STUDY ALERT: Predicting Preferences for Sex Acts: Which Traits Matter Most, and Why?

by Scott Barry Kaufman, February 14, 2012 in Study Alerts

Predicting Preferences for Sex Acts: Which Traits Matter Most, and Why?

Ashley Peterson, Glenn Geher, and Scott Barry Kaufman

Several dispositional traits have been examined in mating contexts by evolutionary psychologists. Such traits include life history strategy, sociosexuality, and the Big Five. Recently, scholars have examined the validity and predictive utility of mating intelligence, a new construct designed to capture the cognitive processes that underlie mating psychology. The current research employed a battery of dispositional traits that include all these constructs in an effort to predict preferences for different kinds of sex acts. Sexual acts vary wildly, and the ability to predict this variability may well hold an important key to underlying sexual strategies. A sample of 607 young adults (144 males and 463 females) completed measures of each of these traits as well as a measure of preference for specific sex acts (along with providing information on their sexual orientation). The traits predicted variability in preference for sex acts – with mating intelligence being the most predictive (for instance, mating intelligence was positively related to preference for vaginal intercourse across the sexes). Sex differences emerged (e.g., males show a stronger preference for anal sex than do females). Discussion focuses on (a) sex differences in preference for sex acts along with (b) why the trait variables predicted preferences in sex acts.

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