The Tramp Stamp Revealed

The “Tramp Stamp” Revealed: Are Women with Tattoos Actually More Sexually Open?  - Kaylee Skoda, Kailie Brown, Cassandra L. Hesse, & Cory L. Pedersen

Tattoos are a revolutionizing way for people to individualize their identity, express themselves through art, and protest against mainstream society. Historically, considerable negativity has been associated with visible tattoos; however, the last several decades has revealed a dramatic shift (Hawkes et al., 2004). Recently, men with visible tattoos have garnered greater social acceptance and popularity. This same trend is not evident among women with tattoos, however. Swami and Furnham (2007) reported that women with tattoos are evaluated as less attractive, but more promiscuous, than women without tattoos. Further, men are more likely to approach a female with a visible tattoo relative to one without a visible tattoo – and perceive better chances for sexual success (Gueguen, 2013).


Despite these findings, the question begs to be asked whether women with visible tattoos actually are more receptive to casual sexual encounters than their non-tattooed counterparts. It is also unknown what factors independently and collectively interact with visible tattooing to contribute to sexual receptivity in women. The purpose of the present study was to explore whether, and to what extent, stereotyped perceptions of tattooed women as sexually open are accurate, and whether characteristics of personality, religiosity, and gender-typicality are significant predictors of female sexual receptivity.


A between-groups (tattoo vs. no tattoo) analyses revealed that women with tattoos were more willing to engage in uncommitted sexual relations (i.e., sexual openness) than their non-tattooed counterparts.  Findings also indicate that tattooed women reported greater sensation-seeking needs than their non-tattooed counterparts.  Correlations across all variables revealed the finding that tattoo number, tattoo visibility (e.g., locations on the face, arms, calves) , and tattoo non-visibility (e.g., locations on the breasts, genitals, and lower back) were significantly positively correlated to sexual permissiveness.  Also of note was the finding that tattoo number, visibility, and non-visibility were each significantly positively related to sensation-seeking.  Further, tattoo number and tattoo visibility were both significantly positively related to egalitarian gender-role beliefs.  Finally, the presence of tattoos, their visibility - and in particular, their non-visibility - significantly predicted whether a woman would have greater willingness to engage in uncommitted sexual relationships. 


Findings are discussed in reference to sexual stereotyping and body tattooing as an honest indicator of aspects of personality that may include acceptance of sexual openness.


Oral presentation delivered at the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality, Atlanta GA, 2017.