What Is Socio-Sexuality?

Have you ever heard of the term sociosexuality? We will tell you about it in the following article.
What Is Socio-Sexuality?
Leticia Aguilar Iborra

Written and verified by la psicóloga Leticia Aguilar Iborra.

Last update: 28 April, 2021

Society is constantly advancing, and with it taboos such as sex are being discarded. One of the phenomena that is on the rise with respect to the quality of human relationships is socio-sexuality. In simple terms, this implies the development of sexual relations without any type of emotional and / or personal bond.

Although this phenomenon is ceasing to be taboo, in some cases it remains “entrenched.” The fact of having sexual relations without any kind of affective and/or emotional bond does not imply the fact that there are people who are willing to compromise and have a stable sentimental relationship.

What is socio-sexuality?

Socioexuality implies having occasional relationships.
Despite the fact that it was previously considered taboo, little by little the conception of socio-sexuality is changing.

Sexuality is an issue where individualization of priorities prevails. It is a behavior that can be considered one of the most intimate and that not so long ago it was considered a taboo subject to share with other people.

Since the advent of the internet and the use of social networks, this issue has enjoyed a certain openness, developing in turn other forms of intimate interpersonal relationships, such as the example of socio-sexuality.

This consists of the preference for having sexual relations without any kind of commitment to the other person. What characterizes this type of relationship is mere physical pleasure without any kind of emotional and/or affective bond.

It should not be confused with other types of sexual orientation. Socioexuality is the preference of an individual to initiate and maintain sexual relations with several people without establishing any type of link.

These people may be more willing to have several sexual partners, while other people prefer other types of relationships where they can feel more comfortable, such as a romantic relationship.

Social networks and socio-sexuality

The advance of the internet and the use of social networks has favored contact with people outside the social circle. It is true that socio-sexuality has been studied since the first half of the 20th century and that it existed for much longer.

However, this type of behavior used to be carried out in secret, especially in women since this is usually more stigmatized by society when it comes to showing a certain sexual openness.

Socioexuality, thanks to the development of dating applications, has been favored. Today sporadic sexual relations are much more frequent than in other less trivialized times where socio-sexuality was dismissed as promiscuous. Especially when it came to women.

Couple relationships

There are people who feel comfortable having sporadic sexual relations with one or more partners. In other cases, there are people where this type of relationship generates discomfort, pain, and suffering.

Infatuation in socio-sexuality is ruled out, since the real interest is the individual pleasure over anything else. In this sense, if a person is more comfortable in stable sexual relations, having sexual relations with people who are comfortable within the socio-sexuality can be risky given their affective involvement.

Psychometric test

To measure socio-sexual behavior, the researchers used the SOI-R (Sexual Orientation Inventory) instrument created by Lars Penke. In this test, the person must answer 3 sections.

  • Conduct.
  • Attitude.
  • Sexual desire

Are there differences between men and women?

Socioexuality can represent a problem.
Mental health specialists have developed multiple tools to study socio-sexuality.

Something that the researchers asked themselves from the beginning is to know if there were differences in terms of socio-sexuality between men and women. To do this, the aforementioned evaluation instrument was used to measure this kind of behavior between men and women.

Through this test, it was observed that men obtained higher scores on the SOI-R than women. That is, according to this evaluation test, men felt more comfortable with socio-sexuality than women.

However, this result cannot be generalized since individual differences between the same gender must be taken into account.

In addition, other studies such as those of the psychologist Anna Campbell of Durham University and the sociologist Paula England of the University of New York have shown some similar results.

In this case, the data show that heterosexual men have a higher level of satisfaction than women in matters of socio-sexuality. In the case of women, they allude to the fact that they tend to feel guilty after lacking sexual relations or were disappointed if the relationship did not progress beyond the sex.

With this, it must be said that these tests varied depending on the sexual orientation of the members under study.

For example, in people with bisexual orientation, women showed higher scores compared to women who declared themselves to be heterosexual or homosexual.

In the case of men, those who had a homosexual orientation showed higher socio-sexual indices than bisexual and heterosexual ones.

What traits are most attractive?

Depending on whether a person shows preferences for socio-sexuality or not, this will be fixed on different traits. For example, in the case of socio-sexuality, the characteristics of physical attractiveness are especially important. Thus, the search for companions will be based on the attractiveness of the other person or on aspects related to popularity.

On the other hand, for people who are more comfortable in emotionally charged relationships, attractive traits will be different.

Although physical appearance is one of the characteristics, unlike socio-sexual people, it is not the main factor. Issues such as the degree of closeness and their social characteristics are usually the main elements.

Other questions about socio-sexuality

Apart from the preference for sexual relations without any other type of commitment apart from satisfaction and individual pleasure, socio-sexuality has been related to other types of psychological variables.

For example, people who tend towards this type of relationship tend to show more extraversion, impulsiveness and openness to experience, also characterized by a kind of avoidant attachment.

In addition to these characteristics, people with a tendency towards socio-sexuality can have high scores on other types of paraphilic issues such as masochism.

Other types of disorders can also occur, such as narcissism, Machiavellianism and psychopathy. Not to mention low scores for kindness, honesty, and humility.

In short, socio-sexuality is a phenomenon that, before the development of new technologies, remained more hidden.

The development of the latter has made liberation possible when establishing contact between other people outside the social circle, which favors this type of behavior and, therefore, they become more and more visible in today’s society.

  • Simpson, J.A., Gangestad, S.W. (1992). Sociosexuality and romantic partner choice. Journal of personality. Wiley Online Library.

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