Does attractiveness influence condom use intentions in women who have sex with men?

Anastasia Eleftheriou*, Seth Bullock, Cynthia A Graham, Shayna Skakoon-Sparling, Roger Ingham

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
116 Downloads (Pure)


OBJECTIVES: Attractiveness judgements have been shown to affect interpersonal relationships. The present study explored the relationships between perceived attractiveness, perceived sexual health status, condom use intentions and condom use resistance in women.

SETTING: The study data were collected using an online questionnaire.

PARTICIPANTS: 480 English-speaking women who have sex with men, between 18-32 years old.

OUTCOME MEASURES: Women were asked to rate the attractiveness of 20 men on the basis of facial photographs, to estimate the likelihood that each man had a sexually transmitted infection (STI), and to indicate their willingness to have sex with each man without a condom. Condom resistance tactics were also measured and their influence on condom use intentions was assessed.

RESULTS: The more attractive a man was judged to be, the more likely it was that participants were willing to have sex with him (r (478) = 0.987, p < .001). Further, the more attractive a man was judged to be, the less likely women were to intend to use a condom during sex (r = -0.552, df = 478, p = .007). The average perceived STI likelihood for a man had no significant association with his average perceived attractiveness or with participants' average willingness to have sex with him. The more attractive a participant judged herself to be, the more she believed that, overall, men are likely to have a STI (r = 0.103, df = 478, p < .05).

CONCLUSIONS: Women's perceptions of men's attractiveness influence their condom use intentions; such risk biases should be incorporated into sexual health education programmes and condom use interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0217152
Number of pages13
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number5
Early online date23 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - 23 May 2019


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