In this post I try to uncover scientific evidence to support my theory that a fast car can increase the desirability of it’s driver to a potential mate and if used properly can be a catalyst for arousal.
As a young man, a very single and childless young man, I always drove a sports car. My car was always low, fast and provided seating for two.
One evening, after picking up my date from her apartment, I merged onto the freeway. Like most car guys, I checked my rear view, slowed to 2MPH and went wide open throttle. This is why onramps were invented, legal acceleration testing.
A part of me was showing off because I am man and it’s what we do. It's also why we end up in a ditch adjacent to the Cars and Coffee parking lot. Plus, the Corvette I just purchased was the perfect car to show off in.
Having remembered just how terrifying this might be for a passenger not used to going fast and without warning, I turned to my date expecting a look of anger. Instead her eyes were wide and watered. She had a smile on her face and was still griping the door handle. Breathing heavy she said, “God. That is such a turn on.”
Now I’m older, married to the woman described above and living without a sports car. While I still love all things automotive, lately I've been more interested in the psychological (in this case biological) motivators that run the gambit of all things automotive. For that reason I decided to explore the notion of fast cars and arousal.
I’m not a medical professional nor do I hold a PhD in bioscience research, so there is a chance I get a few things wrong here. Also, some of this is based on my personal opinion wherein I make wild leaps to conclusions. It is also not all encompassing, so feel free to contribute to the discussion.
I’ll break this into two parts: visual and physical triggers.
Factory fast cars tend to be visually appealing. While you can make a 1986 Civic go fast, that isn’t the norm when you think fast cars. Attractive is subjective, but we’ll assume most people agree; cars like Ferrari 458 or Corvette C6 are attractive and illicit a pleasant visual experience. This visual pleasure and desirability can translate to the driver and at the least it plays a roll in the ambiance of the wooing.
Fast cars also tend to be more expensive than their non-sporty counterparts. Again, I know your SRT4 with downpipes and added boost is fast, but for the visual aspect of this I want to focus on vehicles built from the factory to be fast.
Wealth is seen as the ability to provide. It is assumed that because a person can afford an expensive car, they can provide food and lodging for a mate and any potential offspring. While societal structures have changed the evolutionary mating preferences, the need to provide is still a very strong one, although now it tends to apply to either sex. Previously men had been the dominant providers in sexual preference selection, but as women move into more and more positions of power and earning as men, the role has somewhat shifted. Now men swoon for a single woman in a Panamera Turbo.
Conclusion: Having a car that looks expensive can increase your odds of attracting a mate who is seeking a provider. It can also attract gold diggers. Be warned.
Next we examine the physiological relationship between sexual arousal and going fast. There was quite a bit of data regarding sexual arousal, but none of it was specific to vehicle speed or acceleration. I read studies that did everything, from measuring erection size during threat of shock while viewing pornographic material to vaginal pulse amplitudes of dysfunctional women during film-induced sexual arousal. I know more about sexual arousal than I want to know.
The only scientific evidence to support the theory that going fast can increase desirability came in the form of a study conducted in 1974 by Donald Dutton and Arthur Aron, “Some evidence for heightened sexual attraction under conditions of high anxiety.”
The study determined that a fear-arousing event (i.e. 0-60 in under 4 seconds) could arouse a person who mistakenly assumes that arousal was desire for the other person and not the fear-arousing event.
Rapid pulse, heavy breathing, increased blood flow, all physical effects of a fear-arousing event. While the car is responsible for the physical effects, the passenger confuses this as desire for the driver resulting in an increased level of attractiveness.
While a car may not be the the sole reason one person finds another desirable, it appears a sexy fast car can help tilt the odds in your favor. Now even non-enthusiasts and millennials have reason to consider a performance vehicle.