Sex Unleashes Your Tongue: Sexual Priming Motivates Self-Disclosure to a New Acquaintance and Interest in Future Interactions

Gurit E. Birnbaum, Moran Mizrahi, Ayelet Kaplan, Danielle Kadosh, Dana Kariv, Danielle Tabib, Daniella Ziv, Lihi Sadeh, Daniella Burban

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations

Abstract

Research has demonstrated the contribution of sexual activity to the quality of ongoing relationships. Nevertheless, less attention has been given to how activation of the sexual system affects relationship-initiation processes. Three studies used complementary methodologies to examine the effect of sexual priming on self-disclosure, a relationship-promoting behavior. In Study 1, participants were subliminally exposed to sexual stimuli (vs. neutral stimuli), and then disclosed over Instant Messenger a personal event to an opposite-sex stranger. Results showed that merely thinking about sex, even without being aware of it, encouraged self-disclosure. Study 2 replicated these findings in relatively naturalistic conditions (live face-to-face interactions following supraliminal video priming). Study 3 extended these findings, indicating that sexual priming facilitated self-disclosure, which, in turn, increased interest in future interactions with the stranger. Together, these findings suggest that activation of the sexual system encourages the use of strategies that allow people to become closer to potential partners.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)706-715
Number of pages10
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Volume43
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 May 2017
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • attraction
  • dating
  • relationship initiation
  • self-disclosure
  • sexuality

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