Promiscuity is an endlessly fascinating topic, at least around here. Who is promiscuous? Why are they? Are there any men who don’t want to be promiscuous? Are there many women who enjoy promiscuity? Do people switch back and forth between promiscuous and chaste lifestyles? Do promiscuous people want to get with other promiscuous people? How does male promiscuity differ from female promiscuity? Are promiscuous people better looking?
The controversy is predictable and constant, depending on who’s speaking. Female virgins, male virgins, sluts, manwhores, and everyone in between has their view of what promiscuity is and how it affects themselves and others’ perceptions of them.
This subject has been studied very thoroughly. Primarily, the debate is between Genetic Theory (nature) and Social Theory (nurture). The jury’s still out – both appear to play a large role – but there have been many interesting findings along the way.
In a recent post I introduced the Sociosexuality Orientation Index. Nine questions generate an SOI score that reliably and validly predicts sexual behavior and number of partners.
1. Number of sexual partners in the past year
2. Number of sexual partners in the next 5 years
3. Number of one time sexual partners
4. Number of partners used condom with
5. Number of times fantasized about someone other than partner
6. Sex without love is OK
7. Enjoy casual sex with different partners
8. Need to be attached to partner to enjoy sex (reversed)
People vary on a spectrum of restricted (long-term mating strategy) to unrestricted (short-term mating strategy). The results are equally valid for males and females.
Who is promiscuous?
1. “While men in general are more unrestricted in sociosexual orientation than women, the variance within each sex is much greater than variance between the sexes.”
2. “Women in the top female quintile of the SOI were nearly as elevated in their relevant sexual experiences as men in the top male quintile, even though the 80th female percentile was equivalent to only the 39th male percentile.”
(IOW, there are similar numbers of very unrestricted men and women.)
What do unrestricted people do?
- engage in sex at an earlier point in their relationships
- engage in sex with more than one partner at a time
- be involved in sexual relationships characterized by less investment, commitment, love, and dependency.
How is sociosexual orientation acquired?
- 49% of sociosexual orientation is heritable, i.e. determined by genes.
- 2% is attributable to shared environment, i.e. parenting.
- 47% is attributable to unshared environment, e.g. peer pressure, popular culture.
- 2% is attributable to the respondent’s age, so it appears that sociosexual orientation changes very slightly over the life course.
Is it static or variable?
8. “Sociosexual orientation (just like all other personality traits) is a relatively stable trait of individuals over the life course; in other words, people are either sociosexually restricted or unrestricted most of their lives.“
9. “In a study of over 14,000 people in over 48 countries, researchers found the SOI to be reliable and predictive across a wide range of cultures and populations. Furthermore:
Sex differences in sociosexuality were significantly larger when reproductive environments were demanding but were reduced to more moderate levels in cultures with more political and economic gender equality.
Sex ratios also predict sociosexuality. Nations with a low ratio of men to women had higher SOI scores. The U.S. is pretty much smack in the middle.”
Are people with unrestricted sexuality more attractive?
10. “Although men had trouble knowing which women were unrestricted, they preferred those female faces. Unrestricted female composite faces were seen as more attractive than restricted female composites by both sexes, suggesting that attractive women’s unrestricted scores may be the result of more attractive women having greater sexual opportunities and thus developing a less restricted outlook.”
11. ”Self-perceived attractiveness was a significant positive predictor of SOI score. This finding is consistent with the hypothesis that women’s mating strategy is facultatively linked to their self-perceived mate value: Women who perceive themselves as more attractive score higher on the SOI scale. Behaving in a sociosexually unrestricted manner may lead to self-perceptions of attractiveness.“
12. “In contrast to men judging female faces, women consistently preferred the restricted male faces. Despite having no particular preference between the unrestricted and restricted male composites for short-term relationships, women significantly preferred the restricted males for long-term relationships.
13. Furthermore, these patterns of results do not appear to be due to differences in theinherent attractiveness of the faces (as judged by male observers); indeed, contrary to expectation, any greater symmetry which may have existed in the real faces did not translate into greater attractiveness. This suggests that when seeking a partner, women may be attracted to males more likely to engage in long-term relationships, and, furthermore, that women have been subject to stronger selection in this regard than men (who have potentially more to gain from short-term matings).”
14. “The link between sociosexuality and perceived masculinity in male composites [shows] that more masculine looking males report more sexual partners and suggests that unrestricted sociosexuality may be related to increased testosterone levels. Testosterone is thought to increase facial masculinity and may be associated with less investment in relationships, as indexed by time men spent with their partner.
Furthermore, men and women perceive more masculine male faces as being poorer parents and possessing less of the characteristics important in a long-term partner.”
How does sociosexuality orientation influence what women want?
15. “For women only, sociosexual orientation was related to preferences with respect to sexual experience in a potential date or mate. Specifically, women with an unrestricted orientation to sex (i.e., those who have more positive attitudes toward casual, uncommitted sexual activity) gave higher desirability ratings to moderate or considerable sexual experience in a partner than did women with a restricted sociosexual orientation.
Conversely, the restricted women rated chastity in a partner as more desirable than did unrestricted women. Women with extensive sexual experience (one dimension tapped by the SOI) should be more willing to consider a sexually experienced person as a partner. More specifically, they would be unlikely to have negative impressions of a sexually active (hence, similar) other), would assume that they (and others like them) are “uniquely invulnerable” to sexually transmitted diseases (Brehm, 1992), and may be guided by a specific, adaptive mating strategy.”
How does sociosexuality orientation influence what men want?
16. Preferences of the Lady Wooers:
The results of the study indicate that sociosexuality influences male perception of female breast attractiveness and confirm that accentuation of female-specific physical traits produces a stronger response in unrestricted than in restricted men.
Translation: Guys who want to shag around prefer bigger tits.
Obviously, you can’t use the word tits in a scientific article so you’d have to say ‘Gentleman who want to woo more ladies prefer larger hooters’.
And they say science isn’t relevant to the man in the street.
Promiscuous people are born and made. They don’t change. They cheat and get divorced more. Women don’t like the faces of unrestricted guys. Unrestricted men like big boobs.
Best way to spot one in the wild? Find a way to ask questions 6 – 8.