, Volume 31, Issue 1-2, pp 1-22

Extradyadic romantic involvement: Moderating effects of sociosexuality and gender

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Abstract

In two separate experiments, the role of both sociosexuality (Simpson & Gangestad, 1991) and gender in moderating individuals' tendencies to pursue extradyadic relationships was examined. Unmarried subjects, predominantly Anglo and Hispanic, reportedly in “exclusive” dating relationships were presented with opportunities to become involved in a romantic relationship across a variety of situations. Their willingness to disregard both their own involved relationship status as well as their potential partner's current relationship status was assessed. Across experiments, individuals with an unrestricted sociosexual orientation indicated a greater willingness to pursue extradyadic involvement as evidenced by both self-report (Experiments 1 and 2) and behavioral (Experiment 2) measures. Further, on self-report measures, men indicated a greater willingness than did women to pursue extradyadic involvement. Gender differences disappeared on the behavioral measure. Finally, across experiments, subjects were less likely to pursue potential partners who were described as currently involved (versus uninvolved). This latter factor failed to interact with either sociosexuality or gender. Results are discussed from both evolutionary and cultural-contingency perspectives. Implications for practitioners are also presented.