UTSA study looks at perception of tattoos on women

SAN ANTONIO – Tattoos can be seen as a form of expression or art and there is no denying the number of people getting tattoos is growing.

University of Texas at San Antonio graduate student Lisa Oakes conducted a study almost a year long, where she surveyed 221 students both male and female to see if women with tattoos are perceived as promiscuous.

"So impressions about her level of intelligence, her level of warmth, desirability of short term or long term (and) how attractive she is, how sexy she is," said Oakes.

Oakes used several pictures of one woman and compared the ratings of each photo.

"Basically, what I did was take four photos that were exactly the same photo of exactly the same girl. I just had her shown either with no tattoo, a butterfly, rose or skull and crossbones (at) the same location same size on her arm," Oakes said.

Oakes said the study's findings took her by surprise.

"When she had a tattoo, she was rated as looking like she had a, she might be more receptive to sex without a committed relationship. She looked like she had lower standards of partner selectivity, and she looked like she had a higher sex drive then the girl without the tattoo," Oakes said.

Still, Oakes said the results weren't at levels most would call promiscuous.

Kayla Hylton works at a local tattoo shop and has about 20 tattoos. Some even matched those used in the study.

"I got roses, skulls all that stuff. In my opinions tattoos are a really big commitment, if you are able to commit to having something on you for the rest of your life. I don't see a problem committing to someone else for the rest of your life," Hylton said.

Oakes plans to continue her research and plans to expand the study in the near future.