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Arch Sex Behav. 2013 Nov;42(8):1517-24. doi: 10.1007/s10508-013-0104-2. Epub 2013 May 9.

Effects of a tattoo on men's behavior and attitudes towards women: An experimental field study.

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Business Department, Université de Bretagne-Sud, IMABS, rue de la loi, 56000, Vannes, France,


Previous studies have indicated negative evaluations of women with tattoos. However, a study by Swami and Furnham (2007) showed that tattooed women were rated as less physically attractive but more sexually promiscuous. Given that men interpret women's sexual intent according to their physical appearance, we predicted that women with tattoos would be more favorably approached by men. A temporary tattoo was placed on confederates' lower back, or not, and all confederates were instructed to read a book while lying flat on their stomach on a well-known beach. Two experiments were conducted. The first experiment showed that more men (N = 220) approached the tattooed confederates and that the mean latency of their approach was quicker. A second experiment showed that men (N = 440) estimated to have more chances to have a date and to have sex on the first date with tattooed confederates. However, the level of physical attractiveness attributed to the confederate was not influenced by the tattoo condition. These results were discussed with respect to men's possible misinterpretation of women wearing tattoos and the risks associated with this misinterpretation.

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