Heterosexual women rate perceived anabolic steroid-using men as less attractive for long-term romantic relationships
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionJournal of Substance Use. 2021, 26 (1), 36-39. 10.1080/14659891.2020.1766128
Background: Physical attractiveness is a major motive for anabolic-androgenic steroid (AAS) use. Since majority of AAS users are men, we investigated heterosexual women’s ratings of the physical, sexual and romantic attractiveness of AAS-using and non-using men. Methods: A sample of 112 AAS-non-using heterosexual women (age range: 15–81, M = 29.61 years) was randomized to two independent conditions: food (n = 50) and AAS (n = 62). After exposure to a vignette (varied in AAS use or food consumption) and the target image of a moderately muscular man (same across conditions), participants in both conditions rated their respective target on physical, short-term sexual, and long-term romantic attractiveness. We compared ratings of the two targets using an independent t-test. Results: Compared to the non-using target, the AAS-using target received lower ratings (t = −2.61, p < .05, Cohen’s d = 0.50) on long-term romantic attractiveness. Conclusion: Heterosexual women rate perceived AAS-using men as less attractive for long-term romantic relationships. Preventive and harm reduction interventions may benefit from highlighting this finding.