Are Sex Differences in Mating Strategies Overrated? Sociosexual Orientation as a Dominant Predictor in Online Dating Strategies
Past research has extensively focused on sex differences in online dating strategies but has largely neglected sex-related individual difference variables such as sociosexuality. Sociosexuality (i.e., a measure of the number of restrictions people place on sexual relationships) gained attention in the 1990s among social and evolutionary psychologists, but has not been fully embraced by social scientists investigating interpersonal relationships and individual differences. Our aim is to investigate whether previously documented sex differences in mating strategies can be partially explained by sociosexuality, as a proximate manifestation of sex, by replicating a study about motives to use online dating applications, using an online survey. A first MANCOVA analysis (N = 254 online daters) not controlling for sociosexuality showed a significant main effect for age and sex. Adding sociosexuality to this analysis, a significant main effect of sociosexuality appeared indicating that individuals with a preference for unrestricted sexual relationships are more motivated to use online dating for reasons related to casual sex, whereas individuals who prefer restricted sexual relationships are more motivated to use online dating to find romance. Interestingly, the original main effect for sex and the significant interactions were eliminated. We argue that in social scientific research, scholars should pay more attention to sociosexuality when doing research about mating strategies.
KeywordsOnline dating Sociosexuality Mating strategies Sex differences Motives
The authors wish to thank Mirna Van Den Boomen. The data used in this study are part of her Master dissertation research about the underlying motives for using online dating websites versus online dating applications.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
The current research was approved by the Ethics Committee of University of Antwerp. All participants were fully informed about the general scope of the study, informed consent was collected from the participant and no compensation was given for participation. In total, 14 respondents were excluded from the study because they disagreed to participate (n = 3) or had doubts (n = 11) whether to participate in the study.
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
- Ayers, C. (2014). Tinder: the app that’s setting the dating scene on fire. Retrieved October 24, 2017, from http://www.theaustralian.com.au/life/weekend-australian-magazine/tinder-the-app-thatssetting-the-dating-scene-on-fire/story-e6frg8h6-1226933263450.
- Buss, D. M. (2006). Strategies of human mating. Psihologijske Teme, 15(2), 239–260.Google Scholar
- Easton, J. A., Goetz, C. D., & Buss, D. M. (2015). Human mate choice, evolution of. International encyclopedia of the social & behavioral sciences (pp. 340–347). https://doi.org/10.1016/b978-0-08-097086-8.81049-1
- Elfering, A., Grebner, S., & Semmer, N. K. (2003). Beyond self-report: using observational, physiological, and situation-based measures in research on occupational stress. In Emotional and physiological processes and positive intervention strategies (Vol. 3, pp. 205–263). Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing Limited. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1479-3555(03)03006-3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Greenwood, S., Perrin, A., & Duggan, M. (2016, November 11). Social Media Update 2016. Retrieved October 19, 2017, from http://www.pewinternet.org/2016/11/11/social-media-update-2016/.
- James, J. J., & Kirkpatrick, L. A. (2007). The structure and measurement of human mating strategies: toward a multidimensional model of sociosexuality. Evolution and Human Behavior, 28(6), 382–391. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2007.04.005.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Kandrik, M., Jones, B. C., & DeBruine, L. M. (2015). Scarcity of female mates predicts regional variation in men’s and women’s sociosexual orientation across US states. Evolution and Human Behavior, 36(3), 206–210. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2014.11.004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Kinsey, A. C., Pomeroy, W. B., & Martin, C. E. (1948). Sexual behavior in the human male. Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders.Google Scholar
- Kinsey, A. C., Pomeroy, W. B., Martin, C. E., & Gebhard, P. H. (1953). Sexual behavior in the human female. Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders.Google Scholar
- Lewis, D. M. G., Al-Shawaf, L., Conroy-Beam, D., Asao, K., & Buss, D. M. (2012). Friends with benefits II: mating activation in opposite-sex friendships as a function of sociosexual orientation and relationship status. Personality and Individual Differences, 53(5), 622–628. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2012.04.040.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Penke, L., & Asendorpf, J. B. (2008). Beyond global sociosexual orientations: a more differentiated look at sociosexuality and its effects on courtship and romantic relationships. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95(5), 1113–1135. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-35220.127.116.113.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Podsakoff, P. M., MacKenzie, S. B., & Podsakoff, N. P. (2012). Sources of method bias in social science research and recommendations on how to control it. Annual Review of Psychology, 63(1), 539–569. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-psych-120710-100452.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Sales, N. J. (2015). Tinder and the dawn of the “Dating apocalypse.” Retrieved October 24, 2017, from http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/2015/08/tinder-hook-up-culture-end-of-dating.
- Smith, A., & Anderson, M. (2016). 5 facts about online dating. Washington DC: Pew Research Center.Google Scholar
- Symons, D. (1979). The evolution of human sexuality. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Thompson, A. (2015). Would you use an app for no-strings sex? Retrieved October 24, 2017, from http://www.marieclaire.co.uk/blogs/544766/the-top-3-apps-for-no-strings-sex.html.
- Trivers, R. L. (1972). Parental investment and sexual selection. In Campbell (Ed.), Sexual selection and the descent of man (pp. 136–179). Chicago: Aldine.Google Scholar