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Are men really more 'oriented' toward short-term mating than women? A critical review of theory and research

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According to Sexual Strategies Theory (D.M. Buss and D.P.Schmitt 1993), both men and women possess psychological adaptations for short-term mating. However, men may possess three adaptations that make it seem as though they are generally more 'oriented' toward short-term mating than women: (1) Men possess greater desire for short-term sexual relationships than women; (2) Men prefer larger numbers of sexual partners over time than women; and (3) Men require less time before consenting to sex than women. We review a wide body of psychological theory and evidence that corroborates the presence of these adaptations in men's short-term sexual psychology. We also correct some recurring misinterpretations of Sexual Strategies Theory, such as the mistaken notion that women are designed solely for long-term mating. Finally, we document how the observed sex differences in short-term mating complement some feminist theories and refute competing evolutionary theories of human sexuality.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2001-12-01

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