Original Article

Sex Roles

, Volume 65, Issue 11, pp 840-853

First online:

Sexism and Assertive Courtship Strategies

  • Jeffrey A. HallAffiliated withCommunication Studies, The University of Kansas Email author 
  • , Melanie CanterberryAffiliated withDept of Psychology, The University of Kansas

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


The popularity of speed-seduction techniques, such as those described in The Game (Strauss 2005) and advocated in the cable program The Pickup Artist (Malloy 2007), suggests some women respond positively to men’s assertive mating strategies. Drawing from these sources, assertive strategies were operationalized as involving attempts to isolate women, to compete with other men, and to tease or insult women. The present investigation examined whether hostile and benevolent sexism and sociosexuality, the degree to which individuals require closeness and commitment prior to engaging in sex, were associated with the reported use of assertive strategies by men and the reported positive reception to those strategies by women. It was predicted men and women who were more sexist and had an unrestricted sociosexuality would report using more and being more receptive to assertive strategies. Study 1 (N = 363) surveyed a Midwestern undergraduate college student sample, and regression results indicated that sociosexuality was associated with assertive strategy preference and use, but sexism only predicted a positive reception of assertive strategies by women. Study 2 (N = 850) replicated these results by surveying a larger, national U.S. volunteer sample via the internet. In addition to confirming the results of Study 1, regression results from Study 2 indicated that hostile sexism was predictive of reported assertive strategy use by men, suggesting that outside of the college culture, sexism is more predictive of assertive strategy use. Implications for courtship processes and the dating culture are discussed.


Ambivalent sexism Assertive behaviors Courtship Relationship initiation Sociosexuality