I am interested in using an evolutionary and functional perspective to understand human mating strategies and sexual behavior. My current research projects fall into two areas:
My work in this area has documented a variety of novel cues diagnostic of perceived sexual exploitability in women. Furthermore, we have determined that these cues enhance a woman’s sexual attractiveness while detracting from her attractiveness as a long-term mate. We suggest that sexual attraction to exploitability cues functions to motivate men to employ exploitative strategies towards accessible targets. My continued work in this area focuses on how women may use this link between exploitability and sexual attractiveness to enhance their ability to attract mates. I am currently investigating specific individual differences and contexts that may predict which women are more likely to signal exploitability as a mate attraction strategy.
Selected press:Slate - Do Men Find Dumb-Looking Women More Attractive? Bang! - Evolution and Sexual Exploitation: Evolutionary Psychology Takes on Another Tough Topic
Female Sexuality across the Lifespan
I am interested in understanding changes in women’s sexuality and mate preferences across the lifespan, particularly with respect to fertility decline. Our research in this area finds that women past peak fertility but pre-menopause think about sex, have more intense sexual fantasies, and engage in sexual intercourse more frequently than women of other age groups. We have argued that these findings support the Reproduction-expediting Hypothesis, that women experience adaptive changes in their sexuality that function to allow them to maximize their remaining fertility. Our continued work in this domain examines women’s mate preferences and relationship goals with respect to their age and fertility status.