Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 37, Issue 4, pp 572–585

Mate Retention Behavior of Men and Women in Heterosexual and Homosexual Relationships

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10508-006-9139-y

Cite this article as:
VanderLaan, D.P. & Vasey, P.L. Arch Sex Behav (2008) 37: 572. doi:10.1007/s10508-006-9139-y


Comparing the behavior of heterosexual and homosexual persons can provide insight into the origins of heterosexual sex differences in psychology. Evidence indicates that, aside from sexual partner preference, the mating psychology of homosexual men is sex-typical whereas that of homosexual women tends to be more sex-atypical. The current study examined one aspect of mating psychology, mate retention behavior, and tested whether homosexual men and women were sex-typical or sex-atypical for those mate retention tactics where heterosexual men and women differed. Men and women in heterosexual and homosexual relationships were asked to provide information regarding their partners’ mate retention behavior by using the Mate Retention Inventory Questionnaire. Heterosexual men and women differed significantly for six of the 19 mate retention tactics considered. With respect to the six mate retention tactics where heterosexual sex differences existed, homosexual men behaved in a sex-typical manner for five of the tactics, whereas homosexual women behaved in a sex-atypical manner for all six tactics. We discuss the significance of these findings for explaining the origins of the mate retention behavior of heterosexual men and women. In addition, we consider what the pattern of sex-typical and sex-atypical mating psychology among homosexual men and women, respectively, suggests in regard to sex differences in the development of mating psychology and the development of homosexual persons.


Mate retentionMating psychologyHeterosexualHomosexualSex differencesRelationshipsSex-typicalSex-atypical

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of LethbridgeLethbridgeCanada