Document Type


Date of Degree Completion

Spring 2018

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Experimental Psychology

Committee Chair

Susan Lonborg

Second Committee Member

Kara Gabriel

Third Committee Member

Tonya Buchanan


While technologically-mediated expressions of sexuality have been previously studied, there is very little research regarding anonymous public nudes (APNs). APNs are nude photographs which are taken or cropped so as not to include the face or other identifying characteristics, and posted on the Internet. This differs from sexting in that the photographs are meant to be seen by an audience of strangers online, rather than one or a few trusted individuals. The purpose of this study was to examine perceptions of APNs. Sixty-seven male and 160 female students over the age of 18 were recruited from Central Washington University to participate. Each participant looked at one nude photograph for 30 seconds. The photograph depicted either a male or female, with his/her face showing, cropped out, or obscured by a black rectangle. The Measures of Personal Attractiveness were used to assess how socially, physically, and task attractive participants found the photograph target. The Sex-Positivity Scale was used to determine participants’ sex positivity, which was treated as a covariate. It was hypothesized that: 1) anonymous photograph targets would garner lower ratings of social and task attractiveness than identifiable photograph targets; 2) identifiable photograph targets would garner higher ratings of physical attractiveness than anonymous photograph targets; 3) the male photograph target would be rated as less attractive overall than female photograph target; and 4) male and female participants would differ in their attraction ratings. A multivariate analysis of covariance (MANCOVA) revealed that after controlling for sex positivity, the male photograph target was rated less physically, socially, and task attractive than the female photograph target. Sex positivity as a covariate was also significant across all three types of attraction. There were no significant differences in attraction ratings among anonymity categories or between participant genders.