Original Paper

Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 42, Issue 8, pp 1407-1414

First online:

Four Functions for Four Relationships: Consensus Definitions of University Students

  • Peter K. JonasonAffiliated withSchool of Social Sciences and Psychology, University of Western Sydney Email author 

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In this study (N = 192; 124 women, 68 men), consensus definitions of one-night stands, booty-call relationships, friends-with-benefits, and serious romantic relationships were fashioned using a sample of university students. Participants provided a Likert and forced-choice assessment of how each relationship was characterized by the functions of sexual gratification, trial run, placeholder, and socioemotional support. Serious romantic relationships were primarily used to gain socioemotional support. Friends-with-benefits relationships were motivated by seeking a placeholder until someone better came along and as a trial run for a more serious relationship. Booty-call relationships and one-night stands were motivated primarily by a desire for sexual gratification. Men ascribed a greater range of reasons to engage in sexual relationships than women did and the more short-term the relationship was in nature, the greater the emergence of sex differences in ascribed functions.


Booty-call relationships Friends-with-benefits One-night stands Serious romantic relationships Sex differences Sociosexuality