Legend has it that John Lennon once said, “One of the main reasons to get on stage is that it’s the quickest way of making contact.” Without a doubt, he was referring to sexual encounters. Certainly, the historically male-dominated rock ‘n’ roll arena has led to some unhealthy dynamics when it comes to sex. However, do that many straight men who play guitar really do it to improve their chances with women?
However, a new study reveals an unexpected additional factor at work, at least in the case of extreme metal. QI, a British TV panel show based on interesting facts and whose social media channels are managed by a thorough team of researchers, recently shared a spicy truth-nugget on their official Twitter account, citing a new study that found many straight male guitarists start playing extreme metal to…er, show off to other straight male guitarists.
Last night, the folks at QI posted a Tweet claiming, “Research shows that heterosexual men who learn to play extreme metal guitar are mostly motivated to do so in order to impress other heterosexual men” (October 2). Of course, it immediately sparked a heated debate, though most of the comments were meant in jest.
QI’s Tweet inspired one user to track down the study by Tara DeLecce, Farid Pazhoohi, Anna Szala, and Todd K. Shackelford upon which it was based. While the specifics of the research are locked behind a paywall, the Psychnet summary reveals that 44 straight male guitarists participated in the survey.
While it’s disheartening to learn that certain facets of guitar playing are associated with men’s desire to impress their female guitar-playing peers (come on, lads, it’s 2022), the results do show that certain facets of playing guitar are linked to a desire to get laid.
According to the research, “Sexual selection and byproduct of the complexity of the human brain” are the two main competing hypotheses for the function of music. It’s possible that the sexual selection explanation isn’t exclusive to all types of music, even though there is evidence that playing music makes men more attractive.
The study goes on to point out that the “Sexual selection” theory might not apply to extreme metal music because it is a genre of rock that is dominated by men, both on and off stage.
It goes on to say that “Extreme metal is a genre that is heavily male-biased, not only among the individuals that play this style of music but also among the fans of the genre.” “As a result, it’s highly improbable that extreme metal musicians are primarily attempting to improve their chances of mating through their music.
It’s unclear why musicians in this genre put in so much effort to hone their technical abilities (e.g., dexterity, coordination, timing). It’s possible that men gravitate toward this style primarily as a means of establishing their masculine superiority over other men by showing off their technical prowess and speed.”
The article states, “A sample of 44 heterosexual male metal guitarists was recruited and surveyed about their practicing habits, sexual behavior, and feelings of competitiveness toward the same sex to explore the motivation behind investment in technical guitar skills.”
The site reveals the study’s findings, saying, “The survey results indicated that time spent playing chords predicted desire for casual sex with women, while perceptions of playing speed positively predicted intrasexual competitiveness (a desire to impress other men).”
As a result, you now have the answer. It seems that the faster your shredding speed, the more of a show of muscle you are putting on for your guy friends. The sample size of 44 isn’t exactly overwhelming, so don’t freak out if you’re a straight, male extreme metal guitarist who plays because the genre is awesome. Please be aware that if the studies are to be believed, there may be some colleagues out there who are determined to out-noodle you.