Men Find Strangers Attractive, Women Prefer Familiar Faces, New Study Says [REPORT]

By Philip Ross on June 26, 2013 3:02 PM EDT

men strangers attractive
Men find strangers attractive more often than women do, says a new study from Scotland. (Photo: Reuters)

Men find strangers attractive more often than females do, says new research. And while a man's wandering gaze could be impetus for a failed relationship, before you decide to hit the brakes, consider this: According to a new study from Scotland, straight men are genetically programmed to find other women attractive, mainly because their bodies want them to keep the world populated.

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In a study titled "Sex Differences in Attraction to Familiar and Unfamiliar Opposite-Sex Faces: Men Prefer Novelty and Women Prefer Familiarity," researchers at the University of Stirling and the University of Glasgow in Scotland postulate that part of the reason men are more inclined to ogle an attractive passerby is because they're wired to capitalize on their reproductive faculties.

"Men desire a greater number of sexual partners than women, suggesting a preference for novelty," the authors note in the study, published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior.

Then again, if men get a free pass for rubbernecking, next they'll want to hear cheating is just nature's way of rewarding the more vigilant males -- and getting caught is simply another form of natural selection. 

The Scotland team took a sample of 83 women and 63 men and showed them each photos of dozens of different faces, asking them to rate the faces based on attractiveness. They discovered that women rated the faces higher the second time around, whereas men tended to rate the women's faces as less attractive on seeing them twice. This, the researchers believe, demonstrates that women prefer familiarity over novelty and that men prefer novelty over the other.

The Telegraph reports that the results of the study on men finding strangers attractive could be partially explained by the Coolidge effect, the theory that men are more stimulated by the novelty of a new sexual partner than women are.

"The Coolidge effect describes the reinitiation of sexual behavior in a 'sexually satiated' animal in response to a novel receptive mate," one study on the phenomenon notes.

"Men found female faces they had already seen as less attractive and less sexy, especially for short-term relationships," Anthony Little, from Stirling University's School of Natural Sciences, told The Telegraph. "There is a tendency for males to pursue a large number of partners as they can dramatically increase their reproductive success by mating with multiple females."

Drooling over the waitress while on a date with your significant other? Still a bad idea -- no "new research" in the world will ever change that. 

Read more from iScience Times:

Are Unattractive Workers More Likely To Be Bullied, Given Menial Tasks? Study Suggests Possible Correlation

Lie About Sex: How Do Men And Women Report Sexual History Differently?

Does Size Matter? New Study Affirms Women Prefer Bigger Penises

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