Better Sex: Five Strange Things That Turn Men On

In a recent study from the University of East Anglia in the U.K., researchers observed that fruit flies mate for significantly longer and reproduce more offspring when they’ve been exposed to rival male fruit flies prior to mating.  In other words, when these male flies sniff even the faintest hint of competition and suspect their pretty partners might hook up with other male fruit fly dudes, they straight-up get busy, researchers say. Who knew the threat of infidelity mixed with a healthy dose of paranoia made flies so horny?

Ah, but just like our winged brethren, sometimes men get turned on by strange, unexpected stuff, too. Here are five.

1. The Economy
While our wallets might have taken a hit from the recession, men’s sex drives haven’t diminished. Studies show that while tough economic times make men reluctant to divorce given the financial instability, these same tough economic times make men more tempted to sleep around.  Why? The study speculates that the stagnant economy may make men’s ancestral instincts kick in. In prehistoric times of famine, men who sought out lots of one-night stands may have helped preserve the species, even if they kicked the bucket the next day.  So if you’re going through hard times, make sure connecting in the bedroom is a little bit easier.

2. Fear
Ever considered Jaws pre-foreplay? In a classic study at the University of British Columbia, researchers sent an attractive female assistant to ask two groups of guys to fill out a survey. The woman approached one set of men on a short, sturdy bridge while she contacted the other group on a long, shaky suspension bridge with a frightening 230-foot drop. Both groups of men were just as likely to stop when they saw the sexy assistant, but the men on the dangerous bridge provided more sexual answers on the survey, and were five times more likely to call the woman after the experiment. In other words, fear makes men randy, even when they could be facing death.

3. Pumpkin Pie
After reading this, you’ll never think of Thanksgiving as a wholesome, family-friendly holiday again: In a study from Chicago’s Smell and Taste Research Center, researchers tested the effects that 24 odors had on arousal in men. Results showed that the number one scent that increased men’s penile blood flow was a combination of lavender and pumpkin pie. (Just in case you wanted to complete your sex dessert, vanilla had the second-strongest effect on men, with strawberry rhubarb pie coming in third.)

4. Twitter
According to recent studies, sometimes all it takes is 140 characters to get in the mood. A 2011 survey from dating website OKCupid found that its members who tweeted at least once a day were twice as likely to regularly masturbate. The study indicated that people who tweet have easier access to, um, “visual stimuli,” considering the time they spend in front of a computer and that if they make time to tweet, there’s a good chance they make time to masturbate as well.  So what’s that mean for their women?  Get involved!  Take the time to send your man a few sexy texts during the day so he’ll be sure think of you during the night.  

5. The Color Red
There’s a reason why red is the color of lust: according to a 2008 study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, men are more attracted to women in rouge without even knowing it. In one experiment, researchers had men rate pictures of women in terms of attractiveness, and found that women wearing red were given significantly higher scores than those in other colors. Men even passed over pictures of the same women they had previously rated as sexy when they were dressed in different colors. So ladies, get out there and buy red!

Better Sex: Do you know of more strange and interesting things that turn men on? Please comment below.


Dr. Dana Fillmore and Amy Barnhart,

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