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Men’s Mate Value Correlates with a Less Restricted Sociosexual Orientation: A Meta-Analysis


Men, relative to women, can benefit their total reproductive success by engaging in short-term pluralistic mating. Yet not all men enact such a mating strategy. It has previously been hypothesized that high mate value men should be most likely to adopt a short-term mating strategy, with this prediction being firmly grounded in some important mid-level evolutionary psychological theories. Yet evidence to support such a link has been mixed. This paper presents a comprehensive meta-analysis of 33 published and unpublished studies (N = 5928) in which we find that that self-reported mate value accounts for roughly 6% of variance in men’s sociosexual orientation. The meta-analysis provides evidence that men’s self-perceived mate value positively predicts their tendency to engage in short-term mating, but that the total effect size is small.

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  1. The analysis using SOI subscales controlled for random intercepts within lab-groups and within-study (not within paper), because multiple effect sizes were included from the same studies (and there were no duplicate papers).


References marked with an asterisk indicate studies included in the meta-analysis

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Steven Arnocky, Jessica Desrochers, and Amanda Rotella have contributed equally to this project. We would like to thank the following researchers for responding to our call and providing data: Jan Antfolk, Mitja Back, Jordann Brandner, Gary Brase, Dennis Fisher, Ben Jones, Satoshi Kanazawa, Anthony Lee, Aaron Lukaszewski, King Mak, Jordan Moon, Rebecca Owens, Carin Perilloux, Marjorie Prokosch, and Keelah Williams. Additionally, we would like to thank Nicole Barbaro (HBES) and Kelly Suschinsky (IASR) for sending out calls for data.

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Correspondence to Steven Arnocky.

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The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Ethical Approval/Informed Consent

Following articles 2.2 to 2.4 of the Canadian Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans, ethics approval is not required for reanalysis of publicly available data or secondary use of data (article 5.5) which is provided without any identifier or group of identifiers which would allow attribution of private information to an individual.

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Arnocky, S., Desrochers, J., Rotella, A. et al. Men’s Mate Value Correlates with a Less Restricted Sociosexual Orientation: A Meta-Analysis. Arch Sex Behav 50, 3663–3673 (2021).

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  • Mate value
  • Sociosexual orientation
  • Mating strategies
  • Strategic pluralism theory
  • Sexual behavior
  • Meta-analysis