Gender Differences in Receptivity to Sexual Offers: A New Research Prototype


  • Mercedes Tappé
  • Lisamarie Bensman
  • Kentaro Hayashi
  • Elaine Hatfield


Among the most cited series of experiments in social and evolutionary psychology are those conducted by Clark and Hatfield (1989, 2003). In these studies, college students served as confederates in a simple field experiment. They approached fellow college students of another gender and asked one of three questions: (a) “Would you go out with me tonight?” (b) “Would you come over to my apartment tonight?” or (c) “Would you go to bed with me tonight?” Men and women differed markedly in their receptivity to casual sexual offers. When asked: “Would you go out with me tonight?” both were equally receptive. Yet, when confederates asked, “Would you come over to my apartment” or “Would you go to bed with me?” gender differences were striking. In the following series of experiments we attempted to develop a pencil and paper method to mirror the procedure of the classic study. We think we succeeded. Although cultural and social considerations may have influenced participants’ tendency to accept or reject sexual offers, as predicted by evolutionary perspectives, in all three experiments men were more likely than women to accept sexual offers. The studies also explored some of the reasons men and women gave for refusing a date, apartment visit, or a sexual encounter. We close by itemizing some questions that, given this new set of research materials, may be worth asking.