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'Hotness,' It Turns Out, Is A Contagious Idea Rather Than A Subjective Assessment

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Here at Towleroad we’re no strangers to ogling the occasional attractive man reading a book, rapping, or just sort of pretending to be gay. We’ve got an entire tag dedicated to “HOT MEN” because hotness as a concept is both as newsworthy as it is purely objective. Right? According to new research published in Advances and Consumer Research, that logic is somewhat flawed.

Our general perceptions of what’s hot and what’s not, it turns out, have less to do with our own inherent aesthetic preferences and are heavily influenced by what we perceive to be socially acceptable. The study, entitled "Instantaneously Hotter: the Dynamic Revision of Beauty Assessment Standards,” drew upon photos and “hotness ratings” from HotOrNot.com.

Participants in the study were instructed to rank other people’s photographs. Occasionally after giving a numerical score, participants would be allowed to see how other people ranked them, though not every time. As Jesse Singal writes for NY Mag’s Science of Us blog, the study focused on the ways in which people ranked others’ hotness after they were allowed to see the decisions that other people had made:

"The researchers found that when people saw ratings after making their own judgement, in subsequent judgments they got closer and closer to other people's overall average rating of that photo. In other words — and I'm making up the specific numbers — if on the first photo they ranked they were off by 2 points on a 10-point scale as compared to the average, by the 20th photo they were off by, on average, 1.25 points."

Beauty, it turns out, isn’t as in the eye of the beholder as we might think to believe. The study’s findings can be interpreted in a number of different ways, but it’s important to keep in mind the specific circumstance under which the results were found. It’s not often that you’ll have a numerical representation of the public’s hotness score of another person. Thinking that the whole of your sexual attraction to another person is entirely skewed by societal expectations is a rather depressing thought, to be sure, but this isn’t exactly the first time that this idea has been substantiated with numbers.

Sound off in the comments with your opinions.


Some Helpful Tips For Being A Good Top on Valentine's Day: VIDEO

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Gay couples the world over are celebrating Valentine’s Day today with gifts, cards, dinners, and perhaps a little something extra. It almost goes without saying that for many people sex is an integral part of the full V-Day experience.

It stands to reason that like all other things one does with their significant other on Valentine’s Day, one would want the sex to be good if not better comparison to a regular old Saturday roll in the hay. Sex is a collaborative effort, but in his latest episode of Just The Tips R.J. Aguiar and guest Ricky Roman explore the ins and outs of what it means to be a good top.

Some key takeaways: communicate, be present, and maybe (just maybe) have a bit of experience sleeping on your bottom bunk yourself. What do you think?

Check out R.J. Aguiar and Ricky Roman’s tips on being a good top AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Some Helpful Tips For Being A Good Top on Valentine's Day: VIDEO" »


'3 Eras Of Gay Sex In 3 Minutes' - VIDEO

3 Eras of Gay Sex in 3 Minutes

How much can sex possibly change? Well, for the gay community in the U.S. at least, a fair bit. In a short video titled "3 Eras of Gay Sex in 3 Minutes", filmmaker Leo Herrera covers the variety present in gay life from pre-Stonewall to modern day.

It's more of an audio-visual collage than a documentary, but it's a fascinating look all the same, and you can watch it AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "'3 Eras Of Gay Sex In 3 Minutes' - VIDEO" »


Brush Up On Your Hanky Code History With Funny Or Die: VIDEO

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Way back when in the halcyon days of yester-queer, some gay men sought out sexual partners using a clever system known as the hanky code. Rather than listening to me explain the finer points of differentiating between brown lace and brown satin, we recommend College Humor’s highly instructive explainer. It covers pretty much all of the basics:

“Purple means you’re looking to settle into a sham marriage with a woman based on mutual benefit.”

It also means piercing.

Check out College Humor’s guide to hanky codes AFTER THE JUMP...(warning: NSFW language)

Continue reading "Brush Up On Your Hanky Code History With Funny Or Die: VIDEO" »


The Ridiculous Game of Hook-Up Apps Condensed Into One Infographic

If you’re a gay (or bisexual) man with a smartphone in your pocket, then there’s a good chance that you’ve dealt with suppressing a Pavlovian response to this tone at least once or twice. Grindr, regardless of how you feel about it, has become a flawless fixture in the lives of many queer men looking to build long-lasting, meaningful relationships centered around common interests.

Navigating your way around Grindr can sometimes be super-difficult, but this infographic from GrabHim is a handy little flowchart to help you tap your way to Mr. Right with little to no hassle. Some key takeaways: endowment is everything, body fat is a sin, and no one is to be trusted.

Click the graphic below for an expanded view.

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(VIA GrabHim.net)


Michael Urie On Gay Sex and TV: 'Change The Channel'

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Actor Michael Urie has a simple solution for people like Billy Crystal who have a problem with gay sex scenes on television: don't watch. In an interview with New Now Next, the former Ugly Betty and future What's Your Emergency? actor had this to say to people who don't like seeing the gays engaging in behaviors the straights have been doing on screens both big and small for generations:

I don’t think it’s overexposed. If gay sex on TV is too much for you, change the channel and don’t watch it, it’s not for you. I think there is far too much football on TV. But I’m not going around saying they should take football off the air; I’m changing the channel.

Simple solutions to complex problems.


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