Does unrestricted sociosexual behaviour have a shared genetic basis with sexual coercion?

Authors: Westerlund, Minja; Santtila, Pekka; Johansson, Ada; Varjonen, Markus; Witting, Katarina; Jern, Patrick; Alanko, Katarina; Sandnabba, N. Kenneth

Source: Psychology, Crime and Law, Volume 16, Numbers 1-2, January 2010 , pp. 5-23(19)

Publisher: Routledge, part of the Taylor & Francis Group

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Sociosexual orientation refers to the differences between individuals in willingness to engage in uncommitted sexual relations. According to evolutionary theory, much of the variation in sociosexual orientation results from different evolved mating strategies and could reflect heritable factors. Previous research has identified an association between unrestricted sociosexual behaviour and sexual coercion. The major objective with this study was to (a) to replicate this association and (b) to explore whether the two phenotypes would share a genetic basis using a Finnish population based sample of male twins and their siblings (n=4645). Sexual coercion correlated positively with unrestricted sociosexual behaviour (r p =0.20) and unrestricted sociosexual attitudes (r p =0.07). Genetic effects influenced sociosexual behaviour (54%), sociosexual attitudes (23%), and sexual coercion (20-25%). Also, genetic correlations, i.e. common genetic basis, were found between the phenotypes of sociosexuality and sexual coercion. The results of this study can contribute to the understanding of sociosexual orientation, sexual coercion and their possible underlying factors. Identifying correlates of sexual coercion is essential in developing preventive measures.

Keywords: environment; extended twin study; genes; sexual coercion; sociosexuality

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Center of Excellence in Behaviour Genetics, Department of Psychology, Åbo Akademi University, Turku, Finland

Publication date: January 1, 2010

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