Individual differences in flirting and attractivity mating strategies: sex, gender, and the menstrual cycle
Duchene, Katelyn M.
DisciplinePsychology : Clinical
Sex differences in long-term mating
Sex differences in short-term mating
Mating strategy of flirting
Menstrual cycle & conception likelihood
Menstrual cycle effect on sexual interest & strategies
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Previous research suggests sex differences in mate preferences and mating strategies based on reproductive constraints (Buss, 2005). Furthermore, research has suggested that women's mating behaviours change across the menstrual cycle, with peaks in certain mating preferences and attraction strategies (i.e., short-term strategies) occurring when conception likelihood is highest. A goal of the current study was to develop a measure of flirting and mate attractivity behaviours that would allow for measurement of between- and within-sex differences in these behaviours. The study examined the relationship between gender identity (i.e., masculinity and femininity) and mating strategies, mating strategies in the context of the menstrual cycle, and sex differences in flirting “in person” versus “through technology” in 557 participants (463 women). After controlling for age, social desirability scores, and years of education, masculinity was positively associated with engagement in male-typical mating strategies in both sexes, while femininity was positively associated with engagement in female-typical mating strategies for women only. In women, engagement in overall mate attraction behaviours increased with conception likelihood, however, short-term (ST) mate attraction behaviours did not show stronger associations with fertility than long-term (LT) mate attraction behaviours. Finally, while women reported flirting more in person and through technology relative to men, there was no evidence that women engaged in relatively more flirting through technology than in-person as compared to men. These findings suggest that one’s gender orientation and women’s conception likelihood are associated with the choice and frequency of mate attractivity behaviours, and suggest value in examining within-sex individual difference variables in predicting mate attraction behaviours.