Uncertainty about a potential romantic partner’s interest in you may lead you to see the person as less sexually attractive, according to a new study.
“People experience higher levels of sexual desire when they feel confident about a partner’s interest and acceptance…”
“People may protect themselves from the possibility of a painful rejection by distancing themselves from potentially rejecting partners,” explains study coauthor Harry Reis, a professor of psychology at the University of Rochester.
While some scientists have argued that uncertainty spices up sexual desire, Reis says his team’s results suggest the opposite holds true. “People experience higher levels of sexual desire when they feel confident about a partner’s interest and acceptance,” says Reis.
Lead author Gurit Birnbaum, a social psychologist and associate professor of psychology at the Israeli-based Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, says the findings suggest that sexual desire may “serve as a gut-feeling indicator of mate suitability that motivates people to pursue romantic relationships with a reliable and valuable partner.” Conversely, “inhibiting desire may serve as a mechanism aimed at protecting the self from investing in a relationship in which the future is uncertain.”
Over the course of six interrelated studies—some of them experimental and some daily diary entries—the researchers examined whether and under what circumstances uncertainty about a partner’s romantic intentions would affect their partner’s sexual desirability.
In the first study, researchers led 51 women and 50 men from a university in central Israel who identified as single and heterosexual, ranging in age from 19 to 31 years, to believe they would be participating in an online chat with another participant who was in a different room.
Next, researchers took participants pictures and told them the other person—who was in fact an insider, working with the scientists—would see it. Then the researchers showed the study participants a photograph of their purported chat partner. In reality, researchers showed all participants the same picture of an opposite-sex individual.
At the end of the chat via Instant Messenger, the researchers told the participants that they were allowed to send one last message to their “partner.” They told some participants that a message from their chat partner was waiting for them and told others that there was no message, thereby creating either certainty or uncertainty, respectively, about the potential partner’s intentions. Afterwards, the researchers asked the participants to rate the insiders’ sexual desirability and their interest in future interactions with them.
Participants rated the sexual desirability of their potential “partner” on a 5-point scale ranging from 1 (not at all sexually desirable) to 5 (very much so). The data shows that study participants perceived the potential partner as more sexually attractive in the certainty condition (the mean of the insider’s sexual desirability was 3.15) than in the uncertainty condition (where the mean of the insider’s sexual desirability dropped to 2.73).
The answer is clear—sexual desire thrives on reduced uncertainty.
While studies one through four examined the uncertainty effect on single adults, studies five and six explored whether the effect of uncertainty could be generalized to the everyday lives of long-term partners.
Here researchers substituted romantic interest with perceived partner regard. Again, the researchers found that feeling greater relationship certainty predicted greater desire for sex with one’s partner—which held true for both women and men in a committed romantic relationship.
Of course, uncertainty is more typical of initial romantic encounters when little is known about the new partner, compared to more advanced relationship stages, when the certainty about a partner’s commitment and intentions is relatively high. When uncertainty about a partner’s interest emerges in an established relationship, it clashes with the need for security that long-term relationships typically provide.
Birnbaum says uncertainty “may therefore be particularly threatening and devastating for personal and relationship well-being in established relationships, in which it is least expected.”
The studies build on the age-old debate as to whether or not knowing a partner’s (or potential partner’s) romantic interest increases or decreases their sexual desirability—essentially the question of whether “playing hard to get” makes one more successful in the dating arena.
Do the findings put the debate finally to rest?
“Well, they don’t put the final dagger in the heart of this idea, but our findings do indicate that this idea is on life support,” says Reis, noting that the uncertainty idea was “never supported by solid science—but folk wisdom at best.”
Source: University of Rochester
Some summers will stay with you forever...
Callie Weaver and best friend Olivia Dixon have finally done it: put their life savings into the beach house they admired through childhood summers, on the dazzling white sand of North Carolina’s Outer Banks. They’re going to buff the salt from its windows, paint its sun-bleached sidings, and open it as a bed and breakfast.
Callie’s too busy to think about her love life, but when she catches the attention of local heartthrob Luke Sullivan, his blue eyes and easy smile make it hard to say no. He’s heir to his father’s property empire, and the papers say he’s just another playboy, but as they laugh in the ocean waves, Callie realizes there’s more to this man than money and good looks.
Just when true happiness seems within reach, Callie and Olivia find a diary full of secrets... secrets that stretch across the island, and have the power to turn lives upside down. As Callie reads, she unravels a mystery that makes her heart drop through the floor.
Will Callie and Luke be pulled apart by the storm it unleashes, or can true love save them?
The Summer House is an absolutely gorgeous, heart-warming summer romance, about the importance of family, not keeping secrets, and learning how to open your heart.
‘Captured my heart from the very first page and never let it go … Jenny is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors … One minute I’m giggling and the next there is a huge lump in my throat … My heart melted … I just wanted to reach in the pages and give them all hugs. I can’t wait to read more by this wonderful author.’ Color Me Read
‘Absolutely fantastic, I loved this book and will definitely be remembering and revisiting it in future. Jenny Hale is a supremely accomplished and highly talented author. I can’t wait to read more from her!’ Splashes into Books
‘A perfect romance read. Full of tension and heart-wrenching feelings … Oh I really did enjoy it … One to lift my mood and put a smile on my face and warmth in my heart … Full of charismatic characters, family love and bonds, honesty, small town loveliness and soul mates. Reading perfection!’ 5/5 Pajama Book Girl
‘This book is the epitome of everything I love about reading, about fiction and about romance. It was heart-warming, touching, upsetting, endearing, beautiful and one hundred other adjectives I could reel off… It’s an absolute must-read for any romance fan.’ Paris Baker’s Book Nook
Captured by Love Books 1-3 (The Unwilling Executive, The Unyielding Bachelor, The Undercover Playboy)
Binding: Kindle Edition
Format: Kindle eBook
Studio: MPC Romance Publishing
Label: MPC Romance Publishing
Publisher: MPC Romance Publishing
Manufacturer: MPC Romance Publishing
Book 1: The Unwilling Executive
Lucas Renner never expected his biological father to start acknowledging him as a son and only heir. He bet the old man has ulterior motives that has nothing to do with wanting to develop a relationship with him. He refuses to make contact with the man who has rejected him all his life... until his father's message is hand-delivered by a blushing beauty who stirs him in the right places.
Jade Tully thanks her lucky stars for her new role as the personal assistant to a wealthy CEO. Heaven knows she needs it. But she doesn't anticipate getting entangled in the personal conflict between her eccentric boss and his extremely hunky son--a man who rattles her poise and melts her heart. If she continues to do her boss's bidding, would she lose Lucas's trust and her chance to capture his heart?
Book 2: The Unyielding Bachelor
Rick Donnelly is under contract to remain unattached until his fifteen-year-old half-sister turns twenty-one. If he breaks the rules, not only will he have to hand over the management of his sister's substantial inheritance to his reckless stepmother, but he'll also have to transfer twenty percent ownership of his company to the untrustworthy woman. When the tempting Lexie Mead decides to knock down his heart's defenses, he finds himself in danger of breaking the contract's strict conditions--something he simply cannot afford to do.
Lexie Mead has long had feelings for the hunky Rick Donnelly. Tired of being treated as just another one of his friends, she sets out to win his heart from prettier and more aggressive women admirers. But Rick has complications to deal with... and enemies who will do anything to see him fail. She doesn't want him to lose the things he's worked hard to keep. But how can they have a future together when she is forced to walk away and Rick can't ask her to stay?
Book 3: The Undercover Playboy
Detective Carter Garrett is required to play the role of a cash-strapped playboy to solve an important case. When Cassie Stephens starts working in the art gallery owned by a suspect, his growing feelings for her threaten to blow his cover. He mustn't let Cassie in on the secret. It could ruin his team's best chance at catching a group of criminals whose leader could very well be Cassie's new boss. But when Cassie gets embroiled in the case, his heart joins in on the action--a dangerous situation he cannot allow to persist.
Cassie Stephens is ecstatic to land a high-paying job with perks anyone would envy. To her further delight, her new boss has business dealings with the charming Carter Garrett, her friend's hunky brother. But being aware of Carter's playboy ways, she orders herself not to dream of a future with him... until her new boss shares a secret about Carter she wasn't at all expecting. With everything seeming too good to be true, how far away are heartbreak and danger?
Each book in the Captured by Love series can be read as a standalone. For better enjoyment, the author recommends reading the books in order.
Book 1: The Unwilling Executive (Lucas Renner and Jade Tully)
Book 2: The Unyielding Bachelor (Rick Donnelly and Lexie Mead)
Book 3: The Undercover Playboy (Carter Garrett and Cassie Stephens)
Book 4: The Unintended Fiancé (Bradley Mead and Erin Baker)
Book 5: The Unforgettable Ex (Gavin Redford and Natasha Garrett)
Book 6: The Unknown Billionaire (Jarryd Westbourne and Marilyn Grant)
Book 7: The Unmasked CEO (Simon Alexander and Geri Blaine)
Book 8: The Unexpected Husband - coming soon!
Binding: Kindle Edition
Format: Kindle eBook
Studio: Grand Central Publishing
Label: Grand Central Publishing
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Manufacturer: Grand Central Publishing
Tru Walls has never visited North Carolina but is summoned to Sunset Beach by a letter from a man claiming to be his father. A safari guide, born and raised in Zimbabwe, Tru hopes to unravel some of the mysteries surrounding his mother's early life and recapture memories lost with her death. When the two strangers cross paths, their connection is as electric as it is unfathomable . . . but in the immersive days that follow, their feelings for each other will give way to choices that pit family duty against personal happiness in devastating ways.
Illuminating life's heartbreaking regrets and enduring hope, EVERY BREATH explores the many facets of love that lay claim to our deepest loyalties--while asking the question, How long can a dream survive?