Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Todd K. Shackelford, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford

Sexual Strategies Theory

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_1861-1



Sexual strategies theory (SST) is a middle-level evolutionary theory of mating strategies that both males and females adopt under different circumstances. It differs from previous theories in that it includes multiple motives each individual can have, such as short-term versus long-term mating, as well as when and why different motives would be predominant.


Sexual strategies theory (SST) posits that humans have evolved a complex menu of mating strategies, that some of these mating adaptations are tethered to the temporal dimension of mating, and that although some mating adaptations are similar in women and men, some differ profoundly between the sexes (Buss and Schmitt 1993). Before describing the major premises, predictions, and empirical tests of SST, it is useful to briefly describe theories of mating prior to its articulation.

Previous theories typically posited singular mating motives, such as a quest for...


Parental Investment Mating Strategy Temporal Context Dark Triad Adaptive Problem 
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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The University of Texas at AustinAustinUSA
  2. 2.Bradley UniversityPeoriaUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Gary L Brase
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychological SciencesKansas State UniversityManhattanUSA