and career-oriented social advancement.

The aims of this review are twofold: 1) to introduce a theoretical framework for understanding HC effects on competitive behavior and 2) to comprehensively examine prior research on the effect of HCs on social-behavioral outcomes related to competition. Not only is competing important for social advancement, but competing for access to limited resources is a fact of life: it is exhibited by all organisms in all ecosystems and drives both evolution and reproductive success (Casto and Mehta, 2019, Cheng et al., 2010, Clutton-Brock and Huchard, 2013, Stockley and Bro-Jørgensen, 2011). Individuals who out-compete their rivals are more likely to survive and successfully produce offspring who will then carry their genes into the next generation. It is only by competing—and competing successfully—that individuals can survive, reproduce, and flourish. Despite the importance of competitive behavior, it can be particularly difficult to properly evoke and measure in the laboratory. Attempts to do so often lack ecologically validity and are male-biased (Casto and Prasad, 2017, Williams and Tiedens, 2016).

Guided by the adaptive significance of competition and the constraints of the extant literature, we focus on research that has tested HC effects on two main categories of competitive behavior: competition for reproductive partners (mate selection, attraction, and retention) and competition for social and financial resources (money and social status). We begin with the theoretical framing for hormonal correlates of competitive behavior followed by a brief overview of how HCs affect hormone levels and patterns of exposure. We then review all available prior studies examining HC effects on competitive behavior separately for the two resource categories. We conclude by synthesizing the prior research, identifying methodological strengths and weaknesses, and highlighting avenues for future directions.

Myth or measurement: What does the new minimum wage research say about minimum wages and job loss in the United States?

Myth or measurement: What does the new minimum wage research say about minimum wages and job loss in the United States? David Neumark, Peter Shirley. Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, April 25 2022. https://doi.org/10.1111/irel.12306

Abstract: The disagreement among studies on the employment effects of minimum wages in the United States is well known. Less well known, and more puzzling, is the absence of agreement on what the research literature says—that is, how economists summarize the body of evidence on the employment effects of minimum wages. Summaries range from “it is now well established that higher minimum wages do not reduce employment,” to “the evidence is very mixed with effects centered on zero so there is no basis for a strong conclusion one way or the other,” to “most evidence points to adverse employment effects.” We explore the question of what conclusions can be drawn from the literature, focusing on the evidence using subnational minimum wage variation within the United States that has dominated the research landscape since the early 1990s. To accomplish this, we assembled the entire set of published studies in this literature and identified the core estimates that support the conclusions from each study, in most cases relying on responses from the researchers who wrote these papers. Our key conclusions are as follows: (i) there is a clear preponderance of negative estimates in the literature; (ii) this evidence is stronger for teens and young adults and the less educated; (iii) the evidence from studies of directly affected workers points even more strongly to negative employment effects; and (iv) the evidence from studies of low-wage industries is less one-sided.