Evolutionary Psychological Science

, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 24–37 | Cite as

Not Straight and Not Straightforward: the Relationships Between Sexual Orientation, Sociosexuality, and Dark Triad Traits in Women

  • Scott W. SemenynaEmail author
  • Charlene F. Belu
  • Paul L. Vasey
  • P. Lynne Honey
Research Article


Two studies examined the connection between women’s sexual orientation, their sociosexuality (i.e. willingness, attitudes, and desires associated with uncommitted sexual behaviour), and Dark Triad traits (Machiavellianism, narcissism, and psychopathy). Both studies found that moderately bisexual women reported less-restricted sociosexuality, as well as higher levels of Dark Triad traits––particularly psychopathy. In both studies, sexual orientation differences in Dark Triad traits were mediated by sociosexuality. Study 2 confirmed that the relationship between women’s sexual orientation and sociosexuality is curvilinear, with moderately bisexual women (i.e. Kinsey 1–2) reporting heightened sociosexuality compared to other groups. These results are consistent with the conclusion that moderate levels of female bisexuality may be a by-product of selection for traits that result in less restricted sociosexuality. At either end of the orientation continuum, women who report exclusive or near-exclusive homosexuality or heterosexuality report more restricted sociosexuality and lower Dark Triad scores, compared to women nearer to the middle of the continuum. As such, the aetiology of moderate bisexuality in women may be distinct from the aetiology of exclusive or near-exclusive homosexuality in women.


Female sexual orientation Sociosexuality Dark triad Bisexuality Female gynephilia 



Scott W. Semenyna and Charlene F. Belu are funded by Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarships (Doctoral) from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

All research was conducted with institutional ethical approval consistent with the Canadian Tri-Council Policy Statement (TCPS 2) and the Declaration of Helsinki.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. An institutional human subject research ethics committee reviewed and approved this research.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Scott W. Semenyna
    • 1
    Email author
  • Charlene F. Belu
    • 2
  • Paul L. Vasey
    • 1
  • P. Lynne Honey
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of LethbridgeLethbridgeCanada
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of New BrunswickFrederictonCanada
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyMacEwan UniversityEdmontonCanada

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