Sociosexuality: relationships without commitment

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Sociosexuality: relationships without commitment

There are people who prefer casual relationships with no emotional or affective connection with each other. This trend is called socosexuality.

Last update: July 09, 2022

Sexuality is finally stripped of some taboos and this is demonstrated by the growing recognition and acceptance of different sexual orientations and practices. Among these there is socosexuality, the habit of having intimate relationships for pure physical pleasure, without any kind of emotional or personal connection.



The term was coined by the biologist and sexologist Alfred Kinsey in the first half of the 90th century. However, it has become popular since the XNUMXs. Psychometric tests have even been developed to measure the level of socosexuality.

It's not about a sexual orientation, the term refers to a behavioral model that has always existed and that many choose. In the past, however, it was stigmatized, especially in the case of women. Today, however, we are witnessing a certain opening.

Nowadays, in fact, there are applications that allow the connection between socio-sexual people, so that they can enjoy intimate encounters without obligation.

How is sociosexuality measured?

How does socosexuality manifest itself in people? Is it a categorical concept or can it be expressed in degrees? The psychology professor Lars Penke created a tool to measure this behavior, which he called Sociosexual Orientation Inventory (SOI-R). This test consists of a nine-question questionnaire, grouped into three categories:

  • Behavior: indicates the number of people with whom the person has had occasional sexual relations, that is, without any emotional connection.
  • Mentality: refers to the opinion that one has on socosexuality.
  • Desiderio: refers to the person's desire to maintain socio-sexual relationships.

From the data obtained, the profile of compatibility, or not, of the person towards socio-sexuality is obtained.


Differences between men and women

It is well known that society has stigmatized women more than men in terms of sexual openness. This is no longer the case today, but numerous cultural prejudices still survive which significantly determine the way in which women and men live their sexuality.

Said this, it is entirely legitimate to ask whether there are gender differences in the manifestation of socosexuality. The researchers considered this variable to be a determining factor, which is why they used SOI-R to check for any differences between men and women.

Men performed higher in SOI-R than women. In other words, according to this tool, men feel more comfortable with socosexuality. However, care must be taken not to generalize, as individual differences have to be taken into account.

For their part, psychologist Anna Campbell and sociologist Paula England have shown that heterosexual men are more satisfied. Women tend to feel guilty after an intimate relationship devoid of affection or disappointment when they realize that the relationship does not go beyond sexual contact.

However, it is pertinent to remember that these results vary if the variable of sexual orientation is introduced. For example, women who identified as bisexual had higher socosexuality scores than those who identified as heterosexual or lesbian.

In the case of men, homosexual men showed higher levels of socosexuality in the mentality category than bisexual and heterosexual men.

Other factors associated with socosexuality

In addition to gender and sexual orientation, there are others variables that significantly influence the manifestation of socosexuality.

The results seem to indicate that people who display certain individual characteristics, such as openness to experience, extroversion or impulsivity, score higher on the SOI-R.


Likewise, people with traits such as kindness, humility, and honesty score lower when it comes to socosexual behavior.

On the other hand, individuals with one avoidant attachment style are more likely to develop a socio-sexual behavior pattern. Conversely, people with secure attachment are less likely to develop this behavior.

Another variable is religion. In this case, people with an intrinsic religious orientation (for which religion is an end in itself) tend to have a low socio-sexuality. Conversely, subjects who understand religion as extrinsic (as a means of achieving certain goals) tend to score higher in the SOI-R.


The factors associated with socosexuality do not end here, it has also been related to variables such as age and psychopathy, among others. We can therefore say that it is a sexual behavior that cannot be understood in isolation. Beyond that, not everyone experiences it in the same way or intensity.

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