Lap dancers "in heat" get better tips

According to a new study, lap dancers who menstruate regularly and are in their most fertile periods receive better tips than dancers who are taking the hormonal contraceptive pill. According to University of New Mexico, Albuquerque psychology professor Geoffrey Miller and his colleagues, this research provides more evidence that women go "into heat," hormone-induced estrus, like other female mammals. From New Scientist:
But the study does appear to show that the dancers somehow advertise their fertility to men, who then consider them more attractive during this fertile phase, as reflected in their tips. How they advertise, however, and whether they do it consciously, is unclear. "We don't know the mechanism of attraction," says Thornhill, who is also at the University of New Mexico but was not involved with the study. "Are the men detecting the scent of oestrus? Or does the women's behaviour change?" he asks.
Link to New Scientist, Link to more info at Mind Hacks, Link to scientific paper abstract in the journal Evolution And Human Behavior

29

  1. No mystery to me. The women’s behavior changes. As in pretty much every field, a committed and motivated worker does a better job.

  2. I hereby volunteer to aid in further research. Bring on the lap dances, ladies – and no fair telling me if you’re particularly fertile, I’ll have to figure it out on my own.

    The things we do for science…

  3. Randy Thornhill has absolutely ZERO credibility. He’s the one who thinks rape is “adaptive” in humans, and a natural reproductive strategy.

    He’s also an entomologist, which I guess eminently qualifies him to explain human sexual behavior.
    Somehow.

  4. “How they advertise, however, and whether they do it consciously, is unclear.”

    He said, as the butt-naked stripper started grinding on his crotch.

  5. those of us with discerning noses might smell the difference. Once smelled (or tasted in saliva), always sure.
    BTW, isn´t lap dancing just so incredibly U.S.?

  6. @felsby: It’s like a timeshare. You pay for your time, and then someone else pays for theirs. You don’t own it, you are just renting time.

  7. I wonder if women “in heat” actually get turned on by the men they are dancing for. This in turn could be noticed by the males who pick up on the subconscious signs, causing them to give more money.

    I always find it fascinating that strip clubs, prostitution, and pornography are all based on the need to reproduce. It seems like in the media world sex and reproduction are two separate things, when in reality it is a cause and effect relationship.

    Pleasure is a very well designed emotion. It can make a man and woman give up 20 years of their life to raise another human to adulthood.

  8. I wonder if this study has lead to any divorces?

    “No honey seriously I was doing it for science”

  9. QUOTE: “I wonder if women “in heat” actually get turned on by the men they are dancing for. This in turn could be noticed by the males who pick up on the subconscious signs, causing them to give more money.”

    Dear TruthFriction4: No, of course, lap dancers don’t get turned on by their customers whether they’re “in heat” or not. I’m a sex worker (an erotic masseuse these days, although I used to be an escort) and WE ONLY DO IT FOR THE MONEY. DUH!

  10. QUOTE-BUG_GIRL:
    “Randy Thornhill has absolutely ZERO credibility. He’s the one who thinks rape is “adaptive” in humans, and a natural reproductive strategy.

    He’s also an entomologist, which I guess eminently qualifies him to explain human sexual behavior.
    Somehow.”

    I agree with Bug_Girl. Randy Thornhill is a quack. I did my undergrad at UNM, and thornhill lost all his credibility when he went on good morning america and told women that if they were raped while wearing a short skirt it was there fault…what a jackass.

    (for the record, the strippers in Albuquerque are horribly unattractive, I wonder if hotter strippers have a different effect on the research)

  11. @serizy

    People usually perform jobs that they enjoy. It can’t just all be about the money. Surely there is some pleasure you take in your work? Don’t tell me all those strippers really didn’t love me… lol j/k

  12. Sounds to me like a bunch of lecherous profs looking to spend then grant money on a little T&A.

    I swear if you play your cards right, academia is such a scam.

  13. @ Bug_Girl:

    Yeah, what could an entomologist know about human sexuality?

    Furthermore, while it certainly isn’t nice or politically correct, and certainly shouldn’t have any bearing on the legal system… Saying rape isn’t about sex is like saying robbery isn’t about money. If I remember correctly, that is what Thornhill was on about.

    And lastly, even though it has now been established that Thornhill isn’t even the one who did the study… ad hominem anyone?

  14. it’s not ad hominem if the person you are criticizing is actually full of s@#t.

    I’ve looked at this study now, and I really don’t see anything convincing here. I can think of a lot of reasons for a woman entering her menstrual cycle to transmit this information other than chemically.

    “All women made less money during their menstrual periods, whether they were on the pill or not.”

    DUH.

    But–seriously–what would make a person try to investigate this question using strippers and tips?? And involve an undergraduate in the research?

    The idea that economic interactions are the best measure of sexual interest, or way to evaluate women’s cycles, is pretty repugnant.

  15. Oh, and Kinsey vs. Thornhill?

    Kinsey was a taxonomist, and approached human sexuality in a similar way. He cataloged what existed. He did not try to rationalize its existence based on what insects do.

    Thornhill did great work on flies, and fly sexual behavior. Then he went off to explain how that dynamic of control and manipulation could be found in other species like humans, and cherry-picked data to prove his theory. And wrote some really offensive books about rape.

    There is no similarity between the two.

  16. bug_girl: “The idea that economic interactions are the best measure of sexual interest, or way to evaluate women’s cycles, is pretty repugnant.”

    I don’t think anyone was claiming it’s the best measure or even a good one; simply one that’s easily quantified and measured.

    Science is the art of not fooling yourself. You might go “duh” at some of the conclusions; but unless you actually measure, you never know whether your intuition is right or wrong. You have to measure *something*, sooner or later, or it’s not science.

  17. …Needless to say, I’ve forwarded this to the GMs of the strip clubs whose websites I administer, and advised that they place this in their dressing rooms. We’ll see how well it holds up in real-world testing. Who knows? I might just nominate this for an IgNobel next year!

  18. BUG_GIRL: Randy Thornhill has absolutely ZERO credibility. He’s the one who thinks rape is “adaptive” in humans, and a natural reproductive strategy.

    Just because it’s not polite to rape someone is no reason to pretend it’s not an evolutionary strategy.

    It’s natural, as in, people are natural and people rape. It’s reproductive because sex is involved. It’s a strategy because you can choose to do it.

    Not only are you unclear on ad hominem arguments, but by your own rules, you’re pretty much open season.

    Sure, rape is often about violence too, yada yada, but that doesn’t excuse lies and personal attacks.

  19. Chimpanzees rape. Orangutans rape. Even dolphins rape. That certainly doesn’t justify rape, but it does set natural precedent among our own genus, as well as in other fairly intelligent animals.

    None of these animals practice birth control, so we can be pretty sure the point of sex for them is to produce offspring.

    Why would humans be different? Just because we have set up a social order that condemns it doesn’t mean it’s not a natural part of the natural order. This is true of a great many things.

  20. One would have to do a LOT of research to eliminate the variables for nights of big tippers or stingy tippers, or misreported tips, or “I was fertile but had a cold coming on”. I note the availability of volunteers to pursue the research …

    Some studies show that women during fertile period prefer different kinds of men than when not fertile. Whether that can be related to the persuasiveness of their economically-motivated bump-and-grind is a further Ph.D. or two…

    Susan Brownmiller was pretty persuasive in arguing that rape was more about power than sex. Much is not about the attractiveness of the victim, anyway – it may be anger at women because of the sexual frustration they cause (and it is obviously not an acceptable response to frustration…)

  21. Perhaps you might want to read this review of Thornhill’s work, since I don’t have time to spell it out for you:

    http://www.feminista.com/archives/v3n9/brownmiller.html

    “Anyone with a logical mind who understands a tautology will have no trouble seeing the holes, discrepancies, fanciful leaps and wild suppositions masquerading as fact in the Thornhill thesis. ”

    His data do not stand up.

    And animals are not moral agents, so while they may have forced copulation, they are not “raping” in the human sense of the word.

    Back to the paper under discussion:
    They had a total of 17 subjects, but reported over 5000 individual datapoints. Pseudoreplication, anyone?

  22. They had a total of 17 subjects, but reported over 5000 individual datapoints. Pseudoreplication, anyone?

    Well, if you follow 18 subjects over 296 time periods, you will naturally get 5300 data points. Now, you do have to analyse that as 18×296 rather than flat 5300 samples, but there’s no reason to suspect they don’t know their statistics.

  23. Bug_Girl, Here’s an ad hominem for you: Why would I trust the critique of a piece of scholarly research on rape by a radical feminist with an even more scientifically dubious theory on rape (that it exists to keep women in fear, and that all men benefit from it) who is writing for a web page called “feminista?”

    I’m not saying Thornhill isn’t wrong. He very well might be. I’m saying that you have virtually no grounds for making that assertion, aside from the fact that you don’t like the social/legal implications if it turned out he was right. And to support that argument, you link an article by an adjunct at a university no one has ever heard of, in a department that exists for purely political reasons (“gender studies” is akin to “creation science”), who wrote a book 30 years ago that disagreed with his claims, which, even if incorrect, appear to at least be based on some manner of scientific research methodology.

    I see nothing in Ms. Brownmiller’s article that amounts to more than “I disagree, and I don’t like what he’s saying.” She points to his data sources and pronounces them “flawed,” without going into further detail. She dismisses his statistical analyses as “running things through a computer.” She identifies the fact that he cites his own research as support for his claims as a problem, but people do that all the time. It means “please go read the other things I’ve written about this to understand better what I’m saying here,” not “I’m right because I said so before.” In fact, that’s what all citations are meant to say–“go read this.”

    Regarding the “animals are not moral agents” line, I don’t see how that is even relevant. Forced copulation is forced because the one being forced doesn’t want it to happen… How is that different from humans? The only difference is we have put together a social system that recognizes that rape (among other natural activities) weakens the community in the long run, and have therefore forbidden it.

    As for your stats critique, unfortunately I don’t have access to that journal, but looking at the abstract, it doesn’t look abnormal from here. The data points are lap dances. It’s a longitudinal study. Those will always have a lot of data points. The small N size is a little troubling, though. Wish I could read it…

  24. Actually, rape strikes me as a pretty poor reproductive strategy – courtship, by leading to several consensual matings over a period of time with neither party suffering stress and/or injury, would seem far more likely to produce pregnancy and healthy offspring.

    That said, I think one of the big problems I have with Ev Psych (apart from the methodology) is that it focuses so much on successful conceptions, when the really hard part of human reproduction is devoting all the time and resources to raising the kids and making sure they give you grandchildren – I ranted about this a few months ago on my LJ:
    http://moon-custafer.livejournal.com/129265.html?mode=reply

Comments are closed.