There has been a lot of research on sexual exploitation. But I’ll admit that today’s study really grabbed my attention for a simple reason: Most of the body of scientific literature focuses on men as the ones who exploit others sexually. This study instead looked into women and how they might sexually exploit men, something that hasn’t received much objective empirical focus.
There might be a reason for this, come to find out. Because today’s study found that women don’t seem to be attracted to men who are easy to sexually exploit.
This is in sharp contrast to previous research that has found that women are more attracted to men they perceive as easy to sexually exploit.
My Own Experience with Dating an “Easy Mark”
I had an interesting personal experience with this in a polyamorous context. Once upon a time, I was dating someone who absolutely had these kinds of issues. It was quite easy to pull the wool over his eyes. He was near-effortless to manipulate. And quite vulnerable because of that.
In that context, when he was dating other people (and so was I), it continually caused all sorts of problems. Since it was easy for his other partners to take advantage of him, he typically attracted metamours that were quite challenging.
And I had to be ever-vigilant myself to make sure I wasn’t unduly influencing him — since this was something I really didn’t want to do. I don’t want to date puppets. I want the people I love to feel free to be themselves and to have autonomy.
At the end of the day, it wasn’t the reason why we broke up, his vulnerability to being exploited by other people, but I do know it put a lot of strain on our relationship during the time we were together.
So I can definitely see why such a quality would be unattractive to people. I didn’t know that about him going in, so I’m not sure if it would have made me less attracted to him. But it’s something I’ll certainly be thinking about, after finding this study.
This post is part of an ongoing Poly Land feature called Psyched for the Weekend, in which I geek out with brief takes about some of my favorite psychological studies and concepts. For the entire series, please see this link.
Fiction by Page Turner: