Men who have negative sexist attitudes toward women are more likely to use assertive courtship strategies, such as teasing women, a new study shows. But these strategies can sometimes be successful — most often on women seeking "no strings attached" sex.
Assertive courtship strategies, which also include competing with other men who are interested in the same woman and isolating her from her friends , are based on "speed seduction techniques" described in the best-selling dating advice book for men, Neil Strauss' "The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists" (It Books, 2005), as well as the popular cable TV show "The Pickup Artist."
To better understand characteristics of men who use these techniques and the women who find them appealing, researchers from the University of Kansas conducted two surveys, with the first involving a sample of 363 college students from a large Midwestern university. The second, larger national survey was conducted online and recruited 850 adult volunteers.
Researchers asked both male and female participants about their attitudes toward women and whether they were willing to take part in uncommitted or casual sex. The survey also asked participants about the extent to which men used assertive strategies to initiate relationships and the extent to which women found these approaches desirable.
The study results show that men who preferred one-night stands were more likely to use assertive strategies when flirting with women; Results from the second survey showed that men with negative sexist attitudes (as opposed to benevolent sexism, which involves chivalry) were also more likely than others to use assertive flirting strategies, possibly as a way to "put women in their place" in a submissive or yielding role within the relationship, the researcher said.
Among the female participants, those women who were open to casual sex were also more likely to respond positively to men's aggressive strategies. In addition, women with sexist attitudes toward other members of their own gender were more likely to respond to men's assertive strategies.
The study suggests that sexist women accept and positively receive dominant strategies, such as when a man is physically aggressive with the first move or uses heavy come-on lines, because they find men who treat them in a dominant way during courtship more desirable, as the behavior is consistent with their own sexist ideology.
"Women who adopt sexist attitudes are more likely to prefer men who adopt similar attitudes," study researchers Jeffrey Hall and Melanie Canterberry wrote online Aug. 20 in the journal Sex Roles. "Not only do sexist men and women prefer partners who are like them, they prefer courtship strategies where men are the aggressors and women are the gatekeepers."
You can follow LiveScience writer Remy Melina on Twitter. Follow LiveScience for the latest in science news and discoveries on Twitter and on.