Research continues to unravel the differences between unrestricted vs. restricted sociosexuality. For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, a review:
1. Relative to sociosexually restricted individuals, sociosexually unrestricted individuals are more likely to:
Engage in sex at an earlier point in their relationships.
Engage in sex with more than one partner at a time.
Be involved in sexual relationships characterized by less investment, commitment, love, and dependency.
2. Half of the men and women in the top (withinsex) 20% of sociosexuality have been sexually unfaithful to a steady partner. This is roughly double the average rate of infidelity in the population.
3. While men in general are more unrestricted in sociosexual orientation than women, the variance within each sex is much greater than variance between the sexes. For example, 3% of the most restricted women and 5% of the most restricted men had cheated on a partner. In contrast, 48% of women and 63% of the men in the most unrestricted quintile have cheated on a steady partner.
If you’re going to date unrestricted guys, you’re going to need an emotional hazmat suit.
Douglas Kenrick is a social psychology professor who worked as a doorman in NY in the 1960s. He heard one cop bragging continuously about his rotating harem of female playthings. Finally he told Kenrick his secret: “Never tell a woman you love her.” Kenrick, deeply in love at the time, wondered what kind of man would choose this lifestyle we now know fondly as “pump and dump” – what is the psychology of men who thrive without emotional intimacy and view their sexual partners as fungible goods? Kenrick saw this cop as “cold and heartless.”
He never forgot that encounter, and recently came across a study by some of his own former students that provided the answer. The study asked subjects how they would feel when their partner said, “I love you,” both in cases where sexual intimacy was established, and in those where the couple had not yet had sex.
In one study, the researchers asked students to imagine they had just started a new romance with someone they found “attractive and interesting.” …One month into the relationship, you’d imagine your new partner saying: “I love you.” Next you’d be asked how happy it would make you to hear this confession of love (on a scale ranging from 0 (“not at all”) to 7 (“very much”)).
You’d also be asked about your “sociosexual orientation,” filling out a questionnaire to determine whether you are someone who is unrestricted (who thinks sex without love or commitment is a fun idea) or restricted (someone who only really enjoys sexual intimacy in the context of a committed relationship).
The results depended heavily on the nature of the person’s sexuality. For both restricted men and women, hearing those three little words is far more enjoyable after sex.
But take a look at the unrestricted males! Why do they enjoy hearing a woman declare her love before sex, but not after?
Because if she says it before sex he figures he’s got a good shot at getting it in – things are going according to plan. Once they have sex, he immediately withdraws from the burden of her emotion.
The good news is that most men are not wired that way – in fact, research shows that men are much more likely to declare love first. For restricted types:
Saying: ‘I love you’ is a negotiation process; essentially, you’re making an offer. And from an evolutionary-economics perspective, the decision to make that offer is different for men than it is for women. In the romantic marketplace, women want to minimize the risk of selling too low, whereas men want to minimize the risk of not bidding high enough. For men, the biggest mistake would be to not communicate commitment and lose the relationship. For women, the biggest mistake would be to impulsively trust her partner’s declaration of ‘I love you’ and gamble on a sexual relationship without the man’s investment.
New research further explores sex differences with respect to sexuality.
Although the “males and females are fundamentally different” narrative may be the prevailing opinion, it is science’s duty to determine whether these ideas are common sense or common nonsense. The “men and women are different” idea is perhaps most pervasive with respect to individuals’ thoughts about sex and romance. Common knowledge suggests that men are hypersexual and women are more reserved, but when it comes to romance, women are much more enthusiastic than men.
The researchers provided subjects with images of romantic couple activities, as well as sexual images. They were asked whether they found the images pleasant, i.e. “joyous and beautiful,” or unpleasant, i.e. ”nasty and horrible.” Both sexes found the romantic images more pleasant, though the women’s positive association was strongest.
When they considered personality traits, they found that all women preferred the romantic images, but that very extraverted males preferred the sexual images. As you may recall, extraversion is a strong predictor of short-term mating behaviors, including promiscuity and infidelity.
The results of this study did not support previous findings that confirmed the common-sense notion that men strongly prefer sex to romance, which is likely the result of how researchers measured men’s attitudes.
When men report their own feelings, they may confirm the highly sexualized male stereotype out of pride or simply because they think that is what others expect from them.
The results also indicate that outgoing men may have a stronger preference for sex than men who are less outgoing, which suggests that if women desire a partner who has more positive feelings about romance, a less extroverted male may be best.
This is an area where it pays to be extremely picky. The most essential filter a woman can apply when considering who to date is one that disqualifies unrestricted males. These men are hard wired for casual sex, they aren’t good at relationships, and they can’t sustain them.
It’s important to know as much as you can about a man’s relationship history. It’s not always easy to judge the unrestricted men by their sexual history, however. Many men who are unrestricted but not attractive enough to pull off casual may “settle” for the drudgery of a committed relationship, all the while fantasizing about strangers on their morning commutes, and becoming increasingly less sexually responsive.
The key is emotional intimacy – is he romantic? Does he want to say “I love you” and hear you say it back?
The guy with a limited sexual past and a romantic streak is what you’re going for. That’s the man who will love you, be faithful to you, and be a good father to your children.