Men who have sex with men (MSM) are disproportionately impacted by sexually transmitted infections (STIs), but many engage in condomless sex. One factor contributing to condomless sex may be an assumption of low risk of STIs from physically attractive partners. The present study tested the effect of partner attractiveness on perceived STI risk and condom use intentions and examined two mechanisms believed to underlie this effect: implicit personality theory and motivated reasoning. Participants were 197 MSM who viewed photos of attractive and unattractive men and responded to items assessing perceptions of the men’s positive traits and STI risk, as well as motivation to have sex with the men and condom use intentions. Sexual arousal was manipulated. Attractiveness reduced perceived STI risk and condom use intentions by increasing both positive perceptions of and motivation to have sex with the person. Findings were not influenced by arousal.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Gender Studies
- Sociology and Political Science
- History and Philosophy of Science