Museum of Hoaxes
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Web Hoax Museum


#18: “Would You Go To Bed With Me Tonight?”
If you were a man walking across the campus of Florida State University in 1978, an attractive young woman might have approached you and said these exact words: "I have been noticing you around campus. I find you to be attractive. Would you go to bed with me tonight?"

If you were that man, you probably would have thought that you had just gotten incredibly lucky. But not really. You were actually an unwitting subject in an experiment designed by the psychologist Russell Clark.

Clark had persuaded the students of his social psychology class to help him find out which gender, in a real-life situation, would be more receptive to a sexual offer from a stranger. The only way to find out, he figured, was to actually get out there and see what would happen. So young men and women from his class fanned out across campus and began propositioning strangers.

The results weren't very surprising. Seventy-five percent of guys were happy to oblige an attractive female stranger (and those who said no typically offered an excuse such as, "I'm married"). But not a single woman accepted the identical offer of an attractive male. In fact, most of them demanded the guy leave her alone.

At first the psychological community dismissed Clark's experiment as a trivial stunt, but gradually his experiment gained first acceptance, and then praise for how dramatically it revealed the differing sexual attitudes of men and women. Today it's considered a classic. But why men and women display such different attitudes remains as hotly debated as ever.

Listed in chronological order. Newest comments at the end.
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It would be fascinating to see this experiment repeated, with women being propositioned by women this time. The fear of unintended pregnancy would no longer be a factor.
Posted by Craig  in  San Diego Ca  on  Thu Sep 13, 2007  at  04:49 PM
This is the problem with this sort of pseudo-scientific research, it elicits pseudo-scientific commentary.
Posted by colin  in  indiana  on  Thu Sep 13, 2007  at  05:10 PM
"now would be 100% man would said yes and 50% for woman"

99% at most as f.e. I wouldn't. Why does everybody believe all men are sex-crazed? I prefer a good book over sex. It's just a too much of a body thing to me - too animalistic.
Posted by faszomraketta  in  Gecikarate  on  Thu Sep 13, 2007  at  05:25 PM
Hmmm lesse. Maybe because women are (were) very dicriminated and only used to have children and bring pleasure to men. Like for example, a man could walk down the street with his shirt off and have a 1% chance of being raped. A woman however walking down the street with revealign clothes has an ever higher risk of being raped. I hate this society, no question about it.
Posted by splat  on  Thu Sep 13, 2007  at  05:25 PM
Anyone know where to find more on this experiment? I can't find anything online (other than it being mentioned here...)
Posted by Chris  on  Thu Sep 13, 2007  at  06:43 PM
In the "pickup artist" community the phenomenon is known as "anti-slut defense" or "anti-desperation defense". You can talk about the sociological effects of evolutionary biology all you want and I won't debate them, but at a higher level the reason women say "no" is because, in western society at least, nothing is more socially frightening to a woman than being labeled by her peers as "desperate" or as a "slut".

If a woman said "yes" to a random proposition, it's tantamount to admitting that she lacks the value to be selective with her sexual partners. Very few women are "liberated" enough to overcome that internal programming.
Posted by turbine  in  USA  on  Thu Sep 13, 2007  at  09:12 PM
i have vagina and i'd say yes in a jiffy to hot sex, but society makes it hard to say big Y in some arenas. yup.
Posted by stacy  on  Thu Sep 13, 2007  at  10:03 PM
Let's not be dualist guys, this is because culture and biology.
Posted by Pensador  on  Thu Sep 13, 2007  at  10:06 PM
Perhaps the experiment should be done using people whom are already aquintances or friends so that it tests a different social situation, but poses the same question. Woman feeling less safe than men might not be an issue you here. Considering sex with a complete stranger and considering sex with someone you have spent time with previously are two very different approaches.
Posted by Paige  in  minneapolis  on  Thu Sep 13, 2007  at  11:48 PM
Vagina? You mean Beaver?
Posted by insaan  in  Dublin  on  Fri Sep 14, 2007  at  05:31 AM
Sex is not always about babies, but its the woman that have the risk of carrying a baby.

The man can always run away scot free.
Posted by saya  on  Fri Sep 14, 2007  at  08:46 AM
The study was flawed. They used attractive males instead of wealthy seeming males. If the men had "flashed some cash" they would have had more positive responses. Men have sex because they want to, women have sex for money.
Posted by jonolan  in  NYC  on  Fri Sep 14, 2007  at  08:59 AM
> It would be fascinating to see this experiment
> repeated, with women being propositioned by women > this time...

and men being propositioned by men.

I think you would find there is a higher rejection rate, when the proposition offerer is male vs. when a female is making the proposition.

Misandry might be a significant factor.
Posted by alicia  on  Fri Sep 14, 2007  at  03:39 PM
The "pickup artist" community is a phenomenon in itself. No where else will you find such a high level of reasoning and superiority in a group of men. They have supreme powers of cheesiness that no woman can escape. A mere glance from a "pick up artist" with their "I'm gonna hump your leg" look is enough to make every woman in proximity flock to them.

If this study had used a "pick up artist" to proposition the women the results would have had an amazing difference in results.
Posted by makehimpay  on  Fri Sep 14, 2007  at  04:15 PM
I gotta agree with Sue. Redo the experiment today and the results will probably be a higher acceptance rate by the female population.
Posted by Joseph  in  Texas  on  Fri Sep 14, 2007  at  04:27 PM
There is, however, a different approach to be made... if a man aproaches a stranger and ask her to have sex with him, she will most likely reject him, whereas if a girl friend ask that same woman to have sex with a good friend of her (YOU, the stranger) so she can have sex with your friend, she will most likely acept.

I've seen it before, which is why I like to have as many female friends as I can!
Posted by SethPR  in  Puerto Rico  on  Fri Sep 14, 2007  at  05:14 PM
Hold on a second. This does not demonstration different interest in sex or sexual attitudes. It demonstrates differences in attractors. Men are attracted more by physical appearance and other factors to a lesser degree. Women are attracted more to male status and indicators of status that include personality (socialable, able to make people laugh, etc.) There are very good evolutionary reasons for this. The choosiness of women is part of it, but it's only the tip of the iceberg. Check out Mating Mind, Red Queen, and Sperm Wars, for instance.

Women are just as likely to want sex and have sex with an attractive man as men are to have sex with an attractive woman. It's what makes them attractive that differs.
Posted by Strange Attractor  in  Canada  on  Fri Sep 14, 2007  at  05:56 PM
women need a reason

men need a place
Posted by joe  on  Fri Sep 14, 2007  at  06:45 PM
The explanation is simple. There are a LOT more male serial killers than female ones.
Posted by Steve Savage  in  Tulsa, OK  on  Fri Sep 14, 2007  at  07:23 PM
Well, I have to say that if RON PAUL approached me on the street, I'd do anything he asked me!
Posted by Karsten  in  Los Angeles  on  Fri Sep 14, 2007  at  07:49 PM
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