While it’s long been assumed that male guitarists pick up the instrument primarily to attract mates, a new study suggests that there may be another motivation at work for those who flock to extreme metal genres.
According to the study, titled Extreme metal guitar skill: A case of male-male status seeking, mate attraction, or byproduct?, male guitarists in extreme metal genres may be using their skills to show off to other straight male guitarists.
The study’s authors suggest that this behavior may be a form of status seeking, as extreme metal guitarists often occupy a lower social status than musicians in other genres.
“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.”
The study gathered a sample group of 44 heterosexual males and explored “the reasoning behind investment in technical guitar skills” by surveying them about their practicing habits, sexual behavior and feelings of competitiveness toward the same sex.
The survey results “indicated that time spent playing chords predicted desire for casual sex with women, whereas perceptions of playing speed positively predicted intrasexual competitiveness,” or a desire to impress other men.
While the study’s authors acknowledge that more research is needed to confirm their findings, they believe that this behavior may be a key factor in understanding the popularity of extreme metal genres.
So, next time you see a guy shredding on an electric guitar, he may just be trying to impress other guys. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.