Sleep deprived men over perceive women's sexual interest and intent

May 31, 2013

A new study suggests that one night of sleep deprivation leads to an increase in men's perceptions of both women's interest in and intent to have sex.

Results show that when they were well-rested, both men and women rated the sexual intent of women as significantly lower than that of men. However, following one night of sleep deprivation, men's rating of women's sexual intent and interest increased significantly, to the extent that women were no longer seen as having lower sexual intent than men. Sleep deprivation had no significant effect on variables related to commitment.

According to the authors, sleep deprivation is known to cause impairment, which has a negative effect on decision-making variables such as risk-taking sensitivity, moral reasoning and inhibition. However, this is the first study to investigate the impact of sleep deprivation on romantic and -making.

"Our findings here are similar to those from studies using alcohol, which similarly inhibits the frontal lobe," said co-principal investigator Jennifer Peszka, PhD, associate professor of psychology at Hendrix College in Conway, Ark., who led the study along with her colleague Jennifer Penner, PhD. "Sleep deprivation could have unexpected effects on perceptual experiences related to mating and dating that could lead people to engage in sexual decisions that they might otherwise not when they are well-rested. -making in these areas can lead to problems such as , , sexually transmitted diseases and relationship conflicts which are all factors that have serious medical, educational and for both the individual and for society."

The research abstract was published recently in an online supplement of the journal SLEEP, and Peszka will present the findings Tuesday, June 4, in Baltimore, Md., at SLEEP 2013, the 27th annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC.

The study group comprised 60 college students who completed the Cross Sex Perception and Sex and Commitment Contrast instruments, developed by Martie Haselton and David Buss, before and after one night of . Participants rated level of agreement with a series of statements on 7-point Likert scales regarding sexual interest, sexual intent, commitment interest and commitment aversion for a variety of targets - themselves, and men and women in general. For example, one question asked, "When a woman goes out to a bar, how likely is it that she is interested in finding someone to have sex with that night?"

To conduct the study, Peszka and Penner collaborated with David Mastin, PhD, from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. They also were assisted by several undergraduate research students from Hendrix College: Jennifer Lenow, Cassandra Heimann, Anna Lennartson, Rebecca Cox and Katie Defrance.

Explore further: MRI scans show how sleep loss affects the ability to choose proper foods

More information: "The effects of sleep deprivation on perceptual processes involved in human mating decisions," SLEEP, 2013.

Related Stories

MRI scans show how sleep loss affects the ability to choose proper foods

June 10, 2012
MRI scans from a study being presented today at SLEEP 2012 reveal how sleep deprivation impairs the higher-order regions in the human brain where food choices are made, possibly helping explain the link between sleep loss ...

Study finds link between sexual harassment and 'purging'—in men

May 9, 2013
Men who experience high levels of sexual harassment are much more likely than women to induce vomiting and take laxatives and diuretics in an attempt to control their weight, according to a surprising finding by Michigan ...

Women reject promiscuous female peers as friends, study finds

May 31, 2013
(Medical Xpress)—College-aged women judge promiscuous female peers – defined as bedding 20 sexual partners by their early 20s – more negatively than more chaste women and view them as unsuitable for friendship, finds ...

Sleep duration affects hunger differently in men and women

October 31, 2012
A new study suggests that increasing the amount of sleep that adults get could lead to reduced food intake, but the hormonal process differs between men and women.

Sleep deprivation may lead to higher anxiety levels, fMRI scans show

June 10, 2012
New research shows that sleep loss markedly exaggerates the degree to which we anticipate impending emotional events, particularly among highly anxious people, who are especially vulnerable.

Obstructive sleep apnea associated with less visceral fat accumulation in women than men

May 22, 2013
A new study from researchers in Japan indicates that obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is independently associated with visceral (abdominal) fat accumulation only in men, perhaps explaining gender differences in the impact of ...

Recommended for you

High-fat diet in pregnancy can cause mental health problems in offspring

July 21, 2017
A high-fat diet not only creates health problems for expectant mothers, but new research in an animal model suggests it alters the development of the brain and endocrine system of their offspring and has a long-term impact ...

To combat teen smoking, health experts recommend R ratings for movies that depict tobacco use

July 21, 2017
Public health experts have an unusual suggestion for reducing teen smoking: Give just about any movie that depicts tobacco use an automatic R rating.

Opioids and obesity, not 'despair deaths,' raising mortality rates for white Americans

July 20, 2017
Drug-related deaths among middle-aged white men increased more than 25-fold between 1980 and 2014, with the bulk of that spike occurring since the mid-1990s when addictive prescription opioids became broadly available, according ...

Aging Americans enjoy longer life, better health when avoiding three risky behaviors

July 20, 2017
We've heard it before from our doctors and other health experts: Keep your weight down, don't smoke and cut back on the alcohol if you want to live longer.

Parents have critical role in preventing teen drinking

July 20, 2017
Fewer teenagers are drinking alcohol but more needs to be done to curb the drinking habits of Australian school students, based on the findings of the latest study by Adelaide researchers.

Fresh fish oil lowers diabetes risk in rat offspring

July 19, 2017
Fresh fish oil given to overweight pregnant rats prevented their offspring from developing a major diabetes risk factor, Auckland researchers have found.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.