Sociosexuality in Mainland China

Published: June 6, 2013


The construct of sociosexuality or sociosexual orientation describes the extent to which people will have casual, uncommitted sexual relationships. The Sociosexual Orientation Inventory (SOI) has been used to measure sociosexuality in many countries, but not in China. The aims of this study were to explore sociosexuality in a cross-section of the Chinese adult population, to quantify sex differences in sociosexuality, and to examine the sociodemographic correlates and the impact of the high sex ratio. The study consisted of a cross-sectional survey using a self-completion questionnaire. It was administered to adults of reproductive age in three provinces: Zhejiang, Guizhou, and Yunnan. While questionnaires were received from 7,424 participants, total SOI scores could be computed only for the 4,645 (63 %) who completed all seven items of the SOI. The mean score for men and women combined was 21.0, very low compared with most other countries, indicating restricted sociosexuality. The men (n = 2,048) had a mean of 27, showing more restricted sociosexuality than in all other countries where the SOI has been used. Wealth was the strongest independent correlate of high (unrestricted) sociosexuality in men and women. The effect size for the difference between the sexes was moderate (Cohen’s d = .64), and comparable to more developed countries, perhaps reflecting relative gender equality in contemporary China. Despite the very high sex ratio, which is theorized to lead to restricted sexuality, its influence was difficult to determine, since differences in sociosexuality between high and low sex ratio areas within this population were inconsistent.

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