There are people who prefer to have casual sex. That is to say, in which there is no type of emotional or affective connection with the other. This inclination is called sociosexuality.

For some time, sexuality has been shedding some taboos. This is evidenced by the growing recognition and acceptance of different sexual orientations and practices. One of them is sociosexuality, which refers to having sex for mere physical pleasure, without any kind of emotional or personal bond.

The term was coined by the biologist and sexologist Alfred Kinsey, in the first half of the 20th century. However, it was from the 90s that it became more popular. Even psychometric instruments have been created to measure the level of sociosexuality in people.

It is pertinent to emphasize that it is not a new sexual orientation, but that the term refers to a behavioral pattern that has always existed and that many choose . The point is that, in the past, such behavior was stigmatized, especially in the case of women. But, today, it enjoys a certain openness.

Even today, there are applications that allow the connection between sociosexual people, so that they can enjoy intimate encounters without commitment.

How is sociosexuality measured?

Surely you are wondering how sociosexuality manifests itself in people. Is it a categorical concept or can it be manifested in degrees?

Psychology professor Lars Penke created an instrument to measure this behavior, which he called the Sociosexual Orientation Inventory (SOI-R). This test consists of a questionnaire of nine questions, which are grouped into three categories:

  • Behavior : indicates the number of people with whom the evaluated person has had casual sex, without any emotional bond.
  • Attitude : refers to the opinion you have about sociosexuality.
  • Desire : refers to the desire that the person has to maintain relationships of a sociosexual type.

From the data provided by the nine items, a compatibility profile of the person with sociosexuality is obtained.

Differences between men and women

It is well known that society has stigmatized women more than men when it comes to showing a certain sexual openness. At present, this is not as marked as before. However, we still find ourselves with cultural prejudices that significantly determine the way in which women and men experience their sexuality.

Having said this, it is totally valid to ask if, based on gender, there are differences in the manifestation of sociosexuality . From the outset, the researchers considered this variable as a determining factor, which is why they used the SOI-R to check whether there were differences between men and women.

Men were found to score higher on the SOI-R than women. In other words, according to this instrument, men feel more comfortable with sociosexuality than women . However, care must be taken with these generalizations, as there are individual differences within the same gender that must be taken into account.

For their part, the psychologist Anna Campbell and the sociologist Paula England demonstrated that heterosexual men have a higher level of satisfaction than women, regarding sociosexuality. In this case, women tend to report feelings of guilt after having sexual encounters lacking in affectivity , or feelings of disappointment when seeing that the relationship does not go beyond sexual contact.

However, it is pertinent to mention that these results vary if the variable of sexual orientation is introduced . For example, women who declared themselves bisexual obtained higher sociosexuality scores, compared to those who identified as heterosexual or lesbian.

In the case of men, homosexual men showed a higher level of sociosexuality in the attitude category, compared to bisexual and heterosexual men.

Other factors associated with sociosexuality

In addition to gender and sexual orientation, there are other variables that significantly influence the manifestation of sociosexuality. For example, the findings seem to indicate that people who exhibit certain individual characteristics, such as openness to experience, extraversion, or impulsiveness, have higher SOI-R scores.

Likewise, people with individual characteristics such as kindness, humility and honesty present lower scores regarding sociosexual behavior.

On the other hand, individuals with an avoidant attachment style are more likely to develop a pattern of sociosexual behavior . On the other hand, people with secure attachment are the ones who develop this behavior the least.

Another variable related to this sexual behavior is religion . In this case, people with an intrinsic religious orientation (where religion is the end in itself) tend to have low sociosexuality. While subjects with an extrinsic religion (as a means to achieve goals) tend to score higher on the SOI-R.

The factors associated with sociosexuality do not end here, it has also been related to variables such as age and psychopathy, among others. In this way, we can affirm that it is a sexual behavior that cannot be understood in isolation. Furthermore, not everyone experiences it in the same way or intensity.

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