Sexual Strategies and Personality

Date of Award

Spring 8-15-2011

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



The disciplines that explore individual differences in personality and individual differences in sexual strategies have remained isolated from each other. Such isolation has been maintained in part because the traditional one-dimensional measure of individual differences in sexual strategies, which treats Long-Term Mating (LTM) and Short-Term Mating (STM) as polar opposites, was found in previous studies to be only modestly related to personality. The juxtaposition of committal (LTM) and non-committal (STM) relationship styles, however, may be overly simplistic. For instance, in the one-dimensional model, extraversion has a small positive relationship with STM, but extraverts exhibit qualities (e.g., secure attachment) that in theory should enhance LTM too. Here, the one-dimensional model is compared to a two-dimensional model that separately measures LTM and STM, which increases the potential to more accurately describe people who are inclined to use both LTM and STM or neither. To compare the two models, I collect self-reports (N = 209) and peer-reports (N = 588) of sexual strategies and many personality traits: the Big 5 (agreeableness, conscientiousness, extraversion, neuroticism, and openness to experience), the Dark Triad (Machiavellianism, narcissism, and psychopathy), and three personality disorders (Anti-social, Obsessive-Compulsive, and Schizoid Personality Disorders). The results revealed that, compared to the one-dimensional model, the two-dimensional model accounted for substantially more variance in many personality traits. As predicted, it was particularly useful for capturing unique variance in extraversion and other traits that the one-dimensional model does not capture very well. Sex and personality have much more in common than previously thought, and the two-dimensional model offers a parsimonious illustration of the extent to which they are related.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Michael Strube

Committee Members

Cindy Brantmeier, Ian Dobbins, David Gillespie, Randy Larsen, Simine Vazire


Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.7936/K7F769JV

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