Original article:

Social exclusion and female mating behavior: Rejected women show strategic enhancement of short-term mating interest

Evolutionary Psychology 10(3): 573-587 Donald F. Sacco, Miami University, Donald.Sacco@usm.eduSteven G. Young, Fairleigh Dickinson UniversityChristina M. Brown, Saint Louis UniversityMichael J. Bernstein, Penn State-AbingtonKurt Hugenberg, Miami University


Because cost asymmetries in sexual reproduction have historically enabled women to exchange sexual access for other resources, including social resources, we tested the possibility that social exclusion would lead women to display an elevated preference for short-term mating strategies in the service of reaffiliation. In Study 1, women were given false feedback to manipulate social inclusion or exclusion prior to indicating their endorsement of short and long-term mating behaviors. Socially excluded women indicated greater interest in short-term mating and reduced interest in long-term mating. In Study 2, women wrote about a social inclusion, social exclusion, or control experience and then indicated their preference for different male body types. Women in the social exclusion condition preferred more muscular male partners – a pattern of preference typical of short-term mating – than women in the other conditions. Collectively, these results are consistent with a social exchange theory of women’s sexual behavior following social exclusion.


social exclusion, mating, sex differences, social rejection, ostracism

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Evolutionary Psychology - An open access peer-reviewed journal - ISSN 1474-7049 © Ian Pitchford and Robert M. Young; individual articles © the author(s)

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