Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences

Living Edition
| Editors: Virgil Zeigler-Hill, Todd K. Shackelford

Sexual Promiscuity

  • Paul R. GladdenEmail author
  • Amanda Tedesco
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-28099-8_1572-1



Sexual promiscuity refers to mating with more than one partner in a relatively short-time period (e.g., within one estrus cycle). Promiscuous individuals may or may not exhibit long-term social bond(s) with one (or more) partner(s).


Under some conditions, mating with multiple partners is adaptive. Evolutionary perspectives emphasize adaptive psychological sex differences involved in producing promiscuous sexual behavior. In addition to such sex-differentiated and species-typical psychological adaptations underlying promiscuous sexual behavior, evolutionary perspectives point to individual and socio-ecological variation to explain individual-level and population-level differences in sexual psychology and behavior. We briefly review some theory and evidence for context-dependent adaptations designed for sexually promiscuous behavior. We refer to “sexual...

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology and Criminal JusticeMiddle Georgia State UniversityMaconUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Jon Sefcek
    • 1
  1. 1.Kent State UniversityKentUSA