The 16 women who were staying on the Florida State University campus in Tallahassee found themselves on the receiving end of a very direct chat-up line. A young man approached them and, without more ado, said, "I have been noticing you around campus. I find you to be very attractive. Would you go to bed with me tonight?" All the women declined, responding either by saying "You’ve got to be kidding", or "What is wrong with you? Leave me alone."
Out of the 16 men who were approached in the same way by a woman, 12 took up the offer. Their responses were "Why do we have to wait until tonight?" or "I can’t tonight, but tomorrow would be fine."
The psychologist Russell Clark, who carried out this experiment, wanted to find out how the sexes responded differently to sexual advances.Clark was certain that the reason for this difference lay in the asymmetrical biology of the sexes: "In order to produce a child, men need only to invest a trivial amount of energy, a single man can conceivably father an almost unlimited number of children. Conversely, a woman can give birth to and raise only a limited number of children."
The different cost of sex for men and women was, then, a direct cause of the behaviour that Clark had noticed in his experiment. Women are selective, whereas men are basically prepared to go to bed with any woman. In contrast to the women, who all reacted with outrage to the offer of sex, the four men who didn’t accept were concerned to give the women an excuse, either by saying "I’m married" or "I’m going with someone".
Nowadays the study ‘Gender differences in receptivity to sexual offers’ crops up with great regularity in the media under various headlines (‘Indirect evidence that men are stupid’, ‘Guys = Icky: The definite proof’). The BBC repeated the experiment for a documentary film involving a hidden camera. It turned out that English men were icky as well.
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