Lars Penke and Jens B Asendorpf (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, 95:1113-1135.

Sociosexuality is usually assessed as the overall orientation toward uncommitted sex, although this global approach may mask unique contributions of different components. In a large online study (N = 2,708) and a detailed behavioral assessment of 283 young adults (both singles and couples) with a 1-year follow-up, the authors established 3 theoretically meaningful components of sociosexuality: past behavioral experiences, the attitude toward uncommitted sex, and sociosexual desire (all measured by a revised version of the Sociosexual Orientation Inventory). Discriminant validity was shown with regard to (a) their factorial structure, (b) sex differences, (c) many established correlates of sociosexuality, and (d) the prediction of observed flirting behavior when meeting an attractive opposite-sex stranger, even down to the level of objectively coded behaviors, as well as (e) the self-reported number of sexual partners and (f) changes in romantic relationship status over the following year. Within couples, the 3 components also showed distinct degrees of assortative mating and distinct effects on the romantic partner. Implications for the evolutionary psychology of mating tactics are discussed.