The Young Male Cigarette and Alcohol Syndrome: Smoking and Drinking as a Short-Term Mating Strategy

Publication Date: Friday 26 February 2016
Author(s): Vincke, E.
Appeared in: Evolutionary Psychology, vol.: 14, issue: 1, 1-13

Abstract

Despite the many health risks of tobacco and alcohol use, high levels of smoking and drinking are being persisted. Moreover, young men engage more in these behaviors as compared to women. As male physical risk-taking behavior gains attractiveness in short-term mating contexts and given that smoking and drinking have considerable physical costs, this study explores the possibility that tobacco and alcohol use is part of a male short-term mating strategy. By means of a between-subjects experiment (N = 239), women’s perceptions of young male smoking and drinking were investigated. The experiment showed that women perceive men who smoke and drink as being more short-term oriented in their sexuality than nonusers. Moreover, both tobacco and (especially) alcohol use brought some attractiveness benefits in short-term mating contexts. A follow-up study (N = 171) confirmed that men’s behavior corresponds with women’s perceptions. Overall, these findings show that cigarette and alcohol use can operate as a short-term mating strategy.

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