Prostitution is an exchange of sexual services for economic profit which predominantly reflects men’s desire for sexually attractive women. These preferences could be shaped by sexual selection, as a woman’s sexual attractiveness is believed to be a cue of fertility. Using data from Polish prostitutes, we investigated whether cues of fertility are associated with the price for sex. In line with evolutionary predictions, prostitute’s age and body mass index (BMI) were negatively correlated with the price for sex, while breast size (except for very large breasts) and number of sexual offerings were positively associated with the price for sex. This suggests that young, slim prostitutes with moderate breasts are more expensive than older, stockier, and those with very large breasts. We suggest that commercial sex exploits men’s evolved preferences for sexually attractive women who have high reproductive potential.
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Three anonymous referees provided helpful comments on an earlier draft of this manuscript. David Livingstone improved the English.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee (KE IZ WMWiNoZ 1/UPD/09/2017) and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
The data of the participants involved in this study was publicly shared.
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Authors declare no conflict of interests.
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Prokop, P., Dylewski, Ł., Woźna, J.T. et al. Cues of woman’s fertility predict prices for sex with prostitutes. Curr Psychol 39, 919–926 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12144-018-9807-9