Life is a little easier for pretty people, as studies have shown that individuals who are more conventionally attractive are treated better, make more money, and have more sexual partners.
But just because the conventionally good looking might have an easier time of finding a potential partner, does attractiveness influence a person’s views on sexual morality like abortion rights or marriage equality?
This question was tackled by Robert Urbatsch, an associate professor of political science at Iowa State University, in a 2018 study published in the journal Social Science Quarterly.
Urbatsch recently followed up his study with piece for The Conversation, discussing the results and delving into why attractive people may have more relaxed views on sex.
When it comes to issues like sex before marriage, sexual purity, or gay marriage, people have firm opinions often driven by religious affiliations, the media, and other environmental factors like parental views on sex and marriage.
Unraveling our prejudices around sex is no easy task, but for some people, it may come more natural than others.
In the study, “Good Looks as a Source of Moral Permissiveness,” Urbatsch reviewed two major surveys, the General Social Survey from 2016 and the American National Election Studies from 1972, that included questions about morality and sexual ethics.
Analyzing two surveys from different periods was important as it helped shed light on how views on sex and morality vary from generation to generation.
Urbatsch proposed two hypotheses, that attractiveness causes a more relaxed attitude toward sexual permissiveness, or that attractiveness, having a good job, and a high income may nudge someone to adopt more conservative views.
“Attractiveness could then plausibly associate with higher or lower standards for what sexual activities are morally acceptable,” Urbatsch wrote in The Conversation.
With both surveys, the administers had to assess the survey participant’s attractiveness on a scale of 1 to 5.
In the 2016 survey, 51 percent of the responders who had above average looks were pro-choice, and this was a pattern that Urbatsch identified among almost all questions relating to sexual ethics.
However, when it came to questions on other ethical matters not-relating to sex, the participants were not more liberal or conservative depending on their looks.
“Good-looking respondents in these surveys aren’t detectably more open, for example, to a legal right to die or to accepting civil disobedience,” wrote Urbatsch.
According to Urbatsch, attractiveness may influence views on sexual morality because attractive people typically have more sexual partners and experiences.
“If you’ve have a lot of sexual experiences in the past, it may color your attitudes toward the vast range of sexual possibilities – even those that don’t directly apply to your own sexuality or personal experience,” Urbatsch concludes
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